Saturday, May 2, 2009

SuperPhillip's LittleBigAdventure - 1-2 The Sewers

After a three month hiatus, I have completed a new level in my series of SuperPhillip-themed levels. Dr. Christian's giant robot may be in repair, but SuperPhillip has fallen into the subterranean sewers. Not only does he have the smell to contend with, but the sewer water has turned toxic to the touch! Special thanks to Sackboy223 for recording my level.



Friday, May 1, 2009

Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil (PS2) Retro Review

Klonoa (Wii) officially comes out next week despite some stores already selling it (thank you, Gamestop). This past week I played through Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil (PS2) in anticipation for the game. Here's a quicker-than-usual review.

A Magnificent Adventure Unveiled



Do your ears hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them a bow? Can you throw them over your shoulder like a continental soldier? Do your ears hang low? There's only one video game mascot which could answer "yes" to all of these questions, and that's none other than Klonoa, back from vacation and transported to the dream world of Lunatea. Does Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil play like a dream, or is this a game you'll get nightmares over?

Klonoa 2 takes our droopy-eared hero straight from his homeworld to that of Lunatea. Like four table legs, Lunatea's four harmony bells maintain stability in the world. However, a ragtag pair of adventurers want to summon a fifth bell, the Bell of Sorrow, into the world, destroying the balance currently held within the perpetually peaceful planet. It is up to Klonoa to keep Lunatea away from the impending doom and gloom, but he won't be alone. An amateur priestess named Lolo and Popka, the token wise-cracker, are on his side and are along for the journey. Despite the cute appearance of the cast and world, Klonoa 2 isn't all sunshine and rainbows. The story gets somewhat melancholy as Lunatea slowly slips into sorrow.

Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil is a 2-D platformer at heart. However, there's loads of 3-D used in the game from walking along a curving path that curves the environment with you to cannons that shoot Klonoa from the background of a level to the foreground. It's a very cool effect, and there were many times where I just sat with a smile on my face feeling impressed at these nifty tricks. Levels are expertly-designed. Most are your traditional Klonoa running and jumping while others give Klonoa a snowboard as he maneuvers down an icy mountain, across narrow pathways, and leaping over giant chasms. The more traditional levels utilize all of Klonoa's repertoire, and the puzzle elements in the game are much more prevalent than in Door to Phantomile.


Speaking of Klonoa's set of moves, there's a small amount of things that Klonoa do. He can run, jump, and float in the air for a couple of seconds, but what sets Klonoa apart from other games of the genre is the inventive way the series' titular character can dispatch enemies. Klonoa can grab hold to an enemy, carry the baddie around, and then toss it at an out-of-the-way switch or use it as a way of getting a high-flying double jump, one that's higher than Klonoa would be able to jump by his lonesome. The developers were clever in constantly thinking up new ways for you to use Klonoa's jumping and throwing abilities. There's also a fair amount of new abilities for Klonoa that are performed by capturing certain enemies in your hero's grasp. The kiton is a helicopter-like enemy which can be used to reach higher places in a jiffy, but it has limited mobility. The boomie is a bomb which can destroy blocks that otherwise are impassable. They can be picked up and thrown as many times as possible, but they'll explode after a set amount of time. For example, one room may need you to toss a boomie through a narrow pipe that Klonoa can't fit through, and you have to quickly make it to the boomie and throw it at the destructible block before your boomie explodes.


Lunatea's Veil isn't very long. It's sixteen full-featured levels plus additional boss levels. The entire story will last most players six or seven hours. However, there's two bonus levels that are unlocked by finding six special items in each level, and this duo has some of the most difficult platforming elements ever embarked on by Klonoa. There's also a scrapbook that gains pages as you collect 150 dream shards in a given level, but it's more for the challenge of the task than the actual reward which is mediocre at best.

Just under nine years later and Klonoa 2 is still an impressive-looking game. It's just goes to show that tremendous art design will always be more important than pure tech. The multitude of backgrounds in the game are full of life and boast impressive effects, and the characters are given a cel-shaded touch, making them stand out wonderfully. The game is very fluid and smooth when in action with little chugging going on. The music is nothing that you'll want to crank up your stereo speakers for, but in the game's context it works well and there are plenty of tracks with soothing, enjoyable melodies. Voice work is typical Japanese-fare which is rather grating, but this can be skipped.


Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil is an excellent platforming game with a terrific style to it. There's a considerable amount of challenge to the game and a bounty of nooks and crannies to explore. If you can track down a copy, Klonoa 2 is a welcomed addition to anyone's ever-expanding Playstation 2 library. Wahoo!

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.5/10]

Central City Census - May

It's the beginning of a new month, so it's time for a new census to kick off. Before we do that, however, let's check the results of April's census.


Asking about if you guys were planning on getting the Nintendo DSi, the tight majority said their DS is fine whether it be the original model or the DS Lite. 27 people may already own a DSi by the writing of this census, and ten voters had no interest in the DS at all. Console-only gamers perhaps.

Reviews are one of the most important products of SuperPhillip Central. May's Census asks which platform would you like to see more games reviewed for. Maybe you've been checking out my review archive and noticing there aren't as many reviews for a particular system. Now's your chance (it's always your chance for your criticisms, compliments, suggestions, and questions) to let me know.

Poll ends May 31st at 11:59 p.m. CST (or whenever this silly poll clock feels like it-- which ever comes first).

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Review Round-Up - April

Resident Evil 5 flew the coop... er... co-op.

A lot of new and classic reviews were posted this past month. From Resident Evil 5 to LocoRoco 2, Heavenly Sword to Graffiti Kingdom, and Excite Truck to Excitebots, here is the list of all reviews posted in April. Italicized games are classic reviews-- created before the SuperPhillip Central blog existed. Enjoy!

All scores are out of 10.
5 = Average

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure (DS) - 8.25
LocoRoco 2 (PSP) - 9.25
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP) - 9.5
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates (DS) - 8.0
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (DS) - 8.25
Resident Evil 5 (PS3, 360) - 9.0
Excite Truck (Wii) - 8.0
Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 (PSP) - 9.0
Beautiful Katamari (360) - 7.0
Excitebots: Trick Racing (Wii) - 9.25
Major Minor's Majestic March (Wii) - 4.0
Dynasty Warriors Gundam (PS3, 360) - 7.5
Heavenly Sword (PS3) - 7.5
Graffiti Kingdom (PS2) - 7.5

What was your favorite review this month?

Graffiti Kingdom (PS2) Retro Review

Retro Reviews are reviews of games from the Playstation 2 era and back. This particular Retro Review is a bit old, but it's in anticipation of tomorrow's brand new Retro Review. It's for a game that hits shelves next week from a franchise that's been Sony-exclusive and overlooked just like Graffiti Kingdom. That narrows it down quite a bit. Do you think you know what game I'm alluding to? We'll find out tomorrow.

Draw your own conclusions.

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In a gaming world plagued with sequels, first-person shooters, Mario spin-offs, sports titles, and run-of-the-mill titles only varying slightly from one another it's nice to see a game like Graffiti Kingdom from Taito come to surface. What sets Graffiti Kingdom apart from other action-RPGs is that you can actually design your own character, monster, or whatever which is implemented quite well.

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Nag, nag, nag... That's all you ever are.

What begins as a search for an AWOL prince by the name of Pixel shuffling across the narrow foothold of a castle keep turns into an adventure into a mystical kingdom-- the Graffiti Kingdom. Prince Pixel falls into a hidden passage where he meets up with a cerulean dog-like creature named Pastel. Pastel gives the lazy prince a special wand which he can use to draw models that can come to life with the wand's power. Knowing this, Pixel draws a small circle which turns into a three-dimensional shape, bouncing away and into a magical seal-- opening the gate into Graffiti Kingdom. Thus, the evil demon, Medium, unleashes his fury onto the world fusing the Graffiti Kingdom and Pixel's kingdom together and imprisoning the townspeople of Pixel's hometown. With companion, Pastel, on his back, the difficult Prince Pixel sets off an adventure to retrieve the townspeople and make right what is now wrong.

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Take any monster and put them in a colorful platforming world.

The game begins in the colorful Canvas Plains where Pastel teaches you the ins and outs of combat. Pixel can assign three monsters to the directional buttons on the Playstation 2 controller. As Pixel players can capture other monsters to briefly transform into the "captured" creature and use their moves, or Pixel can permanently turn into a monster by collecting its little devil card (a red card). These cards drop randomly and are luck-based. A monster with one star will most likely drop a card faster than one with four stars. There's also cards hidden in hard to reach areas of the game as well. By defeating graffiti creatures Pixel can collect coins that raise his experience gauge. Coins range, in order of how much experience is given, from bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. When the gauge reaches its limit, Pixel gains a level. These usually add life to Pixel's health or bestow a new function in the Graffiti Notebook such as the ability to add wings to monsters.

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Create your own graffiti or work off a preexisting creation.

The Graffiti Notebook is where all your creative juices can flow. If you're not feeling overly creative, feel free to edit a preexisting creature in your collection. To create a creature from scratch, simply draw a shape. You can change the sensitivity of the drawer so it can go as quickly or as delicately as you like. When a shape is made, you can then choose the three-dimensional shape of it-- whether it's flat, fat, etc. Next, you just make a connection point to where you want the next shape to connect to the first shape. This is how you make heads, arms, legs, tails, and capes. Detailed creatures will need a profusion of connection points. The possibilities in creature creation are limitless, and you're only hindered by the limits of your imagination. Want to make Mario leap around in the game? Go ahead. Feel like creating a dinosaur? Right on. Making a decent-looking monster takes time and dedication, so editing preexisting monsters is the way to start off to get used to the construction controls.

After crafting the aesthetics of a monster it's time to give it moves. There's a large range of moves to choose from as well as its movement style (whether it skips, shuffles, etc) and its voice. Usually you'll want the X button to serve as the jump or fly button. Triangle, Circle, and Square are also designated attacks buttons.

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Katamari Kingdom. Wait. What?

Graffiti Kingdom is a relatively short game. The story is fairly brief, sometimes funny, and always full of bad lip-syncing and voice acting. The main story can be completed in less than six hours. You'll come across various and varied worlds to explore such as outer space and a hot-headed volcano each with its own graffiti creatures to combat. Some creatures are stubborn to give you their devil card when they're defeated, so you'll most likely need to beat them multiple times before they finally surrender their card to you. Each world concludes with a boss battle which are the most difficult parts of this otherwise easy game. A VS mode rounds out the package offering you and another local player to battle creatures already made or made from scratch.

If you've ever dreamed of creating your own creature to battle in a fully 3-D action-RPG, you will not want to pass this title up. It's severely underrated, plus it has far more editing options than its spiritual prequel, Magic Pengel. If creating new monsters is not appealing to you then you might want to give this game a pass. However, the rest of us will craft our own creatures, collect all of the devil cards, and play through the story mode several times to fully complete the game 100%. Couple this with an expertly-composed soundtrack by the great Yasunori Mitsuda of Chrono Trigger, Cross, and Xenogears/sage fame and you have an irresistible package. Graffiti Kingdom paints a pretty picture in an otherwise stale genre.

[SuperPhillip Says: 7.5/10]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Most Overlooked PSP Games - Part One

Don't you hate it when someone says there's no games for a specific system? Unless they're talking about the N-Gage or the Phillips CD-i, I can't relate to this. You think these people would have suffocated by now-- what with their heads buried in the sand. Tonight's platform of choice is the wonderful PSP-- home to many overlooked games. I'm not immune this to either-- I've not played many of the unsung greats either! The following is a quick run-down of the PSP games I've played that I think other people may have missed out on.

Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee series

It's astounding that a handheld title could trump a console entry in content, specifically Open Tee 2 to Out of Bounds. It had twelve courses compared to Out of Bounds' paltry six, and you don't have to fool with micro-transactions either. The challenge mode had loads more variety, and you could actually outfit your golfer with any selection of hair, headgear, clothing, and accessories to make your own original creation. You even have online play with tournaments-- just like Out of Bounds-- the difference is that you don't have to pay sixty bucks to have a copy of Open Tee or Open Tee 2!


LocoRoco series

Marketing limited to print and online ads combined with the quirky and cute nature of the series doomed LocoRoco and its stupendous sequel to retail mediocrity. Both games are twenty dollars new, and they're the same price as they were at launch, so it's surprising that these titles didn't sell more than they did. Regardless, it's a fresh franchise that doesn't resort to trying to make itself cooler than it actually is (see: Jak 2 and on). With a simple control set-up that's easy for anyone to use yet tough to master, LocoRoco is a series that deserves more attention.


Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles

While the Castlevania series has flourished-- if a couple hundred thousand is flourishing-- on the DS, this remake of Rondo of Blood had to deal with the PSP's primary problem-- pirating. The Dracula X Chronicles was three games in one: a remade Rondo of Blood, the original Rondo of Blood, and a retranslated version of Symphony of the Night. The whole presentation was top-notch with gorgeous 3D models and environments, and it's a real shame that this one was overlooked by so many.


Mega Man: Powered Up and Mega Man Maverick Hunter X

Mega Man is among my favorite franchises. I can do without the Battle Network-styled Star Force games, but mostly Mega Man is all good. Beginning with Mega Man Powered Up, it was a 3D remake of the original Mega Man with two new robot masters, Time Man and Oil Man. By far the coolest addition besides being able to play as all eight robot masters was the ability to create your own themed stages using various construction, enemy, and level packs. Mega Man Maverick Hunter X was the remake of the original Mega Man X with added cinema, reworked levels, and the option to play as the menacing Vile (Vava). Both games hurt me because I really really would like sequels to these games. Imagine Mega Man 2 and Mega Man X2 turned to 3D...


Star Ocean: First Departure and Second Evolution

I've no idea how these two sold (I will not use VGFartz-- see what I did?), so I'm just going by word-of-mouth and message board activity. The original Star Ocean came out for the Super Nintendo, and it was never localized to North America. Meanwhile, Star Ocean: Second Evolution is a remake of the Playstation One classic, The Second Story. Both games have better framerates, added cutscenes, story segments, and other bonus goodies ripe for the picking.

That's not all, folks. Look for further installments of "Most Overlooked" in the near future!

Heavenly Sword (PS3) Review

When I got my 60 GB Playstation 3 back in 2007, it was at Best Buy and I received a free Sixaxis and choice of a free game with my purchase. This was a choice between Lair and Heavenly Sword, so I went with the lesser of two evils, Heavenly Sword. The following was my assessment of my purchase.

A Little Slice of Heaven

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Ever since the Playstation 3 was released, owners have been clamoring for an epic adventure to the likes of the God of War series, and while Kratos' third exploit is a long ways away, developer Ninja Theory hopes to fill the hole left with their own over-the-top action-fest otherwise known as Heavenly Sword. Does this title rise up to the ranks of Heaven, or does it sink into the inner pits of Hell?

Heavenly Sword, fittingly enough, revolves around the sacred blade, the Heavenly Sword. A noble clan possesses the sword, and a wicked lord and his minions want it. Nariko, our ass-kicking heroine, uses the sword herself to take on the evil empire. The catch, however, is that with each use of the Heavenly Sword, it slowly drains the user's life, so while Nariko may be annihilating and harming scores upon scores of enemies, she's simultaneously harming herself in the process. This story element unfolds itself in a way to keep the player guessing as to Nariko's fate. In fact, the game begins with Nariko unsheathing the blade to take on an entire army of soldiers until ultimately submitting to the sword's celestial power. What follows for the player is the story told through flashbacks all wrapping back up to the opening cutscene and the tale's finale.

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Nariko shows off her aerial acrobatics.

A game based around a sword should hopefully center around combat and action, and with no worries Heavenly Sword focuses more or brawn than brains. Sure, there's a small amount of elementary puzzles to solve and lavish cutscenes sprinkled throughout Nariko's journey, but for the most part you'll be engaging enemies head-on. Sometimes, you'll switch characters when the story allows and become the comic relief Kai whose weaponry consists only of long-range arrows. When the fire button is held down, these arrows can be steered toward targets with the Sixaxis controller which is pretty cool and fun to do. Regardless, it's much easier and less finicky to just to use analog controls. Still, it's great that the Sixaxis wasn't forced onto players.

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And now she goes through the spin cycle.

The biggest problem with Heavenly Sword is that it gets repetitive. Not just doing the same attack over and over again (thanks to there being no weapon upgrades), but you'll feel like you've been placed in scenarios more than once. Thankfully, there's entertaining and intense boss battles to partake in, and while these are by no means God of War standard, they help break up the sense of monotony. Victory won't happen through mashing buttons halfheartedly. You'll need to wait for a villain to expose himself (no, not in the dirty way) for you to get a good amount of hits on. This is followed by various Quick-Time Exchanges-- another God of War staple. These have you hitting a direction on the analog stick or pressing or mashing on a given button to defeat a foe in a simulated action sequence. Thankfully these exchanges allow for one or two mistakes, but even if you fail it, you can easily try again from the start with no penalty or waste of time.

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The penalty for failing a QTE segment is to simply try it again.

Nariko's sword skills have three forms of which to take out enemies with: speed, power, and range. The finesse here is in using the proper form on the proper enemy at the proper time. Reach enemies from far distances with your range attacks, use power to smash through a foe's defenses, and when there's an opening on an enemy, use the speed form to rapidly get some attacks in. Each form has its own stance which can be changed mid-combo. Of course, the best offense is a good defense, and that bodes true in the realm of Heavenly Sword. An enemy will either attack normally, flash blue, or flash gold. These colored indications tell you what stance to defend in. With the rightly timed dodge, you can perform a visually impressive killing blow which not only make short work of enemies but they just look damn cool. Alternately, you can roll out of harm's way with the right analog stick for baddies and bosses that are too tough to dodge any other way.

There's two parts to Heavenly Sword, the combat-heavy action that Nariko's sword skills call for, and the twing-twang shooting segments as Kai. Nariko herself will even be called upon to man (or I guess, woman) cannons to shoot down enemy catapults with well-placed shots or just wipe out enemy infantry. No job is too big or too small for Nariko. It's just unfortunate that the job (i.e. the game) can be completed in around five hours.

Through repeated battles you earn glyphs. These are earned by attacking enemies and keeping combos going without getting interrupted. By having your glyph total exceed one of three levels in a given game segment, you'll be given new combos, new art, and other bonuses. This is where the replay value lies in attempted to score high enough to earn every bonus the game offers, and the game is responsive and satisfying enough for making such an optional task seem enjoyable.

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So many men, so little time.

Heavenly Sword is indeed enjoyable to play, but it's incredibly enjoyable to stare at, too. The game has its own sense of style whether it's the split-screen conversations that go on while you're still in control of Nariko, the impressive art direction both artistic and technical, or the in-between chapter monologues where Nariko addresses the camera. All would be lost though if it weren't for the phenomenal voice acting which is some of the best I've heard in a long time. Kai's cries are especially painful for the heart to endure... and that's a good thing. There's some parts of the game where the framerate noticeably stutters, but apart from that issue the game is technically sound. Seeing literally a thousand warriors each with individual motions and movements is damned impressive. I said wow.

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Heaven for the player, Hell on the enemies.

Overall, Heavenly Sword isn't exactly gaming heaven. The quest is over far too soon, and if unlocking art isn't your thing, there's really nothing else for you to come back to. The game's linearity doesn't offer much of anything to explore, so repeated visits won't offer anything new. There is a much harder difficulty to unlock, but two playthroughs is hard to recommend a purchase for. Both modes can be completed in a rental period. However, if the price is right, and the desire for a next-gen God of War-esque experience is up your alley, then by all means try Heavenly Sword out. It's worth at least a rental, and at most a discount purchase. Regardless of which road you take, this game is definitely worth your time and quite possibly your investment.

[SuperPhillip Says: 7.5/10]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to Be A Video Game Comedian - Part 1

As much as you like to admit you don't care about your e-cred on message boards, you really do. Why else would you argue with someone or want to make yourself the funniest fellow in the internet? Now you can! And it's soooo easy to do so. Video games and comedy are like gold! You just need to stick your finger deep enough up your nose to find it! With this quick guide, you'll be hitting them out of the park in no time! Be the envy of your message board gaming peers! Here's the easiest ways to be funny!

Gaming and sex go hand-in-hand.

You know how it is to be pasty-skinned, nerdy, and exceptionally creepy, so why not use those wonderful traits to make some video games sexual jokes and innuendo? If you can't let out your sexual frustrations with a real person, why not do it with some jokes online?

Examples:

1) They can call it a Wii remote jacket all they want, but I'm going to call it a condom! It fits snugly over the Wii remote (see: penis), so you won't have to worry about any random discharge while spanking it to No More Heroes! Wakka-wakka-wakka!

2) Remember that game called Seaman? Would two copies be called.. seamen? Wakka-wakka-wakka!


3) Who needs real women when you can ogle completely fake-looking ones? Those bundles of polygons will do anything for you, hot rod!

4) Excited about a game announcement? Here you go! "Yes. Yes! All over my ****! All in my face!"



Make fun of casual gaming with the same joke set-up over and over.

Hey, guys! I'm on the cutting edge here, and now you can, too! Just watch and learn.

Imagine: Metal GearZ
Prince of PersiaZ
Imagine: Wakka-wakka-wakkaZ!

Ho-ho! I am waaay ahead of the curve with that joke! Wakka-wakka-wakka! Who doesn't laugh when someone wants to make fun of Ubisoft by slamming them with any gem starting with "Imagine" and ending in hilarity with a capital Z? Do I need to stop so you can bust a gut or two?

Comedy is a difficult art to master, but no need to work at it at all! Why set yourself apart and be genuinely funny when you can follow these tried and true methods ad nauseum? Follow these steps, and you'll be on your way to thinking of yourself as everyone's favorite video game funnyman! Joke on, Sir Jokington! Joke on!*

*The following was purely satirical.

CAPTIVATE 09: New Trailers: Dead Rising 2, RE: Darkside Chronicles, and Spyborgs

Dead Rising 2



Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles



Spyborgs

Dynasty Warriors Gundam (PS3, 360) Review

Last week, the sequel to Dynasty Warriors Gundam launched on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Playstation 2. Hopefully I'll scrounge up a copy to review, but for now, let's look back at the original with this classic review.

Dynasty Warriors? In MY Gundam?!


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The Dynasty Warriors series has existed for the past decade with critical success. However, the Mobile Suit Gundam anime predates that by twenty years or so. Both have high popularity, so why not combine the two into one game? Well, Namco-Bandai and Koei decided to do just that with Dynasty Warriors: Gundam-- a Gundam fan's wet-dream.

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(Promotional artwork for Dynasty Warriors: Gundam.)

Players take on the roles of various mobile suit pilots from the earliest roots of Amuro Ray and the Red Comet, Char Aznable, in Mobile Suit Gundam stretching all the way to the likes of Heero Yuy and Miliardo Peacecraft from (Mobile Suit) Gundam Wing. If those names escape you, don't worry. They're more for the fans anyway. Additionally, their mobile suits and Gundams are all present and accounted for as well as most of the voice actors who played their parts.

There's two main modes to Dynasty Warriors: Gundam: Official and Original. Official places players deep into the struggles of one of six available campaigns. Most of the affairs are a four mission ordeal taking players in control of the various pilots of the Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam series, following loosely the stories behind the shows. Original mode is just that-- an original story. It's set upon a mysterious red planet heading towards a collision course with the Earth, and a wide variety of mobile suit pilots from the various series are on the planet to either help or hurt your progress. There's up to sixteen pilots (once they're all unlocked) to select from, and each have their own allies and enemies to deal with. This mode also introduces a Gundam completely exclusive to this game, the Dynasty Warriors-inspired Musha Gundam. This mode is essentially your All-Star mode. In Heero Yuy's campaign he'll be fighting under the tutelage of the Undefeated of the East-- Master Asia. There's really no explanation as to how the pilots and MSes from different series and centuries are fighting together and/or against each other, but it's better left unsaid if you don't want a migraine.

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A game where being outnumbered isn't necessarily defeat.

When you reach the battlefield in your mobile suit, you'll discover that someone must have been mass-producing these suckers. There's a lot of mobile suits on the expansive battlefields to slice and dice to beautiful pieces. Game flow is rather simple, the enemy has fields on the map (indicated by a red grid) that they have under control. It's in these areas that back-up can arrive. The aim of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is take over the various areas occupied by the enemy. How does one do this? Well, thankfully brawn is advised over brain, so kicking ass, of course. By defeating a myriad of mobile suits in the enemy's field you can take it over. Sometimes you'll need to extinguish an enemy commander to acquire the field. Your fields will also be a drop-off point for your side's mobile suits. Nonetheless, the enemy can take over your own fields to add some challenge.

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Take pilot of numerous different mobile suits.

Unlike some Gundam games, you can actually use that shield of yours to block attacks. This locks onto the direction you're holding the analog stick. Doing this can be a little wonky with the camera. You can boost with A, and even fly up into the air and jet away from dangerous predicaments. He who lives to run away, right? However, if you prefer getting up close and personal with your foes, slashing through wave after wave of enemies is quite simple. You use the X button to attack with your beam saber, and press Y to shoot your beam cannon. These buttons in conjunction will unleash devastating combo attacks. Also, if you have enough energy in your SP gauge (by giving or taking damage), you can let loose a powerful special attack to take care of foes more easily. Each mobile suit has their own special attack and variations as you level up. Well, what the hell is leveling up, you ask? By defeating swarms of enemies, you'll notice your pilot skill and mobile suit skills raising. This increases attacks, your special abilities, and the ease of piloting your mobile suit. Each pilot and MS have their own levels, so choosing a new pilot or MS makes you start with a pilot and MS at Level 1. Furthermore there's skills and parts that you can apply to each MS you use.

Each mission has set victory conditions. These range from saving your home base to defeating an enemy commander. Enemy commanders have much more health than your average mobile suit, and they can even unleash special attacks of their own. Sometimes you'll need to protect one of your allies or a number of allies from being destroyed. The AI isn't too terribly bright though. The enemies (not including commanders or "aces" as they're called in the game) usually sit around you waiting to be hacked and slashed to oblivion (and no, not the good RPG of Oblivion, either). Besides ace allies, your back-up squads are pretty much brain-dead. They'll simply crowd around an enemy asking them how the weather is instead of exchanging blows with one another. Some of your ally aces though can actually take out a decent chunk of foes as well as enemy aces.

Blasting away foes alone is all and well, but doing it with a friend is even better. Unfortunately there is no Xbox Live play whatsoever in this title, but two local players can do all of the Official and Original mode missions together. There's no penalty or raise in difficulty for this either. This makes all of the missions much easier to complete with one MS capturing one field while the other protects the home front. Conversely, two players can opt to beat the living hell out of their mobile suits in the three versus modes.

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In addition to land combat,
space combat is also prevalent in this title.

The presentation of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is top-notch. As previously stated nearly all of the voice actors reprise their roles. I'm not a huge Gundam freak, but I do know that Heero Yuy (Gundam Wing) and Domon Kashu (G Gundam) have different voices to them for whatever reason(s). Some dialogue actually repeats itself quite normally in combat. The Red Comet certainly has a tongue for uttering out "I don't think so" after every combo. Maybe he's like me and has watched Christopher Lambert as Raiden in Mortal Kombat too many times. Regardless, the voice acting is done very well except for some very and obviously cheesy snippets of speech. The music is rather good, also. It doesn't sound like generic Japanese butt-rock which is a pleasant surprise. Graphically, the mobile suits are nice and detailed. There's a lot of them on screen at one time without any slowdown. However, the environments look bland in textures, but do have a lot of details in the form of trees, buildings, and roads. A lot of maps as well repeat themselves over campaigns.

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The person who figured out how to mass-produce
these babies needs a bonus.

One of the biggest criticisms of the Dynasty Warriors series is repetition-- and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of it. There's a lot of repeated actions in this game-- though there are a variety of MS to beat down. You'll find yourself pounding through enemy after enemy after enemy ad infinitum. Also, a sometimes disruptive camera can cause additional frustration. This will probably turn off a bunch of players who dive into this game for the long run. However, the rest of us will find a very rewarding title. There's a lot to do, unlock, and MS and their pilots to play as. Co-op with a friend is a blast, as well. This title very much does the Gundam franchise well, and it's great to see a better-made Gundam title (the last actually good ones were Gundam Battle Assault 2 and Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo). Is Dynasty Warriors: Gundam the perfect Gundam title? Of course not. Is it the best Dynasty Warriors game? Depends. Do you prefer feudal Japan or Side 7? This title is at least worth a rental to any curious Gundam fan or Dynasty Warriors fanatic. Gundams are go.

[SuperPhillip Says: 7.5/10]

Monday, April 27, 2009

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - To 300 and Beyond Edition

This is a special edition of SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs. I've compiled six playlists of my favorites from volume 1 all the way to volume 300 for your listening leisure! Enjoy, and tell your friends!

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Volumes 1-50

The volumes of the VGMs that started it all. We begin with Super Mario Galaxy and continue with Jet Force Gemini, The World Ends With You, Mario Kart Wii, Bomberman 64, Kameo, Viewtiful Joe, Golden Sun, and loads more.



SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Volumes 51-100

This set of volumes bring us Tales of Symphonia, Graffiti Kingdom, Mario Golf, Donkey Kong 64, Elebits, Wild Arms 2, God Hand, Phantasy Star Universe, and a plethora of other tracks.



SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Volumes 101-150

We start the second hundred volumes with Gran Turismo 4, Pokemon, Super Mario Land 2, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Mario Party, Breath of Fire, Starfox 64, Xenogears, Banjo-Tooie and conclude with a three part volume from Final Fantasy VI!



SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Volumes 151-200


This installment brings volumes 151-200. Games featured include Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy VIII, Super Smash Bros. Melee ( a special orchestra performance), Sonic Adventure 2, Super Mario World, Resident Evil 4, Kingdom Hearts II, Star Ocean: The Second Story, and many many more. Hope you enjoy this list as well and hope you share these round the net.



SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Volumes 201-250

We're begin the road to 300 (the video installment-- not the film) with Super Mario RPG, Viva Pinata, Halo 3, Metal Gear Solid 2, Resistance 2, LittleBigPlanet, Sonic the Hedgehog, Samba de Amigo, Perfect Dark Zero, and many more!



SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Volumes 251-300


This series of videos has ten tracks dedicated to one particular franchise. From Mario to Katamari, is your favorite represented?



Next week, things go back to normal starting off with volume 301. Hope you'll join us then!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Major Minor's Majestic March (Wii) Review

I've recently been hired to do exclusive reviews for a gaming site known as Dreamstation. This is a fantastic opportunity to spread my reviewer's reputation across the net. I was pleasantly surprised to receive my first game to review, Major Minor's Majestic March for the Nintendo Wii, come by in the mail. Once the review there is posted, I'll put a link!

Major, Minor. Winner, Whiner.
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off.



Before there were Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and the wave of other rhythm games in-between, there was a cult classic about a beat-dropping dog known as Parappa the Rapper. This Playstation One original was a hit with gamers and critics alike. A decade has passed, and creator Masaya Matsuura has worked on Unjammer Lammy, Vib-Ribbon, and the Tamagotchi Corner Shop line of DS games since then. His latest rhythm-based project is an innovative marching band game, Major Minor's Majestic March for the Nintendo Wii. Is Major Minor's Majestic March one you'll enjoy, or does this game march to the beat of a different drummer?

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