Vocaloids, Assassins, Pomeranians and Boobs Oh my!

Hi there! How are you? Good? Alright, well pull up a chair and take a seat and...oh, you're already sitting? Well just I dunno read then man. You don't gotta be a dick about it. Anyways, point is I've been playing some god damn vidya games over the past few months and I've had the "Oh, I feel like saying something about this!" but more than a few times however when I write a blog post I like to write a motherfucking blog post something meaty something that people can dig in and read. And TBH last blog I wrote was my ode to Sir Ryan Davis haven't had the gusto to conjure up anything meaningful.

I only really like to write when I have something meaningful to say when I write a blog otherwise I'll just stick to forum posts. So, I figured hey, I've got all these games I've played now over the summer lets write a short paragraph about all of them then by that time I'll have a decent blog. So, thats the plan! So without further adieu......

Ah, Dragon's crown. Target of so much controversy over something that personally I feel was way way blown out of proportion. I first heard about this game like many others back when it was first really announced as a thing I think that that point in time it was only a Vita release and Shane Bettenhausen was still with Vanillaware instead of Sony. I've kind of had this in my radar over the years and decided that it looked cool enough to dig into. So first thing people will notice is that this game looks like a beat em' up. I can assure you it has way more depth than just a standard beat em' up.

You may be running the same 9 maps over and over again over the course of your play time but between the maps having multiple routes and secret rooms things stay fresh enough especially when jumping from difficulty to difficulty that I never really grew tired of any of the maps. Playing co-op at some point is an absolute MUST at some point. I had the good luck of having a friend who was pretty excited about it herself so I always had someone to play with. This game is for sure going to be on my end of year list of favorite things. Fun game, great art , fantastic music just an absolute delight to play. The only knock is there is no voice chat so hopefully you have handy access to skype or something while you're playing if you're doing co-op with a friend.

Oh Divekick. What a fucking insanely dumb dumb videogame. Divekick is an amazing game because I feel its really a great showpiece on how good game design can trump all sorts of technical bells and whistles. The game is simple enough simple enough that you can explain it to a friend in two minutes and they will get it. Yet, for all of its simplicity it still retains a genuine competitiveness and depth to it that some games that strive to be just that don't.

I've seen people's complaints about the game I've seen the detractors say how the game only would work if you knew the in-jokes or how it would be fun for an hour then the joke would be over. Well, despite still fervently waiting for a patch to help iron out matchmaking woes I've managed to play nearly 100 matches online. And its still a really fun game and I still want to keep going back to it from time to time. I've played it now with multiple friends who while they are gamers don't follow any video game news really much less anything related to the FGC. Thing is though that seemingly doesn't matter after quickly explaining it they've all had fun and picked up the game really quickly. Its a fantastic party game and fun to play online and bop people. Really, for $10 how have you not bought this especially on PSN where you get both the PS3 and Vita versions for just one low low price? Go, buy Divekick and have fun.

So here is a game I never thought I would have liked. I had a periphery working knowledge of what the Project Diva series and the Vocaloid software was but I had never really actually bothered to understand what the games truly were or anything beyond the few YouTube videos I had seen. Then I saw a random Facebook post months ago where Sega of America told Hatsune Miku fans if they could get 100k likes on that post that they would consider bringing Hatsune Miku and her friends to North America for the very first time. I then was re-interested when I saw Kotaku post that the game was indeed going to get a state-side release.

After I played the demo that released earlier in the summer I was hooked. If you remove all of the anime and vocaloid nonsense you're still left with what is an excellent rhythm game. You use the face buttons to hit one of the button shaped notes on the screen. Unlike a game like Rockband that has a defined "note highway" the notes in Project Diva can come anywhere on the screen and they will often use visual trickery to try to throw you off your game. Its a highly mentally engaging game forcing you to keep track of multiple things at one time while maintaining your rhythm and not being distracted by the fancy music video playing in the back ground. Oh, and did I mention this game has a full music video editor that you can import your MP3's into and make your own songs? The value in this game is astronomical and the presentation with the anime characters like Miku and friends only top off what underneath is a fundamentally sound game. Its a highly engaging video game and I really urge everyone to give it a try. You can download it on PSN right now or if you can manage to find one buy a physical copy. If you would like a more detailed and by all means slightly more informed post specifically about this game our good friend @hailinel has an excellent write up on the game and his experience with it here.

Tokyo Jungle was a game I had been meaning to get around to playing for a long while. I saw it come out last year and regrettably did not buy it. Then it went on sale for the insane price of $3.75 on PSN and I figured that at this point there was no use to not buy it because I spend like twice that buying lunch every single day. I don't know what I can say that really hasn't already been covered by Patrick or others last year on the game but I really enjoyed my time with it. I've kind of set it to the side although I've categorized it as a "podcast game" so if I get a backlog of podcasts I'll probably jump right back in while I get through them. I don't know if anyone else did but I got a real "Dark Souls" sort of vibe from the game with the fact that the trials were usually pretty harsh at times and failure evoked often much frustration but success lead to great reward and feeling of accomplishment. Keeping this one short cause I really don't have much to add to the conversation but wanted to just hit on it.

So, if I told you Killer is Dead is one of my favorite games of the year so far would you think I'm crazy? Well, regardless it is. I think it is by far Suda51's best work to date. And that is saying something considering I'm a huge fan of his. I've played every single release of his and enjoyed them all albeit usually with a few caveats. I think Killer is Dead is a genuinely fun,engaging and interesting game. First things first the combat. The combat is fantastic. It plays off of the basic concepts and combat model of No More Heroes. You have a Katana and you have melee strikes which stun opponents. Sound familiar? It should if you played NMH. Where KiD gets interesting is all of the unlockable moves that help flesh out the combat. For instance a well timed dodge of a ranged enemies bullet on the last frame will allow Mondo to instantly kill that enemy with a counter-head shot from his gun-arm.

Mika is the most annoying thing eeeeeevar.

Well timed "Just-Guard's" allow Mondo to open up bosses and wreak havoc on them while they are stunned. The actual combat is simple but the mechanics around if of perfect timed blocks/parries and dodges leave you feeling like a absolute bad-ass as you shred rooms full of flunkys. Enemies get progressively harder and start to have weird quirks to them. Some enemies you can only kill by cutting their heads off with an "Adrenaline Burst" however, you can only do this after destroying all of the armor on them. Making them for all intense invincible until you manage to bash the armor off. Its a challenging game as well boss fights will throw even some of the most skilled action gamer on the ropes on the harder difficulties the first time you play through the game. Following up on the combat is the insanely slick presentation.

I'm not lying when I say flat out some of my favorite presentation in a video game ever. The way the music in conjunction with the really slick visual style really makes it a distinct game. I know people have thrown the game under the bus for the Gigolo missions but honestly I think you're taking the game way to seriously if your offended by that shit. Sorry. The story will come off to most people as indecipherable garbage at first. If you're willing to dig what lies underneath the surface is actually something that seems way more interesting than anything Suda has written before. Thing is the story isn't handed to you on a sliver platter. Most people don't like that so.... I guess they just shrugged it off. Another game you can expect to see on my end of year list. 40 hours and still going cleaning up the last few trophies and challenges.

Oh hey... Dead or Alive 5. Wait... didn't I do this last year? Oh yeah, right this is a Team Ninja game of course it got a re-release. *glares at his 20 different versions of Ninja Gaiden* So, this thing came out and its pretty cool I guess. I've already played like 40 hours since last Tuesday. Including a bunch of online. Its pretty much the same damn game except for they added 5 characters which weren't in the previous game ,some stages, music and a few new mechanics like the Power Blow and a few overhauled mechanics in Tag Mode (yay neutral grabs are back in tag mode?)

She Kicks high. Yep.

Anyways, I kind of feel along with Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor's Edge that this was the game they should have released in the first place. I should know better at this point than to jump in on the vanilla version but I'm a goddamn sucker for Team Ninja shit. I even bought the stupid $40 costume pack. Yeah, I'm part of the problem and I wanted some goddamn bikini's. (for the record though some of the Santa costumes in that pack are reaaaaal fucking good as well) Anyways, I'm still playing this actively and as soon as I'm done with this going to go play some more. I'm really loving the new characters. Rachel and Momiji I pretty much instantly gravitated to. Which is pretty funny because I haaaated Rachel in Ninja Gaiden. Like, her levels in Sigma were awful and she's just and all around bad character. Okay well, before I go off into a full on anti-Rachel diatribe let me just end this with buy this fucking game (or don't a limited version is free on PSN!) its only $40 and its a great goddamn fighting game. And like before I'll have to recommend that you want another more informed opinion on this game go read my Jay Leno loving , Canadian friend @ajayraz blog over here. Also, while I'm mentioning Ajay I'm not going to be remiss to take a chance to post this video of me ending his 60+ online winning streak the other night. Thats all folks! Thanks for reading if you did and as promised here is me beating Ajay:

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We are Giantbomb and we are proud.

So, I'm almost at 10,000 posts. My intention for the last few months knowing this was growing ever closer was to write something up on my 10,000'th post about why I love this community so much that I've in little over 2 years gotten to this number of posts as I really didn't start posting on the fourms until late 2010.

However, in light of yesterday's news I felt now was the time to make this. I first stumbled upon Giantbomb in early 2010 I was looking for a new podcast to keep my attention and having been part of other internet communities at the time the Bombcast always was mentioned in podcast talk. I got hooked pretty straight away on the podcast but that was it. Then, I started posting on the fourms and slowly but surely I fell in love with not only the core crew but you bastards on here as well.

No matter if its my wrestling brothers like @milkman, @turboman , @gunslingerpanda ( and the rest of you guys love you all) or the duders I've talked about fighting games with like @mrfluke and of course @ajayraz my Final Fantasy XIII defense force @animasta and @hailinel and everyone in between (even those weirdos in the anime thread like @cloudenvy) I love all of you guys I love arguing over stupid stuff like Boneless vs Bone-in chicken. It helps take my mind often off the shitty circumstances that life sometimes has to offer us.

And to the core crew thank you guys as well @alex your sardonic wit and humor makes the worst video games on the planet some of the most entertaining coverage on the site. @patrickklepek your willingness to actually try games off the beaten path and dig into stuff the rest of the guys won't touch is always appreciated. Can't wait to see you get to dig deeper in the future. @drewbert You're always so well informed on the topics you talk about and I could listen to you talk for hours. The North Korea video is still one of my favorite things on the site. @brad You've absolutely been in some of my favorite moments in the site I don't think I've ever been more pumped when you finally got your Mile High achievement. @vinny If being an all around nice dude was an illness you would have a terminal case of it. I love your always constantly positive attitude even in the worst of situations. You're one of the best video editors around. @rorie Oh man, I just wanna hug you and talk about puppies and Dark Souls. I really always appreciate you going out of your way to respond to me no matter if its on twitter or on the forums here. Hiring you was one of the best things Giantbomb has done. I hope your here for awhile.

And @snide you may not be around anymore but god damn if I don't seriously appreciate all the work you put into the site. I know you had a wedding to plan and a kid on the way and still you didn't cut corners on the site. I appreciate all your work I hope we see you on video content again soon. @jeff You are absolutely one of the reasons I started coming here. You're expansive knowledge on games is impressive but whats most impressive is the extra mile you always go to give back to the community or make us laugh with dumb shit like the Nintendo Download Xpress. I mean seriously who fucking does a podcast about Nintendo releases? You make me feel like I constantly have made the right decision to now for the last two years give you guys money.

Oh and @ryan I never did interact with you much in fact you blocked me on twitter for reasons entirely unknown to me but you were the absolute best host I've seen on live video content on the internet. Quite possibly on anything really. The way you paired people up the way you drilled them to ask the questions you wanted. You absolutely knew how to control the show in the way that would be most entertaining for the people watching. You went way too soon. You left a legacy here though a blueprint for not only to do video game coverage but how to live your life. Loud and laughing not afraid to ask questions or tell the truth. I'll miss hearing you every Tuesday.

And of course I love all the other various guests and friends of the bomb crew that come and go on the site. This site as a whole has given so much to me. We may fight every so often there may be that asshole that sneaks in the door but for the most part we're family here and we take care of our own. And just like Ryan said. Nothing can stop the bombcast and nothing can stop us. We are Giantbomb.

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Ryan Davis was the best professional wrestler that never was.

I was at work sometime over the weekend when a sporadic thought popped into my head. Ryan Davis is the best professional wrestler that never was. See, in wrestling there is a classic setup of the face and the heel a.k.a the good guy and the bad guy. The thing is anyone who follows wrestling outside of the ring knows some of the most vilified characters are also the guys with the biggest hearts in real life.

Ryan was an expert at being frank and giving Will Smith or whoever the right amount of shit. If its one thing Ryan had its character and plenty of it. And like a professional wrestler you often got a very larger than life version of him when he was on camera. He had such an ability to gel with just about anyone and turn just about any situation into a side splitting affair with his sardonic brand of humor. Giantbomb is the first and only website that I own a subscription to partly its because of Ryan.

When they announced the premium features and were touting features that were behind pay wall I was admittedly a bit annoyed. Then Ryan and Dave made a podcast detailing everything. When Ryan told me that they were going to put their best effort into making every cent we paid worth it I believed him. I'll miss Ryan Davis immensely. Its odd that I'm sitting here so torn up over a man that I never met but that's just it and why I love Giantbomb. We're family here. And no matter if you're one of the core crew, engineers or frequent forum goers I love you guys just the same. Just like Ryan said NOTHING stops the Bombcast. We'll mourn but we'll come back stronger than ever. Its the way Ryan would have wanted it.

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Dragon's Dogma Has Stolen My Heart Again.

Okay, so when I stepped away from Dragon's Dogma last year I had upwards of over 100 hours logged into the game. I think it was actually nearing 170-ish as I played through the entire game nearly 3 times. At this point I thought I was done with Dragon's Dogma. I was wrong.

Late last year Capcom released a teaser trailer announcing what everyone thought was a bit of DLC called "Dark Arisen". They went dark and then earlier this year it was revealed that Dark Arisen would be a entire re-release treatment similar to Super Street Fighter. The rest as they say is history as I'm staring at a clock counter 90+ hours deep on a new file on the PS3 version this time of Dark Arisen.

Hanging out in Gran Soren.

Whats funny is for a game that I've put this much time into I nearly didn't bother with it at all. When I saw capcom was doing this I thought it looked so generic and boring and well... kind of awful. I'll admit even as a fan now from the outside Dragon's Dogma isn't a very appealing game. It does nothing visually to catch your attention at all. I owe my entire discovery of this game to my friend.

He hounded me for weeks on end to try out the Dragon's Dogma demo. I played it once died a few times and turned it off. I always feel guilty about dismissing a game after I play poorly so I tried it again. I managed to climb on the Griffin in the demo and was slashing the crap out of it holding on for my life as it thrashed around. The mage in my party lit it wings on fire and music kicked up as I rode this flaming monster as it crashed unceremoniously into the ground. I was hooked.

So as I've been playing Dark Arisen and enjoying both the new content and the main game again I've been trying to pinpoint what exactly is so appealing about this game to me. Its a game that isn't without its fair share of quirks and problems but I think I actively regard it as one of my top 5 RPG's of this generation. So join me as I try to take a thought journey into Dragon's Dogma.

No big deal, just slaying an Armored Cyclops.

C-C-Combo Breaker! : The Combat of Dragon's Dogma

If you've followed or played Dragon's Dogma at all you've undoubtedly heard talk about how great the combat was. Its really the main pillar of the game and one that really holds it all together. So, I don't want to assume everyone here has thrown multiple hours into this so I'll give a brief overview of how it works if you've never played the game before. Basically you can choose initially one of three vocations Mage, Fighter and Strider. The controls are pretty simple basic light and heavy attacks along with a modifier button that acts as a modifier allowing your basic attack buttons to activate skills/spells instead.

What makes this so fun to play around with is that at level 10 the world really opens up to you with the addition of six more classes. There are three advanced classes like Warrior, Ranger, Sorcerer and three Hybrid classes Magick Archer, Magick Knight and Assassin. The thing I really love is this allows you for really customized classes. You CAN be every class and viably play the game. What is better many of your passive skills known as "augments" can be learned on one class and still used and applied while being an entirely other class.

On top of the behind the scenes stuff the actual combat in motion is great as well. The combat itself works very much like Monster Hunter in a few ways. The animations are very deliberate and all of the classes play very differently. You really need to not only build a party that complements your abilities but know how to engage enemies properly. If you're a mage that gets too close to the ogre swinging around wildly you're going to pay. While on the other hand if you're a tank who isn't in there pulling aggro away from your healer she might get smacked off a ledge and then you'll be up a creek.

Targeting body parts on monster and enemies is also a big focus which is really fun to do. Hitting a Cyclops in the face will result in its tusk breaking off not only causing damage but providing a extra bit of loot. The thing that really sets the combat apart though is how it lets you clamber and climb on nearly EVERYTHING in the game. As I mentioned before in my story of my fight in the demo with the Griffin clambering onto monsters is a thing. This can lead to some crazy moments. The risk and reward of these moments is one of the great thrills of the game. Clambering up the back of an Ogre could lead to you being able to get to its head allowing you to really get some damage in. However, the Ogre could simply jump on his back killing you or run off of a cliff taking you with him. Controlling and shaping the fights to your advantage is a huge part of the combat as well.

Not sure how knives work on skeletons but hey....

Darkness is a big deal in Dragon's Dogma. And I don't mean in the good versus evil sort of way. Night is DARK and when I say dark I don't mean its sort of uncomfortable but hey I can still see dark. I mean... DARK you can't see dark. To this end the game gives you a lantern but here is the catch... the lantern also runs on fuel and can also go out if you splash around in the water. There is nothing like fighting an Cyclops on a perilous ledge near a cliff when all of a sudden your lantern goes out leaving the giant beast swinging its club through the darkness. Not only does the game put you in positions that are uncomfortable and perilous its just straight up more dangerous at lower levels to go out after dark. Goblins are replaced on the roads by the undead, skeletons and if you're really unlucky a Wight.

This premise is really exciting at least at the beginning of the game its a shame and one of the biggest things I feel the game failed on delivering consistently through the game. It would have been great even as a beefed up level 100 to be terrified to be caught in the dark. The tension of the early hours of Dragon's Dogma's combat is fantastic. Much like Dark Souls you'll find yourself being very cautious. Too much exploration could lead to a chance early encounter with a wandering Chimera.

Even though the feel for the combat takes some getting used to and some of the aspects of the tension of the combat only work for so long the entire package of all of these things is what is so fascinating about the combat. You're just not getting stat boosts and mashing an attack button you're actively seeking out weak points on monsters and engaging each of them in different ways. You're mixing and matching abilities to make custom classes. Its active combat that really allows you to show off your reflexive skills as well as getting better through new gear and stat boosts. And its absolutely a blast.

That is one angry bird...er bird-lizard thing...

You're My Bitch: Dragon's Dogma's Pawn System

One of the most innovative and original things that Dragon's Dogma puts forward as a game in its genre is the pawn system. What is the pawn system you say? Well, to put it bluntly your pawn is your side-kick. He or She accompanies your main character on their journeys around the land. What is unique about this system is how this system connects players from all over the world.

So, say you are a Strider and you decided to make your pawn a Fighter. You're now sorely lacking a healer aren't you? This is where the pawn system comes in. The game allows you to hire other players pawns. Which allows this single player only game to have a unique take on multiplayer connectivity. If your pawn is hired out you get rewarded with Rift Crystals. There is nothing better than seeing your pawn being rented out on a regular basis. Its weird too outside of some light in-fiction justification of the pawns there is no real story to speak of between you and your pawn. I however at least have on both of my characters I've made gotten actually kind of attached to my pawns. I've been happy when they save the day, concerned when they are in a perilous situation and even felt bad the few times I've not been able to save her.

Even if Dragon's Dogma doesn't get a proper sequel I hope they actually use this feature in other single player games. Like Dark Souls its a interesting way to add connectivity and multiplayer without making it nothing but death matches and standard Co-op and I find that interesting. Its pretty cool to be making tandem progress in the game with a friend and seeing how their pawn updates and changes over the course of the game. But no seriously... this game better get a sequel...

I'm sure he doesn't bite, right?

I'm just going to borrow your heart for a bit you're cool with that right, bro? (a.k.a the story)

So, the story in Dragon's Dogma is a peculiar thing.... cause like for most of the game there is none. The setup for your adventure is clear enough. A dragon appears and attacks your small fishing village. Your character inexplicably tries to fight the thing single handedly. Needless to say that doesn't go to well and the dragon decides to eat your heart. And there is your entire setup for the story. Oh, you ask about the whole being alive without your heart thing? Oh uh well that gets explained...just play the game.

Thing is for what turns into a lot of quests that end up not having a entirely a lot to do with actually making narrative progress on this front the last third or so of the game is NUTS. See, I'm at a impasse here now. I really want to talk in detail WHY the ending is as crazy as it is but If you haven't already played it you would be robbing yourself of a rather mind blowing few series of events.

Needless to say the story is ultimately is one of the bigger failings of Dragon's Dogma for what ends up being such an incredible premise they sure to take their time giving you anything to chew on plot wise. The other thing is that while I do adore what they do with the story and where it goes the characters aren't all that memorable. Which, again is sort of a shame. I'm really hoping again like with the pawn system Capcom learns from all of this and makes the story in a possible sequel even better. But no, seriously you need to see the final bits of this game its pretty crazy....

Some of the scenery is absolutely stunning on Bitter Black Isle.

You got your dark souls in my Dragon's Dogma - The Dark Arisen Expansion

This next part is for people who are interested in hearing how the new content is so if you're interested in that... then continue reading! So, one thing that kept running through my head over and over while playing this expansion. Someone at Capcom really likes them some Dark Souls. The entirety of Bitter Black Isle is oppressive and ominous in nature. Also, like Dark Souls the Isle is a linear affair unlike the open world of Gransys. You will unlock shortcuts after bosses that all connect back to the main hub area with a rest spot and a NPC called Olgra who will let you access your inventory etc....

I dunno, does that sound familiar? Yeah? Glad we agree. But this expansion isn't all about aping Dark Souls. It brings a few new mechanics to the table. First off the base enemies in BBI are fucking brutal as is. I really suggest not even attempting anything until you are at LEAST level 50. Even at level 50 I found my self struggling a little bit with some of the enemies. So right, new mechanics. One of these you'll be introduced to pretty early on. You know Death right? Oh you know... carries a Scythe reaps the souls of the dead that whole thing? Yeah? Good. So you totally fight Death in this. What is interesting isn't necessarily that you fight him but that fighting him is a tall task. He is by far one of the most dangerous enemies in the game period.

Deeper into the dungeon we go.....

What is more interesting is this is a fight that you aren't going to win right away because death will randomly appear and disappear assailing you when he sees fit. All the damage you do to him is permanent as well. So next time he appears he will retain any damage from your previous encounters. And when I say he appears at random he will absolutely appear at the worst possible junctures making crazy fights even more perilous.

The other thing that is new but well sort of along the lines of the Death fight but in another way is the introduction of "Carrion Creatures". Carrion creatures are extremely powerful beasts that will take the form of either a Garm (a giant dog like creature) or a Elder Ogre (he is a fan of drop kicks). The basis of when they appear depends on how much you kill. They are attracted by the rotting corpses of the enemies that you kill. So, the more you kill the more you have the chance of ironically putting yourself in even MORE danger. These monsters are no laughing matter either especially Elder Ogres even at level 90 now the things are still a pretty tall task for me to take out.

In addition to all the new enemies and stuff the game packs in some cool new mechanics with how you get the new weapons, armor and items that have been put into the Dark Arisen Expansion. In the main game you open a chest and you find a weapon right? Dark Arisen puts a tweak on the treasure hunting in this expansion. Instead of flat out finding a weapon or a armor you'll find what is known as a "Cursed Item" the description will tell you what kind of item it is Cursed Weapon, Cursed Armor etc...

However, you won't know WHAT weapon or armor piece you are going to get until you take it Olgra and have her purify it. Once you purify it its basically like opening up a pack of trading cards you have a chance to get some really killer weapons and armor but then again... you could also get something you have 4 or 5 of sitting in your bank. All in all I'd say if you ran straight through Bitter Black Isle would take you around 2-3 hours to get through. There is plenty of optional fights and quests to be had though. I'm really having fun with it. As is evident by me putting off writing this for days because I could hardly tear myself away from playing.

Meet Musubi my Arisen!

Okay I'm going to quit writing so I can play some more. - The End?!

So I dunno what I really accomplished here. I know I've just felt like writing something about Dragon's Dogma for awhile (oh and using this awesome screenshots I was able to take!) so hopefully I might have encouraged a person or two to try this game or if you have and quit give it another go. Despite much of its chunkiness its a game that has real heart (pun intended?!). And to those who might be on the fence on coming back for Dark Arisen I at least think its MUCH worth coming back for. They even fixed a ton of things in the base game (hey how about that new roll animation!) which is a much welcomed addition. I'm kind of running low on things to say at this point so I suppose I'll wrap it up with this. Dragon's Dogma is really one of my favorite games this generation and I hope we see a sequel. I'll be excited to see what Capcom does with this.

If anyone is playing and wants to hire my pawns both my PSN and Xbox Live is "Demoskinos" my pawns "Risty"(360) and "Momiji"(PS3) will be glad to help you out. Although, I'm playing currently on PS3 so....Risty will most likely not be updated any time soon but by all means still hire her. Now...to go play some more.....

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The Ninja Gaiden this SHOULD have been the first time (mini-review)

So me like many others bought Ninja Gaiden 3 about a year ago from this time. There were two types of people people that outright hated it and the rest of us who didn't hate it but still were left kind of shrugging our shoulders wondering what went wrong. Well, then we hear tale of a fixed version for the WiiU and it comes out and it gets better reviews and.... I don't have a WiiU. So, now comes a reduced priced version of the WiiU version of Ninja Gaiden 3 with all the DLC from the vanilla game and RE on WiiU bundled for $40.

I think they hit the right price here and the game feels a TON better. Combat flows better for multiple reasons. One is the steel on bone mechanic has been revised to be more of a counter mechanic now. When an enemy's hand glows red as he attacks that is indication he is going to to a strong attack if you counter with a strong attack of your own you instantly get to kill him and if any of his buddies are near by you can chain SoB attacks with up to 3 additional enemies. This rewards precision timing with potentially room clearing ability. Second is a overhaul of the Ultimate Technique and Ninpo Systems they have given Ryu Back all of his former Ninpo abilities from Ninja Gaiden 2 (minus the Flaming Pheonix) and overhauled the Ultimate Technique system to work much like it did in previous games.

You can now charge UT's for your weapons whenever you want like previous games instead of only being able to when the game prompts you. Also added is a "bloody rage" mode I'm not entirely sure what activates it I'm guessing a kill streak without being hit but once one is activated it activates a score multiplier that keeps growing as you kill more enemies. Very useful for score runs.

The weapons are all back too! The Dragon Sword, Claws, Scythe, Staff, Kasuri-Gama and Dual Katana all make appearances. Also added are two brand new Ayane Story missions which are some of the best missions in the games. If you played Sigma 2 then you know that Ayane's mission in that game was possibly the worst out of the 3 girls in the game. Ayane this time feels vicious and actually extremely useful and as deadly as she is supposed to be.

Added as DLC in the WiiU version Momiji and for the first time ever Kasumi make appearances also as playable characters in the "Chapter Challenge" and "Ninja Trials" modes. So look nothing is ever going to live up to Ninja Gaiden Black like...ever that was just a random occurance of right time , right people and right place but if you are a Ninja Gaiden fan or just someone who wants more hack and slash now that you've beaten DmC and Metal Gear Rising you really can't go wrong with this game.

Oh, few last bits. This game is HARD like...really hard. And for the most part is usually pretty fair about being doable as long as you have the skills. Oh and of course if you get in on PS3 Sixaxis Boob shaking is back because Team Ninja knows that is the hot feature everyone wants.

But seriously buy this if your an action game fan. If you buy the digital version off PSN right now its $40 but comes with the online pass AND free costume DLC and is only a mere 3.5 GB in space. If any of you wanna try some Clan Battles or do some Co-Op Trials I'll most likely be jamming on this off and on for awhile.

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Metal Gear March!

So recently I put up a poll asking what i should play next now that I've S-ranked (a.k.a 100% all trophies) Ni No Kuni. Since there is nothing until April that I want to buy I figured that I'd dig through something in my back catalog. Well, the votes went in and Final Fantasy IX won. I was all set to play this until I really thought about it. Going from doing 115 hours into another fairly long RPG might end up with me just being burnt out. So, I'm going to go with the next thing on the list... Metal Gear Solid HD collection. Then I thought wait... why stop there? I haven't played the original Metal Gear Solid in quite some time and I have a digital copy of that. I also haven't played Metal Gear Solid 4 since the trophy patch either. So... here is my goal. I'm going to attempt to beat the following during march.

  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 HD
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater HD
  • Metal Gear Solid 4
  • Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker HD

I figure the games are short enough that this is plenty possible for me to get everything beaten before the end of the month. Not entirely sure if I want to do blogs as I beat the games or If I'm just going to update my entire experience after the end of the month. We'll see! Anyways I've got some wheat toast and a cup of coffee here and the entire day off from work. So as soon as I post this I'm starting up the first game. Too bad VR Missions wasn't on PSN to download. Also slight poll what do you guys think should I just beat the main game or should I beat all of the VR missions and in the case of MGS 2 the "Snake Tales"? Or should I just count beating the game as JUST doing the main story? Anyways, commence Metal Gear Mondays!

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The Cynical Dead :My Time with Telltale's Walking Dead *SPOILERS*

Hello gents and ladies if you're reading this then well congrats you've made it to 2013. So what did I do to start off my new year? Well, since I didn't have any work today I finished off the last two episodes of The Walking Dead in one sitting. This was a bit of an experiment for me. You see I've never really "got" the attraction to The Walking Dead. Its always just seemed incredibly formulaic to me from an outside perspective. Group of survivors run from place to place insert human drama blah blah blah. My cynicism was fairly strong going into this thing. The other thing I had going for me was that I was spoiled on multiple multiple plot points. Then over the holiday break on Christmas day Telltale pulled the ol' drug dealer trick of give em' the first hit free. On top of just giving away the first hit free all the other episodes were 200 points a pop. So there went $10 and suddenly I had the entire season sitting on my Hard Drive of my 360.

So the question was for me with my cynicism working against me and me being spoiled would the story telling in The Walking Dead hold up for me? Honestly, the answer is well...yes mostly at least. There are some things that I thought were really dumb which I'll touch on later but for now lets focus on another topic.

You are my sunshine my only sunshine.

The Walking Dead is a dreary world. It doesn't start happy and it doesn't end happy. The one constant element that is a tiny ray of hope in the entire game is Clementine. This is one area where I really did have to eat my words. Not only is Clem's character well written and believable as a child character but its the first child character that you didn't want to instantly punt in the head to shut them up. I mean, remember those jerk kids in skyrim or how about the kids in Fallout 3? AWFUL I TELL YOU~! Whew (deep breath). Clementine's relationship with Lee from the time she peeks her curious head out of her tree house to the time the end credits roll was entirely captivating. This is a game that very early on shows you that it doesn't fuck around with choices instantly putting Kenny's child Duck into harms way. Even though going in I knew in the back of my mind that Clem was safe in the moment the pacing and the writing of the story kept me so focused on the moment that many times the moments Clem was in danger were still incredibly tense. A number of moments caught me as being awful and incredibly fucked up choices but the two that brought me damn close to tears both involved Clementine. The hardest being the very ending I told Clementine to shoot lee and watching that entire scene play out couldn't be more soul crushing. It was amplified by the fact that just earlier in episode 4 I had finally come out and told her that her parents were dead, again soul crushing. Clem had been a tough soldier through the entire journey watching countless horrific things play out yet for her to have to kill the one person left that truly cared for her was absolutely one of the most heartbreaking things I've seen in games in awhile. Ya know... I'm not sure I'd even want a 2nd season at this point I just want to imagine Clem grew up and lived her life.

#TeamKenny

The most adorable redneck ever.

So, being exposed to people buzzing and talking about this game the one thing was clear that you couldn't play it down the middle and be a people pleaser. So when push came to shove (and boy did it come early) I chose to side with Kenny. Why? Well, simply because early on my priorities were always to put the children first every damn time. As result my first encounter with Larry ended with me stepping in and defending Duck. This lead to Larry being a jerk to me and well from that point on the lines were drawn as far as I was concerned. Kenny had never let me down and dammit I was sticking with him. Kenny struck me as the second most endearing character in the series. The stuff with Duck was hard watching a father deliriously trying to cope with the fact that it finally happened to him a family member had been bitten. Again, a very well written character who acted very human. He lashed out in anger then denial then finally broke down into a sobbing mess. This whole arc with Kenny's family might not have had the same impact that it did on some since this was one of the parts I did have spoiled BUT I still really appreciated the writing. Watching Kenny finally sacrifice himself for Christa finally set in my mind that Kenny was a good man deep down. Even if he was almost all to gleeful in wanting to throw a cinder block on Larry's head and a belligerent asshole at times he was a good man thrown into a shitty situation and I'll forever be #TeamKenny.

Awful choices, regrets and oh...fuck Ben.

As stated before The Walking Dead is a game that doesn't fuck around. It will throw awful things your way and make you deal with them with absolutely NO time to think about it. I really loved that they threw the timer on there it made you really have to act instead of think and that still made all of the choices pretty meaningful. So, what awful choices did I make? Well, plenty including killing Larry after telling him to eat up his human leg BBQ. Most choices I made and was confident in even if they were insanely shitty choices like killing the boy in the attic or rolling the dice on Larry "really" being dead. The one however that really filled me with regret was leaving Lilly behind. Like many awful choices you make in life you make them when you are angry and don't really mean what you think you do. Lilly had just shot Carly who early on was one of my favorite characters. I chose to openly confide in her and she seemed like the right choice to save and here Lilly just off and killed her. Tensions were high and I had my flag firmly planted on #TeamKenny so Lilly wasn't exactly "hearing out" my arguments. So, in a rage I left her. I considered it payback for what she had done to Carly in cold blood. Then as time went on the subject of Lilly came up with Kenny and I felt bad and awful really. I realized that she was just doing what I had been doing making the tough choices to survive and I had just left her to die after already killing her dad. Fuck.

As Cee Lo once said... FUCK YOU.

Oh, but then there is the catalyst for Carly, Duck, Katjaa and well just a lot of stuff in general...Ben. Ohhhhh Ben. Here I went out of my way to convince Kenny and Lilly both that he should be allowed to stay with the group and he ends up fucking everything over. Now, yes... I realize that the story advances beyond the motor inn no matter what but hey man don't be bringing the realities of the game structure with my hate for Ben. He was just a constant fuck up. I wanted to find some part of me that sympathized for him but at every turn he made me hate him. He was a coward and didn't save Clem multiple times. He trades with the bandits and is directly responsible for the death of duck and consequently Katjaa and as a final coup de grace he manages to let zombies into the school in Crawford resulting in the death of Brie. So when tasked with the choice of cutting him from the group I did so and then I dropped him down the bell tower because fuck him. I really have tried to find a sympathetic angle to his character and I keep coming up with blanks. I just constantly hated him.

Technical horrors and awful plot devices ahoy!

The real scary part about The Walking Dead isn't the zombies. Its the technical nightmare that it is. Yes, I know the 360 version was the worst but ya know what I was already locked in and committed to that version. Its really a shame on some places like in episode 5 the frame rate went to a horrible stutter and I found a consistent problem with getting the newest episode to start. If you scratching you head wondering why well yeah.. I am too. I don't know I would click "Play" on the episode and it would multiple times do several things...

  • In later episodes for whatever reason start the first episode over overriding my save (thank god I copied to every slot)
  • Start at the final chapter in the previous episode
  • Oh, and it even saved or imported my choices wrong on a few occasions when it did start the correct episode (again, ya multiple save slots)

So that stuff was a real bummer on multiple levels man.

The other thing that was just REAL dumb was the reveal of the Station Wagon man. It seriously felt like the writers got themselves into a bit of a dead end and needed justification for Clem missing. It was just really poorly handled especially since well.. you really HAVE no choice other than to take the food. Either you decide to take it or Kenny takes it anyways. It was just a bit to convenient of a plot device and this man knowing about Lee going to the farm which was BEFORE the station wagon was increasingly dumb. Am I do really believe that somehow this guy had crazy surveillance that allowed him to spy like god on the characters so then he can call Lee out on awful thing that he did? Please. Its really the low light of the entire story and they were really scarily close to botching the entire landing if it wasn't for the absolute heartfelt send off of the story of Lee and Clementine.

Long goodbyes and sweet lullabies

So its over both this uh... whatever you want to call it and my time with The Walking Dead. Part of me wants to know what happens if I do this or that what happens if I stay silent the entire time? There are lots of choices in this game and even though some choices like the station wagon are entirely scripted and linear the writing does stand tall making you feel like your choices do still matter. That's why even though I kind of want to see all of this other stuff I kind of well... don't. I don't want to strip this game apart and know how the magician does the trick. Regrets and all I crafted my story and my choices and I'll stick with them. So now your asking me what do I think about everyone buzzing about it was it deserved? Does it deserve to be game of the year? Well, for me personally no... I still really enjoyed the game and honestly I may have to think about revising my list now that I played this and Hotline Miami finally. However, even if I consider this on my list which...fuck it I guess i do.

I still think Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the most fun I've had with a game all year. Yes, I realize that a large majority of you think that my love for it is crazy and possibly it is. I do think the Walking Dead was successful though. Even with me being spoiled and incredibly cynical going in i was still damn near in tears as Clementine pulled the trigger to kill Lee. And I think that is what good writing and good stories should do. I think people place too much stock or are at least to over hypersensitive to spoilers. Look, yes being surprised by events is fun but if a story is TRULY a good story the characters and journey to that destination will still be insanely compelling. I really did enjoy my time with The Walking Dead though. A well spent $10 and honestly would have been worth the full price. So I guess I'm fine seeing all of those GOTY lists filled with TWD now. I don't agree that its number one but dammit I now see why some people think so.

See you later, Clementine.
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My top 25 of all time: #25 Winback

Hey there! So I've long known what my top say 3 or so games of all time were. Its not hard for me to pull those games out when someone asks me what my favorite game of all time is. However, I was thinking in the scheme of things what are my top 25 of all time? Did I even know the answer to this question? So last night I sat down and decided to make up a list which you can find on my profile if your interested. Anyways, I thought I would start throwing down longer blogs of each game and why it meant something to me. These games aren't all "amazing" or in some cases even "good" but they are the games for one reason or another that has shaped my tastes in Video Games and to a larger extend media in general. Anyways with further ado......

Winback: Covert Operations

Blastin' fools

Back in the long past year of 1999 I was 14 and after briefly playing my cousins copy of Metal Gear Solid I quickly started developing a fascination for the game. Here is the problem. I had a Nintendo 64. Don't me wrong the N64 was a great system there are a ton of ground breaking games on that system. There however was NO Metal Gear Solid. So then one day while perusing the games at the rental store I saw Winback. My jaw was agape starting at the back of the box. Here was this cool secret agent guy. Back pressed against the wall like Solid Snake gun in hand. I had to play this. So after much begging (and whining) I got my way and my mom rented me the game.

Whats this?! A cover system!?

Mr. Terrorist bad guy!

So after I got home I started the game. To my surprise the game did NOT play anything like MGS. You stood still and pressed a button to draw your gun and with feet firmly planted fired your gun. This was odd to me as run n' gun was the name of the game for most shooters of the day. Instead the game also highly prodded you to use cover. This was in fact the first game to use a 3rd person cover system.

Metal...Gear!?

So while this game didn't feature a metal gear it did very much feature a group of terrorists that were at a remote place that needed to be stopped. Enter S.C.A.T or Special Covert Action Team. Looking back that naming is...unfortunate. Anyways, the story starts off with an assault on the enemies base only to have your helicopter crash. Jean Luc survives but his team is gone so off you go on your journey to find them and stop the terrorists dastardly scheme. So looking back the story in this game is truly awful. Hey, hindsight and all of that right? Never-the-less between this and Metal Gear these games really left an impression on me. So much that I wrote a (probably incomprehensible) story directly inspired by both games. I still have the binders with the story. You know the 5-subject notebooks you used in school? Yeah, two of those full front to back with a story I wrote inspired a large part from this game.

Good Job, Jean Luc!

Our hero Jean Luc getting ready for action.

So, more or less that is it. Winback is a game that history is most likely going to forget. That is a bit of a shame because games like Gears of War and other 3rd Person shooters today owe a lot to the first few games like Winback and Kill.Switch that made progress in developing what became the modern cover system. In retrospect it isn't a great game and even for its time the writing was awful and the game play amounted to little more than a shooting gallery. But what a fun shooting gallery it was! If anyone is interested you can play the (slightly better looking) PS2 version of the game via PSN. I'm not sure I'd recommend this to anyone unless you already have a soft spot for it like me. However, its a game that influenced me and I'm really glad I had my time with it. Its super unfortunate that the Winback name was entirely drug through the mud with the awful release of Winback 2. That game was AWFUL. Quite possibly one of the worst games I've ever played. I couldn't finish it and folks I've played and finished some awful games like Vampire Rain. Anywho, this is #25 on the list. I'm not going to have a regular schedule for this stuff just basically whenever I feel like it. I'd be delighted to see in the comments if anyone else was as fascinated by this game as a kid as I was. I can't deny that this wasn't a good game but none-the-less it influenced me and my tastes. Till next time folks!

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My dumb blog thing: 12/14/12

Well shit. I missed yesterday! However there was a very (well not really) good reason for that. The Giantbomb Beta is LIVE for member son! It is a controlled sort of anarchy over there and its tons of fun. I really enjoy the new layouts for (most) things although the mobile version of the site seems all jacked up right now. Any of you actually tried it on mobile yet? I dunno possibly its just internet explorer (I'm on windows phone) is just fuckin everything up.

Oh hey... here is a GIF of naked Dante putting on his clothes mid-air for no good reason other than I'm really excited for the new DmC and we are just WEEKS out people. Whooie! I really need to play the demo again (in fact I think I'll do that as soon as I'm done writing this) I think the combat seems really solid. I've already seen people online making ridiculous combo videos. I really hope that the game is really re-play friendly and they keep all the end of level rank stuff.

Still playing Far Cry 3 but starting to hit a bit of a wall with it feel interest starting to slip away so I figure I should wrap that up before I do. Which leaves me wondering what I'm going to play until DmC hits. Been floating around a few things..... one of which is finally doing up some Metal Gear Solid HD. Then again...I should possibly finish Castlevania: Lord of Shadows.

There are a number of JRPG's that I want to get back into as well but I feel that I should wait to get into those. Resonance of Fate all three of the Altelier series. I seriously have two of those games special editions both sitting sealed on my shelf un-opened that I paid well over $100 for. I think whatever it is I should play something on my PS3. So this leads me to another question that I'd like to throw out there. I am not per say a fanboy of any one console but I often find myself going long stretches playing on specific consoles or whatever. Right now I'm really hot on the Xbox last year I had a ton of time where my PS3 and the PC was the hotness for me. Anyone besides me sort of ping-pong through consoles like this? Then again... I could do something even crazier and turn on my Wii and play Muramasa... wait no... that is crazy talk. Playing my Wii? What am I? Desperate?

Anyways, I leave you with this random clip of Panty and Stocking. Which reminds me... I should really re-watch all the episodes again. Other than the bizzaro ending (which all ganaix anime have) I can't really say I have any issues with the show. Although gotta say...not sure how I'm digging the english dubs.... also I wish that they would release a Blu-Ray version. Anyways until next time!

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My dumb blog thing : 12/12/12

Yo son, its 12-12-12 and for whatever reason there is a Sandy benefit concert tonight and Nirvana is reuniting. Uh...whut? Its seems to be a nice big awful week for bad decisions in the music industry. Avril (I hate your girlfriend) Lavigne is also covering a Nickelback song in a One Piece anime movie. Uh...again... whut?

Okay okay... in GOOD decisions in the music industry Good ol' Frank Ocean is nominated for SIX count em' SIX grammys. That is awesome and I really hope he wins one of them. If you haven't heard of Frank firstly what rock are you living under? Secondly, go listen to Channel Orange. Now. I'm kind of feeling positive about his chances. Also, not on the list of best new artists or anything grammy related ( at least that I know of) is Carly Rae Jepsen. Call me maybe can suuuck it. So, Frank also just recently released his video for one of the best songs on his album "Pyramids" I would post the video but thing is... I can't. There are a fair amount of nekkid boobies in the video and I wouldn't want to upset the mods. Especially after my harmless dolphin rape video got deleted. If you have zero idea what I'm talking about youtube "Ecco the Reluctant Dolphin" also go watch the video for "Pyramids" its actually a great video.

Frank approves of his nominations. Also, that is a sick-ass headband.

Anyways, I need to finally turn on the PS3 and finally watch some blu-rays I've been sitting on. I don't know why I haven't watched all this stuff thats just been sitting there but I dunno I rarely feel the need to watch TV. First up on my list of things to get through is Hyakka Ryoran Samurai Girls. Yeah, I know what your thinking its a fan-servicy and ecchi trash and I dunno you are probably right on many accounts. But hey... guess what I'm a sucker for dumb ecchi anime as sometimes the fan service is just so absurd that it crosses the line from being risque and saucy to just down right hilarious. If you're game go look up manyuu hikenchou one of the outright most absurd and hilariously dumb ecchi anime out there. Girls fight and the more powerful they get the larger their breasts get. Its insanely absurd and completely hilarious to watch.

I mostly got Samurai Girls though simply because I thought the art style was sort of neat. It has a very ink blot looking filter to the whole thing. which is neat. I was going to post a trailer or something for it below but apparently THAT has nekkid boobs in it too so... fuck I guess this Opening Credits sequence might be safe enough to post. I've been mounting a lot of ideas for a huge blow out on Far Cry 3. I'm really enjoying the game and honestly I'm not really enjoying the story so much as I am enjoying watching Jason Brody evolve. I don't want to spoils anything for anyone but man... just man I had a few audible reactions last night to some of the things that happened. I'm hesitant to go all out yet as I've just reached the second island so I've got a few missions until the end.

Um, that is all for today I think. Still highly anticipating the GOTY stuff from Giantbomb. Oh, and the other day er...like Monday was really odd. The Halo Map debacle happened, G-mail crashed then later in the day Facebook crashed. Really odd day and week at that. Little sad that there won't be a TNT this week but hey... whatevs! Oh and I dunno I might be (probably) wouldn't mind finding three or so duders to play through some Far Cry 3 coop with. Its not spectacular but its fun enough to run through a few times. Also, I want the damn achievements for it. Speaking of I played the first mission with some randoms and nobody was using their mic except one dude. The entire time guy sounded like he was on the phone and then proceeded to have an extended conversation with whoever he was on the phone with about his cocaine habits. So...that happened I guess. ANYWAYS, if you might be possibly down for Co-op my Gamertag is the same as my forum name. Oh, and even if you don't wanna play Far Cry and just want to shoot me a request you can as I deleted a hellva lot of inactive people on my friends list. I'd just appreciate a follow up message with the request to let me know your from Giantbomb. I for whatever reason get random goof balls sending me friend requests all the time. As long as I know your from the land of duders I'll accept it. And that is it. Go, on... go listen to some Frank Ocean do it!

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