Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Xbox 360: The Game List So Far


Games that used to be Playstation-exclusives that are now on Xbox 360:(
Note: may not be a complete list)

1. Final Fantasy XIII (RPG)
2. Tales of Vesperia (Tales series) (RPG)
3. Grand Theft Auto IV (Sandbox)
4. Virtua Fighter 5 (360 alone has online play) (Fighting)
5. Devil May Cry 4 (Action)
6. Ace Combat 6 (Flight/Action)
7. Ridge Racer 6 (Arcade Racing)
8. Street Fighter IV (Fighting)
9. Tekken 6 (Fighting)
10. Soul Calibur 4 (Fighting)
11. Star Ocean 4 (RPG)
12. Fallout 3 (RPG)
13. Bioshock (FPS/RPG, already out in the market, PS3 version is delayed)
14. Lost Planet (360 first, superior textures) (Action)
15. Dead Rising (also on Wii, but the 360 has the definitive version in terms of graphics and gameplay) (Action)
16. The Last Remnant (RPG)
17. Guitar Hero Series (GH2, GH3, and Guitar Hero World Tour)
18. Resident Evil 5 (Third Person Shooter/Survival Horror)

Some of the more noteworthy Xbox 360 Exclusive titles:

1. Alan Wake (Action)
2. Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (Flight/Action)
3. Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (Platformer)
4. Beautiful Katamari (Puzzle)
5. Blue Dragon (RPG)
6. Blue Dragon 2 (RPG)
7. Castle Crashers (Action)
8. Chromehounds (Mech Action)
9. Crackdown (Sandbox)
10. Culdcept Saga (Strategy RPG)
11. Dance Dance Revolution Universe (Rhythm/Music)
12. Dance Dance Revolution Universe 2 (Rhythm/Music)
13. Dance Dance Revolution Universe 3 (Rhythm/Music)
14. Dead or Alive 4 (Fighting)
15. Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (Party game)
16. The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai (XBL Arcade)
17. Earth Defense Force 2017 (Action)
18. Every Extend Extra Extreme (XBL Arcade)
19. Fable II (RPG)
20. Forza Motorsport 2 (Full-on racing simulator)
21. Fuzion Frenzy 2 (Party game)
22. Fallout 3 - Downloadable Content 360 Exclusive (RPG)
23. Grand Theft Auto - Downloadable Content 360 Exclusive (Sandbox)
24. Gears of War 2 (Third Person Shooter)
25. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 (XBL Arcade)
26. Guilty Gear 2: Overture (Fighting)
27. Halo 3 (FPS)
28. Halo Wars (RTS)
29. Halo: Chronicles (??? Probably FPS)
30. Infinite Undiscovery (RPG)
31. Kameo: Elements of Power (Action)
32. Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom (Action RPG)
33. Lips (video game) (Music)
34. Lost Odyssey (RPG)
35. Marble Blast Ultra (XBL Arcade)
36. Mutant Storm Empire (XBL Arcade)
37. Mutant Storm Reloaded (XBL Arcade)
38. Naruto: Rise of a Ninja (Action RPG/Fighting)
39. Naruto: The Broken Bond (Action RPG/Fighting)
40. Ninety-Nine Nights (Action)
41. Ninja Gaiden II (2008 video game) (action)
42. Pac-Man Championship Edition (XBL Arcade)
43. Perfect Dark Zero (FPS)
44. Project Gotham Racing 3 (Arcade Racing)
45. Project Gotham Racing 4 (Arcade Racing)
46. Project Sylpheed (Flight/Space shooter)
47. Raiden IV (XBL Arcade)
48. Ridge Racer 6 (Arcade Racing)
49. Rumble Roses XX (Wrestling)
50. Saints Row (Sandbox)
51. Scene It? Box Office Smash (Party)
52. Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action (Party)
53. Spectral Force 3: Innocent Rage (RPG)
54. Star Ocean: The Last Hope (RPG)
55. Tales of Vesperia (RPG)
56. Tenchu Z (Action)
57. Tengai Makyou Ziria: Haruka naru Jipang (RPG)
58. Too Human (Action RPG)
59. Viva Piñata: Party Animals (Party)
60. Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise (Pet simulator)
61. WarTech: Senko No Ronde (Fighting)
62. Zegapain NOT (Action)
63. Zegapain XOR (Action)
64. Rock Band 2 (Timed Exclusive to Xbox 360) (Music)
65. Splinter Cell: Conviction (Stealth)
66. Cry On (RPG from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the father of the Final Fantasy series)
67. The upcoming unknown 'Halo' game that was supposed to be announced at E3 but whose announcement was cancelled, because the Xbox division wanted to highlight the acquisition of Final Fantasy XIII. The next Halo game will be revealed extensively at an event called 'HaloCon' as reported by the gaming press.

Practically Xbox 360 Exclusive Games (out on PC but not getting released on PS3):

1. Mass Effect (RPG)
2. Gears of War (Third Person Shooter)
3. Bioshock (FPS)
4. Unreal Tournament 3 (FPS, 1080p only on 360)
5. Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (RTS)

The above lists are probably not absolutely complete since it's pretty hard to keep track of all these games....

Xbox.com Now Has A FINAL FANTASY XIII Sub-forum


Yup, Final Fantasy XIII is really happening on the Xbox 360. They've even set up a sub-forum for the game on Xbox.com:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Together Again? The founding fathers of Final Fantasy reunite!

The next issue of EGM is said to have an interview with Hironobu Sakaguchi while he was in Japan. From what has been written by the EGM staff this is a pretty substancial interview but mainly focuses on the origins of Final Fantasy. Later in the article, Nobuo Uematsu and Yoshitaka Amano are also mentioned.

Ever since Sakaguchi broke away from Square Enix and formed Mistwalker, Nobuo Uematsu, who also left Square Enix and his is own 'Smile Please' studio, has worked with in for 2 of this biggest JRPG releases for the XBOX 360. Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. Sakaguchi has worked with two extremely popular Japanese artists Akira Toriyama (Dragonball Z --- perhaps the most famous manga artist in the world today) for Blue Dragon and Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk and Vagabond) for Lost Odyssey.

The transition from paper to actual game concept for both artists went surprsingly well...with a notable mention on my end for Blue Dragon which I believe is the best looking JRPG to date. With all this it doesn't come as a surprise that Yoshitaka Amano has also expressed interest in working with Sakaguchi once again...thereby reuniting the 3 big names of the original Final Fantasy franchise.

For fans of Mistwalker, we are all hoping that this reunion will mark a new JRPG from Mistwalker. The Tokyo Game Show is fast approaching and Sakaguchi is now back in Japan and met up his former partners in crime. Microsoft had an early JRPG press conference with the announcement of what is coming in Japan but for the last 3 years Microsoft KK (MS Japan) always has at least one new exclsuive game announcement coming from a Japanese game studio

Could this be the collaboration of Sakaguchi, Uematsu and Amano?

Personally, I'll be so thrilled if it really is. And so would a lot of people.

I am very happy for the support that Square Enix is giving to the 360. And I'll be sure to get their releases on the XBOX 360 but I'm also excited for Mistwalkers offerings! As a JRPG fan, the more the merrier!

On TGS 2008, I also hope that Cry On will have more info. This will be the next big game from Mistwalker. And the art designer is the popular designer of the Panzer Dragoon series Manabu Kusunoki.

Looking at all this, the XBOX platform has really come a long way since the days of the XBOX 1 where there were no JRPGs...and yes Sudeki doesn't count.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

G4TV's Best of E3 for the Xbox 360

I enjoyed watching this segment.

XNA: Games for Gamers by Gamers

For those who follow the gaming industry, it should come as no surprise when you hear a budget for a certain game spans millions of dollars. For those who don’t really follow the industry, the amount poured into the game should be evident in the quality that you get once you are actually playing it.

Many analysts are proclaiming to high heavens that gaming is the next big thing in entertainment. And I agree. Hollywood represents what I believe is passive entertainment which require little to no interaction with the viewer. You sit on your couch and watch as the next episode of ‘Heroes’ airs on your TV screen. While television networks are beginning to utilize modern communication mediums such as e-mail, internet chat and SMS messaging , the level of user interaction is still low. But what analysts fail to consider is, with gaming becoming the next big thing, greater problems in actual game development surface. Being a game developer is no easy task. It’s not the regular 9 to 5 job and it requires the developer to be flexible in every sense of the word.

And this is where Microsoft comes in.

I have always felt that among the 3 console companies today, Microsoft has the strongest competitive edge because of their strong software expertise. Game development is not only about having cute characters doing bunny hops on your screen but it requires an adhesive to bring together your sweet music, annoying AI and fantastic physics...it requires software to get all these things to work together and run as a cohesive game.

Ever since the conception of the XBOX 360, Microsoft has been hard at work in helping game developers deliver games without having to tear their hair out in frustration every single day or worry about their significant others filling divorce papers. The challenge is not to get as many console exclusives but to get as many games a possible to run your platform as painless as possible for developers. And one of the ways to do that is to focus on helping game developers actually make games for your system rather than waiting for them to do so because your platform has a brand name.

That focus has steadily helped Microsoft gain market share for the XBOX 360. Now Microsoft extends the same set of tools to ANYONE who is actually interested in game development.

Let’s face it; it doesn’t matter if you’re talented or not if there is actually no game industry to hire you in your own country. The Philippines has the beginnings of a game industry but certainly too small to even rival our neighbouring Asian countries. If you’re an aspiring game developer in a third world country, its either you immigrate to another country, or you’re simply out of luck.

Not anymore!

If you have the talent, the skill, the dedication to begin your career in Game Development, Microsoft offers that opportunity to you through XNA. For us following XNA, this is nothing new but I’m glad that Microsoft has finally finalized the details on how indie developers can offer their games in XBOX Live and how they can profit from it. Oh how I wish I can see the look on the faces of those game journalists who laughed at the whole concept of user generated content for the 360 back in E3 2005.

If you would like to read the Official Press Release with the additional details and revenue scheme for XNA click HERE.

There are two big winners with XNA:

First, the more obvious winners are the independent developers.

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest advantage that Microsoft has over its competitors in the console biz is its software development tools. Without a doubt, Visual Studio (.NET Platform) is one of the most popular development tools today. However, most people think that Visual Studio is expensive. But what most people don’t know is that all these things are for FREE!!!
Yup!!! Open source isn’t just the only thing that gives you free stuff. Visual Studio Express Edition and XNA Game Studio is absolutely FREE to anyone who wishes to download it. Now, I’m not going to argue about the nitty-gritty of Visual Studio Express Edition and Enterprise Edition. Me and my husband have used both and all I can say is that the FREE Express Edition is powerful enough (and feature filled) for XNA Game Studio. Want to make money? The tools are free!

The revenue model is quite attractive, coupled with the fact that Microsoft will take care of the actual hosting and bandwidth required for the download of your games. If me and my husband had enough time these days, we’d get started on our own JRPG right now!

Second, the XBOX 360 gamers win because of this announcement.

By providing an incentive to develop games using XNA, Microsoft is opening the floodgates for games on their platform. Now, while a good game idea is ‘one in a million’, you’ll never really know where a good idea might come from. Not all big game studios can churn out the best ideas. Sometimes , a good idea comes in the form of a simple game like Diner Dash or Zuma. With XNA Game Studio, the doors are wide open for ideas and the odds are one of them is bound to be good.

It also increases the game selection and game diversity in the XBOX platform. The sky’s the limit with XNA. Everything from FPS, shumps, RPGs , and platformers can be made! And the price range is actually quite decent...from 200 to 800 MS points per game.

Microsoft has stated that it wants to create an avenue for the 360 to become the YouTube of games. With XNA Game Studio together with Visual Studio, this is now possible. There is no doubt that with this new talents will be found. And if we’re lucky we will be able to meet the next Hironobu Sakaguchi or have a guy who can direct a good story (sans the frequent pontificating) like Hideo Kojima.

Rejoice! Today marks a new page in the history of the game industry!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Third World Gamer featured on "Security is a State of Mind"


At the beginning of this month, both me and my wife received the honor of being Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professional) for our efforts with the local Xbox gaming community. We are very grateful for receiving this honor, and we hope that this is one way to help bring further advancement to the local console gaming scene.

Jay Paloma, MVP for Enterprise Security, recently conducted an interview with us which he posted on his blog, "Security is a State of Mind". Here's a link to the interview.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Want to Buy Rock Band (360) for cheap? Go to HMR in Pioneer....


Right now they've got a LOT of surplus original US Rock Band Bundles (Xbox 360) for sale (literally, an avalanche of Rock Band Complete Set Bundles) at HMR in Pioneer, Mandaluyong City.

Since they're 'surplus' (opened, used, but tested to be working), they cost far cheaper than getting a brand new Rock Band Bundle (currently priced at P5,500 for each bundle).

I was just so surprised to see so many surplus Rock Band bundles all in one place. HMR has so many second-hand/surplus Rock Band Bundles right now that they are actually using one to demo the game! (the "other" local store that sells brand new Rock Band Bundles doesn't even let you test their brand new games....)

Just a few notes before you buy:

1. These are US Version Rock Band Bundles (they only work on US, NTSC-U Xbox 360s), They're REGION LOCKED. So you have to have a US Xbox 360 to play the game, which is included with each bundle.

2. It's 'buy at your own risk' since these are considered 'second hand' or surplus (meaning some of them were returned for one reason or another---but HMR tested them and say they're working, and will replace if you somehow get a broken piece of equipment). The boxes for these things aren't intact; they're opened and at times the boxes themselves are unsightly (in tagalog, 'sira sira na yung mga kahon').

3. One bundle is priced at P5,500, which is nearly half of the price that it's being sold (brand new) in a certain other local establishment.

It's a pretty cheap way to pick up Rock Band, and perhaps if you want to get the instruments already in preparation for Rock Band 2, it's a pretty good deal.

A few months ago we talked about how we scored a Rock Band bundle (all the instruments and the game itself was in pristine shape!) for cheap in HMR Surplus in Pioneer. Now they have literally TRUCKLOADS of Rock Band Bundles, just waiting to be bought....

Official Site for HMR : http://www.hmrphil.com/

Map:



Note: For our non-Pinoy visitors---well, this is what we Pinoys have to resort to to get our games/hardware/etc :D Second-hand/surplus Rock Band for 5,500 pesos....so that's about 124.190 USD

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July 14, Thanks For The Memories


Posting this video for historical purposes.

Here's Yoichi Wada giving a long talk about Square Enix's upcoming releases for the Xbox 360....he walks off stage seemingly done with his job....and then....

BOOM!

EDIT: While surfing on NEOGAF, I found the page on the Microsoft Conference forum thread which has the reactions the moment before, during and after the announcement of Final Fantasy XIII for the Xbox 360. It's pretty funny, heh

Final Fantasy 13: The 360’s Symbolic Success

My husband woke me up at around 5:30 am and before I could give a groggy reply he rambled on and on about Final Fantasy 13 coming to the XBOX 360. My eyes immediately shot open and I literally jumped out of bed to find out what the heck was going on.

And lo and behold, there was Final Fantasy 13 announced for the XBOX 360.

The night before we were both contemplating on staying up early in the morning to watch the MS E3 2008 Press Conference. For the last 3 years we have followed Microsoft’s E3 conferences ever since Jay Allard came on stage to talk about the ‘Soul of the System’ up to the point when Peter Moore showed off his Grand Theft Auto IV tattoo...and specially when Master Chief came on screen to finish the fight.



I swear...as I saw the Halo 3 E3 announcement trailer for the first time at
around 3 AM, when the ark was opening and that epic orchestral theme was
playing...I had tears in my eyes! I'm such a fangirl ---and proud of it!

We have always looked forward to Microsoft’s E3 conferences but this year we decided to pass it up not because we don’t care anymore but because we were dead tired. The previous week has been hectic for both us, specially since we covered and accompanied my brother to the World Cyber Games National Finals and of course work never ceases to be challenging. We felt a cold coming, so both of us decided to sleep early with my husband feeling remorseful that he will not be able to join the E3 festivities live this year.

But damn...we should have stayed up.


Kaboom!!! Teh Megaton has been dropped!!!

When we woke up, Neo Gaf resembled something after a nuclear fall out... The US boards were at a complete shock as if the end of the world had arrived.

And the gamers here in the Philippines were just waking up...

Immediately we posted the news in PinoyXBOX. I scrambled to get my thoughts together to string a few words together before pasting the Microsoft Press Release into the front page. In those few hours, I swear all brain function went away and I can just stare in disbelief as 90 minutes into the MS press conference Youichi Wada, the President of Square Enix, came out *again* saying he forgot to announce Final Fantasy 13 for the XBOX 360.

The reactions from the XBOX 360 fanbase was overwhelmingly positive....so positive that hardly anyone could say anything appropriate to describe what has happened. A few hours after the event, several of us 360 gamers were still in denial that Final Fantasy 13 was actually coming to the 360. Very few people believed David Gosen, the MS European strategic marketing boss, when he said that this years E3 was game changing.

Of course on the other side of the fence, the Sony fans encountered something close to heartbreak as well as disbelief. I myself was immune to the comments since I haven’t completely digested the news yesterday but in retrospect some of the comments made by those fans were downright absurd and hilarious. Let me share with you some of the comments that I have read...


“Square Enix are money hungry bastards who just accepted M$ bribes!”


Whooo boy... I don’t know if the fans realize that Square Enix NEEDS money if they are to continue making games. Not just that, its long been known that Square Enix is ‘money hungry’...I mean just look at how many times they whored out Final Fantasy 7 for pete’s sake!



“Square Enix should apologize to us Playstation fans! Without the Playstation Final Fantasy wouldn’t be a hit!”


And to that the Nintendo fans say...”Now you know how we felt when Squaresoft deserted us for the Playstation!” I had to laugh after reading that comment since in my mind the vision of the former Nintendo boss Yamauchi , clad in full Samurai Warlord outfit about to draw the blood of Hironobu Sakaguchi, presented itself.



“It’s a bad move by Square Enix since the XBOX 360 has piracy! As revenge we Sony fans will promote piracy for the XBOX 360! Down with the XBOX 360!”


Among all the comments, I read that was the one that sucked the most...specially since it was a comment from the Philippine Playstation fansite which was also reposted in Neo Gaf wherein the ‘gaffers’ laughed their asses off. The comment was wrong on several levels. First, both PS1 and PS2 (and PSP) were heavily pirated but that didn’t deter the sales of any Final Fantasy title nor did it stop other developers from selling their games and making money on the older Playstation platform. Second, supporting piracy out of spite? Really now...after reading that stupid comment, I recall why the Philippines is STILL a third world country.

All the hilarity and disbelief aside...

Game changing...those two words are best used to describe the addition of Final Fantasy 13 to XBOX 360’s already stellar game line-up.

This is the FIRST TIME, in the history of Squaresoft that they will have a multiplatform initial release of Final Fantasy. Through the years, I believe that Squaresoft / Square Enix released Final Fantasy on the platform which offered the biggest installed base. For the last 2 years, ever since Final Fantasy 13 was announced, they have displayed unwavering faith that the Playstation 3 will historically follow the records set by its predecessors and maintained exclusivity, for the core Final Fantasy games, for the Playstation 3.

Now Final Fantasy 13 will be launched for the XBOX 360 at the same time as the PS3 version of the game in North America and Europe.

What does that tell us? What does that tell to the whole game industry?


"The future belongs not to those who wait..."
Yep Square Enix followed their own game quote by not waiting for Sony to
gain 10 million marketshare.

Square Enix, one of the strongest developers and supports of the Playstation brand, can no longer deny that the XBOX 360 has attained a market share dominant enough to warrant a release of their biggest title. They can no longer close their eyes to the potential revenue to be made in the XBOX platform which has an established market share in the biggest of all gaming markets, North America. They can no longer ignore the successes of their fellow Japanese developers, such as Capcom and Namco, as they continue to rake in profits despite, dismal sales of their 360 titles in Japan, courtesy of the worldwide market.

Final Fantasy 13 coming to the XBOX 360 is an affirmation that the platform is a success.

No doubt, the whole game industry was shaken by this news. Every single developer and publisher will know the impact that announcement has when it comes to decision making. Game journalist can continue to hold on to the glory days of the Playstation brand but the rest of the game industry, the publishers, developers and gamers will move on. Square Enix has just sent a signal to everyone, that if you want your game to do well it better be on the XBOX 360.
Now what do we attribute this whole thing to? If Square Enix wasn’t moved by the million sellers of 3rd party developers a year ago, what made them change their minds now? Three things...


All smiles for the father of Final Fantasy as Square Enix heeded
his advice and actually brought Final Fantasy to the XBOX 360.

First...all JRPG fans on the XBOX 360 have to give themselves a pat on the shoulder and send letters of thanks to Hironobu Sakaguchi from Mistwalker. A part of me feels that Square Enix is threatened by Sakaguchi. Imagine a no-name game like Lost Odyssey, actually sold well on its first month on a console which happened to be the home of hardcore bald space marine loving FPS gamers!?! No doubt when Lost Odyssey made money, the XBOX 360 was suddenly on Square Enix’s radar. Mistwalker had the capability to usurp Square Enix because it houses several of their former talents, notably Hironobu Sakaguchi with his 3rd party partner in crime, Nobuo Uematsu.



Yoichi Wada laying down the law.

Second...Square Enix profits are down and Yoichi Wada is pissed, so pissed that it was rumoured that he got mad at the Square Enix employees for doing only projects they wanted and their unwillingness to expand to other platforms. When I talk about profits, I’m not referring to Japan sales. Wada, and the rest of the Square Enix shareholders, were growing increasingly worried that they are losing the most important revenue stream, North America.

True Next-Gen JRPG developers!
Third... Tri-Ace. Tri-Ace has two games for the XBOX 360. Infinite Undiscovery, which is a Microsoft commissioned game with Square Enix publishing rights. Next is Star Ocean 4, the equally shocking announcement of MSKK (MS Japan) RPG conference a month ago. Both projects are nearing completion, and most likely started around the same time as the development Final Fantasy 13. The games look very beautiful, specially Star Ocean 4, which I will admit makes my heart race more than the thought of Final Fantasy 13. Tri-Ace is proof that development for the XBOX 360 is something that can be adapted easily unlike the pressing rumors of the horrendous Sony development tools.

Right now only a few people in the media actually understood what has happened...Adam Sessler from G4 TV being one of them as he summarized in a shorter narration the immensity of the news. Yahoo news on the other seems to be just publishing misleading articles based on their contract with Sony. But even if the game press shrugs this news off, the actual gamers wont. Many of us are rejoicing that we don’t need an additional $300++ investment to play Final Fantasy 13 while others are bemoaning the loss of their $300++ because they bought a PS3 just to play Metal Gear Solid 4 and Final Fantasy 13.

I, for one, am very happy that the game is indeed coming to the XBOX 360, not just for its symbolic meaning, but also as an all around JRPG fan. Despite my criticism of Square Enix, I cannot deny that the temptation to buy this game (which I will most like give into) is great simply because I already have the platform to play it. After Final Fantasy 12, I have grown hesitant to buy a whole new platform just to play Final Fantasy. Right now, I just hope for the best and probably start saving my money for the inevitable Final Fantasy 13 purchase.

This also spells good news for Mistwalker. My excitement for the development house that took such a big gamble for us JRPG fans on the 360 continues as I eagerly anticipate Cry On and other 360 announcements from Mistwalker. Right now a lot of JRPG fans who were holding out for Final Fantasy 13 are considering getting an XBOX 360. Final Fantasy 13 was the game that brought them in and I’m sure many of them will be very happy to know that the 360 has some of the best JRPG line-up with Tales of Vesperia, Infinite Undiscovery and The Last Remnant all to be released this year. While they’re at it, chances are they will also pick up Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, two of the landmark JRPG titles of the XBOX 360.

What an exciting E3 from Microsoft. After watching the cached broadcast from G4 (wow they actually executed their E3 coverage right this time!), we decided to stay up for the Nintendo E3 conference...and got disappointed by it. I woke up grumpy after losing sleep to Shigeru Miyamoto’s saxophone playing skills.

Well folks...Square Enix is now fully on board and they have reaffirmed the success of the XBOX 360. Now I have to keep my fingers crossed that they consider making the Chrono Cross sequel!

How to play the TOO HUMAN Demo

Note:

Earlier in Pinoyxbox I gave impressions on the Too Human demo and I wasn't really too thrilled with the controls. It's hard to believe that Microsoft/Silicon Knights put a lot into the game and it didn't immediately make sense to me. So I decided to give it one last shot, and after my third try, I finally figured it out.

GUIDE ON HOW TO PLAY THE DEMO FOR TOO HUMAN:

So I gave this game ONE MORE CHANCE and tried it for the THIRD TIME. My wife was convincing me to give it another shot, and on my third round I finally figured out how to play this game.

Basically:

1. Let go/stop thinking of the camera. If your player's face is facing towards you, press LB. The camera 'Strategic' seems to be the best option.

2. Now, when you see a mob of monsters, press TOWARDS the enemy that you want to attack with the RIGHT THUMBSTICK. This will cause Baldur to rush towards that enemy target. For instance, if the enemy is north east, point the right thumbstick North East.

You'll see Baldur rush towards the enemy.

Now, don't let go of that direction since you're telling the game, this is the target you want to kill.

3. Now while you're fighting that enemy, you use the LEFT THUMBSTICK (yes, the left thumbstick) to control your sword swinging. Try various pushes on the left thumbstick while pointing on your target with the RIGHT THUMBSTICK.

Again, note that the swinging of your weapon is controlled by your LEFT THUMBSTICK.

4. To switch to a DIFFERENT TARGET, press a direction on the RIGHT THUMBSTICK to the target that you want to kill. Then again, control your attack with the LEFT THUMBSTICK.

5. There are more interesting combinations. To unleash something like a FIREBALL attack, press UP on BOTH THUMBSTICKS (Or, essentially press both thumbsticks TOWARDS the ENEMY that you want to hit with a fireball).

6. After a combo, press RB to unleash a super attack of some kind.

7. To fight a troll (the big monster thing), try jumping, press the right thumbstick in the direction of the troll, then swing your sword with the left thumbstick.

8. To execute a troll killing move, jump on the back of the troll with A, then press the RIGHT THUMBSTICK LEFT, and the LEFT THUMBSTICK RIGHT, like this : ----> <----- That should execute an 'execution move' on your enemy. So there you have it, how to play TOO HUMAN. The controls are very different from any other action game I've played. Seems worth a shot now....and the attacks I got from actually controlling this game right made the game a bit more fun than before. I'm highly likely to pick this game up.

For more control instructions, check the ADVANCED CONTROLS menu in the PAUSE menu.

And don't forget to check out your EQUIPMENT. Press RT to shift through all the various equipment you can put on your character.

Nice game, now it does feel like Diablo II!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

XBOX 360: Home to STAR OCEAN 4, FINAL FANTASY XIII and LOST ODYSSEY


I'm still in shock at the news that Final Fantasy XIII is coming to the Xbox 360. Star Ocean 4 is coming to the Xbox 360. Lost Odyssey (Sakaguchi's latest, best epic JRPG yet) is on the 360. Infinite Undiscovery, Last Remnant, the list goes on and on and on.

And there are western RPGs too for those inclined to more sandbox-like games. Oblivion, Fallout 3, Fable 2, Too Human....man, the list is never ending for Xbox 360 owners!

There goes E3....E3 is finished thanks to that news about FFXIII. The Xbox 360 is the new Playstation 2. Period.

FINAL FANTASY XIII now coming to the XBOX 360.


The UNTHINKABLE just happened.

Square-Enix's Yoichi Wada just went on stage at the Microsoft Press Conference for E3...he goes in at the very end of the show, around 90 minutes in....and then he talks about Infinite Undiscovery, Star Ocean 4 and Last Remnant.

He shakes hands with Don Mattrick and leaves the stage.

And then...

Well, the unthinkable happened.

He goes back on stage, says Square-Enix has another BIG game announcement.

A video plays back on screen to a stunned audience.

It's Final Fantasy XIII.

FINAL FANTASY XIII ANNOUNCED FOR THE XBOX 360! OMG!!!!! O_O

News Link:
http://e3.gamespot.com/story.html?sid=6193730&pid=950899&tag=topslot;action;1&tag=topslot;title;1
Microsoft E3 2008 Press Conference Full Video (FFXIII announcement is 90:00 minutes in):
Microsoft E3 2008 Press Conference Highlights:

Monday, July 14, 2008

WCG 2008 Philippine Finals - Day 3

Today marked the final day for the WCG 2008 Philippine tournaments, with many of the official games for the WCG having their final tournament matches.

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It continued to be quite a festive affair, with people from all walks of life enjoying the different tournament matches. The level of competition reached a whole new level...it seemed quite intense to me, with what sounded like trash talking occuring occasionally between rival factions on the PC gaming front. I guess with so much on the line, sometimes people can get quite emotional. Luckily, when the matches end, the players seemed to act like good sports...in the end it was all in the spirit of fun and competition :D

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Here's a link to a listing of all the winners for the World Cyber Games 2008 Philippine Finals.

On the Xbox 360 front, Rafael and Luis had their final matches to determine who would go to Germany for the WCG Grand Final, and who would go to Singapore for the Asian Championship. After three intense games of Guitar Hero III, Rafael emerged as the 1st place winner and as the Philippine Representative for WCG 2008 in Germany, while Luis emerged as the 2nd place winner and the Philippine Representative for the WCG: Asian Championship in Singapore this August.

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Here's a picture of the Guitar Hero III Philippine Champions with Erin, one of the announcers for the games at the WCG 2008 Philippine Finals.

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Also, this day marked the end for the Pinoyxbox WCG 2008 Xbox 360 Raffle! The community gave out prizes such as games and other game-related items to the participants for the Xbox 360 games. To be eligible for Pinoyxbox's Raffle, one simply had to join the Xbox 360 tournament games---winning in any tournament was not required. This was done to encourage more people to join the Xbox 360 games in the spirit of fun, camaraderie and friendly competition.

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Thus concludes the WCG 2008 Philippine Finals at the SM Mall of Asia. PINOYXBOX's finest players dominated the competition for the Xbox 360 game tournaments, with the online community's finest players taking the lead in the Virtua Fighter 5 and Guitar Hero III tournaments.

Congratulations to all the winners for the WCG 2008 Philippine Finals! :D

Saturday, July 12, 2008

WCG 2008 Philippine Finals - Day 2

Here are pics from Day 2 of the WCG 2008 Philippine Finals:

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The Finals for Guitar Hero III also took place this afternoon. Here are some pics of the players along with some PINOYXBOX members:

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From Left to right: PINOYXBOX members TyberAlyx, Mibulan, Colonel_Pogi, ScaR, Mocujack, Delz

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From Left to Right: PINOYXBOX members Mibulan, Mocujack, Delz, Scytherage, Wuffy (Rafael), ScaR, Colonel_Pogi, Jekbu, AisuSkye (at the back), TyberAlyx

After several rounds of intense Guitar Hero III competition....ScaR (Luis Benesa) and Wuffy (Rafael Formoso) - emerged as the Philippine Champions for GUITAR HERO III! Both are Philippine champions already because it's already guaranteed that they're both going to two international championships, one for the WCG 2008 Asian Championship in Singapore and the other for the WCG 2008 Grand Finals in Germany.

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Colonel_Pogi (Ralph Pasion) and Mibulan (Marlowe Bulan), also both from Pinoyxbox, played very well in the final matches...as finalists they will get a prize of P1,000 tomorrow during the awarding ceremonies.

Tomorrow there will be a deciding match between ScaR and Rafael to determine who gets to go to Cologne, Germany for the WCG Grand Finals this November, and who goes to Singapore for the WCG Asian Championship! The first placer for tomorrow's match will be sent to Germany and get to win over 30,000 PESOS in cash and other prizes. The second placer will win a cash prize as well, along with other prizes and the opportunity to compete in Singapore for the WCG Asian Championship this August!

Once again, congratulations to all the players, and to PINOYXBOX for completely dominating the competition for the Xbox 360 for this year's World Cyber Games.

Tomorrow, everyone's invited to attend the WCG FINALS for the final match between ScaR and Rafael. It will be held at 1PM in the afternoon at the SM Mall of Asia.

The awarding ceremonies for all the winners for the games will be at 6:30PM tomorrow. After these awarding ceremonies, Pinoyxbox will announce the winners for its WCG raffle for the players that participated in the xbox 360 events. Everyone who attended the preliminaries is encouraged to attend so that you can claim your prize right there if you win in the raffle. In case a winner isn't there, we'll just find a way to give your prize to you, but it might get delayed since we may have to meet up somewhere so we can give you your prize. If you're interested in getting your raffle prize right away, it's best to be there tomorrow at the SM Mall of Asia during the awarding ceremonies.

Thanks again to all the players that joined the Xbox 360 games for the WCG this year!

WCG 2008 - GUITAR HERO III THE FINAL SHOWDOWN!

We're literally HOURS AWAY from the WCG 2008 GUITAR HERO III FINAL SHOWDOWN! Featuring FOUR of PINOYXBOX's Finest Guitar Hero III Champions!

From Left to Right: Ralph Pasion (Colonel_Pogi), Luis Benesa (ScaR), Marlowe Bulan (Mibulan), and Rafael Formoso (Wuffy); these are the Pinoyxbox Guitar Hero III Champions, and the Philippines' Very Best!

This guitar battle of EPIC PROPORTIONS will be held at the WCG Philippine Finals at the SM Mall of Asia at 1:00PM :) Be there to witness history in the making!

Friday, July 11, 2008

WCG 2008 Philippine Finals - Day 1

Here are some pictures from the first day of the World Cyber Games 2008 Philippine Finals:

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Regarding the Xbox 360 Guitar Hero III competition:

After several matches of intense competition, it finally boils down to these guys. The FINAL FOUR. These are the FINALISTS for the XBOX 360 GUITAR HERO III Competition!

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From left to right: Rafael Formoso, Luis Benesa, Ralph Pasion, and Marlowe Bulan.

They're all from PINOYXBOX and represent the very best of the Philippine Xbox 360 Community! The level of competitive play they demonstrated was completely out-of-this-world. I think they rank right up there with the very best from around the globe. They truly deserve to be the finalists. I wish them all the best of luck!

Two will be chosen from these players to represent the country for the WCG Asian Championship in Singapore this August and the WCG Grand Finals in Cologne, Germany this November. The finals, which will determine which of these two will be chosen, will be held TOMORROW. Awesome.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Street Fighter IV's latest trailer features a new character


This trailer doesn't show game footage, it's entirely animated...however, there's one interesting tidbit at the very end. It's quite lengthy but it's very much worth watching....


An article related to it (it's in Japanese, though).

http://www.capcom-fc.com/sf4/2008/07/post_43.html

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Review Retrospective: Gears of War

Above is an image of Dan Hsu/1UP's review of Gears of War way back from 2006. Reading it now, in retrospect, you get to realize how unreliable video game reviews are these days.

Despite all the negative comments in that review (even going so far as to calling Gears' multiplayer as 'broken') the game is still one of the most popular games on the Xbox 360. It's still hanging on in Major Nelson's Top 10 games on Xbox Live:

http://majornelson.com/archive/2008/07/02/live-activity-for-week-of-june-23rd.aspx

"Xbox 360 Top Live Titles (based on UU’s)
1 Call of Duty 4
2 Halo 3
3 GTA IV
4 Battlefield: Bad Company Demo
5 Guitar Hero III
6 Gears of War
7 Rock Band
8 Battlefield: Bad Company
9 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Vegas 2
10 FIFA 08 "


Not bad for a game with "broken multiplayer" and supposedly imprecise gameplay mechanics with the melee combat....And later on it turns out that the 'imprecise, hard to control' chainsaw is everyone's favorite aspect of the game, becoming the most memorable aspect of Gears' gameplay.

This is one of those reviews that, when you look back years after it was written, clearly damages the credibility of the one that wrote it. Does this writer really know games, and what games appeal to the gamers of today? Does he know what differentiates a good game from a terrible one? It's also one of those examples where newer game franchises never seem to get a fair shake from the gaming press, who seem to hand out 10's freely to established names and look over their flaws, while calling out other, newer game brands for one or two moments of framerate stutter; usually deducting a whole point (or more) for a small infraction.

Anyway, right now Dan Hsu no longer writes for 1UP and works now for Microsoft Game Studios(Ironically, he's on the same team working on Gears of War 2), but this clever piece of writing serves as a reminder for gamers that game reviews are just another opinion from just another gamer---they aren't the end-all-be-all-ultimate-final-judgment on the quality of a particular game title. In fact it's entirely possible that a great game can get a horrible rating and be missed out on by so many gamers--that's a sad reality in today's gaming industry, that the hard work of some developers can be disregarded by many gamers with just a paragraph or two of ill-informed diatribe. The Gears of War series, in a way, got lucky that reviews like that one weren't enough to stop it from being a multi-million dollar hit. I can't imagine what kind of effect reviews like that could have to other similar, smaller budgeted (and less marketed) games. I'm not saying that most games that get low ratings are probably good---I'm sure there are lots of bad titles out there that get the score that they deserve. It's just that I totally loathe the practice of having higher standards for newer game franchises and handing out free passes for much older, established game franchises (i.e. game sequels) with huge fanbases. I'm guessing that most sites are afraid of getting hate mail or losing site visitors if they tell it like it is for a game that has a well established legacy, or for a series that adheres to a time-honored tradition (even if said tradition is already showing its age in the face of newer gameplay mechanics).

I think it's best for gamers to set aside reviews as just another opinion in the sea of opinions that are available right now. With the Internet you can find even more feedback on the games that get released, and surely it's possible to find feedbacks which coincide with one's own taste in games. Furthermore, it's becoming easier to simply try a game before deciding whether or not to buy it. Game demos are readily available, and in some cases you can simply just rent a game and decide for yourself if its worth it. Overall, the value of 'game reviews' as a measure of game quality has clearly diminished. Often when a new game gets released I don't even go straight to the review; I prefer visiting an online forum and reading everyone's opinion on a game and making up my mind about it by then, then I just compliment that by actually trying the game if a demo is available. I've also noticed that when I recommend a game, I only rate it three ways, and I don't really like to give it a numerical score: A game can be worth buying, worth borrowing/renting, or it's totally not worth buying at all. Then I usually just say what I like about it, in general/as a whole. I don't really nitpick little details like the occasional framerate problem unless it makes a game completely unplayable. That's my current standard when it comes to talking about what I think about a particular game.

In today's connected world, it's far easier to make up your own mind about something because all the means to do so are available to you (thanks to technology). I'm just surprised that despite this, people still cling to having some authority tell them what's good and what's terrible. Maybe it's just human nature to have someone else approve or disapprove of your own tastes.

Don't let other people stop you from having fun on your own terms.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Check out the latest PINOYXBOX T-Shirt!

jddaez of Pinoyxbox designed this really cool T-shirt for Pinoyxbox members. This shirt is available only for a limited time, so if you want one, order one today via AMD2000's forum thread here :D

Front:

Back:
Close up of the design:




What can I say? That design is just so full of WIN. ^_^

WCG 2008: Philippine Grand Finals this July 10-13


The Philippine Finals for the World Cyber Games 2008 is almost here! It will take place on July 10-13 at the SM Mall of Asia Activity Area.

It's been said that this is the largest mall in Asia. I've been there. It's very easy to get lost in there!

Here's a map posted from the WCG Philippines web site:


The finals for the Guitar Hero III competition will take place at this event. The best players from around the Philippines will compete for two player slots - one slot for the World Cyber Games event to be held this November in Cologne, Germany, while another slot is for the WCG Asian Championship to be held in Singapore from August 7-10 at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. My understanding is that the first placer will be sent to Germany while the second place winner will be sent to Singapore.

Since I won the local tournament for Virtua Fighter 5, I will be able to cover the Asian Championship in Singapore and post updates here on the event itself. It will be an interesting experience for me considering this is the first time I'm ever going to be part of a professional gaming tournament. I'm continuing to practice and hopefully I can do well enough so that E-sports will consider sending a larger contingent of players for Xbox 360 games in the next few years.

Also, a friendly reminder for players who have participated in the preliminaries for GUITAR HERO III and VIRTUA FIGHTER 5, remember that Pinoyxbox has a raffle where we're giving away a ton of games and other prizes! All the players who joined in the Xbox competitions have a chance to win a prize in this raffle. The draw for these prizes will take place at the end of the WCG 2008, on July 13, also at the Mall of Asia. If you're there at the event you can claim your prize right away and go home with free stuff :D

See you there! :D

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Fan-made JRPGs coming soon to the XBOX 360

Every so often I drop by Fanfiction.Net to read up on fan made stories of popular media characters. Sometimes I am at a complete and utter awe after I finish reading a 20 chapter story for certain anime/game and I'm telling myself...'That's how the story should have been! That's how it should have played out!'.

And now talented individuals have a chance to do that with the XBOX 360.

For me a JRPG has always been driven by two things: plot and character. Graphics is a plus point but I don't really care about that. I can still play 2D tile based JRPGs and still enjoy it! Come to think of it, the 2D JRPGs are still around today being sold in handhelds such as the GBA, Nintendo DS and the PSP! I was always wishing that one of these days these JRPG makers can just sell their games using XBOX Live.


Is the next Hironobu Sakaguchi lurking in our midsts?

If the established Japanese development houses can't do it then the indie developers who share a similar passion for JRPGs have a shot to bring their original creations to the XBOX 360! While XNA is already a big boost for indie developers who are more or less familiar with development under the .NET platform, now Enterbrain has announced that the future version of RPG Maker be linked with the XNA Creators Club and you will be able to play it on an XBOX 360.

SilconEra reports the arrival of fanmade RPG games in this post: Enterbrain democratizing Xbox 360 RPG development

Details of actual implementation is still sketchy. Chances are on the onset the JRPG games made via RPG Maker will only be available for the members of the XNA Creators Club. But I am hoping that with future Microsoft announcements a more concrete scheme on sharing your games to all gamers across the XBOX Live Arcade platform will materialize.


Looking at those tiles remind me of Ragnarok Online....Hmmm....

I have always maintained that the strongest feature of the XBOX platform is currently XNA. This is the only thing that Microsoft is doing differently compared to their competitors Sony and Nintendo. With enough attention and marketing, XNA can be the next big thing in gaming. It will certainly allow people who always wanted to make games to band together and actually make one!

Make no mistake, game development, even via XNA is time consuming and a hard thing to do. My husband and I, together with some friends, tried to enter the Dream Build Play challenge last year and we realized just how difficult game development can be. If you have the the talent, time and dedication to crack the game industry as a game developer then XNA one of the ways you can fast track your future.

I eagerly await the day when my fanfiction angst dirven vampire-esque character, Desmond (yeah I know its a sucky name) who happens to look like the complete dork, Shinji Ikari from Evangelion makes his debut JRPG. Hehehe in my dreams! But at least these days attaining dreams is a little bit achievable thanks to the efforts of Microsoft and several game engine developers such as Enterbrain.

Been a busy week IRL for us....

...so we both haven't been blogging so much lately. Here's what's been keeping me occupied:

- Two major work-related projects involving Visual C# / Java programming : Made some major breakthroughs with both of them for the past few days. Maybe in the future I'll share what they are....

- Virtua Fighter 5 practice (both online/offline). We recently picked up the Hori Fighting Stick so I've been spending a lot of time getting used to the new controls.

I've been following the gaming news and it seems the biggest, recent news is the announcement of Diablo III. The good news is that Diablo III actually does exist. I thought that there wouldn't be a third game in the series, and I speculated the next game would have been yet another MMORPG like World of Warcraft. The bad news is...well, from what I've read on NEOGAF, the release date for Diablo III is well into 2010. This was posted by an insider who had earlier proven his credibility by being the first person [on NEOGAF, at least] to post about the new Witch Doctor character class. The insider also said that Starcraft 2 is going to come out by the end of 2009.

Ouch, on both counts. That's an incredible wait for both games. For a minute there I was pondering on getting a video card for our PC that can actually run Starcraft 2/Diablo 3, but upon hearing the news on the release dates, looks like our PC here will still primarily be a coding/multimedia machine and not be for games. I don't think it's a good idea to buy PC parts right now [I've read some gamers started to consider upgrading right after they read about the news on Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3]. That's because you know how those system requirements can change over time...It's generally not a good idea to upgrade based on system specs given today for a game that isn't even due for more than a year.

On the Xbox front, the other interesting item I've read about is Denis Dyack's bet with NEOGAF. I have to admire the guy's guts. For a minute there, at least...the very-negative thread on NEOGAF for Too Human sank from the front page of the forum, thanks to Denis' bold move. The only problem with what he did is he essentially raised everyone's expectations, particularly the impossible-to-please gaming press. Considering that "Too Human" isn't an established brand name like Metal Gear Solid, Mario, or Halo, I think it may get harshly/unfairly criticized. The only other way to offset this is with a good marketing campaign....if Microsoft sells the game right in avenues outside of gaming websites/press, the game can still do well.