Friday, November 20, 2009

Dragon Age!

Here's my review:

Wow! :D

(Sorry, I'm speechless!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Modern Warfare 2 - Here Comes The Press!

I called it...the gaming industry doesn't need this kind of attention. It's unfortunate because Modern Warfare 2 is really a great game. But for non-gamers, they can easily misinterpret that one level, and then if another violent attack occurs in the United States or elsewhere, this game is going to be the scapegoat.





Regardless of what you think about Fox News' reporting and whether you agree with it, they're out there, and they're influencing minds. Activision/Infinity Ward should really have done the level in a different way to avoid all that negative publicity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 - Unnecessary Violence

I've never thought I'd say this, but the violence in the Airport level in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 easily aims for controversy and is totally unnecessary. They could have just portrayed the same scene with a non-interactive cutscene, or they could have put you in the moment as a different character. It's something else completely when they put you in there as a terrorist, mowing down innocent civilians as you please. If Columbine or all those other 'gunman gone amok' scenarios never happened in the United States and other countries, I would never think this way about it. The fact is, if another student or psychologically distressed person goes crazy and blames this CODMW2 level for his insanity, video games will take the blame for real-world violence once again.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Interesting Picture from Forza Site

I saw this picture on the Turn 10 Studios blog:



That's Dan Greenawalt (left) from Turn 10 Studios (Forza Motorsport 3), posing with Kazunori Yamauchi (right), CEO of Polyphony Digital (Gran Turismo 5).

Here's the blog post where I found the picture: http://forums.forzamotorsport.net/blogs/post.aspx?App=turn_10s_forza_motorsport_blog&y=2009&m=11&d=06&PostName=forza-motorsport-3-week-in-review-11-6

So to the console-exclusivity fanboys, yes, apparently it is possible to respect your competition. Kudos to both developers for making the best racing games ever made.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Complacency: Microsoft's Curse

It’s been around 4 years since the initial launch of the XBOX 360 and at that time, I felt that Microsoft was the underdog in the console race. Everyone was prattling about how ‘awwwwzommmm!!’ the Sony Playstation 3 was and laughing that Nintendo named their console after a male appendage. When the XBOX 360 came out, I believed that Microsoft hit jackpot. They had the right vision, they had the right games and I was fully on board. But the last 4 years of the XBOX 360 was marred by the horrendous 3 red lights of death and Microsoft’s insistent denial that they had absolutely nothing to do with it; like Pilate washing his hands clean. But the truth eventually came out and Microsoft really did rush the console to market in order to beat the PS3. While that strategy may have worked for the last 3 years since they gained a good portion of the North American market share, the stigma of faulty hardware plagues Microsoft to this day. Sure the Jasper doesn’t break as much as the Xenon or the the Falcon or the Opus (or whatever code name Microsoft gave to its consoles) but after going through around 5 broken XBOX 360’s in the span of 4 years, I’m more than a bit wary about purchasing a Jasper when essentially I can simply try to fix the console myself and have a remedy for the overheating problem that Microsoft has never been able to address with their puny heat sinks and weak exhaust fans.

For the last few months, I have stayed off the console game radar with my husband occasionally giving me news on what’s going on. While I still do like games, my priorities have shifted. The console war and the people raging it all seem puny in comparison to the life that I actually lead. The internet has always been a distraction for me and a time waster and I refuse to get into it as much as I was before. But being ‘off the hook’ has given me a new perspective regarding the console war from someone that isn’t so entrenched to one particular platform.

While for me Microsoft started off great…somehow something was lost in the last 4 years. Right now, there is only 1 thing that defines the XBOX 360 and that’s Halo. And it’s blatantly obvious. So what’s the news about Microsoft these days? Oh there’s a new Halo ODST motorcycle helmet! How about that Halo figurine over there? Wanna buy a warthog? By the way we are making more Halo games in the future.

That’s it, Microsoft?

At this point one can say that Microsoft hasn’t made any money from Rare, one of Nintendo’s older developers but at the rate they are going…of course they won’t make money! Rare is now relegated to making Avatar clothes that Microsoft peddles on its XBOX Live marketplace for an exorbitant fee. Sure its 3D clothes but come on! What can that Avatar do other than scrunch its nose and wave at me. Of course Microsoft is giving you the tired excuse of having ‘choice’. Yes you can buy it and you can also not buy it. But apparently in the last 4 years, the Microsoft XBOX have clearly forgotten the importance of adding real value for their customers.

XBOX Live is a long wait with nothing much happening other than listening to whatever Larry Hyrb has to say in his podcast, looking out for ban hammer news and waiting for facebook. Microsoft has lost Netflix to Sony and that doesn’t bode well for them. XNA appears to be a bust when it was supposed to be the defining factor of the XBOX 360 service for me. Why? Because while Microsoft does tout it to be free, to be able to test your games on the XBOX 360 you’ll need to pay for premium membership. And how long does it take to tweak those Facebook and Twitter apps anyway? And last but not the least, online play remains to be expensive relative to Sony’s free online. While I don’t really go online in PSN, I assume that playing there is workable since there are still people to settle for it.

And PSN has surprised me.

Forget Playstation Home, which IMHO is clearly a flop; Sony offered relevant gamer content that is mostly free. I can’t remember the name right now, but Sony offers a well edited show for PSN users that showcases what’s new and up and coming for the PSN and the console. Meanwhile, XBOX Live is stuck with a horrid streaming show that showcases office employees trying to be gamers and being ‘hip’ and ‘cool’. It sounds mean but let’s face the reality, the gaming industry is like showbusiness. People want to see charismatic people who had tons of plastic surgery blathering on like they know something about games even if they honestly don’t even want to have anything to do with it.

While being the cheapass that I am, I haven’t really bought anything on PSN but I did enjoy my free content video downloads. I do enjoy looking at what Sony has to offer in relation to what XBOX Live has. The PS3 interface is also getting tweaked and refined. So with that mind, I feel that Microsoft is losing a good chunk of the people who believed in its platform because of its ‘superior’ online services. Well…that doesn’t hold true anymore. There is no mythical dedicated servers for XBOX Live that makes online game magically better. Sure Microsoft may have better algorithms in trying to find good internet connections close to your location but that’s all they have to offer in terms of match making service. Gold subscription isn’t really worth that much anymore since apparently you can settle for Sony’s match making service even if its not really at the same level as XBOX Live since it’s FREE!

Don’t get me started on the games. Right now the only thing I hear from Microsoft are old franchises…wow…sound familiar? The only thing new that they will offer will be Alan Wake and that’s something that is done by a third party developer. Do they have anything else? Sadly there is none…or they’re not telling which may strongly indicate that they really do have nothing new to offer! While I love MasterChief, I kinda feel sorry that he’s the only one that is actually carrying the XBOX brand.

Natal will be a big gamble for Microsoft. Yes, the technology is great. I can imagine what great interfaces you can make with something like that for future corporate marketing. But as a game console addition…if Microsoft doesn’t have anything to offer for Natal other than the whack ball and the paint game, then it will be useless. Natal has to be supplemented with actual good games on launch to make it work. Sure you’ll get the initial buyers but long term is the name of the game…something that Microsoft seems to envision as pinching budgets.

Perhaps I’m being harsh on Microsoft considering chances are they redirected all their funds for a Windows 7 launch but I feel that these days the XBOX team is rather complacent. Sony is catching up and I can see why. Nintendo is stable thanks to their handhelds. But what does Microsoft have? They don’t have the brand name associated with Sony and Nintendo and the only thing you can actually remember about the XBOX 360 is the 3 Red Lights.

So why is it that when you’re on top, you become complacent?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Racing and Tuning Tips for Forza Motorsport 3

I'm currently playing Forza Motorsport 3; the one thing that really sticks out if you've played the previous game is how much more detail is on the car models this time. The cars are really pleasant to look at now, and sometimes I find myself just watching the menu screen [where they display your current vehicle in a variety of nice camera angles]. I also like the lighting on many of the tracks; though it's really noticeable that the newer tracks look way better than the older ones which are included in the game. Recently I got to race on Fujimi Kaido, an old track from Forza 1 which they revamped for this game...I think it has the best scenery for a racing game thus far. It's also a great track to hone your driving and drifting skills on.

I must have spent an incredible amount of time tuning and racing online on Forza Motorsport 2. A few years ago, there was a thread on Pinoyxbox.com where most of my exploits (both online and offline) for FM2 are completely chronicled. Looking back at that thread, I really learned a lot about tuning and racing cars for that game.



Pictured above are [what I think] my greatest achievements in Forza Motorsport 2. There was a time when I was able to get in the top 100 for the leaderboard for Tsukuba Circuit with my personally-tuned Lancer Evolution IX. As for the second leaderboard picture, that's my record time for Road Atlanta with my personally-tuned Integra R 2002.



I think (well, I'm GUESSING) that most of the things I did for Forza 2 will probably work for Forza 3. I'm pondering on digging up my car settings for both the Lancer and the Integra which I used to get on the leaderboard above, and posting them here on this blog. In the meantime, here are some of my old posts on Pinoyxbox which may prove useful as tips for tuning and getting on the leaderboards for Forza Motorsport 3.

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Tips for Tsukuba Circuit that I Posted for Forza 2 (which may work for Forza 3. New comments are written inside [brackets] ).

1. Download a ghost of one of the top 100 times, then race against it. [Note: Currently don't have online play, so I really don't know the procedure for downloading ghosts for Forza 3].

Preferably, race against a car that is similar to your own. You don't have to race against the number one guy....try to go after the number 100 guy or somebody of lower rank.

2. Another trick....watch the replay of one of the top players. You can learn a lot, particularly regarding where and when to brake. It's much better to watch a replay of somebody who uses the same assists as you (for example, if you use STM and ABS, don't watch the replay of somebody who uses no assists, because their braking points will be completely different.)

3. During the replays, choose the camera perspective in which you drive. Turn on TELEMETRY. Then check the speeds at which the best players approach the turns. Use the SLOW MOTION button to slow down the action. [Okay, wait...is slow-mo in Forza 3?] Then you can see how the player is turning the wheel, if he's pressing the brake, what RPMs he is at, etc....The left hand corner of the screen has two bars in the telemetry screen. A green bar and a red bar. The green bar is the acceleration meter, the red bar is the brake. Note how strong (or weak) the player presses the button. Try to mimic how the best players do it. Learn.

You can also use the PAUSE button (or the stop button) to pause the replay at a specific instance, to analyze every aspect of how a top 100 player drives. When you pause, you can see the precise RPMs, the precise gear, angle of approach, etc etc....you can really learn a lot from the replay mode. Use it!

4. How to approach turns in Tsukuba with a really well tuned Lancer:

Actually, this approach works for almost every track. I tried this approach with a class U Mine's Lancer Evo 6 for the King Cobra 4 lap nightmare that is the 700 HP Semi Pro challenge. But I learned to drive like this thanks to the tsukuba twister challenge.

When you approach a hairpin, start wide, but when you see the turn already, press the BRAKE then start going inside the turn. You have to do this smooth and gradual.

Slightly press on the gas, but slowly let off pressure on the button until eventually, your right finger is already OFF the gas, and your left finger is OFF the brake. The idea is, you should 'glide' through the hairpins without either the brakes or the accelerator buttons pressed. If you do this right, you'll notice you'll be going at the hairpin at about 86 KPH. The best gear for the turns is 2nd gear.

When you 'feel' that your car is becoming a bit slow but already is pointing in the right direction, mash the gas and drive as fast as you can out of the corner!

So to make things simpler----the best way to approach the hairpins in Tsukuba is brake, drop acceleration, turn, then mash gas. That works for the Lancer. For other cars, you might need a different approach entirely.

Note that I think Manual Transmission is the best to use for Tsukuba because you get the benefit of Engine Brakes. When you drop down a gear, your engine will slow down by itself and this can help you reach the speeds that you want. Combined with the brakes you can brake a bit later and faster than a driver using Automatic transmission. If you're driving without ABS theoretically you can brake even later than a person using ABS (but personally I have never mastered this technique. If you can master driving without ABS it has been said that you can shave off an entire second from your laptimes!)

5. Corner speeds at Tsukuba:

1st turn: hairpin: 86kph 2nd gear

2nd turn: series of chicanes: as fast as you can, but try to drive as straight as possible.

3rd turn: hairpin: 76kph or less, 2nd gear (or sometimes 1st gear. But I noticed that dropping to 1st gear on this hairpin can slow you down occasionally! So sometimes it's better to push 2nd gear even if it takes a long time to jump out of this hairpin)

4th turn: right turn: I think this is 118 KPH, and take the turn wide, then get your right wheel on the right bumper strip to max out your speed on this turn.

5th long left curve: as fast as you can.

6th hairpin: 86 kph 2nd gear

7th long straight: As fast as you can, of course!

8th long sweeping turn: Now this is tricky....usually when I approach this turn I'm at 4th gear, I think 210KPH....So what I do is turn first with brake, then when I'm at about 140KPH I let go of the brake and turn and accelerate at the same time. If your ride is tuned well you can glide right through this corner at full acceleration. Just pay attention to your tires, if they start squealing, tap the brakes or let go of some acceleration so that your car will grab the road again, then accelerate again. The closer you are to the inside of the turn, the faster you'll be (but you should only be close to the inside when you are turning, NOT at the very beginning of the turn! Remember, approach wide to get the straightest possible line through most curves).

As for tuning tips, use this guide:

http://www.mediafire.com/?bgwmmvtsnmt

[NOTE: this guide no longer exists. Maybe the one who made it posted a new version on forzacentral or somewhere else.]

(there's too much to say about tuning for one post! In a nutshell, 4WD cars can't really turn very well, so make 'em oversteer as much as you can!)

OH, and finally:

If you're using ABS, set your brakes to 110%. If your car is very heavy (1290kg +++) set your brakes to 112%. That way you get some of the advantages of not using ABS.

Good luck! And remember, that one tune/upgrade set that is really, really good for one track, sometimes doesn't work on another track for time attack/multiplayer.

**********

All that tuning on the Tsukuba challenge helped me figure out a bit more on how to tune RWDs on how to make them drive better. Last night I was able to tune a Honda NSX R so that it 'feels' like the Enzo Ferrari out of corners. It no longer squeals out as much as it used to.

The key seems to be the Rebound Stiffness and the Bump Damping Stiffness. Increasing the FRONT for both settings will improve 'transitional understeer' and increase grip for the rear of the car. Usually out of corners I end up pushing the gas too early, and this causes the car to lose control. With higher front rebound/bump settings, the 'tire squeal' that I kept on getting with the Honda NSX R is practically gone! So in the end, it feels a bit like the Enzo now.

Also, I reduced the rear differential to about 65%. Originally it was at 80% but i found out that it makes the car understeer too much. I set it to 50% and this made me get tire squeal again, so I increased it again to 65% for both acceleration and deceleration.

Right now, thanks to the better rebound/bump damper settings, I can reduce the rear wing to about 60% and not get too much oversteer....thus getting improved speed. Of course, these rebound damper settings are also mixed in with some front sway bar settings to further stabilize the car.

I managed to get 1.23.000 on Road Atlanta with this car....with a bit more work I think I can get it to 1.21.000, which is my ultimate goal. The last best car I drove on the track was the Eclipse GSX, which is a powerful 4WD car but just lacks the handling of the Integras.

Overall, the tuning in this game is incredibly deep, I thought I reached the end of what's possible in the game but apparently there's more to it once you discover RWDs...


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Friday, September 25, 2009

Forza Motorsport 3 - Raw Demo Impressions

I also posted this on pinoyxbox.com

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Finished downloading Forza 3 at 1:45AM. Finished playing the demo at around 2:40AM.

Unbelievable, completely lives up to the hype; everything they've said about this game is true. I'm shocked at how much fun it was to play for a 'simulator'!

The other day I was trying out Need for Speed Shift, which, at the end of the day, really reminded me of Grid/PGR. This one....this is an animal all its own, it just FEELS so different in terms of driving model, and that's what seems to make it special. The 60FPS really does help enhance the 'feel' of the driving, and the way the cars move and behave is like no other driving game I've ever played before. Perhaps Forza 2 is the only game that comes close. I'm surprised they were able to even surpass that!

When I first bought my PS3 one of the games I purchased with high hopes was Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, which had those dazzling cutscenes playing back on most websites. When I played that game I was completely disappointed; I had played Forza 2 a year or so earlier and Gran Turismo 5P just had something off about it. The cars felt extremely slow, for one thing....and hitting objects/other cars just gives you this odd 'bounce' effect. Surprisingly even 'lesser'/non-simulation racing games like PGR and Grid did collisions better than GT5P ever did. I was really trying to give GT5P a chance, considering it cost so much for a paid 'demo'; but after only 3 days I went back to Greenhills and sold it to the shop beside Datablitz in Virra Mall (the one which buys used games). There was just something so slow about that game. Maybe it was the soundtrack or the presentation...maybe it was the fact that I didn't have a Dualshock controller, I'm not sure. But based on what I've read from other GT 'fanatics' my expectations were pretty high, and they just weren't met at all.

The reason I'm mentioning the sensation of speed in GT5P so much is because I can't help but remember it when I was playing Forza 3. Even on the lower class cars, you have this feeling of fast movement. While GT5P also had 60FPS something about that game just wasn't done right in terms of presenting that sensation. Again, it's quite a subjective thing and perhaps results may vary between players (and maybe it's because I didn't have a dual shock controller, I really don't know) but the feeling of 'speed' is really enhanced in Forza 3, it's one of the things that really stands out the first time you play the demo.

The environment in the game is also incredible, I might add. It is very distracting, in a good way. It looks like someone on the Turn 10 team played a lot of Sega Rally/Daytona USA because seeing the scenery is definitely entertaining, and not boring at all. Your own car is eye candy, the other cars are eye candy, the scenery is eye candy....it's just really pleasant to look at.

One last thing....there is a ridiculously HIGH number of replay cameras in this game. I think the developers really wanted the players to make interesting youtube videos out of their own race replays. The default 'race replay' camera that plays back your race has really incredible draw distance; this time you can really appreciate the battle that takes place between different cars. Forza 3 continues the fine tradition set by Forza 2 where the cars don't all line up on the racing line, thereby looking convincingly lifelike and not driving like robots. I even saw one AI make a cornering error which caused it to spin out, adding some randomness to the gameplay. And no, unlike Grid, the accidents that happen between AI's aren't 'scripted events', meaning they don't happen in every race. I only had an AI spinout take place exactly once while testing out the cars.

So there, it's 2:46 in the morning and I badly need to get back to sleep. That. was. awesome.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Forza Motorsport 3 Demo is Now Available

Only downloadable (at this time) by using the website marketplace.xbox.com to forward your download to your console.

Perhaps later on it can be downloaded directly via the 360. Here's the link!

http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/games/media/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d8024d53084d/

Forza Motorsport 3 - Fujimi Kaido Drift Trailer

Absolutely spectacular even for a game trailer - it is quite difficult to drive like the way they demonstrated there. Even more amazing that they used in-game footage; which means it can be done by players in the game itself, if they spent enough time with it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pre-TGS 2009 - Feature on Project Natal

Pre-TGS 2009 - Blazblue: Continuum Shift Announced in Famitsu!

Forums such as Neogaf.com and Dustloop.com are reporting the appearance of the next update to Blazblue, titled "Blazblue: Continuum Shift". Reports say that this game will first appear in Japanese arcades some time in late September 2009, and it will add 2 new characters to the game. One of the new characters, Tsubaki Yayoi, was revealed in the latest issue of Famitsu.


For more on the game, check out this thread on Dustloop.com forums.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Forza Motorsport 3 Demo IN FOUR DAYS....

For a few months now, Turn 10 Studios has been showing off pictures and videos of Forza Motorsport 3, and everything they've shown thus far has been very impressive. In a few days time we will find out if the videos, pictures and claims about gameplay will be proven to be true....the Forza Motorsport 3 Demo is coming out on the Xbox Live Marketplace this coming September 24, 2009!

Forza 2 was a fantastic driving simulator but still left a lot to be desired in terms of visuals compared to its rival, the Gran Turismo series. Turn 10 seems to have taken this criticism to heart; every screenshot and video for the game attests to that, showing off incredible quality and improved design at every possible level, while maintaining that hardcore degree of driving simulation that the Forza series has built a grand reputation for.

September 24 can't come soon enough! Most likely for Asia the demo will be released on September 24 at around 4-7PM Philippine time (just my guess).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More of my Blazblue Ranked Match Videos

In all these videos I play as Jin Kisaragi. (Gamertag: hadokenz)















Blazblue - Greatest Comeback Ever!

Jin (hadokenz) vs. Nu (BlackberryChaos), Xbox Live Ranked Match; I'm hadokenz in this match.

Greatest. Comeback. Ever!




Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blazblue Ranked Matches - Personal Stats

My extra 1 month free Xbox Live trial on my Xbox 360 is almost up. I'm still pondering on whether to buy a new Live card or just use up all the trials I have left. I'm saving on expenses so I just can't buy every game that comes out...the same goes for Live subscriptions. The one saving grace of the Playstation 3's online model is that it's free....it's just too bad for the Xbox that it doesn't look like Microsoft is going to change their Xbox Live multiplayer policy anytime soon (A paid, gold subscription is required to play online for the Xbox 360....) :(

That said, I've been using my XBL trial account for Blazblue (almost) exclusively for the past 30 days, accumulating more than 500 total matches on my Blazblue Drive Card, and getting on the top 100 Jin players for the month on Ranked Match play. I'm still enjoying this fighting game a lot. I love how each match never gets predictable, and when you change tactics and style it really forces your opponent to think and adapt quickly. Great game.


Photobucket

Photobucket


Forza Motorsport 3 is coming in about a month. I'm dying to try out the demo which will be released on Sept. 24! That game looks extremely promising and well worth it. It looks to be a great demonstration of what the Xbox 360 is truly capable of. Until then, I'll be playing Ranked Matches in Blazblue, with the occassional game of 'Beatles Rock Band' thrown in for good measure....

Speaking of which, I've pondered on writing about Beatles Rock Band but, I just haven't had the time to write my impressions on it. All I'll say is that, it's a great way to experience the Beatles' music, and worth purchasing if only because it marks a momentous occasion in video gaming history....one of those few points when mainstream pop culture converges with interest in the unique and niche hobby of video gaming. Have the game on your shelf...the release of the game is clearly an important milestone in gaming history.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Year is Winding Down....

Yes, it's early (September), but it seems for me, for gaming, the year's winding down. We already have so much information on the games coming towards the end of the year that I feel my anticipation for new games is lessening lately. The only game I'm getting before the year ends is Forza Motorsport 3. I'll probably just rent Halo ODST because I'm getting the impression that it's just a quick-cash-in by Microsoft on their storied franchise (It doesn't help that Master Chief isn't in the game....)

I don't know if my enthusiasm for gaming is just waning, or I just feel generally unexcited for the coming lineup, for all systems (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii). Tekken 6....might not get it due to monetary concerns, and I was never a huge, huge tekken fan (I do respect the local scene for it, though). And I realized that I've played so much of Blazblue and Street Fighter IV that I'm thinking I need a break from fighting games in general.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

WANTED: Criselda Dayag for the murder of Alexis Tioseco & Nica Bohinc



http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=501774&publicationSubCategoryId=65

Victims were Canadian Alexis Tioseco, 29, and his live-in-partner Slovenian Nica Bohinc, 30, both died on the spot after they were gunned down inside their house at 39 Times Street in Barangay West Triangle.

Elenzano said that they are now locating the couple’s new helper identified only as a certain Criselda, 46, and the three male suspects involved in the robbery-homicide case.

The police official said that the suspects took off aboard the couple’s Ford Lynx (CPW-329) and still undetermined types and amount of valuables from the house.

Magdalena Patpat, who has been working as a maid for the couple for three years, told policemen that Criselda has been working for the couple for a month after a friend recommended the suspect to her.

At around 10:40 p.m. on Tuesday, Patpat was watching television when Criselda asked permission to go out to a store. Criselda then returned accompanied by three armed men who hogtied and gagged her before she was locked up inside the maid’s quarters.

The couple then arrived at the house, causing a commotion, followed by gunshots. The suspects fled the house aboard the couple’s Ford Lynx which was later found abandoned along West Avenue that same night.

We would like to offer condolences to the families of Alexis and Nica. May they rest in peace. I pray that justice would be served in this case. And everyone please stay safe.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Gamehopper Offering TEKKEN 6 Pre-Order Promotion

For gamers based in the Philippines, Gamehopper is now accepting pre-orders for the highly anticipated release of TEKKEN 6 for both the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360! This title will cap off what has been an amazing year for fighting games.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Article: Both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 Are Prone to Hardware Failure

Will this article ever banish the myth that PS3 is more reliable than the Xbox 360? I seriously doubt it, considering how rabid [and pointlessly defensive] the Internet fanboys can be about the console brands that they love.

That said, whatever console you own, for this gaming generation, be ready to face the inevitable!

(For the entire article, click the link below)
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-system-failure-article

System Failure: Why PS3 and 360 drop dead for the same reasons
August 29th, 2009

Page 1 of 3. Page 2

In a week where Xbox 360 production boss Aaron Greenberg stated that Microsoft's hardware issues were "well behind us", I found myself finally facing up to the notorious unreliability of the older 360 consoles, and attempting to do something about it.

In many ways, this feature is an off-shoot of a personal story. Readers of the Digital Foundry Twitter feed will know that both of my retail Xbox 360s died of RROD in quick succession. While Microsoft was nice enough to send me a new PAL "Jasper" model, swapping out my prized NTSC 360 Elite, originally purchased for a Eurogamer hardware test would be much more difficult. Over and above the luxuries of having the ability to play region-locked games, the concept of binning off two consoles that cost me the best part of £600 was basically wasteful and unacceptable. Something had to be done.

Looking for a more permanent resurrection for my unit, I'd heard that the best fix involved the rather manly-sounding process of "reballing" the GPU - resoldering the joints from the motherboard to the graphics chip. That being the case, I found myself at my nearest independent console workshop, Colchester Computers, staring at their impressive BGA rework/reflow station. Working from an industrial unit just off the Essex town's bizarre Magic Roundabout, this was an interesting opportunity to find out from the experts first-hand why the average games console ceases to function, and how they are fixed. Upon arrival at the workshop, the vast stack of dead consoles up against one wall ("spare parts") was somewhat eye-opening.

Talking to the company's engineer, Darren Thickbroom, it instantly became apparent that many of the Internet truths surrounding the console failures were anything but, and that the heat dissipation issues that plagued every revision of the Xbox 360 up until the most recent Jasper version were hardly exclusive to the Microsoft console. Slowly but surely, just like its competitor, the issue of PlayStation 3 reliability is being brought into question.

While the scale of the so-called YLOD issue is difficult to judge in context of the all-pervasiveness of RROD, the fact is that what I learned on my visit was pretty shocking: whether you own a Microsoft or Sony console, it seems that the act of simply using our consoles for the job they were designed can cause cumulative damage, with the very real danger that our games machines may go "pop" after the manufacturer's warranty expires.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Treasure Trove of BLAZBLUE Artwork on Giantbomb.com!

I found this only very recently, apparently Giantbomb.com has a really good treasure trove of Blazblue images! It's in their review for the game. Honestly, the review sucks. But the images they put in there are pretty good, including some artwork that was from the GALLERY of the game. Some samples below (the link to the review is below the pics).







Off-Topic: Philippine Politics: Noynoy Aquino says 'Paint the Town Yellow' If You Want Him To Run for President!

Just an off-topic post because this concerns saving my country from all the corrupt politicians running for office....for the Filipinos reading this, do the right thing and help convince this guy Noynoy Aquino to run for President!

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20090828-222419/Wear-yellow-Sen-Aquino-tells-supporters

Wear yellow, Sen Aquino tells supporters

By Maila Ager
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 11:15:00 08/28/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Cory Aquino

MANILA, Philippines -- Paint the town yellow if you want Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to run for a higher post in 2010.

Aquino, son of the late President Corazon Aquino and martyred Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr, made this call in his continued search for an answer to the increasing clamor for him to either run for president or vice president next year.

“Wear something yellow on your person, notes, with your ID, panglagay sa bahay, sa sasakyan para mapakita na marami tayo ditong umaasa at magcko-commit na babaguhin natin itong ating bayan [something that you can put in your house, in your car so that we can show that there are a lot of you who are committed to change the country],” he told reporters.

“The signature campaign is good but wearing that yellow, pwedeng yellow ribbon para mas klaro baka naman sabihing nagkataon lang na naka yellow, talagang nagko-commit ka [it could be a yellow ribbon to show your commmitment because some might say that their wearing yellow was just a coincidence], a public statement, the people around you that I’m committed to doing something about my country,” he said.

The young Aquino said running for a higher post would be a difficult decision if he could not get the support of the people.

“If this is only my ambition, pointless. If a lot of people will share the ambition of where we want to go, then that's a certainty. But if I will be the obstacle that will prevent this certainty, I will not (in the way. If I am alone, then this nothing. It's like asking for the moon," he said in Filipino.

Calls for the senator to seek a higher post have been mounting since the death of his mom.

But the young Aquino has been reluctant to accept the challenge, citing the emotional state of his four siblings -- Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, and Kris.

“I am the most sensitive. When my mom and my sisters cry. What if all four cry on me? It's like three-fourths of our lives have been devoted to this and we are no longer young …” he said.

But he is confident that his family will heed the call of the people once they see the genuine clamor for him to continue the legacy of his parents.

“I think if they see that there is really a clamor, then we have an obligation that we have to fulfill and my sisters will not back down. What I am hoping for is that their decision will be something that will come from their hearts," he said.

At this point, Senator Aquino said, he and his family were praying and consulting many people to help them make the right decision.

And this process of consultation will formally begin from within the senator’s political group, the Liberal Party.

Senator Aquino disclosed that he would meet this weekend with their party president, Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas, who has been endorsed by some party leaders to be their standard-bearer in 2010.

“Mag uusap kami[We will talk]…At the very least, maumpisahan yung buong proseso [we can start the whole process],” he said.

He said more people who were asking a meeting with him granted his request to wait until after September 9, the 40th day of Mrs. Aquino’s death.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blazblue: My Ranked Match Stats (All stats posts go here)

UPDATE: I've been on a huge winning streak lately! Still going :D I just wonder...is it online lag that's causing me to win so much recently, or have I been extremely lucky, or am I getting better at this game??? I have no idea, to be honest.

I am enjoying playing this game online, though! Great netcode! :D

Saving for posterity :D

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why No Updates?

It's a very SLOW time in console gaming these days. No major announcements, and not many interesting things to write about....

Sure, there's the PS3 Slim news leaks that we keep hearing about in the gaming press but to be honest, how is that news? And how is it interesting? It's a Playstation 3 in a new form factor.....regardless of whatever shape or form it may arrive, it's a PS3, we've already seen and played it, and I think it's only really news to the ones who haven't bought one yet. I don't really consider it a type of new or interesting technology. Yeah I've posted about that leaked PS3 Slim here in the Philippines, definitely that's interesting for what it is....an unsupported country getting first dibs on unreleased technology, sure....but that news was last week's news. Lately I've been visiting NEOGAF and there isn't anything really huge to write about. (just the usual fanboy wars and sales armchair-analysis threads....)

The PS3 Slim will probably make headlines if it gets the [inevitable] price drop. But what makes me more excited is real gaming news --- news on new titles coming for consoles, and news on games that many gamers are anticipating that finally get announced. With regard to new games, I don't write about every single new game----I just write about those games that catch my fancy. And another thing I write about is anything related to console gaming here in the Philippines, which [sadly] continues to be unsupported by the major players in the console business.

All the big games are coming out some time in late September and October, onwards. You've got Tekken, Forza, Halo, Call of Duty and the rest....those are going to be huge games which will get great sales and I'm sure everyone's looking forward to them. But for now, we're in the drought season for console gaming; and this time, it's best to make the most of the triple-A class games that we already own right now.

Back to a few more rounds of Score Attack in Blazblue....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tips for Finishing Score Attack Mode (Sorry...Jin Kisaragi players only...)

Tips for Score Attack (Jin only....I haven't spent a lot of time with the other characters, though I am considering learning Bang or Litchi)

Useful block string for all the 'hard' characters:

2A (x3 max), 5B, 5C, 5D (somehow this baits them to try attacking, thus turning 5D into a counter). After 5D, use the combo / follow-up of your choice (in my case it's 6A->dash cancel->5C->super jump cancel->air combo) In a normal match 5D is a bit slow so this only works on Score Attack AI.

1. Unlimited Rachel

- if you start the match with an ice car, use the B version since it's slightly faster.

- if you don't start the match with an ice car, jump back, block the first lightning strike, and then use instant air dash to get in close.

- if rachel calls down a frog, try to get to the side AWAY from the frog, either by jumping + dashing or ice car C.

- when your meter hits 50, use the C distortion drive attack.

- if you get in close, use the block string specified above.

2. Hakumen - I found this character a bit easier, it's easy to catch him with 5D then proceed with the combo, and when he does his distortion drive it's easy to go for the barrier block.

3. V-13 - when the round starts, jump over v-13's head (just the regular jump) and press D to freeze her while you're floating directly on top of her. There's a 75% chance you will freeze her. When you land, do ice car B or C. You can repeat this 'pattern' but after a few times she may dash away, in which case you have to chase her down with ice car.

Fight V-13 the same way you would Unlimited Rachel, always get in close and do the block string I posted. The hard part would be if you end up on the opposite end of the screen, in which case the only option, really, is to be patient and block everything (use standing block more often). When she says 'Opening rift...', which summons a shorter circular blade on the bottom of the screen, use ice car. The ice car will fly over the circular blade, thus getting you in-close.

Again, use the block string I specified to keep the pressure.

4. Unlimited Ragna - Now this is where none of the above tips work. The only tip I can give is start the match with the dragon punch (F,D,DF) + C move, which is an upwards slash with invincible frames. There is a 50/50 chance that Ragna's first strike is a slash where he hops forward; if you do the DP+C move, you'll nail him and have him flying. Follow up with an instant air dash + B + C....and then from that point on, just give it your best shot.

Unlimited Ragna is very very hard, because every time he does get you....no matter how defensive you've been for an entire round, all he needs is one carnage scissors to get back all the life that he's lost. He heals himself with certain kinds of strikes, and carnage scissors is what gives him the most health back. I guess the best tip here is, while fighting, watch Ragna's meter. If he is at 50, start running away or playing more defensively. Don't get in close when U.Ragna's meter is 50. If there's no way to avoid that and you're right up in Ragna's face, be ready to barrier block if you see the Carnage Scissors coming.

Unlimited Ragna has the very nasty habit of canceling your strike into his carnage scissors. For example, with Jin if you use 5D and he has meter, he will definitely use carnage scissors and you will have no way of blocking it. It's even worse if he uses that other attack which does 70 damage (I forgot what it's called). That one cannot be blocked if you're close since I think the game considers it a throw. The only instance I was able to stop it is when I luckily was pressing 2A during the startup animation of the 70 hit combo. Somehow 2A can stop that.

Another thing that U.Ragna does is confuse you with aerial dashing; if he is in the air he will dash forward and back very, very fast, much like taokaka or bang, and it becomes hard to react.

The block string I've posted also works on Ragna, but again, watch his meter. Once it is on 50, do NOT use the block string, and try to go for safer attacks (hit him when he's recovering from infernal divider or his flying forward punch "I'll never forgive you!" move).

When you do have meter, use it, don't wait for it to go beyond 50, start finding a spot to safely execute the move. Sometimes the AI won't block the distortion drive. With a human opponent, this strategy won't work, but with the AI, it does....The safest distortion to use is the C one since it has a very fast startup and you can do it from practically everywhere (just don't do it when you're both in the corner....it does less damage for some reason...)

I've only been able to beat Score Attack exactly once. I tried again today and it was still quite hard to get through U.Ragna. It is good practice for refining one's combos, and I like the fact that I don't have to deal with online lag.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Blazblue Score Attack Mode - Finished!

This achievement was really hard to get and took me a very, very long time:





Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Finally! Someone uploaded the real, full, uncut, absolute true version of the Bang Shishigami Theme Song!

I've been looking for this forever, finally found one thanks to the dustloop forums:

The Real, Seems-to-not-be-ripped-from-the-game, full, uncut, epic version of the Bang Shishigami song!



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Forza Motorsport 3 - Feast Your Eyes on the Collectors Edition

Need cash. To buy this.

Blazblue: More Notes on Jin Kisaragi

I already posted this on Pinoyxbox, but might as well save it here for future reference...

* * * * *

(Given the following directional input markers)
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And A - weak attack, B - medium attack, C - strong attack, D - drive attack


* * * * *

Currently enjoying finding new tricks in the game (with Jin, at least) through Training mode....yesterday I learned that:

- Jin's 623 (dragon punch) + C has a significant amount of invincible frames; it might not have good range horizontally, but it's good for countering attacks that you know are coming towards you.

- You can do a longer air combo by using the super jump cancel....originally I only used the regular jump cancel but then later on I tried using down+up instead of just up, and it causes Jin to jump higher after cancelling a normal move, so the air combo I'm getting is the same as the one in the tutorial video on the special edition: B, C, super jump cancel, B, C, D. The tutorial video on the special edition omitted this particular detail; I didn't know it had to be a super jump cancel to get an extra hit.

The full attack string is (after freezing someone through various means):

1. dash forward or dash cancel after 5D,
2. hold forward + C , or 6C (uppercut-like move, tosses opponent in air),
3. dash cancel out of 6C
4. standing C (or 5C)
5. Super Jump Cancel (press diagonal back down, then diagonal forward up)

[you're now in midair]
6. B
7. C
8. Double-jump
9. B
10. C
11. D
12. (only if enemy is frozen again after step 11) 214C

Note: if the super jump cancel is hard to do....you're probably pushing B too early. When you see the animation for 5C, you press down then up at the moment that the 'hit' frame for it is visible on screen. This will cause the slash animation to get cancelled, and you'll be in the air. The reason why you have to delay pressing 'B' is because if you press B too quickly, you might get the flying ice projectile attack or the forward kick (6B) instead of the super jump.

So after inputting the motion for super jump, wait a small moment before pressing B for the right effect.

Note 2: You can replace step 9's 'B' attack with a throw.

* * * * *

On another note, I had 11 straight wins in Player Match this morning.... :D

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Good News PS3 Owners: Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 Available In Many Stores In Greenhills!

...for only 4,000 - 5,000 pesos! I saw the stick in several shops there. Playstation 3 owners are very lucky to have accessories like those readily available in local stores, so go grab them, and let store owners know that selling arcade sticks is a GOOD idea!

In other news....The Hori Real Arcade Pro EX (the Xbox 360 version of the stick) was nowhere to be found in Greenhills. It's a trend I've been noticing in Greenhills lately. Less and less stores are supporting the Xbox 360...less games, less accessories....sadly, it seems local gaming stores here in the Philippines are more focused on selling Playstation related items. For many Filipinos, it seems...when it comes to games, it's a Playstation world...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Street Fighter IV in Timezone, SM Megamall

I spotted these in Timezone, SM Megamall yesterday. They had 2 SF4 machines for 1vs1 play (one player on each machine). Both machines were set up with the correct HD screen resolution, so the characters don't look stretched (unlike the original setup before in Glorietta).

I hope more players play on these Street Fighter machines, so that Timezone will know that a strong fanbase exists for Street Fighter, and so that they'll buy more units.



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Monday, July 20, 2009

Blazblue: More Jin Kisaragi Strategies That I've Discovered....

Note that the following are indicators for directions:

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* A good way to interrupt some strings or pokes from your opponents is to press 'A' repeatedly, though you have to combo it into something so when your opponent is far enough, he won't be able to counterattack so easily (or counter-poke you). A good attack string I've found is: 2A, 2A, 5C cancel to 2C, then ice car 214C. Add more 2A's depending on the distance between you and your opponent.

* Another good air combo which I don't use much but seems to do good damage is [In Mid-Air] B, C, then double jump, then throw, then upon landing continue to a different combo.

* If you freeze your opponent in the corner, go for 6C to launch them, then cancel into 623A (a Dragon Punch-like move) for a follow up. You then have a lot of options to pressure. If you have some meter, you can jump and do 236D to trap them or bait for another freeze, or you can jump above them and press 'D' to freeze again. Basically, look for every chance to freeze so you can execute a free combo.

Regarding Proper Hand Position on an Arcade Stick - A World Of Difference in Game Control

A long, long time ago, I used to play Street Fighter II in the local arcades...I think it was about 1992 or so. One of the things which other players would tell you is the way you hold the arcade stick matters when you're playing. Originally, I put the arcade stick between my middle finger and my ring finger, much like holding a wine glass. I've done that ever since I was 13 or so....

Fast forward to today, and I still use the same hand positioning when playing a fighting game. I read something online which said that one other hand position on the arcade stick is to put the arcade stick between your pinkie and your ring finger. I thought originally that this was a bad idea....but tonight, I tried it in a few matches of Blazblue.

Wow, what a world of difference that made. I found I could execute some moves even more consistently, and more quickly. Dashing-type moves (which require forward-forward or back-back motions) became slightly quicker and more consistent for me, and I found my hand sliding on the arcade stick surface a lot less frequently.

I think what happened was....my hands outgrew the original position that they were used to in handling an arcade stick. I suppose when I was younger, putting the arcade stick between the ring finger and the middle finger was effective. But now that I'm older, perhaps my hands grew slightly bigger, so that old way of handling the arcade stick doesn't work anymore. It turned out that that internet tip that I read was very useful for me.

I fired up Street Fighter IV and checked if it would help me do Ryu's FADC->Ultra combo....and ....it didn't. The combo is still hard! But executing special moves with this new hand position is really easier. Fireballs, Dragon Punches, and simple bread-and-butter combos like low forward->fireball became a bit quicker and easier. This new hand position isn't going to make me better at fighting games overnight, but it does make special move execution a whole lot tighter for me.

EVO 2009 Street Fighter 4 GRAND FINALS Videos!

Amazing series of matches from the Grand Finals of the EVO 2009 Street Fighter IV (World) Championship:

Daigo Umehara from Japan plays Ryu, while Justin Wong from the USA plays both Abel and Balrog....the Grand Finals extends to over two sets!








Part 3 has a sound problem where the audio turns into static, so turn down the volume when you play this video:

Daigo beats Justin Wong Again at EVO 2009

I wasn't able to catch the final match, but I've heard that Daigo bested Justin Wong again at EVO 2009. Daigo stuck with Ryu while Justin picked Balrog (Boxer). I'm still looking for a video of it on youtube....it's actually on ustream but the download speed from there is really slow.

For now, I'll just have to settle with this match, the earlier 'winner's circle' round between Daigo and Justin, where Daigo picks Ryu and Justin picks Abel:



I'll update this post once I find a video of the actual final match. They say it was really epic!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

On Fighting Games This Year....

Just sitting down pondering on all these great fighting games that came out this year. Blazblue, Street Fighter IV, then later King of Fighters XII and Tekken 6....this year is pretty unprecedented in terms of attention that the genre is getting.

I remember in the late nineties, when Street Fighter II was at its prime, there was also a lot of fighting games being released by various companies. You could say that the fighting game back then was the "first person shooter" of that generation. Companies were churning them out left and right, and a lot of them were simply derivative of Street Fighter II. At some point, I think gamers just got tired of all of them.

Today, I'm not too sure if fighting games will overtake the current popularity of first-person shooters with younger gamers, but the ones that are being released today are really first-rate, high quality titles that all have their own unique personality. Currently, Blazblue gets the nod for seeming to be the most original of them all (to come out this year), and I hope that Arc System Works will continue to work hard on establishing the series as a new favorite among gamers. It has an uphill battle to climb against established franchises like Street Fighter and Tekken, but I think it has its very own flavor which will make it unique and memorable on its own.

Another challenge for fighting games to overcome with newer gamers is their inherent learning curve, and the requirement to have arcade sticks as standard equipment (which makes playing these games more expensive). Yes, playing these games with the regular controllers that come with current consoles is possible, but I think that players who use arcade sticks will always have some kind of advantage, whether real or simply perceived (by others)....I personally believe that stick players have a slight edge because I think hand positioning and movement speed are important factors to playing well in fighting games. With an arcade stick, your entire arm gets in on the action, which (IMHO) makes a player a degree faster and more accurate than someone using a pad. Of course, results vary from player to player but, from experience, I think there are some things that you could only do on a stick that you couldn't do on a pad.

Anyway, moving on.....the learning curve for fighting games is probably its biggest obstacle. Street Fighter is real popular with the hardcore (and some in the game press) because they know the game from a long time ago and are already familiar with basic moves and mechanics. But for the rest of the gamers out there who have never even heard of Ryu and Ken, SF4 can be a challenging game to learn. I think one of the key advantages that old players have over the newer ones trying to learn it is that they already know how most normal moves and special moves are already like, so the way they play is already influenced by what they remember from gaming long ago. Newer players are probably still surprised when they see a Sonic Boom or when Blanka launches a blanka ball upwards instead of forwards, or when some of Ryu's punches or Ken's kicks have to be blocked high....these are things older players know from experience from older games like SFII or SF Alpha, but are not too obvious to newer players. If there were a way to communicate simple concepts like these to the newer, Tekken/Soulcalibur-playing audience, in a way that they can easily remember or understand, then maybe SF would have an even wider audience today. That said, this is a challenge that only the game companies like Capcom, Namco Bandai, SNK or Arc System Works can answer to. They have to keep this current 'wave' of fighting games going, and they have to somehow grow the audience further, while at the same time, ensure that fighting games appeal to every type of player, from the ones who memorize things things like frame data, to the ones who just mash buttons and are just playing to have fun.

Virtua Fighter 5 for consoles had a really fantastic tutorial system (and I heard that earlier versions of VF had a tutorial that was even more detailed than the one for VF5)....other companies should take a cue from Sega and make tutorials that are far more advanced, and teach via experience, instead of simply showing which directions and buttons to press to execute moves and combos.

One more thing that perhaps fighting games can do later on is emphasize team play. This is one of the key reasons why first-person shooters are so popular with many gamers: it's simply more fun to play with other players on your side...that way you can ease the burden on the player when they're playing competitively . Also, there is something to be said about how players have more fun when they're playing side-by-side as opposed to always being at odds with each other. With online modes being capable of having more than 2 players at once, this is an idea that can probably be developed further, so that winning or losing can no longer become a solitary experience.

2009 really is the year of the fighting game. Here's to the continued growth of the genre in the months and years to come.

UPDATE on the Supposedly Leaked PS3 Slim

More rumors about the PS3 Slim that was in the Youtube video:

http://www.examiner.com/x-12218-Providence-Video-Game-Examiner~y2009m7d12-PS3-Slim-video-and-new-image



- The store supposedly had 2 PS3 Slim units.

- The PS3 Slim units were NOT packed in boxes (they were sold 'as is', as shown in the video)

- The PS3 Slim came with Playstation 3 accessories (cables) and 1 Dualshock 3 controller.

- The store claimed they tested it with Unreal Tournament 3

- It has a 120 GB hard drive.

- Both units have already been sold....rumors placed the price between PHP 12,000 ($250) to PHP 20,000+ (US$417)

- We have some idea where this store is; yes, it is in Greenhills, San Juan.

Playstation 3 Slim Spotted in the Philippines?

According to this post from Kotaku (and this video from Youtube), the PS3 slim was spotted in the Philippines.

http://kotaku.com/5317605/yes-i-know-about-the-damn-ps3-slim-video-[update]

The video:




What do I think?

I don't know if it's fake. I do find it sad that Kotaku takes every opportunity to portray our country as piracy heaven. I'd like to say that there are gamers here in the Philippines who do buy original products and original console games. The piracy issue is a real problem here, but there are gamers (like myself) who think that, if the hardware makers sold their products officially here, then maybe piracy could be discouraged. This is because having official presence here in the country would give gamers incentives to support buying original games and hardware. For example, if Xbox Live had a region for the Philippines, then people would have an incentive to actually support the original product(s) instead of buy the pirated versions of games. This is because they'd want to get access to all of Xbox Live features, like the multiplayer options and the ability to buy Xbox Live Arcade games.

Anyway, that's the only thing that concerned me in the post from Kotaku. Not that that's going to change the way they see our country, though. I've always hoped for official support for game consoles here because it would mean not just more inexpensive games and hardware and better support, but also more opportunities for Filipinos to excel in different fields. Anyway, once again, wishful thinking....I find it sad that our country is seen as the "sick man of Asia". Here's hoping the Philippines can change one day.

***

Oh, and as for that PS3 Slim? Here's hoping for a video of the thing actually booting up and playing a PS3 game. Then I'll believe it....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Street Fighter 4 Spotted in Timezone SM Megamall and Trinoma

According to reports from Pinoyxbox.

This is great news....now a lot more people here can try out this excellent fighting game!

Evolution 2009 Tournament Ongoing (July 17-19, Las Vegas USA)

Just some footage from the Evolution 2009 Fighting Game Championships taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA:




Live stream: http://www.evo2k.com/live/

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Virtua Fighter 5R's Insanely Awesome Replay Mode

It's a real shame that Virtua Fighter 5R isn't coming to home consoles. I was watching this video on Versuscity and was amazed by this feature for watching match replays....a feature for displaying frame data! Nothing like actually seeing this in a replay....this feature looks to be quite useful for someone who wants to analyze the game at a very deep level!

http://www.versuscity.net/2009/06/25/vf5r-now-supporting-frame-data-display/




Now THAT...is hardcore.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blazblue Strategy : Jin Kisaragi

I wouldn't say that this is a strategy that is 'fool-proof', it's just something that you can start with if you want to think about how exactly to play as Jin. Just something I posted on Pinoyxbox a week ago....

http://www.pinoyxbox.com/phpnuke/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=24377&start=105

***

Playing as Jin I'm trying not to abuse the ice car tactic too much since it loses its surprise factor at some point and it has really bad recovery when blocked. Watching the instructional DVD gave me a basic idea for a combo which I've been practicing in training. It seems useful for a Jin player just starting out....and since it's in the air, it looks very cool hehehe

(Note: does not work in the corner because somehow your opponent can air recover faster from that spot)

[On the ground...]

1. Start with Standing 'D' (or any other freeze)...basically freeze your opponent somehow.

2. A standing D can be dash-cancelled; so if you see the frame where Jin is just standing there with the ice wolf head sticking out, start pushing forward twice. If you froze with something else, basically just run up to your opponent as quickly as you can. Hold down FORWARD while you're running.

3. When you're close enough, without letting go of FORWARD, press 'C'. You'll get a forward slash which is kind of like an uppercut. Your opponent will be tossed forward.

4. You can cancel the forward slash in number 3 with a dash again. So while your opponent is being tossed forward, execute a dash again. But this time, just press Forward Forward to dash, but DO NOT HOLD Forward while running (it is not like step 2).

5. There is a small window of time when you can press 'C' to execute a standing straight slash to hit your opponent right before he can air recover or land on the ground. The timing for this is really small. I noticed you can do it when your opponent is on a very specific part of the screen. If you hit the standing straight slash, your opponent will bounce up.

6. At that instant when your standing straight slash hits your opponent, do a jump cancel. This is where you jump instantly after doing a normal standing straight slash. After jumping, press 'B' and then press 'C' consecutively for two hits.

[You're now in mid-air....]

7. Press UP again on the d-pad/stick to go even higher.

8. Press 'C' again, and on the way down, press 'D' in mid air to freeze your opponent again.

9. Finally, finish off with the strongest ice car (C version). Or, you could do the 'D' ice car, too, and freeze them all over again. The reason why I didn't recommend the 'D' ice car at the end is because you might not have enough meter to do the 'D' ice car, or you might want to save the meter for something else. Basically it's up to you by that point.

The combo in shorter notation, given the stick directions are indicated by:

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and cancels are indicated by xx:

[On the ground] 5D xx 66 (hold 6) xx 6C xx 66 (don't hold 6) xx 5C xx 9B [you're now in mid-air], 5C xx 9, 5C, 5D xx 214C [2 hit ice car] or 214D [ice car freeze]

You could start this combo even if you don't start with standing D since Jin has a lot of options for freezing. You could freeze with 2D or 9D or run up to someone and use 6D, or use 'blade of ice' (even the triple hit 'Dodge this!' variety).

The key is remembering all the steps of the combo, and executing it flawlessly for maximum damage. This is where the training area of the game really helps. Try it on the training dummy with all the settings on default at first. Then, to improve your practice, set all the settings on the page with recovery options to 'random' to tighten up your timing. When you've really got it down, set the recovery options for the AI to Neutral or Quick so that the A.I. can try to stop you from finishing your combo. Remember that when the HEAT combo meter is transparent, your combo probably won't work in a real combat situation. (the AI could have recovered out of your combo)

I myself haven't mastered this combo, it's quite tough; but I find it fun to do, and easier than SF4 Ryu's FADC Ultra combo :D There are probably even more ways to change up the combo. If you're good at catching counter hits you can probably do this even without needing to freeze somebody. You can counter hit with 5C, then cancel to 6C, then dash forward, do 5C again and begin the air combo. I'm not quick enough to react to counter hits, though....so personally I'd rely on freezing since it seems to be the safer option.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Timezone Launches Guitar Hero Arcade

A few months ago, Guitar Hero Arcade made its debut in the Philippines at Timezone Glorietta 4. The game was a huge hit with local arcade players, which has prompted Timezone to make the game available to their other branches in the Philippines. Thirdworldgamer was invited to their event to try out their latest Guitar Hero Arcade units, and to talk about the current arcade gaming scene.

Here are a few pictures from Timezone's "Guitar Hero Night", held on July 10, 2009:






Tuesday, July 07, 2009

BlazBlue - Bang Shishigami!

If you execute Bang Shishigami's Distortion Drive...you get this epic transformation sequence which happens alongside this anime-styled theme music. Just awesome :D



Here's another vid of the song; if you click the video, you'll get a youtube page with the lyrics on it:



Friday, July 03, 2009

Watch the Dead Space Ending + Final Boss on Youtube

Gamers considering getting this game for an extreme experience of gaming terror, don't spoil yourself by watching this video. Buy the game today; it's going to be totally worth it.

For the rest of us wimps who couldn't finish the game, here's a video of the last boss and the game's ending.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Giving Up On Dead Space



I've had enough of Dead Space (Xbox 360). It's just too disturbing for me. With all the shocks and gratuitous gore in the game, I've had to lower the volume on my home theater to a sound setting of '8' just so I can keep on playing the game. Despite that, the ultra-violence is just too much for me to take.

Granted, everything about the game is EXCELLENT. The GUI? Amazing. They implemented this system where movie dialogue playing back between your character and others is shown as a floating screen in front of your character. Everything else uses this fantastic system as well. Browsing your inventory, looking at your map, objectives, etc....they use this same system where graphical interfaces float in front of you, and it makes the game extremely seamless and immersive, because you never leave the 'game' environment to do other things like check your inventory, health, etc.

The in-game puzzles? Very creative. I liked a lot of the little challenges they put in the game and I think they tried their best to not make them too 'game-y'; for instance, there's this asteroid that you're supposed to remove from the ship that you land on in the game, and to do it, you have to go from different areas in both zero-gravity and in deep space (where there's absolutely no air, so you'll have to rely on your RIG's (your spacesuit's) limited supply of oxygen while you're out there). The puzzles they put in there are interesting and believable, given the scenarios the characters in the game are put through. I don't recall any puzzle which seemed out of place (at least, throughout my playthrough of chapters 1 through 8). The in-game maps where your adventures take place are also well laid out, and I never found myself lost thanks to the built-in waypoint system that points out where you're supposed to go.

The action gameplay itself, if appreciated far removed from the extreme violence, provides quite a good challenge. Your character is controlled from the third-person, and because of this, you won't be able to pull off fast 180-degree turns facing from one direction to another (as you would in an FPS like Counter-strike or Doom). Your character moves slowly, but it's obvious they did this in the interest of realism, and to heighten the horror aspects of the game.

To be honest, practically everything about this game is nearly perfect. A gripping storyline. Solid gameplay which rivals established horror franchises like Doom 3 or Resident Evil 5. Interesting puzzles with a variety of ideas...this game has it all. It also helps that the graphics, music, and sound effects are all top notch as well. Had this game been released around the time of Bioshock or Call of Duty, it would probably had been in the running for Game of the Year.

Which takes me to, what I feel, is the flaw of the game. And this flaw only applies to me. Because I know that other gamers out there might have a stronger stomach for this type of genre.

Dead Space, despite the myriad of game-related aspects that it gets right....is just too violent and disturbing.

And I can't explain my position on this quite well either. I've played violent games. I cringed the first time I saw a locust getting chainsawed in half in Gears of War. I finished Doom 3 on the PC, with most of the bells and whistles for the graphical effects turned on.

I've had my share of horror games. This is one of those few that has me screeching to a halt in terms of attempting to even finish it.

Picture this. To kill the monsters you have to dismember them. Every time you encounter a monster, you have to tear it limb by limb in order to kill it. Shooting enemies at their bodies won't kill them; you have to painstakingly rip them apart with whatever weapon(s) you have on hand.

Doing this the first time is fine. Doing this for the next six hours or so....it definitely gets to you. Is it repetitive? Not really. Because you only have to break about two or three limbs on a monster to kill them. So you never break the same two or three limbs twice.

Can you imagine how ridiculously sick that is?

Sometimes when I'm playing the game, my wife can't stand watching it because it's the same violent sequence every time during an encounter with enemies. And if they get close enough, you're treated to a face-to-face battle with whichever monster manages to get a grip on you. It's brutal and painful (looking) when you fail; your character gets ripped apart. And even if you're winning, you can really see your character wincing in agony, trying to get away from whatever monstrosity is trying to destroy him.

The game trudges along at an extremely horrifying pace. One minute, the ship is completely devoid of life. And the next minute, a four limbed freak shows up, literally out of nowhere, right behind you....

This happens a lot. And it never gets any easier, considering you're almost always nearly out of ammunition....and when you're out of ammo, you don't have that many viable options left to fight back.

It's exciting the first time you get in a monster encounter, sure.... But at some point, the way the game 'shocks' you with enemies from every nook and cranny becomes stressful, and the stress got to me. I can't believe it, to be honest...a game that's just too scary for me to even bother finishing it.

I'm sure there are gamers out there who are looking for the next level of horror games. This is definitely it. Dead Space does a lot of things right in every other aspect. Players looking for a terror-filled ride will get their fill. Dead Space is very intense, and it never lets up; it never gives you a break. You'll think you're used to the darkness of the maps or how the monsters attack you, but it will constantly surprise you with different scenarios or situations.

In that sense, it's actually a great game. At the same time, it just does too good of a job in scaring me away.