Ryan Davis, a man who had fun.

I salute you too Ryan

We all enjoyed games from a lot of different aspects. However, Ryan would almost always have something to laugh at despite it being good or bad. The man would bring tears of joy whenever some sort of glitch would show up in a quick look or the poor scripting of a video game movie. He would always make you feel right at home when introducing us to TNT, PAX panels, and any video segment. And while he wouldn't accept certain game genres and other media he isn't into, he is willing to accept that people do like them and wouldn't want to harm people's interest, just makes fun of it.

I never got a chance to meet Ryan in person, but whenever he was doing a review or doing a segment on gamespot, I had a feeling he was having fun with it. He always added a certain charm to a video or article that few journalist have yet to nail down. Without him, I wouldn't have looked at a lot game if it was for his enjoyment of them and I hope to never lose that enjoyment.

Ryan Davis has left us far too soon but he still has left a mark in our hearts, in the industry, in his friends and family, and in Giant Bomb.

Lets all continue to laugh.

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My Journey into Devil Survivor 2 The Animation: ep 4

I got a better phone than you!

It is easy for a show to forget that the characters aren't always invincible. This leads to having a lack of danger as the show goes on and have the audience not care about the character safety. However, Devil Survivor 2 reminds us that these characters are indeed indanger after what has happened in the last episode and their fight with the 2nd Septentriones, Merak. This helps cement the sacrifices they are willing to take inorder to protect those around them. In this episode, we get to see how out power modern weapons are to the Septentriones as we see rows of tanks and hordes of demons can be wiped in seconds. You have to wonder how anyone can defeat something so huge and powerful. Of course, this comes from a game where the only thing that can take on these monsters is you're character and party members that can command demons of lore. While Hibiki, at first, was trying to do things on his own, he learns that he isn't alone in this fight as it show with Hinako Kujou taking a bullet for him and lo summoning Kikuri-Hime and helping to weaken down Merak so that Hibiki can land the final blow. As for the other characters, Daichi has been sent to do medical work, Fumi just waking up, and Makoto and Yamato were left sitting around looking at monitor makes them less important since their not doing much in this fight. However, this wont last long since they will be thrown in to many conflicts

Now that we're done with one conflict, for now, we got ourselves another threat. Ronaldo Kuriki comes in to have a talk with our main man Hibiki.

Highlights

You know you're F ***ed when sticky creatures land on you're tank.
Time for a lesson on men.
We were bound to meet a samurai like demon.

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My Journey into Devil Survivor 2 The Animation: ep 3

Goodness lady, isn't it a little chilly wearing that?

Usually with adaptation, you want to replicate the most important scenes from the source material in to a different form of media. The audience wouldn't like it when their favorite series has some changes done with the adaptation However, a series like Devil Survivor 2 that has scenes where a character could possibly die can make for interesting experiments with the media. Basically, anything can happen with this show and that happened in episode 3. A character died. It was unexpected because in my play through of DS2, I was able to save my crew of summoners to fight another day (Or grind another day :D). The purpose of the death footage is to make you manage your time in order to save your crew from certain death. However, the show is using the system to make for a less predicable scenarios and has the audience on edge as to what will happen later on. This also reinforces the fact that Hibiki isn't all that strong after so far being able to handle most situations up till now. I expect that he'll be rethinking his role in this dangerous world him and his friends are now facing.

On another note, the show introduces the auction system where the gang can get new demons and Daichi has already shown that it important to pick the right demons and not get a lot of them. I'm curious to see if the character will ever use attack abilities of their own instead of having their demons doing all of the fighting. I mean, Io wouldn't have gotten grabbed if she could just throw some lighting on Botis and support Ogre.

Highlights

A face only a mother could love.

Not what I think a firewall looks like.
Interesting that their using the old lilim design and not the new one. I wonder why

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My Journey into Devil Survivor 2 The Animation: ep 2

All we can do is hope

If you had the power to help others, would you actually help? That the question Hibiki is trying to answer as he observe the current condition of Japan as nearly everyone is looking to survive. Despite government organization, JPs, knowledge of impending invaders they do little to help it people. As the episode goes on we see how far the disaster has impacted other people. From Io's reaction to her missing parents to Daichi trying to comprehend the changes in their lives. However, after a battle with a flock of demons, Hibiki wants to help others and gives himself to JP's services along with his friends.

This episode nails in the reality of disasters and what impact it has on people. Throw in some demons and things are looking grim. While Yamato Houtsuin has a way to fight back the upcoming invaders that is causing the disaster, he not one to help what currently going on since it will interfere with what matters most. While it is kinda silly and illogical, it does mean that he has other motives which will show later on. This also help question morals of other characters that are working with him like Makoto Sako. Despite her loyalty with the group, she feels like she's question if she's doing the right thing. Hibiki continues to build himself up in character by understanding his powers and what to do with them along with his friends, Daichi and lo, as they find a way to grip with the current situation.

DS2 continues to hold true with it premise of disaster and demons. There still a lot of question that need to be answer, like who's the one passing around the demon app and what Yamato planning? But DS2 wont fail to give us what we need.

Highlights

Dude, you need better service.
Seriously, they couldn't have windows to outside?

How many organizations have screens this big?
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My Journey into Devil Survivor 2 The Animation: ep 1

Simple as that

My trip with the Persona 4 anime want pretty well and here I am again with Devil Survivor 2, another atlus game to get a adoption.

For those of you who doesn't know the concept of the Devil Survivor series is, a great disasters puts Japan on lockdown and demons are running loss. It is up the a group of summoners, who were regular people, to solve and stop this disaster from spreading. In DS2 case the things that are causing the disaster are Septentriones, a mysterious invaders and our little group of teenagers, Hibiki (Kamiya, Hiroshi), Daichi (Okamoto, Nobuhiko), and Io (Uchida, Aya) as they use their Nicaea system to summon demons to fight back. Also the Nicaea system also tells them future events where someone they know will die if they don't get to them in time. All this sounds really weird and it is.

I can't say I done a good job with summarizing the concept of the show but the 1st episode really paced things out very nicely. It was able to show us the relationships between the characters, Hibiki and Daichi doing a little friendly fight over who going to get drinks for the group and Hibiki reassuring lo about sticking together to be safe till she finds her parents, how the Nicaea system works, and how much of the disaster has mess up Japan with lack of phone signals and people looking for help. They even go as far as hinting at something is up with the 3 main character being able to survive the train crash as they are the only ones who got the message to keep living. Hibiki talks about how he feels like they are being tested and for those of you who played know, their more to it than just that. Going back to characters, they give off a Durarara feel which is expected since the design are mostly base off of Suzuhito Yasuda art from the game as well as character behavior. Hibiki, our main protag, is very talkative, when compare to how Yu of P4 anime was, and helps add in personality to his character when he was in our control in the game. Daichi is the fooly friend who's willing to look after his friends, with his attempt to crash a truck onto the invader. And lo who at this point just a shy girl but she'll be growing a pair later (Specially when she'll be throwing lighting bolts).

Visually the shows looks nice with good coloring and shading. However, there is a lack of sharpness with character models and environments when compare to Persona 4 beginning episode. Combat was well done with lots of movement from the demons and the battle with Dubhe, emulating the fight with the game, was pretty good. However, at this point our human characters have yet to do any attacks of their own so I wonder if the show will be slightly realistic by only having the character demons doing the fighting or later on character will use powers as well.

So far, it is a good start to the DS2 adoption and I hope it will continue to stay good.

Check it out on Crunchyroll: http://www.crunchyroll.com/devil-survivor-2-the-animation

Highlights

I can't get over this bunny ear hoodie
Defying gravity boobs = faithful adaption
Time to unleash zio!
Hey, listen!

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Time to think: Be true to yourself Video game industry

It been a while since I wrote about something but, with a new layout for the site and a lot of things on my mind, I felt it was time to get back to writing about stuff. So here goes.

There has been a lot of hate going around the game industry. From the EA's SimCity meltdown to the God of War questionable trophy naming conventions, a lot of anger has been boiling with the fans. At times like this I look to finding answers to how these companies could have better treat their fanbase with more respect. Simply put, they just need to be trustful and let the world video game world know whats going on.

Time and time again, most companies don't want to admit that something want wrong with the develop, marketing, or functionality of their game. These companies keep clamming up the information from their the community that could have cool the tension that been building up. Funny how they want to build a loving fanbase but will hid from us for being scary when things go sideways. However, we have seen the honesty of others in the industry really does pay off.

Squigly wouldn't be here without fans

The developers of Skullgirls wanted money to help develop a new character for the game and asked the community for the real amount that was really needed to do so. They could have not have gotten anything but here they are, getting over 3 time more than what they were asking for and still growing little by little. Why? Because they were up front about it, not dancing around the issue of how the money was going to be use but breaking it down with the fans on where it was all going.

Atlus was going to release Persona 4 arena with both English and Japanese Audio, which was very good for the fans (Including me :P). However, in-order to do that, they must region lock the game to insure that the get the proper amount of sales in each region. It sucks for our European fans who wish to import a copy instead of waiting for one that works in their county systems but we weren't so angry about it since Atlus was very up front about it. They were also very up front when their online systems with their fighting game releases were messy at first as well as the numinous times they needed to shut down the Demon's souls servers. It there was a problem that would effect their game and their audience, they are willing to talk about it.

I could go on with other examples from Double Fine's Kickstarter for their adventure game, Nintendo saying that the 3DS release wasn't what they expected, and Sony fixing their network, saying sorry about it, and also being honest to why PS4 wasn't going to have backward compatibility. But the point is that if companies want to set thing right with it's audience, it's fanbase, it's customers that is buying their products, they should stop hiding and start talking.

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Yesterday's games: Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

My journey continues with brotherhood, the continuing adventure of Ezio.

I remember when this was announced that Ubisoft was focusing on mainly the multiplayer and I, like many, was almost turned off by that fact. However, it turns out that there was a single player to Brotherhood and a awesome one at that. Just to let you know I no longer have gold membership status on my 360 so I had no ability to play the multiplayer, which what I seen of it is pretty well made, so don’t expect my thoughts on it.

Continuing being awesome

Ezio is back, and sexier and smoother than ever

In present times, Desmond and his little gang of underground assassins continue the search for the apple while also bonding with each other from short talks to emails. Again, the present day storyline isn’t given much depth but the conversations and those funny emails help add additional layers to these characters. Back in Ezio times, things aren’t looking good as the Borgia army has blasted the assassin’s base in Monteriggioni and soon, has Ezio and his team laying low in Rome where they set up to take down the Borgia and the Templar order one backstab at a time.

Ezio is almost unstoppable once he get his chain kills going

Actually there is a lot of things to do to crumb this order. From finding information, kill specific targets, destroying war machines, taking down bases and so much more. You’ll hardly have nothing to do in this game as almost every activity is a step away from any given position. Resorting marketplaces is back with a few new additions. Besides opening paint stores, blacksmiths, and clothing stores, you have the ability to buy historical places like the Pantheon or the Colosseo, increase your revenue even more.

There is so much to do that I’m hard pressed to be able to finish the game on time. One of my favorite activites to do is recruiting assassins. Have a team of assassins on your side, helping you in fights and taking on missions is pretty awesome. It also makes you feel like a leader in this fight that is being reflected from Ezio in the story. The combat also makes Ezio even more of a badass than he already is. It still has the smooth countering system from the last game but they relaxed the timing now so that all weapons have a easy time doing counters. There also the execution streak that allows Ezio to instant kill his enemies one at a time until he gets hit. While it does make combat easy, there is skill into keeping the execution streak going by countering attackers.

You know what the colosseo mission needs, a time limit

So far the only problem I had with the game is the sync challenges. From time limits to killing a person in a specific way, the challenges put too much unneeded pressure and don’t function well with the given game mechanics. Riding horse can be a pain when they get stuck on small ledges and would had liked them to move faster since your in a large area. However, it is fun knocking enemy horse riders and assassinating them while still riding the horse.

Skipping Revelations

The scenes between Ezio and Sofia are so lovable

While I’m willing to buy almost anything that is Assassin’s creed, I still have my limits and will skip Revelations. Not that it a bad game but it one where the story is the real meat and playing it kinda gets in the way, mainly how it is too similar to Brotherhood. Story-wise it holds up well with Ezio finding the artifacts of Altair, discovering the meaning of his work, and working his magic on lovely Sofia Sartor. Meanwhile, Desmond is in a coma and inside a weird place called the Black room where the consciousness of Subject 16 helps with his recovery. Here Desmond learns about himself and sees where he fits into all of this mess. It a pretty well made and put together story that leads into Assassin’s Creed 3.

My Journey through the past Assassin’s Creed games has come to an end and I’m happy that I jumped in to the series. I look forward to playing Assassin’s Creed 3 and see where the story takes us.

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Yesterday's games: Assassin's Creed 2

After my struggle with the first game, I then entered the world of Assassin’s creed 2. A world that was so much clearer, smoother, and fresher. My mind was completely blown away at the change and improvements the assassin’s creed team has done with it and was able to see how the series went from being some half ass attempt at a franchise to a real one.

Character among characters

Ezio is such a interesting and likable character.

The first game had some pretty basic characters that help set the tone of the games past setting and present setting. However, it was only in the present time characters that were given more detail to with Desmond and Lucy. Altair did develop from some jerk to an assassin with a better view on morals and ideas but it didn’t talk about who he is or what was motivating him. Assassin’s Creed 2 has the fabulous Ezio, a very loveable man. He enjoys life and all of its wonders. He has revenge on his mind but still offer his services to help anyone in need. He is willing to take advice as he learns the ropes of becoming an assassin while still making his own judgements. He has such color to his character that you just can’t help but love the man. The supporting case also help bring life not only to the setting of Italy but to the interactions with Ezio. The bickering between Ezio and his sister, Claudia, the lessons from Uncle Mario, and the wonder friendship of Leonardo as he help Ezio make gadgets and decode the codex (How exciting :D). Back in present times, Desmond has a more clearer goal now that he is working with the underground assassins. Along with Lucy, he has the information support and British, Shaun Hastings, and Rebecca Crane, the techy. The game doesn’t provide enough screen time for these characters but their part in the story, including Desmond, are meant to develop overtime and for when we leave the animus they help us understand the state the world of assassin’s creed is in.

Smoother experience

Getting to those view points are a lot more enjoyable when you can climb so fast.

Controls can easily make or break a game and it certainly broke my experience with AC1. However, AC2 was a whole another story. Ezio is a faster climber than Altair as he can turbo drive up a wall as long as he has a straight path. This makes climbing so much more enjoyable since it doesn’t take so much of your time. Later on buildings will have high ledges but soon Ezio learns a new move that allows him to reach them, opening up a new set of climbing abilities. The designers also layout some interesting climbing paths, making sure that the player isn’t always going straight up all the time and have moments where they’ll have to find the right path.

Ezio is also moves fast in combat as well, getting hits in without delay. While some people say that the combat is similar to AC1 where you wait to counter a person's attack, but the timing for counters are easy to execute and seeing a group of enemies just crumble one after the other by being defensive is pretty cool. Deepening combat is the additions of disarming enemies, instantly killing the disarmed person and having a new weapon to fight with, and some special moves like throwing dust or smoke bombs to blind your opponents. I shouldn't forget the double hidden blades and how awesome it is taking out two targets at once.

Dual hidden blades son!

Lastly, the mission and activity structure has been redone. Small missions like races and assassinations are all optional and don’t drag the main story missions that actually progresses. Some of the activities like the assassin’s tombs and collecting feathers have some nice rewards that makes them worth doing. The economic system is a pretty cool feature by investing money to the small town of Monteriggioni for it shops, renovations, and upgrades helps make the town looking good and you gain a profit over time, making the task of earning money less of a burden on the player and giving them more focus on the main mission. There also paints to collect, weapons to buy, dyes to wear (Ezio needs to look good :D), the list goes on and on. And that’s what makes this game great, it feels full of options while the previous game just limited you too strictly.

AC1 really has left me a scar that is hard to heal but AC2 was able to heal that deep wound. I give my thanks to the Assassin’s Creed team to pulling the series from a bad start and able to push itself to the top. I could had finished Ezio story from here and just read the wiki for Brotherhood and Revelations, then just wait for AC3 to come out. However, I wanted to experience it properly, so I got myself a copy of Brotherhood. Stay tune for my thoughts on that soon.

It Fabulous time with Ezio!!!

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Yesterday's games: Assassin's Creed 1

I was thinking about what I’ll will write about since I been lacking on some post and something came up after almost having no games to play over the summer. It then hit me after seeing a friend streaming his first playthrough of Assassin’s Creed 1 and it got me thinking about opening myself up to the series. Next thing I know I was hanging out with one of my close friends and asking him if I can borrow AC 1 and 2. Without delay he handed me the two games in joy that I had interest in playing the series and the very next day I pop in AC1 in to my 360. I expected to not like the first entire in the series due to the mix reaction from reviewers and fans. However, I didn’t expect those negatives about the game to show up so quickly.

I hate Assassin’s Creed 1. I hate it more than waiting in line at the DMV. I hate it more than some lazy college professors who’s trying to lecture us with very vague information. Every time I look at the box I get this sick feeling from it. I simply hate this goddamn game and here why.

Repeating pains

The concept of the game is the Altair needs to get info on his targets in order to properly find and kill them. It a concept that fits with the theme of being an assassin and it would be fine if it wasn’t the fact that you repeat these task of pickpocketing, eavesdropping, interrogating, and helping assassin member before they give you info over and over again. For most games that do repeat task they usually change the design of the task to any additional abilities you get gotten. AC1 task are all the same from the beginning to the very end. You may have gotten a new weapon but that doesn’t make the small assassination mission any different since you still need to kill them quietly. You still have to wait for the man you’re going to interrogate to go into some dark place. Nothing changes. One of the worst parts about it is that if you fail a task you have to go back to the place to activate it again and for a few of them you have to listen to some speech that goes on for way too long. All this to redo a task that takes like 5 minutes to complete but ends up taking 15.

Controlling your assassin

Controlling Altair just feels unresponsive. Not his basic movements like walking, turning, and most of his freerun. It the combat and climbing that the main issue.

There only a few moments that combat looks this cool

The idea of combat when you're no longer in hiding is that you’re a skilled swordsman that can easily take down of group of baddies by simply counter attacking.It a cool system but in AC1 it is very slow as enemies take a little too long attacking you and in the worst cases some attack at the same time so if you get once you’re going to get hit again,

getting you stuck in a limbo of attacks and not getting a good footing in the fight. But why not just attack them instead? Well because going on the offensive is very poor in the game. Attacking is sloppy as you just mash on the attack button and sooner or later you kill them. However, later enemies have the abilities to counter your attacks, making you hesitant to attacking anyone when they can easily turn the tables on you without warning. For most of it, the climbing is one of the unique aspects of AC1. It not super fast pace in some other open world games but interesting to see the animation of Altair climbing a large structure. However, the feeling of climbing starts to break apart as you notice how slow he is. It almost like Altair is thinking about every step he is about to take to see if he can grab it or not but the disconnect I get from looking at the screen is that I can clearly see that it is a reachable ledge. The worst part is that some ledges look to be reachable when the game says that there not. Clearly Altair need some lesson in climbing but I don’t think he need a lesson because he a bloody Assassin! Doesn’t he know how to get to high ledges by now!?

Kept on going

Altair is a pretty cool character, just needed a background

So this was the pain I went through in AC1. So why the hell did I kept going? Why all this pain which I mark as worse than Prototype repetitiveness? It was experiencing the story. See the series is built around the idea of two factions, fighting each other to see who is right about how humans should live, how our history is twisted by their conflict, how most of it start by early living beings of both high and low states, and on top of all of this the personal story of Desmond miles and his assassin ancestors. To think that this was some basic stealth game that was set in the past that turned out to be something more complex and interesting when looking at every detail is kinda mind blowing. The whole philosophy of the Assassins allows them to be more than just some group who kills people. It just unfortunate that playing the first game to see this is a hard pill to swallow.

With Assassin’s Creed 1 long behind me, I then turn my eyes to Assassin’s creed 2 and soon breath in the fresh air of it improvements.

It Fabulous time with Ezio!!!

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My look at: The Vita

For a while now I been playing around with my new Vita. I got it right after I sold some games and my Wii and saw that I had enough to get one and pre-order this years Persona games. It is a Wi-fi model, not going to pay for some damn contact with AT&T -_-, and got one Vita title, Gravity Rush. So here are some things that I think about it.

Smooth sailing

The system interface and loading time is very smooth. Sliding from menus, moving from one app to app, leaving and returning to games are all very slick with hardly any slow down or lag between them. It was impressive to have the ability to pause a game when backing out to the main menu and then able to go back to the game without having to restart. Another cool thing was the multitasking it was capable of from playing music while playing a game to to opening multiple social apps and still able to keep running without a hitch.

Lovely features

One of the things I liked about the PSP was the way I was able to customize my system look and it still applies to the Vita, allowing any kind of picture to be used for the wallpaper. Moving the icon around is a nice way of being organize with the apps, specially when you start to downloading apps and games to the system. Camera system is pretty functional with the ability to read AR cards similar to 3DS, which is pretty nice. PSN store interface is easy enough to navigate but could use some additional filtering features like low priced games or list by titles. The trophies app is pretty smooth with it syncing up right as you enter it as well as loading up your PS3 trophies too. By far the best feature is the fact that I can download games to it instead of having a physical copy of the game, making it easy for travel.

Unneeded features and lacking ones

There a few features I question there needs. First the rear touch is hardly used. I seen some games try to use it in some ok fashion but it is limited to a few touch gestures. Near, social networking app, is similar to 3DS's streetpass, where small data can be pass between systems. While it a cool feature, I hardly see it as some important enough to waste battery life on when I could just be playing games. Speaking of battery life, it has about 4 hour limit depending on how many apps you're using. However, it is nothing to riot in the streets about since you may not be playing for more than an hour or 2 since it is a portable device. The browser is pretty clunky with navigation being swimming and the lack of flash and HTML5 to play video is a bummer when most sites I would be using the browser for would be ones with video. This could explain the reasoning for the YouTube (Coming soon) and NicoNico app on the PSN store.

Gravity Rush

As I said before I got two games for my Vita. The first one being Gravity Rush, an open world action-adventure game staring Kat who is on a journey to finding out who she is while help saving the strange city she is in using her gravity abilities. It a pretty well made game, pushing the system's graphic and processing abilities with a interesting cell-shading look, while utilizing the touch screen and tilting sensor for a few of Kat's abilities. However, it isn't as smooth when using them, even when getting use to them. For the game as a whole it above average, with it strongest point being the story and the uniqueness of the gravity gameplay.

Overall it a pretty well made system that has a lot going for it. There are many things that'll help push this system up (Persona 4 golden for one) and as long as Sony really does push it with it cross play abilities and backward compatibility, it'll do well.

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