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)

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.



Monday, July 20, 2009

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

Note that the following are indicators for directions:


* 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:


- 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.


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!


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....



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:


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.

More Incredible Screenshots for Forza Motorsport 3

Click to see full size versions.