Tug Your God Out

Dwell into the pasttime of empowerment; video games

Ramblings: Naruto UNS2 demo, Scott Pilgrim The Game, XBL Indies

The Naruto Shippuuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 demo hit XBL yesterday and thus I snatched it up along with the XBLA version of Scott Pilgrim (get it, if you haven’t already; it’s the bee’s fucking knees) and some XBL Indie trials that looked interesting or caught my eye.  I tend to do that from time to time, just go on a trial spree on the indie tab and get about a half dozen or so.  It’s a shame that even probably a year after the service started that I can count the number of interesting titles on one hand.  I own four XBL Indies — Protect Me Knight, Shoot 1-Up, Zombie Sniper HD, and Breath of Death. 

I know these guys are working with a limited tool set, no budget and obviously (in most cases) no sense of art direction but do you honestly realize how awful your games are? Why would you release such a blight upon the world? Have you no fucking soul? You honestly can’t be making that much money off of the XBL Marketplace at 80-240 points a pop before Mircosoft takes their cut.  Who the hell would pay for the majority of this crap after playing the free trials?  Five of the six I picked up today were just straight butt from the word GO. A sixth one (Chieri no doki-doki uhm some kanji I don’t know….Cherry heart-flutter something or something something) had a lot of polish and looked promising — yet had either shitty controls or my 2nd grade Japanese couldn’t really figure out the manual screen. I did keep it to give it a try again (maybe with a dictionary) but I don’t hold out hope on it.

Protect Me Knight, though, I pretty much expect it to be high on my final games of the year list. It’s easily the best thing to come out of the indie channel just beating out Shoot 1-Up.  If you haven’t given it a try it’s a kind of tower defense game but with 4 player co-op — if you ever do find yourself and three friends in the same living room at the same time.  You have the Princess in the middle of the screen behind a bunch of defenses and you as a knight, mage, ninja and I guess an amazonian *shrugs* must defeat hordes and hordes of goblins and trolls who are trying to break down the defenses and do what goblins and trolls do best — kidnap princesses.

It’s got a hyper 8-bit style with some really kick-ass chiptune music as well as a nice sense of humour. It’s frantic and fun and I can’t get over how far ahead it is from virtually everything else on the service.  I would pay more money for this on XBLA or PSN with acheivements, maybe online co-op and leaderboards. Same with Shoot 1-up and even Zombie Sniper HD — add leaderboard and achievements to those and you have my $5 or $10. Someone at Microsoft is asleep at the wheel apparently.

Back to the Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 demo — it’s worth a good look but sadly it’s only one fight, and it’s probably what will be the first fight in the game anyway — Kakashi vs. Naruto in the training grounds right after Naruto’s return to Konoha. Yeah sure, in the manga it was Kakashi vs. Naruto and Sakura but she’s regulated to a support character as she should. My disdain for Sakura since part two/Shippuuden started cannot be put into words.  Yes, it might have to do with me being a Naru-Hina supporter, shut up. But even then it was quite awesome to see Sakura break the ground with her fist, or the team up sequence at the end of the fight.

The fight controls exactly how you expect it to (if you’ve played the first title) with a few subtle control improvements. Support characters (only Sakura in this case) seem to take longer to recharge for their next use. I don’t know if that’s just for this battle or all fights are like that. 

While it seems to be cool to be a QTE (quick-time-event) hater, I’m sort of mixed on them here.  On one hand it’s a nice break from the fight and you know you’re about to see something fucking awesome.  On the other, the sequences are so beautifully animated and put together that it’s a shame to cover them up with out of place button prompts that force you to pay attention to the prompts and not the action.  Seriously, some of these sequences blow the anime adaptation out of the water — something the first game did quite a bit of.

But what the hell — we only get that one fight?  At least give us an optional fight to look at.  Give us something with Sasuke in it — I mean Sasuke does equal ratings right? And how about just a little of the free-roaming portion of the game. As cool as it was to see the entire village of Konoha in a free roaming section of the first game, they weren’t exactly my favorite portions of the game.  After the intial wow factor wore off, running around Konoha seemed to be quite a chore really.  I wanted to at least see how they might have improved these sections. I’m not asking for the whole game — just give me ten minutes to run around the enviroment of Konoha.

I’m guessing from the promotional artwork and logo that the game at least goes through the Naruto vs. the six realms of Pain fight so that’s a pretty good chunk of part two/Shippuuden. But c’mon you have to end it on a Sasuke vs. Naruto fight.  Either you’re going to make one up or could we possibly see Sasuke vs. the World until the reunion of Team 7? It’s possible they’re not showing it as the anime hasn’t gotten that far, but more than likely it ends after the fight with Pain. It’s dramatically the best spot and honestly the Sasuke vs. Naruto reunion is kind of a let down in terms of a fight (i.e. there really wasn’t one.) And if the game is promising 40 playable characters (in the versus mode) then I’m doubting we’ll see Sasuke vs. The World.

If I had to pick 40 it’s not too hard: Naruto, Sakura, Kakashi, Sai, Yamato, Kiba, Hinata, Shino, Choji, Ino, Shikamaru, Asuma, Neji, Rock Lee, Tenten, Jiraiya, Tsunade, Gaara, Kankuro, Temari, Chiyo, Orochimaru, Kabuto, Sasuke, Juugo, Suigetsu, Karin, KillerB, Itachi, Kisame, Deidara, Sasori, Hidan, Kakuzu, Konan, and Pain make an easy 36. Usually Naruto has more than one character slot, probably at least one for Sage Mode and maybe a 4-tails version. Sasori, Sasuke, Juugo, and KillerB are also likely to have different versions. Minato is apparently a hidden character who’s already unlocked if you buy the special edition. I’d also assume Minato will be joined by Madara/Tobi as a hidden character. Still there’s not much room for all the characters Sasuke fights so I guess we’ll have to wait until Ultimate Ninja 3.  I call dibs on the Godaime Mizukage.

I don’t know if the demo is out on the PSN because well it’s PSN, I don’t feel like taking half a day to update my PS3 and download the damn demo.

And going back to Scott Pilgrim — just download it. I know everyone’s bitching about no drop-in and out co-op and no online co-op but it’s only 800 points and maybe they’ll patch that stuff in? The soundtrack is fanastic and the game is fun and it’s fucking Scott Pilgrim for shit’s sake. How can you not enjoy Scott Pilgrim? *glares at his wife*

There are still a few old school design choices they make in the game that just really irk me.  Honestly, you can feel ‘old school’ without resorting to shitty design choices.  Games have evolved for a reason.

The achievement list looks alright although I’m probably never getting a full 200 points on this one. Beat an entire world without getting hit? Are you insane? I can see it being somewhat possible if you do co-op and let other people do all the fighting but your family more than likely doesn’t quite understand the concept of  ‘achievement trading’ and ‘achievement boosting.’ Beating the game on Supreme Master difficulty while in single player also looks like it’ll be a pain.  I’ve said it before for XBLA games but the cap of 200 points needs to go. Beating a level without being hit needs to be more than friggin 10 points.  Clearing the game on Supreme Master is only 20. It’s bullshit.

Still the game makes me smile and feel good, even while being frustrated. I was slightly dissapointed in the Summer of Arcade offerings so this and (hopefully) Shank make up for it.  I have downloaded the Shank demo, just haven’t bought it yet.

08/25/2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

A look ahead to that madness that is the holiday video game bonaza 2010

I’ve probably started about fifty blog posts since the last blog I published.  Either I get too busy or I don’t like the concept or it runs too long or a million other excuses.  In all honesty I need to worry about posting frequency first, getting into a routine, and once in that routine the rest will follow.

I had a lot of potential topics I could breach today like why The Saboteur is definitely the most overlooked game of 2009 or why Ys Seven is a complete masterpiece; even the long awaited review of Final Fantasy 13, which probably will have to be truncated to a simple “it’s my favorite Final Fantasy game to date.”  I do want to eventually do a blog about The Curfew and why I’ve never finished a Dragon Quest game since the first one, but right now it’s towards the end of August and if you’re a gamer — you know what that means. . .

HOLIDAY SUPER DYNAMIC COOKING FUN TIME er all the holiday releases start to creep out the door so fast, the next thing you know a St. Bernard with a barrel around its neck is pulling you out of the avalanche by the arm.

People have sort of beaten it into our heads ZOMG THE FIRST HALF OF THIS YEAR BEST EVER!!!! And it’s hard to disagree — the top 10 list of the year, so far, runs about 40 deep and we’re not even into DYNAMIC FUN TIME yet.

With so many games set to come out between now and the end of November, it’s always a good idea to check out what’s coming out and plan.  What do you have to have day one; what can you con some stupid family member into dropping sixty bones on; what do you have no qualms spending a gift card on; what can wait until next year or even be Goozex’d. And thus that’s what we’re going to sit down and do right now….and by ‘we’ I mean ‘me.’  You just get to sit there and read my prattling.

Within the headings these are in no order beyond what day they get released.

DAY ONE MUST HAVES

PROFFESOR LAYTON AND THE UNWOUND FUTURE (September) — Do I even need to explain this one? If you’ve never played a Professor Layton game. . . ugh, just. . . ugh. Do so. This is the third game in the series. I don’t think you really need to play the previous two to jump in but you might as well anyway because they’re amazing.  Like eating an ice cream sundae out of Jessica Alba’s asshole. Yes, that amazing.

RECETTEAR (September) — It’s an RPG about setting up your own item store. It’s been around forever, it’s just now in English. And $20 so it fits even into Dave’s budget. Yeah, it’s an RPG about owning an item store. . . what? I go stupid fanboy for crap like this. You guys go on and have your Gears of War and Halos… I’ll be quietly rearranging potions on the shelf over there. Thank you, and come again.

FLIP’S TWISTED WORLD (Setpember) — It was in my top 5 I was looking forward to in Quarter 2. Obviously it got pushed back. Obviously I’m still excited for it. Obviously it’s still going to sell like shit. Obviously.

SID MEIER’S CIVILIZATION V (September) — Yeah I don’t have a computer with specs to run it. I’ll have a very expensive paper weight for a couple months (years) before I do. I can’t wait to tear off the shrink wrap probably about the time Civ 6 comes out. Awesome.

ETERTIAN ODYSSEY 3 (September) — Up there with Professor Layton as prehaps one of my favorite series. It’s probably in my top ten favorite series although there’s a lot of tough choices in that. Add in new classes and exploration on a boat and this might be my most highly anticipated game of the holidays. IM ON A BOAT MOTHERFUCKA!

DEAD RISING 2 (September) — Did you play the first Dead Rising? Did you see you can fucking put chain saws on pretty much anything from an oar to a shopping cart? Did you also see you can smack a zombie with a dildo? Did you also see it has fucking zombies? Did you also know we’re really not tired of zombies yet? Anyone who is — GTFO. *glares at Nick*

NARUTO ULTIMATE NINJA STORM 2 (September) — The sequel to the best Naruto game to date. Until Final Fantasy 13 came out the original Ninja Storm  was my pick for best looking game of this generation. Watching Ninja Storm 2 in motion and I have to say the series may have reclaimed the crown. Why the fuck can’t we get a Bleach, One Piece or even a Hitman REBORN game that even comes close to Ninja Storm?

ENSLAVED: ODYSSEY TO THE WEST (October) — I’m not going to lie — I liked Heavenly Sword a lot. A lot. And I’m probably going to like this quasi-follow up as well. A lot. Games need more hot-ass red heads with swords and shit. There’s two things that will sell me a game I know nothing about. 1) Shiny packaging and 2) hot-ass red heads with swords and shit.

FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS (October) — Remember my intial reaction to Fallout 3? THIS ISNT FALLOUT BAWWWWWW!!! Yeah, I got over that in a hurry and salivating for this follow up. I’m not insane enough to attempt hardcore mode where you have to maintain your water intake and bullets have actual weight (among other hardcore changes) but I will casually wade through the west coast wasteland at my own pace. Fun fact — I’ve never actually completed the main storyline of Fallout 3 and I played over 45 hours before I even attempted to search for my character’s father in the remenants of DC. I expect nothing less from New Vegas.

ROCK BAND 3 (October) — This one needs no explanation so I’ll move on. ITS FUCKING ROCK BAND 3 AND IT HAS KEYBOARDS.

CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS (November) — Because that trailer is amazing. I may suck at Call of Duty but I absolutely fucking love their B rate over the top, Michael Bay-esque inane plots. To all those people that ripped on and criticized Modern Warfare 2’s narrative — fuck you, you marked out when Captain Price showed up; don’t lie. Yeah, this is no longer Infinity Ward but I’m taking a chance here. I think it’s going to be good. I think it might be fantastic. Just give me a lot of shit blowing up and political intrigue full of plot holes you can try a cross-Atlantic oil tanker through and I’m as happy as a pig in some mud or something. Yeah, I don’t know — just go with it. Even if the game sucks the waiting in line at the midnight release will be fucking killer.

ASSASSIN’S CREED: BROTHERHOOD (November) — One of my many gaming guilty pleasures. God the Assassin’s Creed games are bad. How people really thought AC2 was worthy of Game of the Year votes last year is beyond me. I guess drug use is more rampant than I first imagined. That’s the only explanation. But even if they’re shitty games I can’t see to fucking put them down.  The narrative is something out of a bad Dan Brown novel (I know that’s an oxymoron, all Dan Brown novels are bad) but I can’t help but being enthralled by it and soaking up every little piece of the story; comics, short films, art books, bad portable games. But the third time is the charm I hope. Brotherhood looks amazing and seeing as the leap between AC1 and AC2 is about the size of, oh, HERE TO JUPITER I can only imagine what more polish can do.  The multiple player actually sounds like something I’d play online, which is a huge plus.

CON SOMEONE INTO BUYING

MYSIMS: SKYHEROES (September) — Yeah my wife enjoys MySims. What better cover up in conning someone to buy a game for you than to pretend you’re getting the game because they enjoy the series.  And while she’s at work I’ll be building all sorts of shit, clapping while jumping up and down like a moron alongside the Sims characters.

FINAL FANTASY: THE 4 HEROES OF LIGHT (October) — It’s a Final Fantasy game. Relatives who don’t get me socks and underwear or never-was-in-fashion-discouted cologne from Macy’s tend to stick to things they know I like and I’ve been obbessed with Final Fantasy since the NES soooo….good chance someone will spring for this although I’m not sure really what the game is about. HAs there really not been that much on this game or have I just not paid attention? Either way it has to be better than last Christmas’s Crystal Bearers.

DEFJAM RAPSTER (October) — Oh God do I want this game bad. I’ve been practicing Hypnotize in the fucking mirror every morning. Though like all the SingStar titles we own (and that’s more than I’d like to admit) I’ve never had the stones to go through a Best Buy or Gamestop check-out with it in hand.  Maybe someone else’s hands or with someone else in me.  Yeah it’s lame to be self concious around store clerks but is it as lame as singing ABBA in your underwear. . . not that I do that, you know.

LITTLEBIGPLANET2 (November) — I can probably wait on this game but I can probably also con the wife into buying it as well. Sackboy is awesome and cute and she likes awesome and cute.  LBP1, as a platformer and a game, is shit.  The important part is the community and the creative aspects.  While LBP2 promises to allow people to create any type of genre of game, seeing as they really couldn’t put together anything but a medicore platformer the first time around, I’m doubting we’ll see anything better from their first time out making a shmup or RPG or whatever else. Definitely a wait and see game. As much as I geeked out about LBP and as highly as I still regard it — how often do I play it? Not much.

GIFT CARD

METROID: OTHER M (August) — I’ve talked to some of you before about this — I just don’t like the look or the preview chatter of Other M. I loved Prime and Hunters. Echoes got tedious. I absolutely hated Corruption.  Metroid has kind of fallen off my radar since then and teaming up with Team Ninja makes things even more lukewarm.  Still how can I not spend a giftcard to ultimately pick this one up on the 26th?

KINGDOM HEARTS: BIRTH BY SLEEP (September) — Man I really loved Kingdom Hearts and Chain of Memories. Man I really hate Kingdom Hearts 2 and that stupid-poopie-named one on the DS. The series started off so well and then took a complete nosedive. This one looks amazing but you can only shit on me so many times. Apparently that number stops at two. Unless you’re Guitar Hero games…then apparently I’ll just keep eating your shit sandwhich every year and smile. 

NHL 11 (September) — Ah up until they stop making the PC version I owned every single yearly update in the NHL series for the PC.  I loved the modding community that the PC and internet allows for. I want every fuckin minor leaguer in the world in my database. I want the puke inducing 3rd jerseys of the Boston Bruins, Anaheim Mighty Ducks (the stupid ones with the Michelin Man Duck on the front) and the Nashville Predators. I want JS Giguere’s goddamn goalie pads to look like JS Giguere’s goddamn goalie pads. Since EA has taken these wonderous things away from me thanks to the puny limited capabilities of console gaming, fuck them I’ll just buy this on someone else’s money.

CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW (October) — I’m not fully convinced this is a Castlevania game and not another game with the name Castlevania slapped on it. I’m also weary about how much involvement Hideo Kojima has had on the project. I love you Hideo but sometimes I just want a long break from you. After Metal Gear Solid 4, can we make it like at least seven years? Though thanks for Peace Walker….I guess I can’t be without you forever. I’ll wait for reviews to see how Lords of Shadow turned out, it’s just vastly different in feeling than any other Castlevania offering.

FABLE 3 (October) — Really wish I had waited for Fable 2 to hit bargain bins. I didn’t even really start touching it until it was already there and every time I have the feeling of going back and finishing Fable 2, I give myself a punch to the nuts and remember it’s fucking Fable 2 and the feeling usually passes along with a kidney stone or two. Still Peter Molyneaux is my British nigga and I want to listen to his hype wagon again for Fable 4 so eventually he’ll get my $60. It just won’t be day one. However, if I had some sort of gift card and everything else above this was sold out — then maybe.

DONKEY KONG COUNTRY RETURNS (November) — Dude, that trailer looks sooo sweet and fun. Then I remember that they’re making another Donkey Kong Country game. If you stick to it’s roots you pretty much get an overrated platform that will look dated in ten year. Ho hum. Don’t get me wrong — I actually do like DKC but it sits on a pedestal that it doesn’t belong upon. I’m really not that excited to play another one, but there’s certainly worse things I could get on a gift card for my Wii.

NEXT YEAR

IVY THE KIWI? (August) — Yuji Naka’s new game looks cute — honestly who the fuck watched Tazmania for Taz? It was always for the Kiwi. And Taz’s sister. Er….yeah. And Didgeri Dingo. But as cute as the game is it’s Yuji Naka and for the Wii — I can pick up a copy of this off Goozex for about 300 points sooner than later.

ACE COMBAT: JOINT ASSAULT (August) — I heart the Ace Combat games but I’ve always picked them up off the bargain bin bottom. I don’t see this one changing a thing.

VALKYRIA CHRONICLES 2 (August) — The original Valkyria Chronicles is a brilliant masterpiece. VC2 looks pretty much unappealing this far. Contray to popular belief, there’s tons of great shit on the PSP. Yes…I’m one of THOSE guys. What? You wanna fight about it?

RUSE (September) — This would be Day One…but only if I can some how con someone into buying me a decent gaming computer. Do you want to be the one that does that for me?

HALO: REACH (September) — Might piss some people off but I play Halo for the single player campaign and story. Me playing Halo or Call of Duty online is the equilvent of Retarded Freddie playing one on one with Magic Johnson. Teleporting Super Magic Johnson for NBA Jam. Just give me my crash helmet and unplug the microphone. I enjoy Halo immensely; I just enjoy it immensely by myself. Seeing as I still need to finish ODST I can pick up Reach when it gets cut in half.

PHANTASY STAR PORTABLE 2 (September) — Ok remember the shit sandwhichs of Kingdom Hearts and Guitar Hero? Yeah I tend to wind up eating Sega’s shit sandwhich every time they attempt to rekindle the glory and wonder that was Phantasy Star Online a decade ago. And every release I’m suckered into that nostalgia.

NBA JAM (October) — Everyone loves NBA Jam. Nothing wrong putting a quarter (or ten) into an NBA Jam cabinet.  And hell when it came to the SNES it made from some really awesome gatherings around the TV. . . and gave you another game to use your multi-tap for other than Bomberman. I’m just not sure I’m going to be paying full retail price today for something that’s arcade shallow. I do appreciate the fact that they’ve at least tried to spruce it up a bit so it doesn’t look like it’s just NBA Jam and nothing more, but  even then did they do enough?

KIRBY’S EPIC YARN (October) — Yeah, Nintendo almost admitted flat out that this was a game that just had the Kirby brand slapped onto it in order to sell a few more copies and shut Nintendo fans up. Still it looks cute and fun. Too bad I don’t see myself fitting it in until way after it’s $20.

GOD OF WAR: GHOSTS OF SPARTA (November) — I haven’t had enough when it comes to gouging the eyes out of Greek Gods. Very few video games I think really bring out a violent side in me, but wow watching Kratos go Columbine on Mount Olympus makes me think Jack Thompson might be right. If you don’t want to take on the entire world with a bunch of blades attached to chains attached to your arms after playing God of War, then you must be a woman.  Still it’s on the PSP which means I’ll probably be out and about amongst people when playing it; probably not the best idea. Just the title alone makes me want to kick people down stairs screaming THIS IS SPARTA. . . more than usual.

GRAN TURISMO 5 (November) — Hahahaha. Coming in Novemember? Yeah, right. The proverbial pigs will fly. It’s more likely that MTV will stop showing shit programming (and bring back fucking Kurt Loeder every hour) in 2010 than it is Gran Turismo 5 comes out in 2010. I put this in the wait for next year column because I’ll probably will be buying day one. . . next year. Or 2012. Better late than never guys.

Ok sorry for that. I’m sure 99.9% of you stopped reading about 1/5 the way through. I don’t blame you. Come back Wensday because I promise we’ll have more for you.

Until then you can leave your comments below — what are you looking forward to this holiday season? Is there any big holiday releases you think you can skip and pick up next year without much trouble?

08/22/2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment