Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Duodecim 012 Addiction

Sigh~ I really love this blog, even if it doesn't serve much of a purpose in my life and even if its not booming with comments or content. I just wish I had more time to work on it. As soon as school starts, you can pretty much forget about posts. Though, I'd like to report that...

I've been playing Dissidia 012 Duodecim, and its damn ADDICTIVE. I got this game a loong time ago, but for some reason I just never got around to playing it. Well, I randomly decided to start it up, and suddenly I found myself glued to my PSP for entire days, just playing this damn game.

It's not just the awesome, fast-paced action or the super fan-service selection of characters. Duodecim maintains that RPG element from Final Fantasy, so there's a lot of leveling up, mastering a HUGE list of battle skills, and farming for items so you can craft the best equipment. I literally spent hours just trying to get the rare components you need to get each character's ultimate weapon.

There's so much to spend your time on, and the story mode is long as hell too. I've pretty much decked out Tifa, Yuna, Lightning, and Cloud with mastered everything at Lv.100. That's how much I've been playing. It has much more content than the first game, and the new characters are great, so just pick up and play this game. If you're a Final Fantasy fan, it would be a crime not to play it.


Monday, October 31, 2011


Yes, I haven't updated in weeks. My average pageviews have definitely taken a huge dip. As usual, real life is taking a toll on my blogging. School work, demanding girlfriend and what not. Anyway, I've decided to post because I've fallen in love. Not with a person, but with MATERIAL (the best thing in the world).

Every now and then, I'll have a thing that I want more than anything in the world, and I focus everything in my life towards that thing so I can get it. A few years back it was the PS3, and I got that little bastard. But now, its something several times more expensive. Ready....its the MACBOOK AIR.

Now before you barrage me with insults, let me tell you that I don't know anyone who hated on Mac's as much as mwah. But this little machine is just too sleak to ignore. My laptop is really old (pushing 4 years), and it's getting to that time where I have to start looking for a replacement. As a traveling college student, I need something I can carry around campus, back home, and to class everyday. So obviously, I've been looking into this new line of "ultra portables". Unfortunately, there really aren't that many choices out there at this time.

As much as I hate the Mac OS, there really isn't anything that comes close to the Macbook Air in terms of power, speed, and sexiness. I have taken notice of the Samsung Series 9, but its very expensive and still doesn't quite beat the Air. So yeah, time to start pushing all of my finances towards affording this monstrous Apple product.


Saturday, October 08, 2011

Steve Jobs Was a Great Man, Not God

The biggest news as of late is obviously the death of Steve Jobs. Now, I respected this man greatly and acknowledge all of the incredible contributions he's made to society. However, it scares me to see where people seem to place their values. Society worshiped this man for giving them iPhone's and Macbooks, and yet no one seems to even think about the scientists, doctors, mathematicians, engineers, and artists that have been contributing to society and dying for centuries.

I understand that it's perfectly understandable for the current generation to know only about Steve Jobs; the Apple brand almost defines the times. But that's exactly what's wrong here. What was the front page news, the top head line, the most popular google search, the most repeated tweet and Facebook status, and the latest internet meme in the past 3 days. It's like Steve was our God. I remember former presidents dying in the past few years, and that news never lasted more than a few hours.

I'm not breaking new ground here; everyone already knows that we worship celebrities and place our values on meaningless things. I guess it just took this death to realize just how far it has ingrained itself in our culture.


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

[PS3] All Future Online will Require PSN Pass

Sony recently confirmed that Uncharted 3 will require an online pass for multiplayer, and now it seems that this will be the case for ALL future releases with online play. Basically, games with online multiplayer with come with PSN codes, kind of like CD-keys for PC games. Read the source article here: http://www.gamesradar.com/sony-confirms-all-future-online-games-will-utilize-psn-passes/

I'm not really sure how I should feel about this. I mean, in general, it sucks. We're going to have to type in 12 digit codes every time we get a new game, but we'll only have to do it once so it's really no big deal. However, it's going to be near impossible to lend people games and expect them to enjoy online. Also, if you buy the game used, you'll have to pay a small fee to get a new code.

It is a bit of a let-down, but then again, I rarely ever play online multiplayer, and I always get my games new, so it won't bother me as much. The gaming community is obviously riled up, but that's to be expected when something changes I guess. The point of this is to encourage people to buy games new, but honestly, if games weren't so bloody expensive more people would be buying them new. I don't ever buy used games, but I rarely buy them when they just come out either. I mean come on, $60 for a 12 hour experience? I've spent less money on dinner and a movie.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Square Enix Wants to Redo FFXIV...

As most of the gaming community already knows, Final Fantasy XIV was pretty much one of the biggest flops in recent years. It was almost as if the game were only 20 percent done, but they decided to just throw it out into the public anyway. I mean, it only as a score of 49 on metacritic. For a Final Fantasy game, or any game for that matter, that's just depressingly awful. But it seems Square Enix is still trying to make it work, even after doing as much as they can do.

Here's the juicy part. Square Enix's CEO, Yoichi Wada, recently stated that FFXIV's studio is willing to start again from scratch, fully re-doing the game. You can read some more about that here: http://www.gamesradar.com/square-enix-determined-redo-ffxiv-defends-dragon-quest-x/

I understand that the game was piss-poor, but those are some drastic measures. I guess its mostly a big deal because the Final Fantasy brand is so well-established and respected around the world, and each of its games has brought in critical acclaim and millions of dollars. For a flagship title to do so poorly is certainly very embarrassing and damaging to their name. But I'm gonna have to support their decision on this one. There's nothing more they can do for FFXIV in its current state; the best course of action is definitely to start an entirely new game.

Anyway, the real point I wanted to make is, I feel like this could have been less of a disaster if the online games were NOT a part of the main series! I feel like they could have easily made it into a sub-series and called it Final Fantasy Online. Even Final Fantasy XI was only half-decent and I really feel like it doesn't belong with the other flagship titles, considering it is an MMORPG. It really breaks the flow of Square's line of amazing RPG's. Now look what they did with FFXIV, it tanked and hurt the brand even more. Remember Dirge of Cerberus? That got lukewarm reviews, but it wasn't a big deal because it was just a spin-off title.  All they need to do is keep these MMO's out of the main series. Quit taking up precious space that belongs to our beloved Final Fantasy games, ok?


Saturday, September 24, 2011

3D Gaming is...just annoying?

A recent study showed that nearly 30 percent of players thought that the 3D feature on the 3DS actually detracted from the gaming experience. You can read more about the study here: http://www.joystiq.com/2011/09/24/3d-gamings-approval-rating-low-blamed-on-inherited-wars-and-ec/

I've always hated this sudden 3D trend, but I hadn't realized that a good percentage of people actually thought the 3D feature on the 3DS is just distracting and unnecessary. I mean, the whole "3D without glasses" thing was  the selling point of the 3DS. However! I've feared from the beginning that people would just be ignoring the 3D, turning it off completely while playing games.

Developers keep ignoring the fact that people just want to play GAMES. They want to sit back, relax during their free time, hold a controller, and look at a normal television screen. This obsession with new trends has gone far enough. Motion controls are an unnecessary trend that should be dying very soon too, but that's another story. 3D, however, is just silly. Why is it that a stupidly simplistic technology that we've had around for DECADES is suddenly becoming the biggest thing in media? We don't need 3D for movies, and we certainly don't need it for video games. Moving around to play games is stupid enough, I don't need eye-strain to go with it.

Times are tough for the 3DS. It was selling poorly to begin with, but now its entire concept is meaningless. Nintendo needs to get with the times, and fast.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

R/C Helicopter - Syma S107G

Man, I just turned 20 but I gotta say, remote-controlled helicopters are fun as hell. I've been wanting one for a long time, so I went ahead and bought one that was cheap and highly recommended. Searching through countless products, I gotta say, there's no better chopper than the Syma S107. I'm no expert on RC helicopters, but I've tried a few other models, and this one is almost flawless and flies great.

Again, I'm no expert so I'm not about to turn this into a review. I just want to say, I could definitely get into this hobby. Flying RC helicopters is no kid's hobby, these things are definitely adult toys. Most of the other models on sale are extraordinarily more expensive than the S107, so I'm going to need a lot of money as usual~


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

[Now Playing] Final Fantasy Tactics

I've been COMPLETELY obsessed with Final Fantasy Tactics lately, its the strangest thing. I've had a weird relationship with this game. I bought it way back in 2003, when they were still selling PS1 games. My first play-through was painful; I had such a hard time with this game. I didn't know much about the strategies and character skill setups, so I just kept getting owned. I remember I got to one battle filled with summoners, and I kept losing so badly that I stopped playing the game for over a year.

I randomly decided to start playing again after like a year and a half of neglecting it, and I finally managed to beat it. Its weird that after literally YEARS of not touching it (went through all of high school and half of college without re-playing it) I started my second play-through. This time around, I learned absolutely everything there is to know about the game, and I discovered how freaking easy the game gets when you raise super powerful characters. I went through all of Deep Dungeon, equipped each character with the best equipment, setup their skills properly, and leveled past 80. Now, its just rude how easy the final battles become.

But my point is, I have a new-found love for this game. It took this long for me realize how deep and fun this game can get. It doesn't get the love that the mainstream Final Fantasy titles get, but I can see why it has such a strong cult following. I encourage you to give it a try too, there's always the re-make on the PSP too.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Xbox 360 being phased out in Japan

Apparently, the Xbox 360 is officially becoming history and stores will no longer stock them in Japan. I was aware that the 360 was already doing extremely poorly in Japan, but I didn't expect them to just do away with it completely. You can read the rest of the article here: http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/118/1188829p1.html

I think this is an interesting example of the differences in demographics and culture between the east and west. The Xbox and its sole reliance on western brands is understandably unappealing to the Japanese market. On the flip side, you may have noticed the millions of anime games that come out in Japan every year but never make it to the U.S. Still, I think this shows how limited the Xbox 360 is in terms of appeal.

Note that I'm not saying any of this out of fanboy bias; everything I've observed is purely logical. I've always felt that the Xbox 360's appeal is too narrow and limited to extremely western gamers. This is proven by the fact that the PS3 has still outsold the 360 in every region except the United States (Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada). The 360's sales are strong, but its clearly concentrated greatly within its own territory. This is what it owes its already minuscule 3 million unit lead over the PS3 to (and of course, the one year head start).

This is why I have always stuck by the Playstation 3. Brand familiarity was a part of the reason, but it was mainly the exclusives I was looking at. The only exclusive titles worth noting on the 360 are the Gears of War and Halo series, and I don't care for either of them. As I've said, they rely too much on the western preference for shooters. On the other hand, the PS3 had Metal Gear Solid 4, LittleBigPlanet, inFamous, Uncharted, God of War 3, the upcoming release of FF Versus XIII, and a few lesser titles like Heavy Rain and Valkyria Chronicles. Note that half of those titles are from western developers, so no one can argue that western developers are all on the 360's side, as all the best ones seem to be with Sony.

Couple its game library with its blu-ray capability (no contest here, since blu-ray is technically the current format king and HD-DVD is considered obsolete) and superior hardware, and it was no wonder I preferred Sony's machine. Again, I'm trying to be unbiased here. All I considered were the plain facts, and the fact was that the Playstation 3 was more appealing to me in every way. This is why I think it has always been the superior choice, and why the rest of the world seems to embrace it over the 360.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Ecchi CG Set: Catherine

As is the custom on Shinkan Crossing, everytime I have an obsession that involves an awesome female character, I dedicate a CG set to her. This was probably pretty expected judging from all the recent posts. The super sexy Catherine is the star this time. Even though she's technically not a human, her succubus charm is undeniable! Cute, thin, blonde, and wearing a lingerie-dress, no wonder she manages to lure men in like moths to a flame.



Monday, August 08, 2011

Gamer Completist Syndrome

Even after 2 weeks, I'm still in love with Catherine. I haven't spent this much time on a game in a LONG time; probably the last time was Final Fantasy XIII which was the first PS3 game I ever bought. I've seriously done almost everything I can with the game; I've gotten all the endings, gotten all the minor trophies, completed all 128 stages of Rapunzel, gotten gold on all Normal stages, and beaten 2 Babel stages. Basically, the only things I can do in this game now is beat the last 2 Babel stages and get gold on the Hard mode stages.

I'm completely obsessed with doing a complete 100% of this game. What is it that pushes us to complete a game so...completely? I feel like its a mild OCD for me, though I know plenty of gamers are influenced to do the same and I'm sure they don't share the same OCD feelings as me. Is it just because the game itself is addictive? Some of the accomplishments are so ridiculously frustrating that that might not always be the case. Or maybe it's just because they love the game so much; that's pretty much the other half of why I've been pushing to get all the trophies in Catherine. What influences you?


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Catherine [Review]

I want to keep this review short and concise, because the point I want to make is that I love this amazingly unique game and I want everybody to realize that. There's been a serious lack of truly memorable games coming out of Japan recently, but my need for that J-style experience I've been a fan of for so long was immediately satisfied with Catherine. I knew I could rely on Atlus to produce a great game too, since the Persona series is similarly unique and great in its own stylish fashion. But enough about that...

Initially, Catherine may seem like a glorified puzzle game, and I had fears about that in the beginning too. However, what one will discover is that the puzzles are incredibly addictive, difficult, and deeply layered in technique. There is also a great sense of satisfaction in completing them, not only because of their hair-pulling difficulty, but because they almost serve as challenges to thwart in order to continue watching the story unfold. Speaking of which, the peculiar tale of Catherine is definitely the focal point of this game.

You play as Vincent Brooks, a 32 year old who's a bit lacking in the passion needed to commit to his long-term girlfriend Katherine. He's stuck in a rut; too hesitant about being chained down by marriage but unable to let go of his responsibilities. Life decides to kick Vincent in the ass, however, after a drunken night at the bar, when he finds himself in bed next to a blonde beauty who is ironically named Catherine. All this happens while Vincent experiences reoccurring nightmares where he is a sheep climbing a tower, which, rumor has it, is a curse on unfaithful men.

The game is separated by time periods, much like the Persona games. During the day, you'll watch the story unfold at places like Vincent's apartment, a cafe, and Vincent's work lavatory. Then at night, you'll be at the Stray Sheep, the local bar and hangout. This was personally my favorite part of the game. You will be able to walk around and converse with the bar patrons, which is important because listening to their problems can determine their fates. Dotdotdot. You can also drink your choice of alcoholic beverage (Rum & Cola for me), change the music on the jukebox, and play a mini-game called Rapunzel. Finally, you'll occasionally receive text messages from both Catherine's, which you can reply to with a set of pre-written sentences. 

This talk of texting brings us to an important aspect of the game: the morality meter. Basically, the things you say to people, the way to respond to texts, and the responses you give to important questions in the nightmares tilt the meter towards whichever alignment their associated with. If it's what a selfish cheater would say, the meter hand goes to pink. If it's a general goody-goody response, you'll get a point in blue. To sum it up in a semi-spoilerish fashion, you'll be determining which Catherine you want to end up with (pink is Catherine, blue is Katherine). It's a pretty simplistic system because the alignment of the choices you make are really obvious, and you can pretty much max the meter towards one side blind-folded. Despite this, responding questions from your own heart is undeniably fun and adds a nice role-playing touch to the game.

And finally, we come to nightmares stages and the puzzles themselves. As I mentioned earlier, they are layered in technique and require stressful amounts of thinking in order to solve, which is made more intense by the time pressure imposed by the scoring system. The hubub surrounding this game is true; the puzzles are freaking difficult. Even on easy mode, you'll often find yourself stumped. With bomb blocks, spike blocks, cracked blocks, random enemies, and slowly disappearing floors, there's no end to the possibilities in which this game can cause you to tear your hair out. But as I've said, you'll soon find yourself addicted, and the amazingly rewarding feeling you'll feel will be worth it. 

To top things off, Catherine looks and sounds great. I love the anime style cel-shaded graphics; they are very stylish and look amazing in HD. The character designs are great as well, especially the sexy Catherine. The visuals were honestly the reason I was drawn to this game in the first place. Every now and then, cutscenes will be replaced with animated scenes, which are just as good and move seamlessly with the game. I loved the funky soundtrack too; it has that familiar jazzy hip-hop feel that the Persona games had. 

The game may seem a bit short when completing your first playthrough, since it won't take you any more than 10 hours. Fortunately, there's plenty of replay value to be had. There are actually 8 endings in total, so it will take you two additional playthroughs to view them all. You can focus on the other Catherine, pay more attention to different people at the bar, and if the puzzles are frustrating you, note that you can skip them once you score a gold trophy on a specific level. I worked furiously to get gold on every level so my next playthroughs would be made easier for me. I clocked in 26 hours by the end of it, and I hadn't even completed the extra "Babel" levels you can unlock. That's showing you that there's actually quite a lot to this game, and there's plenty of fun to be had when the main story is over.

Catherine is definitely more for experienced gamers, who know how to appreciate a great story and a challenge. Casual gamers may be turned off by the sheer difficulty of some of the puzzles and the deep focus on plot, so that is a fair warning. But, if you're craving that peculiar air of uniqueness that Japanese games have been known for and you just plain love video games, you simply cannot overlook Catherine. 

[C.Jin's Overall Score: 8.5/10]


Monday, July 25, 2011

[Pre-order] figma "Vocaloid" Hatsune Miku Append Ver.

Yep, I'm looking at figures again. I don't know if anyone remembers, but I got into figures not too long ago and pre-ordered two figures, but I never bought them when the time came because of financial issues. My interest died after that, but here I am again. This is the latest figma of Hatsune Miku Append Version from Max Factory. It looks amazing, the design and the colors are just really pleasing. Its set to release on August 25, and is within my price range so I've already pre-ordered! Hopefully I actually get it this time~


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pre-ordered Catherine!

Yep, I've made my first legit game purchase in a looong time and pre-ordered Catherine! I was a bit iffy at first because of the complaints about its difficulty, but I found that Gamespot and IGN had both given it great scores (8.5 and 9 respectively), so that calmed my worries almost immediately. The pre-order means I get a soundtrack and a nice artbook, which is a definite plus. Definitely excited, I'll post a review in a few weeks too!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

[PS3] Catherine Demo

I've been really interested in the American release of Catherine for awhile now, and I finally got to play the demo! Honestly, the demo is kind of lackluster. The majority of the demo is cutscenes, and the only gameplay we get is the puzzle sequences. What I'm hoping is that the puzzles aren't the main bulk of the game, mainly because I hate puzzles and it would be boring.

Though, the trailer that plays right after the demo shows a loooot more. There are sections of the weird dream world where you can control the main character (Vincent), and make some interesting role-playing decisions. You can even explore the bar, and play mini-games and probably interact with the people. I'm anticipating a deep role-playing aspect to this game, similar to how Atlus handled the Persona series. I really see a lot of Persona in this game, especially with the whole "make decisions to make or break a relationship". This interests me a little more because I'm in a relationship, pushing a year now, and all this discussion of commitment and relationships should be very interesting...

And of course, the graphics are gorgeous. This, along with Valkyria Chronicles, shows just how amazing cel-shaded anime graphics can look on current gen consoles. The character designs (yummy Catherine~) are a major pull-in for me as well. Hopefully, this game doesn't disappoint. If it were a little cheaper, I would have pre-ordered it, but I might just wait for a price drop. Still, I really do want this game. What do you think?


Monday, July 11, 2011

Devil May Cry 4 for Sale!

I recently bought Devil May Cry 4 and needless to say...I was very disappointed. Sure, the combat system is just as awesome as it has always been, and I had plenty of fun with DMC3. But after playing such amazing games like inFamous, Assassin's Creed 2, and Vanquish, this game feels incredibly underwhelming. It feels like a game stuck in an older generation.

First of all, the visuals are up to par with current gen standards, but the textures and lighting aren't quite as impressive as a majority of games on the top ten list. Environments are bland, and you're stuck in the same old place for a long time. Not to mention, when you're done with half of the game, you're just forced to go through the SAME levels and boss fighta a second time but in reverse.

But its not the visuals that make this game feel dated. The game still plays like a simplistic horror survival game from ten years ago. You solve boring, inane puzzles, and just fight battle after battle to progress. In an age where auto-saving at frequent checkpoints has become the norm, its really frustrating when you're stuck with the arcane system that Devil May Cry has followed for a decade (especially considering the difficulty). Not to mention there are still FIXED CAMERA ANGLES. They live you limited control every now and then, but its fixed everywhere else.

Anyway, this was a wasted purchase and I don't want to finish the game, so I'm putting it up on ebay for sale. It'll be $15.00; its pretty much the same condition as when I opened it because I haven't bothered with it for awhile. Tell me if you want to make a purchase cause I'm willing to sell it for the minimum price, or you can just bid.

 Link - http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140576260079


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gundam Memories: Tatakai no Kioku [Half-Review]

You may have noticed that I'm calling this a half-review. Well that's because I haven't completed the game, and I don't plan to. I can also summarize the entire game rather briefly because the game itself is barely a full game anyway. The game is in japanese, but menus are all in english and you don't need to know anything else because the game is as straight-forward as Tetris. Basically, its import-friendly.

I had very high hopes for this game, mainly because of the gorgeous cel-shaded graphics and the selection of playable Gundam. These things were obviously pretty easy to get right, and certainly they did. The cel-shaded Gundam 3D models are indeed pretty impressive, though its considerably fuzzier and lower resolution than the screenshots would have you believe. Unfortunately, that's as far as the pros for this game go.

Environments are bland; you'll mostly be seeing empty space, with nothing but black and stars. We get it, space is pretty black and empty, but god damn it, they use that as an excuse to put absolutely no effort into creating vivid environments. They could have created some pretty impressive cutscenes with those cel-shaded models, but they don't bother with that obviously. Story is just half-assed re-tellings of each featured Gundam series in Super Robot Wars style. What I mean by that is, its still-pictures of the characters chatting it up with never-ending dialogue. You'd best skip all this because its boring, a waste of time, and you probably can't read Japanese anyway.

Well, if the visuals are bland and the story is near non-existent, at least we have the variety in missions right? No you idiot, are you joking? Every single missions consists of "Destroy All Enemies! Mission Complete!". I'm not kidding. Start mission, shoot and slash mindlessly, end mission. This is why you don't need to read any Japanese; nothing ever changes. You turn the game on, go to the only game mode besides the multiplayer modes, and you'll find a list of missions. That's how straightforward it is. But that's enough of that.

Who cares about all of this, ALL of this, if you have fun, flashy gameplay?! That mentality often flies, but not in this case! Somehow, they ACTUALLY managed to fuck up the gameplay too! The one thing it could have had going for it. The gameplay is the typical fly and shoot format you'll find in absolutely every Gundam game in existence. But unlike games like Another Century's Episode, where the gameplay is actually fun and responsive, the gameplay in Gundam Memories is stiff and just total bullshit. A classic strategy is to maneuver side to side while shooting, but in this game you are stopped dead when you shoot. This means your maneuvers are completely restricted, and you'll find yourself immobile and open to all kinds of damage while you're trying to shoot your RANGED weapon.

There is also a dedicated block button, for melee battles. But the whole concept is bullshit and it doesn't work at all. There's no way of detecting enemy movement, and it just becomes a total mash-fest that requires no skill whatsoever. Overall, the game is stiff and frustrating. You'll likely find yourself retrying missions over and over again because all of these stupid limitations will prevent you from playing the game properly. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there are quick time events! Yep, every now and then you'll enter a little quick time event and you have to time a button press. While they actually manage to show off the Gundam visuals, its completely unnecessary and just interrupts your flow.

Overall, Gundam Memories is a total disappointment and not worth your time at all. The first thing I noticed when I got this game was that it was only 300mb. Normally, proper PSP titles are at least 1gb, so it striked me as a bit odd. But now I understand why. There is no fucking content in this game. No cutscenes, no extra game modes, no expansive or remotely interesting environments, nothing. It's just a couple of pretty, cel-shaded Gundams, and that's about it. Ugh, I'm just so utterly disappointment. I guess I was expecting too much. Still, it wouldn't be wrong to say that Gundam Memories is just.plain.awful.

[C.Jin's Overall Score:  3/10]


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gary Muthafucking Oak