Atlus merger. What will become of the company?

It's been speculated for a little bit but finally some news has broken as to the future of Atlus. Neoseeker is reporting that parent company Index Holdings is planning to merge Atlus (which is 100% owned) and mobile game maker Index Corporations (95% owned) together to strengthen the brand. They have gone on to confirm that games currently announced by Atlus will continue to operate just as they normally would and be released under the Atlus label. As for the future beyond that nothing is specified.
 
Over the last few years Atlus has been able to amass a significant following of dedicated fans (myself one of them) and the unique games that they release are unlike many seen elsewhere. From darker settings and themes of the upcoming Catherine to the morality testing and sometimes thought to be sacrilegious Shin Megami Tensei games, Atlus has carved out a niche for itself in the gaming community that is tough to fill. 
 
So what does the future hold for Atlus? Will we now be seeing Persona and SMT games coming out for Mobile as well as consoles and handhelds? Will the company no longer be called Atlus all together? Most importantly, will the unique quality of the product that a small company like Atlus was able to produce and publish remain or will it become more corporate and profit focussed leading to less and less risktaking that Atlus has been known and loved for? 
 
I think the smartest thing they can do is dissolve the Index Corporation name into Atlus and release their mobile games under that label as opposed to creating an entirely new name. It'll carry more clout and weight worldwide while assuaging fans of the fear of major overhauls within the company. If the name does change I personally will be pretty upset and saddened by the end of Atlus, but if the games can continue to be of the unique style that only Atlus has doner and the quality of major games like the Persona, SMT, and numerous DS series continues at it's current level or better than I cannot complain. Best thing that could happen, Atlus is allowed to remain an independent branch of Index Holdings and if anything will have more freedom to take risks and due to an increase in monetary backing. Either way I'll be interested in seeing the end results when the merge is official on October 1st.

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A letter to Canadiens fans

I am a born and raised Pittsburgher and die hard Pens fan. Unlike most people on the internet I am not writing this to bitch and moan. Congratulations. You sure as hell earned the win tonight. You outplayed us physically and beat us to the puck consistently. The only thing I ask of you is that you make it to the finals now. I haven't heard what happened in the Boston/Philly game but I hate the Flyers (I'm from Pittsburgh, it's in my blood too) and Boston is just kinda boring to me (sorry bean-town). We made a run two years ago when no one expected us to and I always enjoy a good Cinderella story so keep riding Halak and playing great defense and I'll be rooting for you the rest of the way. Go Habs....well, until next season starts anyway.

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Coheed & Cambria: Year of the Black Rainbow Review & Opinion

Year of the Black Rainbow is the 5th album from Coheed & Cambria and unlike the previous cd's does not continue the sci-fi story of Claudio Kilgannon. Instead this album is a prequel to everything they have done before and comes with a very distinct shift in tone from what fans have become accustomed too. To try and pin down the difference in its simplest form would be to say that musically it is much heavier and driving but at the cost of some of the complex melodic structure that made the previous albums so engaging.
 
One thing that has not changed is the writing. Claudio's lyrics and vocals still have a poets way about them and the way he weaves them in and out of the music is very much what has become a mainstay for the bands sound. The only problem is with this album the bass and drum parts are so predominant that it can sometimes feel lost. Other albums were very guitar and vocal-centric and it feels like the mixing has turned a complete 180 on YotBR. Several songs still have the feel of classic Coheed tracks like The Broken, Here We Are Juggernaut and This Shattered Symphony, but then there are outliers like Guns of Summer that are completely out of left field and feel somewhat out of place. Even the ballad track Pearl of the Stars suffers from this mixing issue which makes it sound far more sinister than the lyrics imply. In fact, it seems to prevalent to be an accident and can only be accounted to a conscious decision for the tone. 
 
Which brings me to my last major issue, the tone and flow of the album. While most of the tracks are very good songs in their own right they have a way of feeling somewhat disjointed and separate from each other. Where as in previous albums each track lended itself to a progression and had continuous themes flowing through it (in both lyric and melodic ways) that linked everything together and gave it a sense of structure and story. This is the biggest thing missing from this album in my opinion. While it could be allotted to the fact that these are different characters and therefore different rhythms and themes or just a shift in direction in general is debatable, but for a C&C album it is something that fans have come to praise and revere them for and as a result leaves something sorely missing. 
 
Overall Year of the Black Rainbow stands fairly well in it's own regard, but when compared to the rest of the band's catalog it is definitely the outlying entry in the story. Fans will find things to like in it but will feel as though something is missing. In the end it pains me to say this but...
 
Coheed & Cambria: Year of the Black Rainbow
3 1/2 out of 5

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Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse translation with pics

So the patch for the fan translation of Fatal Frame 4 has finally released. For those of you who have some trepidation about importing the game in the event of a broken patch or shoddy workmanship, let me assuage your fears. 
 

As you can see here we start with one retail copy of Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse. This must be an original Japanese disc, the patch does not work with burned discs, isos, or what have you.
 
 
 
 

 
Again, merely reiterating that it is a legit Japanese retail disc.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Now as far as attaining the patch it is easy enough. The booter software as well as the translation files can be found here: 
http://zero4.higashinoeden.com/
 
From what I've read it should work from an SD card or USB drive, but I only got it to go with an SD card so I'd lean towards that. Essentially what you are going to do is download and extract the boot software and translation texts from the site to your SD card (the site also has full screencaps of what the files should look like on your card).  Make sure you download the correct boot softare based on what upgrade version you have of the Wii (most recent has the SD card icon on the Home page of the Wii).
 
Now from the Home menu on the Wii click the SD icon (or go through the menu to data management if your system isn't the most up to date) and you should be prompted with a box asking to run the boot software. Click yes to this. At this point the screen will go blank and say that it is searching for the files and installing. This can take a few minutes but aside from making the system read the new text over the text on the disc it also breaks the region lock on the system without any modification to the actual hardware. Upon returning to the Home page click the SD icon again and click yes to the same box that'll pop up. This time however, it will read your disc and start the game.
 
Just some quick pictures I took:





 
With that said a thank you to everyone responsible in the creation of this patch for finally allowing those of us who don't know Japanese to finally play this game. Nintendo and Tecmo both made a huge mistake in letting this game fall aside and not go international like the rest of the series. Hopefully for those of you who have been waiting and hoping this will finally give you the chance to get your hands on this great game.
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Fatal Frame 4, in my hands....

Sweet Jesus, I have it. Actually it's about a month late but I'm still itching to play it. My friend studied abroad and brought me back a copy of Fatal Frame 4 for the Wii, which as many of you probably know (especially if you clicked into this post) is never coming to America. Thankfully it looks like the patch is going to be out soon that'll translate into English and supposedly break the region lock on the system as well. If not, I have absolutely no issue modding my Wii just to play this game.Hopefully I'll be back with some impressions in the near future.

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MAG Beta impressions

After logging a bit of time into the MAG Beta I've come away with pretty good impression of it. Very different feel from the CoD or MW style of play and much more akin to Zipper's Socom formula. The controls have been very easy to use and the interface is pretty simple. Shooting mapped to R1, aiming to L1. R2 for primary grenades and L2 for secondary grenade/ gadgets. These can obviously be tweaked but I personally feel this is a perfect layout. 
 
I've heard people claim that because of the size of the maps you can wander and not run in to anyone. If this happens to you then you are obviously playing the game wrong. Especially in check point missions. If you stick with your squad and head to each checkpoint whether you are attacking or defending there is always a conflict to be had. The only downside is when you die, few people are using their Meds to revive downed players and you have to run back to the checkpoint after the respawn time is up. 
 
All in all I think it is extremely promising and has a good play style. Significantly more accessible than MW2 by design alone. So for those of us who have been too belittled by the several hous in CoD and MW where you have to suffer with inferior weapons and equipment before you can stand a chance, this game will scratch that itch without leaving you cursing at the tv (or others if you're mic'd). Check out the beta while it's running, you may be surprised.

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Bayonetta PS3 impressions

We've all heard tons of times by now that the PS3 version of Bayonetta is "broken" and "inferior" to the XBox version. While I can attest to the fact that the game is a step back and a down grade it is still one hell of a good time. As far as the frame rate issues are concerned I have yet to really encounter any slow down in terms of the gameplay while in the midst of a fight or exploring. There is however one MAJOR gripe with this version.... loading. 
 
There is no hard install for Bayonetta, not even an optional one. While this can be good for some games it is extremely irritating when the load times don't seem to be minimized in the most efficient ways. To put it blankly, aside from just loading during levels the game will also stop to load when you go to the store, challenge rooms, skip cutscenes, pick up items (stops to load the picture and info in a close up view a la Devil May Cry), or even pause the game. Yea, you read that right. Plus for many of these instances, it takes you to a whole separate screen to continue to load.
 
Thankfully to this point regardless of that major issue I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Bayonetta. I haven't finished it (just got it this afternoon) so I'll wait til it's concluded to get to a full review. For those of you that have the option to get either systems version of this game, go with the XBox version. If you don't have that luxery the PS3 version will certainly suffice, but be prepared to see the word "loading..." a lot.

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Occasionally


I do buy downloadable games. Not a ton of them but there have just been some gems coming through the works in this past year that I can't pass up. Right now the main one being Fat Princess. I used to be a TF2 junky and am currently reliving that with FP.
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