By special request, we here at AllGoodThings have been asked to talk about the new Tomb Raider, developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix in March 2013 to critical acclaim. Most simply, Tomb Raider is what you would get if Uncharted and FarCry 3 had a lovechild, which, heck yeah, sounds awesome. In it you'll get a huge world to explore as the titular video game heroine Lara Croft on her first college-aged adventure.
Of course you will find your mandatory platforming in this installment and the controls are very responsive. Those of you who have been following my reviews, however, already know that I love castletroids and in a sense this game is a castletroid. You will gain new abilities and gather new equipment throughout your adventure, which encourages you to go back to previously explored areas where you will find new options have opened.
This brutality comes back to you as well. Every death scene is extremely graphic, especially for Lara. I've seen her break her neck, be impaled, and, well, I don't want to ruin all the surprises for you. Suffice it to say, this is not a game suitable for children and not for the same reason the original wasn't suitable for children. (Don't pretend you don't know what I mean.)
This reality is then enhanced further by the wonderfully rendered graphics. I played on the Xbox360, which made me stop at times just to look around at the forest (I’ve watched videos of the PC version that looks even better). For years I wondered what it would be like when games would allow me to run through believable jungles and forests and it's wonderful that we're finally here for this 15-20 hour adventure.
Finally, there is a full multiplayer suite to keep you coming back to Yamatai for years to come. Square Enix has really been on a roll this generation with this and other games, such as Deus Ex: Human Revloution and Just Cause 2 before it, two of my favorites from the past 5 years. So if you have an Xbox360, Playstation3, or a Windows compatible PC then you have to ask yourself is all this content worth sixty dollars? For me, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.”
Or is it? You see, there's another Aliens game which those two released way back in 2011 for the good ol' Nintendo DS and they did so with the help of one of my favorite studios, Wayforward Technologies. It's called Aliens: Infestation and it is by far the best thing be released with the name "Aliens" on it since 1986.
Aliens: Infestation however, also builds upon that by throwing in a little bit of survival horror taken from another game heavily inspired by the Aliens films, Dead Space. Like Metroid your character will explore the labyrinthine corridors, finding new equipment that opens new paths & areas but like Dead Space, there are limited amounts of ammunition for your Pulse Rifle so you had better not wander too far off without finding supplies otherwise you could end up dead - or worse.
It's wonderful little details in the presentation like this for which Wayforward is known. Enemies are very well animated too, sometimes filling almost the entire screen and the locations are beautifully drawn, often with layers parallax scrolling. Likewise, this game does an excellent job with the sound from the pulse rifles, to the motion tracker to the eerie soundtrack that plays or stops depending on where you are or what is happening on screen.
If you love Aliens, Metroid, Survival Horror, 2D art, have a DS or 3DS then I would easily recommend Aliens: Infestation. It is ridiculously inexpensive now, I got mine new for 5 dollars because it came out so late in the life cycle of the system that I think it went under a lot of people's radar. As such it can still be found easily even at department stores, probably in their bargain bin, which is a shame because this is an excellent title that you should pick up before it becomes another rare cult classic.
Atlus, you've done it again bro. Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble is a 2009 game for the Sony PSP that can easiest be described as a manliness simulator. Badasses like me don't usually make time to talk but if you shabazo need a better explanation then I guess I have a few minutes to spare before my next rumble.
Kenka Bancho is kind of a cross between Grand Theft Auto III and River City Ransom. You play as Takashi, a Japanese high school student on a class trip to the fictional city of Kyouto. You're not interested in learning though. (If you are then you'd be better off just reading the translations in the load screens and hey, the writing in this is pretty funny.) But nah, this is the perfect chance to prove you're number one by wandering the streets and finding other students from rival schools to beat the crap out of. And if you can top their biggest badass then they'll answer to you from now on.
The more you fight, the more of a badass you get. You'll keep getting stronger, tougher, faster and learn new moves. But be sure to also check out the local city stores for grub and new gear. Don't waste too much time shopping though, you've only got until the end of the field trip to take down those 47 wannabe banchos from the other schools and the clock's ticking kid. You can take the ladies out as well, show them the sights and see where it leads
Before going into the details and features of RetroCopy, I would just like to inform and remind everyone that emulators and ROMs are to be used for backup purposes with games already purchased lawfully. It is illegal to download and use emulators and ROMs for any other play. All Good Things TV, Otaku no Baka, and RetroCopy do not endorse or promote any illegal activities. Information given in this review is given for the purposes of lawful entertainment.
Using RetroCopy allows you to bypass many problems in trying to find an old system to play your favourite games. You don't have to re-spend time and money finding discontinued hardware, or adapters to play them on new-fangled televisions and monitors. RetroCopy allows you to play your old games in clarity unseen before, on a high definition computer monitor or LED/plasma television. While this is true about all other emulators, RetroCopy shines as superior because it does not just play one format of game, or even just one family of games like the best of emulators. It plays multiple formats and families!
RetroCopy plays ROMs for the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive, Master System, Game Gear, and SG-1000 systems. RetroCopy plays ROMs for the NES, and will emulate Super NES/Famicon games in the future. RetroCopy also plays arcade systems under the Sega 1, 2, and E architectures, and 1942.
While the formats of ROMs and media it plays are impressive, RetroCopy also has some bells and whistles unavailable anywhere. RetroCopy fully supports 3D gaming. It has 3D engines to support both 3D graphics and sound. RetroCopy plays video and audio in all of the popular formats, including DVD,VCD, and Mpeg Families. RetroCopy has a logue in feature that updates your online RetroCopy account (should you choose to make one) on the games you play and time played. Also, once you do make an account, you are able to write reviews on ROMs and even offer hints for other members in its game database. RetroCopy also has a "rewind" feature that allows you back the game up if you make a mistake, and try again! Perhaps the most impressive feature is the ability to create your own fully interactive and customizable virtual arcade and living room!
How interactive and customizable is the arcade/living room? RetroCopy allows you to have upright arcade machines as well as old 50's television sets to walk up and play your games on. It allows you to make floors of rooms, adjust furniture, and even has gaming posters that you can decorate with. Lighting and physics of the rooms are realistic. Retrocopy also allows you to select the quality of lighting and textures in your virtual rooms based on your computer's performance.
I had to the privilege to talk to Tommy Kvarsvik, beta tester, game database editor, and star supporter, about the future of RetroCopy. This is the information he shared. The enigmatic creator, known only as "Ralph," is currently working on a very big and secretive project that is taking his lion's share of time. All remaining effort is being put into beta testing RetroCopy 1.0 (The current version is .960.) which can only emulate SMS, and reintroducing all previous emulation compatibility, upon perfection. Only then will new system compatibility be added. So far SNES and Neo Geo would probably be the first and easiest, followed by Gameboy. However, because of the secret project and 1.0 beta testing, any new system additions will not be made in the near future. What is the most impressive plain for the future: How about online competitive play!!?
Other emulators that I thought deserved a mention include Kega Fusion, bsnes, and the prodigious Mednafen (It emulates 15 console systems!) .
Well, what do you think? Have any of you used emulators? Are you going to try any? Tell us how you liked the review and what you think of RetroCopy when you try it, and remember to cheque up with us here at All Good Things TV for the best in entertainment news!
By: HERETICPRIME of Otaku no Baka
A big congratulations to weeaboos everywhere, Operation Rainfall has been a complete success! After its large public petition to have three critically acclaimed Japanese Role Playing Games published stateside for the Nintendo Wii, Xenoblade Chronicles was released a little under a year ago, Pandora's Tower will be released this spring and smack dab in the middle was the third game, called The Last Story. And I'll just get this out of the way now, this is the first time I can say I've liked a true JRPG in five years. (The last one being Opoona, oh and don't worry I'll get to that one too eventually).
Some of the ways in which they did this was by automating the stats, automating the random number generation etc as well as making the stories and progression much more linear for players to follow more easily. Enix's Dragon Quest (known as Dragon Warrior in the west) was the original title released to adopt this formula. It proved to be so wildly popular that other companies began creating their own games modeled after its style. One of these companies was a struggling little studio known as Squaresoft who tasked their employee Hironobu Sakaguchi with making one more game before the company went bankrupt. They decided that it would be a role playing game and that game was to be called Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy proved to be the savior of the company, a company which exists still to this day, merged with the one that inspired them, and today Final Fantasy is one Square-Enix and gaming as a whole's biggest franchises. Sakaguchi is no longer with that company however, he went out on his own to develop his own game with a similar title. Have you guessed what it is yet? That's right, it was The Last Story.
It makes for a much more intimate experience where I was able to grow more attached to the characters and setting. None of them are emo douches like most other JRPGs, they're actually all very likable. This is helped by the excellent localization originally made for its European release, meaning that the characters all have varied accents from around the British Isles. They're all voiced well which is still something to be appreciated in 2013 and the dialogue is translated very naturally. For a genre which is so rooted in its narrative, you would be surprised how often JRPGs fail to deliver a fresh scenarios with relatable casts.
Also the gameplay distinguishes itself from other JRPGs in that it is neither turn-based nor active in the style of MMORPGs. By default, it is set to the latter but I prefer directly controlling my character which makes the game play more like a hack & slash brawler with RPG elements. It has unique mechanics involving strategy, cover mechanics, party management etc along with the usual RPG mainstays of customizing your characters with armor, weapons & other equipment. In between dungeon areas, you explore the city accepting side-quests, finding/trading/buying/selling items, talking to NPCs and other little surprises I don't want to spoil here.
So should you play The Last Story? Yes. If you're someone like myself who used to like JRPGs but moved away from them because they all began to feel the same then yes. If you're someone who likes fantasy adventures regardless of where they're from then yes. If you're someone who just has a couple dozen hours to kill before winter ends then yes. Play The Last Story. Luckily, it recently received a reprint and price cut from its publisher XSEED so it should be easy to find wherever games are sold, more affordably than ever.
That's right, Ninja Gaiden for the SEGA Master System. Many of you may not have known this version existed or even what a Master System is and that's because it was a much more popular system in Europe so as such that's where this game was originally released. The good news however is that the Master System has no region lockout so games that were produced in Europe, Asia and even South America up until the late 1990s are all playable on any unit.
Then how does it stack up against its more popular installments? Well firstly, the Master System's audio chipset is very basic so can't easily create the square wave forms which gives NES music its slight amount of reverberation. Basically this means NES music is generally less shrill so more pleasant to the ears. That being said however, Ninja Gaiden for the Master System has a kicking soundtrack anyway. It's catchy, varied and energetic and because of that, you're always ready to have another try after losing a life.
As for what the Master System is, it was SEGA's competing platform against Nintendo's NES and like many others at the time, it didn't do well here because of Nintendo of America's illegal practices in the late 1980s. These practices prevented other hardware manufacturers from getting third party support like that from Tecmo who gave Nintendo its well known Ninja Gaiden trilogy. Tecmo instead gave SEGA the rights to produce their own Ninja Gaiden game in-house that later released in 1992. That version is not a port of the NES games either, it is its own stand alone title. And this is what I am talking about today.
And while the audio hardware may be subjectively weaker than that of the NES, the Master System's graphical capabilities are far superior. Ninja Gaiden shows that fairly well with rich colors and a frenetic pace that is night and day when compared to its Nintendo based counterparts. This is important because a game like Ninja Gaiden involves crack reflexes and timing when jumping from platform to platform so it's very good that I experienced no flickering or slowdown during my play through either.
Neither is it hampered by crippling controls. Like other 8-bit Ninja Gaiden games you may have played, this one involves running, jumping from platforms or walls and slashing your way through to a boss fight and next level until completion. It all feels great. You can also pick up a variety of special items along the way to make your journey easier such as shields, bombs, projectiles etc. which also helps because like all Ninja Gaiden games, this one can be very difficult.
It was a wise choice on the part of the developers to include unlimited continues or I may not have even seen the end for my review. That makes a tough game still a fair game and definitely a fun game when you throw good music, good art and tight controls into the mix as well. If you're interested in playing this game for yourself then it can be purchased on eBay. Amazon or through your local vintage gaming boutique. Unfortunately it is not yet available through any official digital download service but if it ever is, we here at AllGoodThings.tv will be on top of it.
That doesn't mean I hate Star Wars however, far from it. It's just been so long since I've experienced something new related to the series which wasn't frigging awful that I'm a bit jaded by this point. It's the end of 2012 which makes it almost 10 years since the last time I could say I've enjoyed Star Wars. No, I'm not talking about the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars cartoon but that's a good guess and shows that some people do still know how to make use of the property. Another group which did in 2003, were the people at BioWare who lovingly made the RPG video game epic, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
For those of you who are familiar with the Star Wars universe, this game takes place 4,000 years before 1977's Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. And it's amazing how little has changed in that time. Ships, architecture and social constructs are largely the same as they would be in the films. Instead of an empire vs rebellion however, at this time a different empire, waging a war of conquest is threatening the established Galactic Republic. You take the role of a republic soldier during an attack on your ship and from there embark on your own adventure a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Shortly afterward you and another soldier crash on the planet wide city of Taris where you must find other companions and escape a blockade to save the galaxy from a mysterious new tool of the empire called the Star Forge. Once the universe is opened up to you, you can then travel at your leisure to a number of other locations like Tatooine, the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk, Dantooine and others. It adds a wonderful amount of diversity which is only furthered by the huge cast of characters that you'll interact with throughout.
Many familiar alien races and even some new yet important ones are found wandering the cities and wilderness but all of them are fully voice acted. Like many of BioWare's other games are known for, Knights of the Old Republic is all about player choices. What others say and how they respond to you depends on what you say and how you respond to them. You can be a force for good or for evil or anywhere in between. It must have taken an enormous amount of writing to ensure such natural dialogue in any context and it is all written very well. It's far better than the prequel films and it even has a plot twist worthy of The Empire Strikes Back.
The characters in your party are colorful and diverse. From Jedi to mercenaries to droids and more, it's always interesting to see what they'll do next when you take them out on a particular mission, which can be played in a variety of ways depending on who you bring and what abilities or weapons they have equipped. The gameplay itself uses a D20 system for role playing battles or using skills and it all gives this game an incredible amount of replayability through branching pathways.
That is if you can stand decade old graphics. They are still very nice but definitely show their age. Backgrounds look rich and vibrant but a little sparse and character models can look a little angular when up close. It's not terrible however and it shows how good art direction can support a game's aesthetic long after its technical merits no longer amaze. One thing which can never age however is the sound. You will find the expected Star Wars theme originally composed by John Williams but also hours of original music that fits in with his style perfectly. The sounds of laser blasters and light sabers are all present and in spite of the amount of dialogue, none of it sounds forced. They even had actors perform in alien languages much of the time and it still sounds great.
Overall, it took me more than 60 hours to finish the game but if you wanted, it could probably be done in half the time. I just enjoyed myself so much that I did every mission & side quest possible, explored the locations thoroughly, spoke to everyone and savored every moment. If you think you would enjoy this too and want something to tide yourself over until Disney's Star Wars releases in 2015, then this can be purchased for either Microsoft Windows compatible home computers or purchased for original Xbox which is playable on modern Xbox 360's. At no more than twenty dollars for this investment, the long winter nights will just fly by. Happy Wookiee Life Day, All Good Fans!
It's December now and in only three weeks it will be winter or the end of the world. Either way, I should probably mentally prepare myself for it. If only there was a game that dealt with both. Wait, there is! The game Indigo Prophecy published by Atari for the Microsoft Windows, Xbox and Sony Playstation 2 is the perfect primer for a wintery end of days.
So let me tell you a little bit about it. Indigo Prophecy takes place in the distant and far flung future of 2009 which yes does automatically date this. But if you can otherwise get over that then it's still very relevant and here's why. It takes place during a bitterly cold, early winter where your character begins his story by coming out of a bathroom stall to brutally murder a man simply washing his hands. From there you snap out of your trance-like state and realize what you've done. You have no recent memory and have tribal patterns carved into your arms, also a murder victim to deal with.
After that, it's up to you. Do you hide the body? Wash the blood away? Try to make a run for it? Talk with people in the building to figure out what happened before being discovered yourself? It's all up to you and there are several correct ways to make it through to the next scenario. Now here's the hook, you also play as the police trying to investigate the murder. Throughout Indigo Prophecy you take control of several plot threads that interweave and come together by the end, all discovering an Aztec legend about end times where a winter would come but never leave again.
If you don't mind a deliberately paced & thoughtful gaming experience then I would recommend Indigo Prophecy. There are several endings of various satisfaction that also gives this game an amount of replayability along with the multiple paths to those endings. It can still be played on Microsoft Windows or the Xbox 360 through its backwards compatibility. Playstation owners however, will either have to have the model backwards compatible with Playstation 2 or take their old console out of retirement to re-live its glory days. Just don't wait too long, you never know what will happen.
The story is actually quite well written and of course well acted due to its cast, ending with a whole "who is the REAL deadly creature, the animals or man? dun dun dun!" moral but that's something for those of you who play Deadly Creatures to find out for yourselves. I can tell you about the gameplay however, this is another example of the castletroid sub-genre. You take the role of one of the two playable avatars (I can't really call them characters as you already read) and explore a sprawling world beneath thorny bushes, inside cacti, between floorboards & other places we usually never see. The spider even has the ability to crawl along walls & ceilings as well.
It creates a strange sense of perspective so just don't play Deadly Creatures when you're hung over. Trust me, I've already made that mistake but at least you'll never get lost. There's always a handy arrow to point you where you need to go which is available at the press of a button. While exploring you will expand your skill-set by finding upgrades and defeating other creatures that opens up new areas to explore.
Lastly, I have to mention the excellent sound direction this game has. The levels have a hazy, ambient soundtrack and while obviously neither insects nor arachnids really vocalize, the foley engineers did some very interesting work which fits in perfectly along with the other clicking, buzzing and scratching sounds heard throughout the levels. All together, this makes Deadly Creatures one really fun game on a system most people wrote off from the start. So if you're one of them then it's never too late to take a second look and now is the perfect time to start your collection with Deadly Creatures for only a few dollars wherever games are sold.