Thursday, August 30, 2012

Persona 4 Arena (PS3) Quick Review

Picked up Persona 4 Arena for the PS3 a few days ago. I've spent a little time with it and it's a great game. Atlus's Persona universe coupled with Arc System Works' grasp of fighting gameplay is a great combination. I only worry that this game will fall through the cracks, with TTT2 already due in a few weeks.

Quick run through of my thoughts on it:
  • The actual fighting game engine seems smoother than Blazblue, and the user interface is incredibly flashy. At times I find myself just admiring how good the UI is for this game.
  • Really simple for starters. All characters get a 'Mash weak punch' combo....basically you can just press one button, and get your character to do cool things that end with a super combo. Really nice, at least for me....I've never played the arcade version so this makes it feel worthwhile even if you just play it casually.
  • Story mode is done in Japanese 'Visual Novel' style. Will probably turn a lot of people off; it works for the niche 'anime' market but if you give it to a mainstream gamer they probably won't like it. I did enjoy it though. I'm glad they didn't go with the story style of Blazblue where everything is hinted at, or vague (like the TV show 'Lost'). This one is more straightforward.
  • When you figure out the moves and mechanics of the characters, the game becomes very hectic / fast. It reminds me of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 but (so far) none of the ridiculous inescapable tactics. Well, there was this one tactic from one of the characters, Kanji, that I couldn't escape originally. But over time (I think) i've figured out how to escape his throw mixup. So it doesn't get as completely crazy as MVC3, but it gets very close to it at times. 
Overall, this is a fun game. I like that the arcade mode has some semblance of exposition / "story". It still isn't superb in terms of storytelling, of course, but compare it to SFxT or other Capcom efforts and this seems golden in comparison. It also encouraged me to look for the Persona 4 animated series, which I'm also currently watching.(...it's quite funny! Great show so far, havent reached the end yet.)

So simply put, if you like fighting games, this is worth getting. If you like anime, this is worth investing some time indulging in, at least for the universe and characters which are great. If you're into Japanese styled artwork, this game has tons of it, and this game is worth owning just to admire the style and the art of it. If you're a mainstream gamer / COD4 kind of guy maybe this isn't your cup of tea. If you're waiting for TTT2, this will make the wait bearable. :) 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Missing The Action

I remember when the Xbox 360 and the PS3 were about to be introduced, there was a lot of excitement. There was a lot more to look forward to and following the gaming news was a lot more exciting.

Fast forward to today, and there's just too much secrecy with these new systems. With the stuff that was revealed (that game from Ubisoft which was supposedly next-gen)...it's great, but not really a huge leap.

Maybe I'm just getting older, but what I've seen so far isn't that exciting. I do want it to be but it just isn't. Also, a lot of the gaming news these days doesn't really paint a great picture for game development. People getting laid off immediately after a game becomes a success; developers just ignoring their fans' feedback; game prices getting higher even if the content isn't that much better....it's not a great time for console games. It just feels unexciting. I've had more fun following the film industry than gaming lately....with the 'superhero' movie finally getting actualized with 'The Avengers' and 'The Dark Knight / Rises'....those were a lot more interesting to me lately.

The other week I was watching some videos from 'The Angry Video Game Nerd'. I really enjoyed the video he made about SNES vs. Genesis. Man, those were the best of times. I don't know, maybe it's just age talking....I hate feeling this way but these days it's hard to get excited for console games.

It doesn't help that these 'current gen' machines are still ridiculously expensive, even after years of being on the market. The masses still play on older systems and you can't blame them. Maybe that's why people aren't buying games. It's not really that there are used games or pirated games....it's just not accessible at all. I can't explain how games like 'Angry Birds' can be priced under 5 dollars and deliver months of value to people, and you have these big triple A titles that just last for 10 hours.

Gaming's not in the best place right now. I hope that changes soon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Possible Solution for PS3 NAT TYPE 3 on Globe Telecom PROLINK Modems!

Long time no post...been busy with work but still gaming on the side when I have the time. One thing I have been trying to fix for practically months now is getting NAT TYPE 3 on my Playstation 3 when connected wirelessly via a Linksys WRT120N Router connected to Globe Telecom's PROLINK Modem/Router.

NAT TYPE 2 is the ideal set up to find games online easily and to connect to more players.

I'll probably update this post some time later today to clarify some things...in a rush because I'm also working...

Here was my setup before:

Linksys WRT120N
- Has DHCP Server On
- Getting an IP address from the Globe modem of 192.168.254.x

Prolink Modem from Globe
- Apparently also a router of some kind
- The public/dynamic(?) IP address from Globe was in this device and not in the WRT120N device, as evidenced by an address that was not 192.168.x.x
- Username and password was in the Prolink device.

After reading a LOT of information online, including this one:
http://conradmiguel.com/globe-broadband-setting-up-prolink-hurricane-5200-with-linksys-wrt54g2

I finally fixed it. The answer isn't in the blog post above itself, but in one of the comments at the bottom of it. As simply as I can possibly put it....both devices I had were routers. Globe's Prolink Modem was a router. My wifi router, of course, is the same thing. So the wifi router was assigning private network IP's like 192.168.x.x..and Globe's prolink device was also doing the same, assigning 192.168.x.x to the wifi router. Our network was following the wifi router's IPs, but somehow having this setup causes NAT Type 3 because when your packets go out of your network, it has to be translated twice. The first time, in the wifi router. The second time, in the Prolink modem/router. So to fix it, you have to disable the router functionality of the wifi router (the WRT120N).

Other solutions say you should bridge the two routers, but i thought that was a bad idea, since you would have to delete some settings on your Globe router.

The very last thing you would want to do when fiddling around with your internet access here in the Philippines is change the settings on the service provider's router. Calling Globe you will just get the lousy canned 'Is your modem plugged in? How many lights are you seeing?' replies from their customer support team. Not that they're bad customer support...but it's just hassle to go through the whole step-by-step troubleshooting thing where they start with the dumbest mistakes then let you wait a day or two for a technician. Not fun.

So I don't recommend bridging routers. Extremely bad idea to delete Globe settings in Globe modem. Trust me on this.

At least with the router you have you can just hit RESET and consult all the available manuals (whether online or in the box) to put your network back together again.

So here's how i did it:

On the router you own (in this case, my WRT120N)

1) Plug in via a LAN cable to the WRT120N. Log in to your router. Instructions to do this vary between routers. I found how to do it online.

2) There's a page on your router configuration that tells you what IP your router got from your modem. Write it down. It's usually something like 192.168.254.x where X is a number; in my case it was 100.

2.1) Write down the Subnet mask and Gateway. For mine it was 255.255.255.x (Subnet), Gateway 192.168.254.1

3) Now go to the Basic setup page of your router

4) It says that your router is set up to 'Automatic Configuration DHCP' or something like that. Change it to STATIC IP.

5) Now, put in the addresses that you got from step 2 and 2.1 as the Static IP, Subnet Mask and Gateway, respectively.

6) For DNS put in the Gateway value.

7) Turn off/Disable the DHCP server setting. It's on the same page as the Static IP stuff.
7.1) On the WRT120N for some reason it needs a second IP, a 'router IP' other than the Static IP. Put in 192.168.254.x + 1, where X is the value you put in step 2 above. For instance if you put in 192.168.254.100 in the static IP, put in 192.168.254.101 here. Simple, right?

8) Look in your configuration pages for a setting that says NAT: Enabled. Disable this.

9) In my case I also disabled this other stuff, though I dont know if its necessary:
a) Any port forwarding / single port forwarding settings that were enabled, were disabled again.
b) DMZ on WRT120N was disabled.
c) Firewall on WRT120N was disabled.
d) This is probably specific to my previous setup - disable MAC ADDRESS CLONING. Some people may not use this so you can ignore this step unless you know what this does.

After doing all the above steps your router should be just a plain 'access point'. It won't function as a router like before. This will pass that duty to the Prolink router/modem.

Now, unplug the cable connected to the WAN port of the WRT120N. Plug it in to ANY of the LAN ports on the WRT120N.

Check on another device, like a laptop, if wifi is working. After all these steps you may get some hiccups on the internet on your laptop. So reboot your laptop, then see if you can connect to your wifi network.

Try looking for your WRT120N in Windows, it should still be visible despite the changes. Check the STATUS page of your network card. If the address you get on your laptop is 192.168.254.x (where x is between 100 to 200) then the new configuration is working!

If not....hmm i'm not sure. Just reset your router and set your network back to the way it was....this may be too complicated for you....

Like I said, it took me MONTHS to do this, so forgive me if this complicated post is too, err....complicated! But if you can understand it...it's really useful information!

After connecting, confirm internet is on by surfing to any site.

If you can surf, you've sucesssfully done the first few steps. Now we will put the PS3 in the DMZ so it can easily connect to other PS3s out there in the 'wild'.

10) Log in to your Prolink modem. Check instructions http://conradmiguel.com/globe-broadband-setting-up-prolink-hurricane-5200-with-linksys-wrt54g2 The username and password is there. In my case it was 192.168.254.1/globe

11) Go to WAN settings

12) There's a UPNP setting page there. It's enabled but one of the select boxes has nothing in it. Select "PPPOE 1" (there's likely an option when you open the drop down, the first option is the right one)

13) Go to DMZ settings

14) Enable DMZ, then type in an IP address. It should be the same format as your router, 192.168.254.x. In my case I used 192.168.254.150. You can choose any number between 100 - 200, i think....

15) Save your settings on the prolink device.

16) Anyway, on your PS3, go to your Network settings then put in the IP address you set up for DMZ in Step 14. Subnet Mask and Gateway follow the one you got in Step 2.1. DNS can be the same as your gateway, or any public DNS like Google's 8.8.8.8 , 8.8.4.4 or 208.67.220.220, 208.67.222.222

17) Everything else should be default in Network Settings on your PS3, except for UPNP. You enabled that on the Prolink device in step 12. Enable it in Network Settings on your PS3.

18) Try 'Test Connection'. You should get NAT TYPE 2 now!

In NAT Type 2 with my Japan PS3 PSN account, I get a lot of matches in Street Fighter X Tekken...and here I was thinking nobody was playing the game anymore! I could barely finish a CPU match while waiting for a game.

UPNP being enabled should (theoretically) help any PCs in your network find games as well. Or, you could put in the DMZ IP address in your PC when playing a game on that. But that means your PS3 and PC can't play at the same time.

Hope this helps anyone in the Philippines trying to fix that pesky NAT TYPE 3 problem on Globe Telecom DSL / Prolink modems. Simply put, don't have two routers running at the same time. Only one device should do the routing. All these steps just made one router into an 'access point' that doesnt do routing duties on the local network. Any other router other than WRT120N should benefit from a solution just like this one, though the steps may be different for steps 1 - 9a,b,c

Another way to fix this is to just directly plug your Prolink modem to your PS3, but I doubt your immediate family will like that solution.....