Saturday, October 31, 2009

Anime: "Lucky Star"

Well this have to come eventually. Today we review about a very popular anime: Lucky Star. A bit of background, Lucky Star was a 4-koma (or panel) comic strip manga written by Kagami Yoshimizu, adapted into an anime.

Lucky Star tells the life of a bunch of schoolgirls, the main 4 cast being:
Konata, long blue haired loli girl who is an avid otaku.
Kagami, the down-to-earth tsundere type, has a secret interest towards yaoi doujinshi.
Tsukasa, the short hair, moe-bait, shy and air-headed sister of Kagami.
Miyuki, the intelligent but economics dunce pink hair girl with developed chest.

What really makes Lucky Star memorable are all the characters. All of them are kind of representations of different stereotypes. There are characters such as the pedophilia Konata's dad, Kuroi-sensei who not only homeroom teacher for Konata but also plays the same MMO, the overly excitable cop Yui :3, the foreigner otaku Patricia who thinks Akihabara is a japanese cultural site, the meganekko mangaka Hiyori
, the quiet and reserved Minami, the sickly little cousin Yutaka...the list just goes on.

Along with the interesting conversations the 4 main characters can come up with, Lucky Star has many spoofs from many different otaku related stuff. Examples include the Initial D-style racing scene, the Super Robot Wars scene, and even a Haruhi cosplay cafe (some of the seiyuus from Haruhi voice acts in Lucky Star, with Aya Hirano being Konata herself).

Before the end of every episode, there will be a scene called "Lucky Channel", where super idol Akira and her assistant Shiraishi (same name as the voice actor) will start to talk about random stuff, which usually end up with Akira sulking and Shiraishi wrapping everything up.

When credits roll, the first half of Lucky Star episodes will let you listen to the main 4 characters singing Karaoke from behind a door. Every episode one of them will sing a different song, and these songs are from old animes like Dragon Ball's OP. The second half of the episodes will show the real Shiraishi (the seiyuu himself that is) singing and performing, usually ending up a bit ridiculous and funny.

So that's about wraps up Lucky Star. It is definitely an anime aimed towards otakus with all its references (they even mentioned 2ch once). Even if you are not an otaku, it has some random conversations that relate to real life (like how normal people don't realize the subtle mistakes of an artist).

And for those who whines about this anime not having character development or whatever, remember where the anime comes from: adapted from a 4-koma comic strip. 4-koma comic strips either have very very very very slow development, or none at all.

Overall, I recommend this anime :3
NOTE: There's already an OVA out somewhere. It has Kagami cosplaying Hatsune! :p

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nico nico douga orchestra

I love symphony orchestra.
I love nico nico douga.
When I first saw this, I almost died in happiness in front of my overheating notebook.

I was actually surprised that all of the songs in the medley transited to symphony orchestra beautifully. Some songs are expectedly awesome like 'The Last Wolf Suite' and some unexpected like 'Marisa Stole the Precious Thing'. This just shows how dedicatedly otaku japanese can be.

And I like the leekspin part XD

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Assassin's Creed 2: The REAL Assassin's Creed?

If anyone already read this or something similar, you might already know that Assassin's Creed 2 will be having more content that will prolong gameplay as compared to its rather dry and empty predecessor.

I have always griped about how AC1 does not have enough customization and content to make the game interesting enough to play. In AC2, they will be adding (aside from minor gimmicky stuff) shops and dungeons. Yes, dungeons = more content. Shops = more customization? We can't tell yet, but the picture above immediately reminded me of Thief 3.

I liked Thief series' variety of equipments. Despite how 'lame' some may sound, they are interesting enough to use. For AC2, I hope we can get something along that line or better than just boring sword and status upgrades (which I hope won't happen).

Along with that, it seems that they have improved on the sandboxing, giving you more stuff to do on the streets than just, I dunno, looking for trouble like in AC1. You were even given your own villa that displays your 'achievements', your weapons and more. Also you can build churches, shops and even inns which people will drop by and pay for its services (hmm Fable 2?). With all these facilities, you also begin to attract more NPCs to your villa (starts to sound like Suikoden here). If you have played Suikoden, or Fable 2, you know this means: potentially more content, though we can't tell how much yet.

All these changes seems to make AC1 feel like a beta version now. Finally it is starting to sound like a real game. I just hope all these changes are enough, because what we hear and what we play AND what we expect are 3 different things altogether. Assassin's Creed 2 releases 20th November this year.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My first Weiss Schwarz competition

I woke up Sunday morning with a huge headache, a headache that felt as if some microscopic organism is eating into my brain. Despite that, I got myself up and had a quick lunch before going to The Card Geeks at Sunshine Plaza, deck ready in my hand.

Since this is my first time, I didn't expect everything to go smoothly. Most of the stuff I do for the entire day can give people two conclusions: Either I'm trying to cheat, or I'm just plain inexperienced. I have deal the rather bad impression I thought I put up on myself but fortunately, the guys there are pretty friendly and understanding.

First mistake I did was registering 5 of the same cards. I didn't know there was a rule saying that there is a maximum of 4 of the same cards that can be registered into a deck. Regardless, I did a quick fix.

There are two mistakes I keep making during the game. Firstly, I keep forgetting to 'untap' my characters at the start of my turn and secondly, to consider my HP for what color cards I can summon. Honestly I apologize for this as having 1.0 HP doesn't happen very often for me, but happened like 3 times during the competition. Luckily the judges and the more experienced players are there to pick out the mistakes.

I don't know how I managed to win 3 matches out of 4 though. 1st guy (Huan Da?) had like 3 3/2 10000 power cards in my face against my 1 of the same card and a couple of 2/2 8500 power card. At the last desperate attempt, I barely managed to defeat him by dealing just enough damage (also thanks to a lucky +1 damage trigger card).

2nd guy (Nicholas?) was rather stressful. I could just say he has better luck than me. No matter how hard or soft I hit him, he will reversal almost everything. I haven't even seen the power of his deck, if he has any, but it doesn't matter since I can't touch his HP anyways.

3rd guy (Terrence?) was pretty okay, mainly because he mixed his Idolmaster deck with Phantom (got the feeling they don't really go well...), but amazingly he made it to the top 4! Damn good!

4th guy (can't remember >.<) was quite madpiss. I cleared his field the whole game, but for some reason, he's hitting me harder than I am to him. He spams the +2 soul climax cards like mad and quickly bumped me up to level 2, but I managed to break even and beat him. Good thing my climax cards are seperated, or his build would've killed me fast.

The 2 guys I fought for finals are: Terrance and the funny guy who loves my Etna 0/0 3000 power card whose name I cannot remember >.< (ごめん。。). He was damn tough as his deck revolves around 3 kinds of cards which he can pull out if he wants as long as he has the cost. The same formation of cards appeared in front of me for both games. Basically his support each gives his front card +1000 power each I think, and his front cards are 2/2 8500 power cards WITH ENCORE (discard one card from hand to revive instead of 3 stock).

Terrance(?) had bad luck against me I guess. I saw him giving short sighs and long considerations, and still didn't get the cards he needed. He did show me a nice combo with one of the Phantom cards though, so I might take it into consideration.

So that's about wraps everything up. I really had tons of fun, even when I lost. I guess that's because I told myself that I'm playing this for fun and not let losing get me down, since this game indeed has some luck involved. I'm still surprised at my luck this tourney, but perhaps because I brought Joel's lucky charm with me. Thanks Joel, it really worked XD Pictures to be added soon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Review: "Disgaea"

Disgaea is a Turn-Based Strategy Game made by Nippon Ichi. Most TBS' in its time focuses on combat and giving very little to do outside combat. Disgaea, however, has several things you can do out of combat and that have a few rather strange mechanics in combat never seen in other TBS.

Not only that, Disgaea has characters that are colorful in personality: The hot-blooded Demon Prince Laharl whose father died after choking on a black pretzel, the Sexy(?) Etna who command an army of reluctantly suicidal penguin-thingies known as 'Prinnies', and the Believer of Justice, Defender of Love and Peace Angel Trainee Flonne.

These three main characters are already widely recognized throughout the otaku world and also some kind of mascot for Nippon Icchi.

I'll put up a disclaimer first: Sorry if this review seems dry. There's only 2 things going for Disgaea and that is the mechanics and the story. I can't really tell you the story due to spoilers and the fact that this is an JRPG linear storyline makes it even more important not talk about it so I will just touch on some of the mechanics.

So here I'll give a brief overview of certain mechanics. I'll try to be as neat as possible as there are many things to talk about.

Geo Panels: In Disgaea combat, Geo Panels are essentially colored panels that gives a bonus/penelty depending on what Geo Stone is on the panel. For example, if a Geo Stone that gives +50% Attack is on a red panel, all red panels will give +50% Attack to whoever is on the panel. This is covered in more depth in the in-game tutorial.

Stacking In Disgaea combat, you can "Lift" a person and "Throw" a person. This is to reach hard-to-reach locations in the game, or you simply want to get to a location in one turn. It is possible to chain this so that one person ends up carrying 6 characters. I'm not sure about the limit of this mechanic lol.

Good old TBS

Dark Assembly: Dark Assembly is a court where you can pass 'bills' and get them approved. The 'bills' are effects that affects the entire game, like "Stronger Enemies", "More Expensive Stuff". At the court itself, you have to bribe its population so that you have a higher chance of getting approved. Don't worry, you can view which character disapproves your bill and bribe him from there. If you got rejected, you can either give up, or attempt to kill all who oppose, thus initiating combat.

Item World: In every item there is a world. Depending on the rarity of the item, there will be more layers to the world. Bypassing one level of the item world will increase the item's level by 1. A common item (no color) can only go up to 30 level, a rare item (silver) can go up to 60 levels and a legendary item (gold) can go up to level 100. Every level is randomized, so because of this, Disgaea has potentially unlimited different kinds of levels.

The Item World

Item Residents: In the item, you can place 'residents' to boost the effectiveness of your item. There are several different types of residents available. To shift residents from item to item, you have to enter the item world (stated above) to find and defeat the residents.

Those mechanics explained above are only the brief overview of the more important mechanics. There are many other mechanics like Transmigation, Item Shop, Combining Residents, Team Attacks, etc. that are way too hefty to explain in a review. There are several guides at GameFAQs that you can find for those.


Because of all these mechanics, Disgaea allows you to become ridiculously powerful. Although you can get by the story without knowing half the mechanics, the real fun in this game is the grind to become powerful. If you do not enjoy the grindfest wagon, the story is still good enough for you to enjoy the game.

Here's a video I always show my friends to encourage them to play:

I hope this will motivate everyone else too :)

PS: There's a Disgaea Anime out here, do check it out HERE! :)

PSP version add-on review: to be added

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Epic Mickey? In Steampunk?

If there's anything I've seen that's whacked up this entire year, it's the concept behind the upcoming Wii game: Epic Mickey.

The plot I've found so far is from
"A long, long, time ago, the sorcerer Yen Sid created a pen-and-paper world for his forgotten characters, accesible through a mirror. Mickey accidentally trips through the mirror, spilling paint thinner and twisting the world. He managed to escape without Yen Sid knowing, but it had its consequences. The Phantom Blot usurped power from Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and sent the world into ruin. Years later, Mickey is kidnapped by the Phantom Blot and sent into the world...

Oswald, his will lost, twisted by jealousy over the mouse's rise to fame, has formulated a plan to destroy Mickey. The Mad Doctor works closely with the Blot, creating robotic "Beetleworx", made to intimidate and twist Mickey's vision of his friends. He also creates 'buddies' for Oswald, looking like Donald Duck and Goofy, as Oswald wants Mickey's life and popularity for himself. Mickey must stop the Phantom Blot, gain the trust of Oswald and save the forgotten world."

Wow, looks like we're finally set on course for a more mature Disney game. According to many sources, the whole cast will get a redesign to fit the setting, which is...guess what: STEAMPUNK. I haven't really seen many steampunk settings in games for many years (if there is, please put in comment). I loved Steampunk setting, and seeing what Disney could come out with (i.e. Kingdom Hearts), I can't wait for this game.

More art found here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saimoe Tourney 2009 results!

Wow, I'm a little slower than I thought :P

Stumbled upon this result on Sakaku Complex. Looks like our loli tsundere Palmtop Tiger Taiga from "Toradora!" bested Yui Hirasawa from the recently popular moe anime "K-On!"

Results for all brackets can be found here . I'll briefly go through them below + some thoughts though I don't even watch some of the animes:

Group A winner: Yuuki Kataoka from Saki (tacos!).
Nothing surprising in this bracket. The moe ones managed to get one step up the round as expected.

Group B winner: Isumi Saginomiya from Hayate no Gotoku
I'm actually surprised that catgirl Kana Ikeda managed to beat Tsukasa AND Fuuko (starfish girl!). Proves that having nekomimi gives you an edge. Too bad Isumi has a floodload of moe moments.

Group C winner: Louise De La Valliere from Zero's Familiar
Looks like someone finally noticed Momoko! She went through 2 Clannad casts too, although it's not really that surprising.

Group D winner: Koromo Amae from Saki
By the time I got here, I already got the feeling Saki is more popular than I originally thought it was. No one cares about Bundou though lol. And I need to finish watching Shugo Chara!

Group E winner: Yui Hirasawa from K-ON!
Hinagiku Katsura from Hayate no Gotoku barely lost to Yui by only less than 20 votes! Sadly I'm not really a Hinagiku fan so I would love to Yui anyway. Minori was no match for Yui's moe-ness. Yui just makes too many cute faces in K-On!

Group F winner: Taiga Aisaka from Toradora!
Come to think of it, this is Palmtop Taiga vs Azu-nyan. Isn't it like tiger vs cat? Anyways, Taiga won by a landslide for the whole bracket; more than 100 votes for each round. Poor Nagisa and Maria. Perhaps if they were in other brackets it would be better for them.

Group G winner: Mihoko Fukuji from Saki
Not much to comment. It's rather expected, though I thought furry-ears would have an edge.

Group H winner: Nodoka Haramura from Saki
Some might know by now if you read my previous statement that I'm not a Hinagiku fan that I'm actually a Sanzenin Nagi fan. I would undoubtedly vote for Nagi, since I'm not really a Nodoka fan either. Still, it was rather close: less than 20 votes difference. And what is Angol Moa from Sgt Frog doing here.

As you can see, 4 of the 8 finalists were from Saki, though they were wiped out by Yui's cuteness and Taiga's tsundere. All in all, Taiga's win in this tourney was rather satisfying, considering that she a much deeper character than Yui, and the fact that she's a super-tsundere probably boosted her moe level to insane heights. By a super-tsundere, I mean that she can be incredibly fierce, and incredibly shy and moe.

Below are two clips from Toradora, as a tribute to Taiga:

And of course, the epic kiss scene at the end of the anime(spoilers!) that probably bowled every otaku over.

Of course not forgetting Yui XD

Until the next Saimoe tourney! Hopefully I'll keep up with it next time!

Monday, October 19, 2009

XBL add friend flowchart

I don't know how true this is, but still worth a look. ^^

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday wrappup

Thanks for the very active saturday, which started off with just me driving around Tanah Merah for my driving lesson. Which proceeded to going to Sunshine Plaza for some Weiss Schwarz.

Finally this week, I won some Weiss Schwarz matches, the first I have ever won in my whole life. Of course, some of them are really close and can be down to the wire unlucky finishes, but it's all in good fun.

We all have to take note of the new Canaan decks. There's some really crazy 2-3 card combo which can destroy your entire front row cards easily and at the same time, deal crazy damage to your hp. That match I played with Taku (the Canaan deck owner) totally raped me. I think I barely got him to level 3 only by last minute suiciding before I died the next turn. Crazy stuff.

Good matches to Joel, whom I beat only because I'm luckier than him this week lol. Good luck in Wallaby. I'll get you the Haruhi TD at AFA when it comes out.

Good matches to Chin Yong, who insanely already spent $240 in 2 days on his Nanoha deck. Looks like its getting stronger, so I have to wait on my Phantom Box to arrive. I don't think I can win him with the same strat over and over, which my deck is only good at it now.

Then thanks to Ryan for spending some time to eat(teach) me Starcraft and some totally random 1v1 DOTA. Let's see if I can play with those in Garena, but I have to fix my Starcraft problem first.

Console session end up with everyone being tired and maybe a little bored. Haha, I know because I'm a little tired myself. Anyway, everyone probably learnt many useless stuff about Blazblue on top of the few useful stuff I tried to tell everyone about. Tager is damn fun.

Hmm seems like end of month is going to get better and better, aside of the advent of clerk duty(the horror!). End of November for AFA, and December got Christmas and Little Akiba trip! XD

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Review: "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor DS"

Saw my friend BakaHiki reviewing this great DS game, so I thought I'll give it a spin too. For starters, this is a grid-based TBS game, so I tend to be a little biased since it's one of my favorite game genres.

Devil Survivor is about your characters being trapped in a 7 day area lockdown in the middle of Tokyo area. If you have played "The World Ends With You", you would've already noticed the similarities, though that's as far as similarities goes. As the story progresses, it begins to spin off from the norm and lead you down a rather deep rabbit hole.

Since the story concerns bible stuff, I'm rather surprised nothing much is being mentioned about the game online. I guess the world out there is getting more open-minded?

Anyways, unlike most TBS where each character is a unit, in Devil Survivor, each unit is a team of 3 consisting of 1 human and 2 demons. This allows lots of space for customization. You can have a team mainly for physical attacks, or even specializing in fire and healing magic. The possibilities is almost limitless.

Grid-based TBS

Due to the teaming system, two teams engaging throws them into a classic RPG style combat. The best thing about this is that everything uses the initiative system, which means if your character is fast, he will still attack faster despite the enemy being the one who initiated the fight, although they do get a bonus to their speed when they do so.

As the game progresses, you will be able to unlock the Auction house (which is used to purchase demons) and the Citadel of Shadows, which allows you to combine demons to form another. Before combining both demons, you are allowed to transfer a few of its existing powers to the new demon, so long as the new demon has enough empty slots for you to insert. There ARE sandbox demons which has like 3 empty 'attack' slots and 3 empty 'support' slots for you to fill as you like! For optimization, it's best to get the combining list online and plan, but you can still win the game if you are as clueless as me.

An auction is sold!

There are also other game mechanics in play like "Cracking" a skill and allowing it to be assigned to your character, but I shan't delve on that too much. Basically, human characters can equip any skill they want as long as they have the slot and the stat requirements for it. You can 'Crack' (aka obtain) a skill by assigning a team to the monster with the skill and defeating it with said team. The rest are frivolous details, but you need to note that no 2 humans can equip the same ability.

Speaking of stats, there are 4 stats in this game. You can add 1 point to anyone of them
- Strength governs your physical attack, as well as some ability to cast fire spells
- Agility governs your speed, which is universally useful even for casters. It's nice to see you destroy everything in one spell before the opponent can react.
- Vitality governs your hp and defense. Honestly, I only get it for the stat requirements
- Magic governs your magical ability.

good ole RPG combat

This game has a New Game+ and fortunately, there is some replayability value. There are like 5-6 paths in this game to choose from, so to see how each path goes and ends, it's quite worth it to just play through it again, especially since you keep your old monsters from the previous game, so you can easily clear everything.

Devil Survivor is one of the better games that a DS owner can play. If you are into lots of customization, TBS and a good story, this game is definately for you. It can very well enter my list of favorite TBS games ever.

- Lots and lots of customization
- Good story overall
- Good pace, for a TBS

- Can heavily punish players who doesn't have a plan, or doesn't care much about skill cracks, especially at late game

NeetGeek gives "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor DS": 9/10

Friday, October 16, 2009

HnK musou gameplay preview!

Here's a vid I managed to dig out off Youtube regarding the previously mentioned HNK Musou game. Everything looks great so far; the graphics, the scenes and the physics. HNK in KOEI's musou games engine just seemed so...correct in many ways!

Seriously can't wait for this game. I heard release is next year, but hey, next year is only 3 months away XD

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hokuto no Ken + KOEI = ???

I haven't really been a fan of KOEI's mushou products but THIS sounded so...right.

In the teaser above we see the early-story scene of Juria jumping to her death.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Review: "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare"

I didn't really like the Call of Duty series previously since I don't find it fun to run around (yet another) Omaha Beach map, carrying age old weapons like Thompsons, and driving age old vehicles which I can't recognize. I admit that I have less interest towards FPS's in general, so I usually do not give them a chance unless someone recommends me or I chance upon one of its videos which I don't usually search for (just chanced).

I can't remember which of these reasons got me into COD4, probably because of the hype and also because it has "Modern Warfare" as its suffix. Inferring from that, I assumed I would get to play in urban terrain with cool modern weapons and equipment. I loved urban warfare a lot, probably due to having some small exposure of it in the army, so I was curious and checked it out. 'Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare' did not disappoint.

Night mission as "Soap"

I'm going to start off with Single Player, since I spent most of my time playing it. You play as two characters in the Single Player: Sergeant Paul Jackson of USMC and "Soap" MacTavish of SAS. What's great about the Single Player is that you are thrown into quite a number of perspectives.

Although most of the time you will be playing "Soap" and Paul, there are instances where to get to play as a completely different character, like Price when he was young and the gunner of a AC-130 Gunship. It breaks the monotony of the game. Aside from that are also the very well plotted missions. My personal favourite, and possibly everyone's, was the mission where you play as a younger Captain Price in a sniper mission. Another good mission was the one where you play as Paul to stop a nuke from blowing. There's a small little 'Black Hawk Down' section (aka save the pilot) there.

I liked all the technology in this game, maybe its because some of them seemed familiar because of my experience in the army. Modern equipments include the M203 extension, Night Vision Googles, gully suit, Red Dot Sight (laser), C4, the legendary AK-47 and many more. It's also fun calling for air support to attack a position.

Multiplayer seemed a bit RPG'ish in some sense. There are two things that set apart COD4's Multiplayer with other FPS's. One is PERKS and the other is the SUPPORT.

Omg it's an RPG!

As you level up in multiplayer (by racking up kills online), you will be given access to new weapons, new perks, new kits as well as the ability to create a customized kit. Perks include abilities and equipments. Perks vary in abilities, from increasing the amount of special grenades you can carry (stun/flashbang), to increasing the damage of your bullets, to allowing you to run twice as long.

Support abilities are one-time abilites that you get over the course of a game. They are all obtain from the kill-streak that you have. For example, having 3-kill streak (kill 3 opponents without dying) awards you with the ability to scan the map for enemies for your team. Having 5-kill streak awards you with the ability to call an air-strike. The list goes on...

About mechanics, nothing strays too far away from the common FPS except that this game allows you to throw back nearby grenades away from you. It's very useful, especially since grenades kill you most of the time in Single Player. The AI in this game is rather smart, knowing how to seek cover, and even flank you (I only played up to Hardcore mode though). If you throw yourself into the middle of the battlefield, you'll just be eating bullets all around you and you will have no idea where 90% of them comes from before you die.

Overall I had a great time playing COD4 which it lasted. Most people like this game because of its setting, being so closely related to us. Then again, there are people who wants to escape reality via games, so I guess this game might not be for them.

NeetGeek gives "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare":8/10

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blazblue Continuum Shift 2nd loc test impressions

Since the location tests for the next upcoming version of Blazblue is under way for a couple of weeks already, I'll post up a short writeup on the opinions by me and a few friends on the reported changes based on this and videos scattered around YouTube...

Of course, while this is written, there are still constant changes going on in Japan.

Gameplay changes
- Barrier burst system replaced by the ability to stock up 2 bursts and no longer gives a damage penelty unless your barrier meter goes low or something. It'd be interesting how people use burst now; we might expect the same usage as Guilty Gear's Burst.
- New guard system. Some moves will go through barriers now. No idea how this will affect gameplay, but seems like a big change.
- overall damage reduction, much like GG:Slash to GGAC.

Character changes
Ragna - Damage nerf, but gameplay should remain the same.

Jin - Huge damage nerf, but is stronger at rushdown now that all his dash cancel moves are NORMAL dashes.

Noel - Damage nerf, normals overall nerfed to become slower. Biggest nerf was 5A being unmashable and no longer as broken as it was. Another big nerf was having slower air throw (I loved her broken airthrow >.<) Rachel - Her rushdown abilities seemed to be crippled so far. Lots of what affected her rushdown has been nerfed. Tager - Alot faster, overall buff. Atomic Collider being upper body invul means that he can do stupid mindless close range 50/50 mixups like Potemkin in GGAC. Taokaka - Not much changes overall Litchi - Biggest change was the nerfing of her DP. She's no longer able to do combos into free pole setups anymore. Arakune - seems to be revamped. Even then, I heard a 5k combo has already been discovered. Bang - most buffed up character. Can do 4 seals from almost anything. Autoguard attacks are now like 2 frames faster or something, meaning it's much easier to land them now. 6C working on all characters is a great thing. The best is his new Distortion Drive, which is an anti-air, something that Bang is lacking in the current installment. Seems like Bang is going to be pretty solid Carl - No more clap loop, but Carl is still quite good at sandwich combos. So, his damage now got from a level of 'ridiculous' to 'decent'. Hakumen - Seems to get an overall speed buff to his moves. His new normal is said to be abusable and powerful. Λ-No.11- Overall nerf to range, speed and removal of some JCable stuffs, stripping her of some of her agility. Best was the nerf of 2C. Tsubaki - Seems to play like Order-Sol so far, not only from her mechanics, but also from what I see from her gameplay. But the videos are quite blur and this is still only speculation, so I can't really tell. Hazama - Seems incomplete atm. Hopefully it will hit nearby arcades soon. I would hate to wait for 3-5 months like everyone did for GGAC.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Anime: "Azumanga Daioh"

Azumanga Daioh is truly a special anime in its own way. It has brought the meaning of 'random' to anime. Be warned that upon watching Azumanga Daioh, you might be forcefully stripped of your intelligence for a couple of weeks or so.

This anime's overview is simple enough. It's a comedy show about bunch of girls with different personalities living their high school life. Like most of such animes, you will see them go through cultural festivals, summer festivals, examinations, holidays, P.E lessons, sleepovers, etc. Sounds normal enough, until you begin watching.

You know, I have been thinking of reviewing this anime for quite some time, but never really understood how to go about doing it. It's an almost indescribable show. Most of the time you will find you questioning yourself 'Why on earth am I watching this?' while continuing to finish off the scene or episode.

The whole pace of the anime is damn slow, and I seriously mean SLOW. That is exactly what makes the humor works. For example, there is a rather long scene of Kimura-sensei shouting 'BANZAI' repeatedly at different scenes before the final scene when it finally stops, slows down, and ended with Kimura saying 'I like those' very slowly. The whole scene lasts 0:44 seconds and I think it's best to show you the scene itself:

Almost every humor in this anime works like this. It's just endless and for some reason you just can't get sick of it because of the randomness. So far, it's the only anime that does humor in this manner. It's a mind-numbing experience.

Aside of the humor, the characters are very memorable. We have the famous Osaka, a girl who is very slow in everything she does. Chiyo is a cute genious girl the age of a grade schooler. Saki is a quiet cool girl who daydreams about being with cats, which hates her. Kimura-sensei is a sick perverted teacher has a beautiful wife. Yukari-sensei is a teacher who takes pride in her proficiency in English, though she's a lazy bum. The list just goes on and on.

I truly enjoyed watching it, and have repeated and Favourite'd some memorable scenes for my YouTube account. I distinctly remember being rather 'blur' or 'airheaded' (I usually am, but this is more so than usual) for 1 or 2 weeks after watching the whole show within at most 2 days, hence I always give a warning before introducing this anime :p

Azumanga Daioh, like I mentioned, is special in its own way. Not many people like it especially because of its slow pace, but if you are into randomness, or a /b/tard even, you would surely enjoy this anime.

Here's one of my favourite scene, where Osaka daydreams about learning English:


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

X360 vs PS3 caa 011009

You know a couple of years ago, X360 dominated the 3rd generation console wars. It displayed better graphics than the PS3, better multiplayer support than the PS3, and even more useful gimmicks than the PS3. Even worse, X360 has more games to look out for compared to the PS3.

Back then, X360 had all its cards in its hands. Tales of Vesperia and Star Ocean 4 claimed to be X360 exclusive (which is like giving their fans a slap). Gears of War series was one of the most crazy and action-packed FPS's to date, and Halo what a trump card that was. Sales went off the fucking charts on release. This CAD comic displays how popular Halo 3 was (still is I guess).

What the heck did PS3 have back then? Metal Gear Solid 4, and...Disgaea 3?

But that was then. PS3 fans and several other people predicted that PS3 will rise late. One of the key reasons why X360 had better graphics than PS3 then was because X360 has DirectX. Everyone who programmed games on PC can easily program them on X360. PS3, like PS2, is a bitch to program. Secondly, most people have their PS3 display settings set to 'Limited' (which is the default) when it should've been 'Full'. I can't find the source saying that GameTrailer's PS3/X360 comparions have its PS3 set to 'Limited' and calling their videos an 'unfair comparion' though.

But that is just the graphics. Suddenly we see a new wave of X360 'exclusives' released on PS3 WITH MORE GAMEPLAY. What the heck? It makes X360 seemed as if it was only used as a beta testing console!

For instance:
Tales of Vesperia was announced with a new character (pirate loli Patty) and the famous Flynn being usable as a party character (I'm sure everyone wants that), as well as new combat mechanics. Of course there are minor stuff like having Repede walking around with your character in the game world.

Star Ocean 4 is doing the exact same thing as Tales, though I'm not too sure about what changes are important or not since I haven't played it (holy shit I should play now!).

Then we have Arkham Asylum. The main reason why I bought the PS3 version over the X360 version was because it PS3 has a free DLC which allows you to play as The Joker.

Now we have Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Okay, there was already Sigma 1, but that doesn't really count because it's an old Xbox game (2nd gen) port to a PS3 (3rd gen).

Things seemed to pick up for the PS3 recently, so from here on it's gonna become an even fight. X360 STILL have some exclusives lined up, but as far as japanese-based games go, PS3 is going to have an advantage. It isn't surprising actually if you considered X360 sales in Japan compared to PS3. With all the japanese otakus buying the PS3, I can't help but wonder if this had any effect to the 'betrayal' of companies that made japanese X360 then-exclusive games.

So from now on, don't ask me if "X360 is better or PS3 is better?" It really depends on what you want. Back then I would say "X360 unless you want MGS4" but that answer doesn't hold today.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Review: "Dungeon and Dragons Online: Ebberon Unlimited"

Years ago, when I first played this MMO, I was turned off by the fact that you actually have to pay to play. This is considering that it is, as far as the multiplayer concept is concerned, exactly what Guild Wars have, only that Guild Wars is actually free.

So years later, Turbine finally woke up and decided to make it free to play, with a cash shop of course. They were so close to running another game to its death (*cough*Asheron's Call 2*cough*). I actually liked the game when I played it though, just didn't think it deserved to be as expensive as more 'open' worlds like WoW or EQ2, considering that 80% of the content in DDO is instanced (like Guild Wars).

Venture into dungeons and defeat the evil within!

Being a Dungeon and Dragons fan doesn't necessarily mean that you will like the game. If you enjoy DnD games like Neverwinter Nights however, you will probably like it more. For one, it is action based just like NWN, and no there isn't a 'Parry' and 'Discipline' skill system which ups your character's survival by 1000%.

Having Dungeon and Dragons knowledge naturally gives you an edge over new players in this game. In fact, it is best to do some DnD rules research before making your first character. Builds can be easily screwed if not preplanned well because of the diversity of 3.5e DnD rules. Always try to plan as far as the next 5 levels and realize the role of your class/multiclass. I once met a 8 CHA cleric who can't even turn undead in a level 2 dungeon. I sure as hell not want to meet a 8 CHA sorcerer who can't even cast spells. It can happen.

I'm not going to explain 3.5e DND rules here because that would take a whole day, so I'm just going to touch on the MMO part.

DDO characters do not gain experience points the way other MMOs do. Instead, you will have to do quests for XP. Once the NPC gives you a quest, your character will be required to enter an instance of the dungeon.

Upon pressing the "X" hotkey, you will be flashed something that resembles a scorecard. On it is the calculation of the amount of experience point you have accumulated as you progress through the instance, which you will obtain ONLY when you complete the quest. Killing monsters do NOT give you ANY experience points.

The Scorecard

At the top, you will see the base minimal experience points that you can gain from completing the quest. Positive percentage multipliers will be added as you find secret doors, disable traps, kill monsters, destroy breakables, going through the particular dungeon difficulty the first time, and many more. Negative multipliers are gained from leaving the dungeon, being overleveled for the dungeon, etc. Also, finding and completing optional quests gives you straight unmodified experience points.

Breaking things to gain experience...?

The instances are, overall, pretty well designed. It's fun going through the instances the first time, but after awhile, it will start to get old. Grinding usually involves you repeating a really good instance that gives good exp and loot. Since instances are static, skills such as Spot and Listen will be quite useless as everyone already knows where to find a certain hidden door or trap.

When DDO because free to play, many features of the game are locked. You will be required to 'pay' for such features using Favor Points, which can either be obtained by grinding dungeons (ie just playing the game) or paying with money. Er...I'm talking about REAL money here for those who are wondering. Features locked include: playing Drow, 32 point buy, playing Favored Soul, playing Adventure Pack modules, playing Warforged, and more.

The DDO Store

Adventure Packs are a series of quests that brings you through a few instances, before rewarding you with sweet items. From my past experience when I first played DDO (when it was pay to play and everything is open), these quests are so good, you will want to keep doing them over and over again despite it being boring after awhile (aka grinding). I have to admit that running them for the first time is quite an epic experience.

Because of the locked features, there is so much temptation to pay Turbine up front, unlock stuff and play whatever you want. I think Turbine did a good job in that aspect. When I first returned, I had to fight off the urge to play 32-point buy Drow Bard with Tomes. It wasn't easy considering how gimped I felt playing a 28-point buy character when there's a great build up there which I know I would enjoy. When you play MMO, you want the best of the best right? Here, DDO locked it from us. 28-point buy character can still be pretty good for those who are wondering. Besides, no one will know if you are 32-point buy or 28-point buy, so don't worry about this affecting your grouping options.

On to leveling, DDO right now has 20 levels (it was 10 when I first played). 20 levels seemed to be a tad bit little compared to other MMOs which usually have above 50 levels. The bad news is, DDO's 20 levels felt like a normal MMO's 50 levels, so each level felt pretty long, which means you will be stuck with the same spells/BAB/stats/etc for that period. The good news is that each level is split into 5 parts, and getting past each part will gain you Action Points which you can use to buy Enchancements that will improve your character. So, don't worry about losing the motivation to level up. It won't be that bad.

All in all, DDO is a fun MMORPG to play, espacially since it is (can be) completely free. You don't even need to buy the box. However, you are highly recommended to at least know how some DND rules first before attempting your first character.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


One random day I decided if it was possible to play Touhou Project OST on piano. It sounds crazy and insane but lo and behold, I found a Japanese pianist named 'marasy'. When I found him, he has already done quite a few of Touhou Project songs on piano so feel free to check him out here. He also does some Beatmania songs.

If there's a player who can motivate you to improve playing piano, it has to be him. Fantastic job, I mean look at the video above, that's like 3-4 tunes with 2 hands! And as of date, he is still coming up with moar!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dubs + Cosplay = Death Star + Alderaan

Dubs. Don't you just HATE it? Don't you just want to run away and flush your head into the sewers after hearing them? Don't you want to shoot yourself? Honestly, those thoughts went through my mind whenever I hear my japanese-made anime characters talking in English.

Call me an elitist or whatever, but hearing cosplayers talking in English is a complex feeling filled with hatred, pain, anger and insanity. I cringed, died, revived, crawled, and repeated this process all the way from the 'line of hearing' radius of cosplayers conversing in English on stage with a loud microphone. Yes, it was that painful for me. I would've taken a video of one such example, but I doubt I can last more than 3 whole seconds of recording.

Asked everyone what's their thoughts on such cosplay scenes and results are quite negative. Maybe I'm targeting the wrong audience to ask? Maybe I should've asked the (alot) more casual anime fans. For me I wouldn't have a thought cus I'm already dead and trying to respawn.