Who Needs PS2 Backwards Compatibility?

Towards the end of August, my launch 60 GB PS3 died as I was finishing up Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Suffice it to say that the next few weeks were frustrating and sad as my best attempt to emulate Dr. Victor Frankenstein resulted in failure that was surely inevitable. When I got over the denial and random outbursts of violence--that would make Tommy Wiseau feel ashamed--I had to let my game saves and PS2 backwards compatibility go.

I had to start anew, which meant buying a slim PS3; it was hard to get used to at first, especially since I had to start Deus Ex: Human Revolution all over again, but I grew accustomed to the much quieter system quickly.

Despite the over-dramatization in the opening paragraph, I did use the backwards compatibility in my now deceased PS3 to the fullest, but until this past weekend, I had not played any of my older games because it meant I would have to find my PS2 and hope that everything still worked.

Well, this weekend I was in the mood to do just that. After rummaging through a few boxes in the basement, I found my slim PS2 with everything but the composite cables, which was not a problem due to the fact that the component cables I bought for my PS3 worked with my PS2. Tentatively, I connected everything to my TV, and much to my relief, it worked--except for the controller, which was smashed face down in a box for more than a few years; luckily, I had a spare controller that worked perfectly. Also, remember memory cards? I had to clear a couple in order to save my progress.

What got me motivated to dig up my old PS2 was a combination of boredom and the desire to play the PS2 Final Fantasy games, which was largely a result of Final Fantasy XIII-2 being just a few weeks away. Though the Final Fantasy games helped spark the process, I ended up playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas first, which was the start of my third attempt to complete the game. I got San Andreas the day it was launched and stopped the first time somewhere around one of the first flying missions; the controls annoyed me enough for me to put it down until shortly before Grand Theft Auto IV was released. As the newest iteration of Grand Theft Auto approached, I gave San Andreas another go on my PS3, and I got much further with the second attempt--probably towards the end of the Las Venturas portion of the game. I did not complete it before the release of Grand Theft Auto IV and never got around to finishing it.

Though I stated I am on my third attempt, I am not sure as to how serious I am about actually finishing it. I am ignoring as much of the side stuff as I can, such as the odd jobs and messing with weight training, and I finished the initial Grove Street/Los Santos portion, which after listening to a recent Bombcast where Jeff Gerstmann talked at length about his love for Easy-E and the rest of N.W.A., I could not help but think that he had to have enjoyed San Andreas quite a bit--his review certainly suggested he did.

After some confusion and what seemed to be betrayal at the end of the first act or chapter, I am at the start of the badlands portion of the game, which is why I am unsure about whether or not I want to continue. From what I can remember, driving around the badlands was boring and it took forever to get from place to place, so that is something that has me all but inspired to continue. Other than that, I was initially surprised just how bad those Grand Theft Auto games looked; it took me a few missions to get used to the graphics, and once my eyes adjusted to the bland textures, I was able to make out the environment better. That being said, it was nowhere near as bad as trying to play an original PlayStation football game or Star Fox on the SNES; to be fair, most early 3D games do not hold up well, though.

I did get around to playing Final Fantasy X, which I did not play when it was first released in 2001; the character models and the CG actually hold up fairly well. Based on how they used the camera in cutscenes, it seemed as if they were really going out of their way to show just how good games could look on the PS2. However, I cannot say I am much of a fan of Tidus so far and his ridiculous outfit, nor blitzball, but I do not mind the combat or the main story.

To wrap this up, it is nice to have the ability to play my PS2 games again. Maybe now I will (not) get around to playing Drakengard.

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Persona 3 cosplay at Anime Iowa '09

This past weekend I went to Anime Iowa in Coralville, Iowa with some friends. It was the first time I'd ever been to any type of convention related games/anime/comics, so it was pretty exciting for me. Anyway, here is a picture of a Junpei Iori cosplay from the convention (there was a pretty good Jin, too, but I didn't get a picture). 
 

 
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NCAA Football 10: A DLC Nightmare

The latest iteration of EA Sports' college football game released earlier this week, and while most hardcore gamers may not care for the game, the latest installment comes with some DLC at release that gamers in general may find troubling.

These are the 16 pieces of DLC in question:

1.     Max Teambuilder Slots – 800 Microsoft points

-- You’ll need TeamBuilder slots available if you want to download teams for NCAA® Football 10. This will give you a total of 120 slots to download teams for use in Play Now and Dynasty Mode. This will not add to any slots previously unlocked only give you a maximum of 120 teams.

2.     5 Star Defensive Back – 100 Microsoft points

--  Your caliber coming out of the High School Play-offs in Road to Glory mode directly affects the attributes of your created player and a 5 star recruit is the best you can be. You will be able to start your college career as a 5 star Cornerback, Strong Safety, or Free Safety every time you create a player in Road to Glory mode after purchase.

3.     5 Star Linebacker – 100 Microsoft points

--  Your caliber coming out of the High School Play-offs in Road to Glory mode directly affects the attributes of your created player and a 5 star recruit is the best you can be. You will be able to start your college career as a 5 star Middle Linebacker, Right Outside Linebacker, or Left Outside Linebacker every time you create a player in Road to Glory mode after purchase.

4.     5 Star Running Backs – 100 Microsoft points

--  Your caliber coming out of the High School Play-offs in Road to Glory mode directly affects the attributes of your created player and a 5 star recruit is the best you can be. You will be able to start your college career as a 5 star Halfback or Fullback every time you create a player in Road to Glory mode after purchase.

5.     5 Star Quarterback – 100 Microsoft points

--  Your caliber coming out of the High School Play-offs in Road to Glory mode directly affects the attributes of your created player and a 5 star recruit is the best you can be. You will be able to start your college career as a 5 star Quarterback every time you create a player in Road to Glory mode after purchase.

6.     All Dynasty Accelerators – 1,000 Microsoft points

--  Unlocks all of the Dynasty Accelerators: Recruiting Advisor, Coaching Seminar, Toughest Places to Play Boost, School Pitches Improvements, Maximum Player Training, Unlock all Promises, Pipeline State Addition, and Recruiting Reports. These will affect every team you control in Dynasty Mode and Online Dynasty Mode.

7.     5 Star Defensive Line – 100 Microsoft points

--  Your caliber coming out of the High School Play-offs in Road to Glory mode directly affects the attributes of your created player and a 5 star recruit is the best you can be. You will be able to start your college career as a 5 star Defensive End or Defensive Tackle every time you create a player in Road to Glory mode after purchase.

8.     5 Star Receivers – 100 Microsoft points

--  Your caliber coming out of the High School Play-offs in Road to Glory mode directly affects the attributes of your created player and a 5 star recruit is the best you can be. You will be able to start your college career as a 5 star Wide Receiver or Tight End every time you create a player in Road to Glory mode after purchase.

9.     Pipeline State Addition – 150 Microsoft points

--  Pipeline States can help you recruit in an area while playing Dynasty Mode. After purchase you will be able to select a Pipeline State anywhere in the nation to give you an edge in gaining the top recruits. You will only be able to select an additional Pipeline State at the beginning of the season; but it will stay active for the enter season. This will affect every team you control in Dynasty Mode and Online Dynasty Mode.

10.   Unlock All Promises – 180 Microsoft points

--  In the Off-Season of Dynasty Mode (and Online Dynasty Mode) you have the ability to offer recruits promises which can sway them to come to your school. Normally you need to maximize your Coaches Integrity, but with this item you can instantly offer every promise in the game. This will affect every team you control in Dynasty Mode.

11.   School Pitches Improvements – 150 Microsoft points

--  Recruiting in Dynasty Mode can be tough, this item will increase your pitches in Recruiting by one level; for example if your Television Exposure was A it will become A+. This item will improve the following pitches: Championship Contender, Fan Base, Pro Potential, Program Stability, Program Tradition, and Television Exposure. This will affect every team you control in Dynasty Mode and Online Dynasty Mode.

12.   Maximum Player Training – 180 Microsoft points

--  Getting your players to gain attribute points in the off-season in Dynasty Mode can be hard for lower prestige schools. This item will allow a team with lower prestige to train their players like one of the top schools in the nation. Make sure if you want to take advantage of this in an Online Dynasty you purchase it before the commissioner advances to the Player Training portion of the Off-season. This will affect every team you control in Dynasty Mode and Online Dynasty Mode.

13.   Toughest Places to Play Boost – 120 Microsoft points

--  Dynasty Mode has a ranking of the Toughest Places to Play in the nation. Struggling to get to the top of the list? This item will give your team a massive boost to the school you control in Dynasty Mode. This will affect every team you control in Dynasty Mode and Online Dynasty Mode.

14.   Coach Seminar – 180 Microsoft points

--  If you own the Coaching Seminar in Dynasty mode you will be able to gain the maximum chance to keep players from leaving your school in Off-Season Recruiting. Players staying are normally influenced by your Coach Integrity, with this item you will always have the highest chance of keeping players at your school. Also this will add to the Coach Experience and Coach Prestige by one level; for example if you Coach Experience was A it will become A+. This will affect every team you control in Dynasty Mode and Online Dynasty Mode.

15.   Recruiting Advisor – 120 Microsoft points

--  While playing in Dynasty Mode (Offline or Online) your Recruiting Advisor will bring you one of the following four items every week. Information on Recruits that you can add to your Recruiting Board that you may have not known they were interested. Hints on the top Pitches for some of the Recruits on your Recruiting Board. Hints on which Prospects on your Recruiting Board are willing to listen to your pitches more than other weeks. Inside information on which Recruits will sign to your school instantly. This will affect every team you control in Dynasty Mode and Online Dynasty Mode.

16.   Recruiting Reports – 120 Microsoft points

--   It can take a lot of time and effort to see where your rivals are spending their Recruiting Time every week in Dynasty Mode. The Recruiting Reports will bring the information from the previous week. Knowing which recruits your opponent is targeting and how much time they are spending with each recruit can help you make informed decisions while spending your Recruiting Time. This will affect every team you control in Dynasty Mode and Online Dynasty Mode.

Most of these things you can easily earn by just playing the game, such as an extra pipeline state for recruiting and unlocking all promises. In fact, besides Max Teambuilder Slots, Recruiting Reports and Recruiting Advisor, I am fairly sure all of these can be achieved by just playing the game, and really, the player doesn’t have to be an expert or anything to obtain any of these. Basically, they just take time and some effort.


I know not all DLC is as expansive like GTAIV: The Lost and Damned or Fallout 3’s DLC, but NCAA Football 10’s DLC appears to be nothing more than cheat codes, which really isn’t what most gamers have in mind when they think of DLC, at least that is what I would like to think. Unfortunately, I am sure EA will find people to buy what they are offering, but it is still difficult to stomach when other companies are providing much more meaningful content in the form of DLC that expands the game well after release, such as Valve with their release of a new game mode in Left 4 Dead for the low price of free.

 
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