Friday, February 19, 2010

Animal Crossing Journal - Online Homecoming

It's been quite a while since I last wrote an entry in the old Animal Crossing journal. Let me rectify that with a new entry here this evening. By the game's count it had been nine months since I last visited Central, and I was surprised by how little it changed. Sure, there were about forty weeds to pull and many flowers had died, but the townspeople I abandoned had not abandoned me at all. They were still there, wondering where their human friend had run off to.

So I made it my goal to clean up the town, pull some weeds, plant some new flowers, and revisit my old friends. Filbert was as weird in his cool way as ever:

Then I opened my gates and allowed some new friends into my town. They're all from CheapAssGamer, and they were all quite nice and friendly. We chatted, we played around, I tested out my Wii Speak toy which worked well, and it was just a lot of fun exploring my old town. I got a lot of compliments regarding my road infrastructure that I had custom built and worked very hard on. It was very gratifying hearing... er... reading feedback. Perhaps pictures best tell a story, so I'll just hush up now and let the pics (and their corresponding captions) tell the story.

Steve and Maple waste no time getting to know one another.

What else do gamers do than talk about gaming?

The gang's all here.

Apparently Central is epic.

Everyone's favorite party, leave the newbie trapped
in the middle
of several holes (he didn't know how to get out).

You had to be there to understand the gag.

So there you have it. Good times, great fun, and some nice company made for an enjoyable homecoming to Animal Crossing: City Folk. Who knows when I'll return to my lovely burg by the bay? From Central, this has been SuperPhillip with your Animal Crossing Journal.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Top Five Gaming Peripherals

Peripherals are becoming increasingly common, especially with Microsoft's Project Natal and Sony's Arc controllers coming to fruition later this year. Why not take this opportunity to discuss my personal favorite peripherals of all time? That's exactly the plan with this top five list. Sit back, relax, and gaze upon the peripherals of gaming past and future!

5) The Dance Dance Revolution Dance Mat

Long before there were plastic guitars, drum sets, and microphones, there was a dance mat for a little-known video game known as Dance Dance Revolution. The object was simple: when an arrow went over the direction, you stepped on that direction either left, right, up, down, or one of many other directions. It gave you a good sweat, was fun to play, and was infinitely more deep than the current dance craze video game, Just Dance.

4) Sony's Eye Toy

An innovative little device if I ever saw one, the Eye Toy was a camera that put you into the video game. Of course, the majority of games used for the Eye Toy were simply mini-game compilations, but the novelty wouldn't wear off for a long time. You used your hands to bat away enemies, control Sonic as you roamed through a tube, and much more. This technology could be seen as the predecessor to Sony's PlayStation 3 PlayStation Eye which will be used in conjunction with Sony's new motion controller, Arc.

3) Wii MotionPlus

Here's a cheap device that plugs into the bottom of your Wii remote for added motion control benefits. Near 1:1 gameplay, less waggle, and more fun. Only a select few games use the MotionPlus device currently which is an oversight on Nintendo's part, but the games that do use it well. Wii Sports Resort, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, and the upcoming Red Steel 2 showcase just how ingenious the add-on is. It could have been with the Wii day-one, but who knows how much more overpriced the Wii would actually be then?

2) The Nintendo 64 Rumble Pak

Notice how extreme the Rumble Pak is. It isn't spelled "pack". No, no. It's too cool for that! It's spelled "pak"! Now that's extreme! Bundled with Star Fox 64 with its release, the Rumble Pak let you feel the game. Boost? Rumble. Get hit? Bigger rumble. Crash? Huge rumble. It was unlike anything seen before. Now rumble is all the rage. It's been built-in to controllers now with Sony leading the way on this front. Regardless, it will always be Nintendo who brought rumble to the gaming masses. Another one of their many contributions to gaming.

1) The Gameboy Player

I originally foolishly purchased the GBA Link Cable thinking it would allow me to play my GBA games on my television. This wouldn't be the case for many years. The Gameboy Player hooked into the underside of the Gamecube, and it would be run with a special boot-up Gamecube disc. You could play any and every Gameboy Advance game on a big screen television. Very cool. Here's hoping Sony develops an easier way to play PSP games on a television. That would be awesomeness times ten.

Did I leave out one of your favorites? Let everyone including myself know in the comments section!

Red Steel 2 (Wii) Developer Walkthrough

Now here's a game we haven't covered yet on SPC. It's Red Steel 2. You know, I never played the original Red Steel. I got six games with my Wii, and Red Steel was fortunately not one of them. The game got mixed (mostly poor) reviews. Regardless, Red Steel 2 looks like it's shaping up to a vastly improved sequel. Watch one of the developers show off this awesome-looking, MotionPlus-enabled game.

Dragon Ball Origins 2 (DS) - First Trailer

Goku is back, and he's brought his friends along to do battle! GoNintendo posted a brand-new video for the premiere of Dragon Ball Origins 2, coming to North America this summer! All-new locales, a fight against the militant monstrosity known as the Red Ribbon Army, cooperative gameplay, and several playable characters add up for one impressive trailer. Check it out below.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Most Overlooked Wii Games - Part Four

Welcome to the middle of your week here at SuperPhillip Central. This Wednesday we're once again taking a look at the most overlooked, unappreciated, whatever games that the Wii has to offer. The lead console should have the most overlooked titles, should it not? Just like the PlayStation One and Two. Let's kick things off in style, shall we?

Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop

Kill, maim, slice, dice, hack, slash, rip, tear, and do whatever else you can think of in Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop, the port of the 360 original. The game got a lot of trouble for the zombie count, but when you play the game, there's just enough low polygon monstrosities to annihilate! The game structure also changed to a less frantic, more linear experience. It wasn't a horrible game-- it was mad fun with the Resident Evil 4 control scheme. It was just different than what most 360 Dead Rising purists were expecting.

Little King's Story

All rise! The king grants us his presence. You play as a lonely little boy who suddenly gets to control a mighty kingdom. You take your faithful and loyal subjects across the land, conquering new kingdoms for your control. With beautiful visuals, humorous dialogue, addicting gameplay (cliche, I know), and hours upon hours of content to dive into, Little King's Story is a fantastic game deserving of your time. Long live the king!

The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces

Fly high and aim true in The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces. This title was recently reviewed, and it got a glowing review. Take flight in more than fifteen missions each with different parameters for victory such as destroying all targets, protecting a secret weapon, or saving your teammates from enemy fire. The game looks very impressive, the ships and backgrounds are highly detailed, and the soundtrack is one of 2010's best thus far. For frantic flying and intense dogfighting that even Michael Vick would love, check out The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces.

Overlord: Dark Legend

The once HD-exclusive series hits the Wii with its own brand-new installment. You are the demon king, and it's your job to reclaim your kingdom from those miserable peons that have occupied it. You control your character, telling your evil minions to do all the work for you. There's four types in all each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The solo campaign will take most players ten hours or so, and it's so good that you'll want to go through it again and again. It might not be as good as the HD versions, but it holds its own to many games in the Wii's extensive library.

Samba de Amigo

Samba! De! Amigo! Gearbox brings us a re-imagining of the Dreamcast Samba de Amigo. Instead of using maracas, you utilize the Wii remote and nunchuk or two Wii remotes. The song list is very impressive with such titles as Take On Me, The Theme from Rocky, and the Wedding March among others. This was the first title to enable Nintendo's Pay-to-Play downloadable content, and it's a blast to play with or without friends. Just be sure to stick with the easier difficulties (easy and normal) as otherwise the game's a broken mess! To shake your groove thang with relative ease, Samba de Amigo is the party game for you.

Take a look at other Most Overlooked entries on the Wii side here:

Wii - Part One
Wii - Part Two
Wii - Part Three

Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing (360) - Video Interview

The following InsideXbox clip showcases the 360 version of Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing. Look in wonder at the gorgeous HD visuals, the vast assortment of tracks, and the wide amount of classic SEGA stars. This interview talks about the battle modes, getting the game's many characters into one cohesive art style, and much more.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii) Review

I've never understood third parties on Wii. They have a great game, and they seldom market it. They send it out to die and then go "not our fault it sold bad. Must be you Wii owners". My point is that here is another game to fall with that ideology-- No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. Regardless, here's my review.

Desperate Struggles Call for Desperate Measures

Travis Touchdown is not a well-known name in gaming. Despite this he still has no problems with taking names, taking ranks, and kicking a lot of ass. He's back for round number two in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle for the Nintendo Wii. It might not be the game you play in front of little children or even an impressionable girlfriend or wife, but No More Heroes 2 is a game definitely worth experiencing. But is it worth owning?

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle takes place three years after the original No More Heroes. Travis Touchdown's name is a legend after he won the UAA's (United Assassins Association's) assassin contest, defeating the top-ranked assassin and becoming number one. Just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in! After his friend is mercilessly murdered, Travis seeks retribution for the cruel act. The only way to get revenge? Entering once again into the UAA's contest. The catch? He has to start all the way at the bottom at rank fifty. The story of No More Heroes 2 is quite odd. It can be downright nonsensical at times, but there's something still very intriguing about it. Though the ending does leave a lot to be desired.

Travis is back, and this time it's personal!

While there are forty-nine ranks to go up in No More Heroes 2, you won't be controlling Travis through forty-nine ordeals. Instead, there's about twelve ranking battles that you actually fight. Others are taken care of through story elements and new playable characters Shinobu and Travis' twin brother, Henry. Each of these secondary characters are only available to be played during a couple levels each, and they each have their own feel to them so you don't get the feeling you've just playing as Travis in another character's clothing.

Gone are the tedious money requirements to enter ranked battles and gone, too, is the free-roaming overworld. Now you simply select locations on the map to access them. There's the gym where you can work out and get stronger through two 8-bit mini-games, a clothing shop where Travis can spend his hard-earned cash on new jackets, shirts, shoes, pants, and glasses, and a sword shop where his trusty beam saber can get upgraded. The map is a much more streamlined approach, and while I'll miss being able to freely explore the town of Santa Destroy, it makes the game's pacing all the more better. You go to the UAA building, get briefed on Travis' next target, and select the location of the next ranked fight.

A room with a crew, huh? I can dig it.

It would be a boring game if all you did was participate in ranked fights (though these are incredibly enjoyable). You have to fight through waves of enemies, progressing through room after room, area after area, as you inch your way closer to the ranked fight. There's some exploring to be had in these mostly linear sections of level. There are treasure chests revealing cash, unlockable items, health, and battery power to Travis' collection of beam weaponry to discover while you're mowing through enemies. As for the ranked fights themselves, each have their own gimmicks (I don't use the word gimmick in a negative connotation) to endure. One you'll be facing a boss in a room full of dangerous obstacles and hazardous lasers while another is a two-on-one battle against a familiar foe from the previous No More Heroes. One notable bout pits you against a giant robot as you two duel in giant mechs on a 2-D plane. The game has no problems with keeping things fresh though one or two battles are purely of the throwaway variety.

Shake the Wii remote to overtake this fighter.

The combat of No More Heroes 2 remains relatively unchanged. When you've got a good thing going, why risk ruining it after all? As usual you can lock onto targets and swipe your beam katana by pressing the A button. Motion controls only come in to power up Travis' sword as well as awesome finishing moves. When an enemy is dazed you can grab them, move the Wii remote and nunchuk in the proper direction, and bam! Suplex. You can also do finishing maneuvers with Travis's sword. It works the same as wrestling move finishers save you only need to use the Wii remote. The aftermath is a fountain of blood to rain down and cleanse Travis' soul. ...Yeah, right. After each foe that is slain, a slot machine appears on the bottom of the screen. Three icons in a row and a multitude of happenings happen such as a powered up beam sword, a one-hit kill spin attack that annihilates every enemy in the room, or the turning of Travis into a tiger that can prowl around a level, killing baddies with one swipe of the claw.

No More Heroes 2 will take most gamers 5-10 hours depending on what mode players conquer (there's two to begin with and one that unlocks). In addition to that, there's an item collection that tallies all unique items and costumes gathered throughout the game, a new game plus option that keeps all of your cleared data stats intact when you start a new game, and 8-bit jobs and revenge missions to tackle. There's around eight 8-bit jobs total, and these take the boring jobs of the original game and translates them into an 8-bit video game. From vacuuming up insects to collecting coconuts in a backpack, these games give off a great bit of nostalgia. Plus they're plain fun to play. On the other hand, revenge missions are ten scenarios where Travis gets retribution on those that killed his best friend. These all have the same two goals-- kill all enemies in a certain amount of time and kill the targets before time runs out. Completing all of these awards Travis with the option to take off his jacket. Apparently, getting revenge on the goons who killed his best friend makes Travis remember he can take his clothes off.

And for my next trick...

While not a graphical powerhouse, No More Heroes 2 showcases a great truth about Wii visuals. Style over realism wins out any day. The game uses a unique cel-shaded art style that's much easier on the eyes than the previous game. Everything runs smooth as a baby's bottom, and things are pleasant to look at. Sure, the camera might not always cooperate, but that's the price you pay for being a kickass assassin. Meanwhile, the soundtrack still features that infectious main theme and some excellent, laugh out loud voice acting with it.

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is hands-down a better game than its already great predecessor. The pacing is much better, the side-jobs are more fun to play, and getting around Santa Destroy has never been easier. While the motion controls don't always work the way they're supposed to, they are very forgiving, and honestly better than the hard-to-work-with classic controller which is an option for those strongly against waggle (you bought the wrong system *wink wink*). Ultimately, No More Heroes 2 earns top honors as yet another great Wii game to kick off 2010.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.5/10]

Want more No More Heroes? Check out the original game's review.

SuperPhillip's Gaming Collection - February 2010

Last time we looked at the big three in my collection. This time we're looking at my updated PlayStation 3 collection, my PlayStation 2 collection, and my Gamecube collection. Call it bragging, call it showboating, I call it sharing my hobby with my readers. Plus I get to try out my digital camera for once!

Monday, February 15, 2010

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Countdown to 500 Edition

Welcome to another week of new VGMs right here on SuperPhillip Central. This week we have music from Yoshi's Story, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearer, Rabbids Go Home, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, and Goldeneye 007-- but not in that order. Get situated, relaxed, and excited as here we go!

v491. Yoshi's Story - Baby Bowser's Lullaby

This tune plays during the castle levels of Yoshi's Story. It's Baby Bowser's Lullaby, a quaint piece with some orchestral flair. I enjoyed Yoshi's Story, but since it's so short and dependent on collecting fruits to progress, I didn't love it as much as I should have. Perhaps it's the same with some of you?

v492. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers - Lett Highlands

Originally I confused the name of this area with the word "Left". It's actually the Lett Highlands, and this song is perfect for a casual stroll through the grassy knolls and grasslands of the highlands. The Crystal Bearers is getting hammered review-wise, and that's a shame since I consider it to be a very good game. Opinions, eh?

v493. Rabbids Go Home - Ciocarlia

This track from the Rabbids Go Home official soundtrack starts off slow, but by a minute in it's a frantic and wild brass tune. Rabbids Go Home sold rather well on the Wii, so I'd be interested in seeing what the team can do with some time off and some new ideas.

v494. Goldeneye 007 - Frigate

I hadn't played Goldeneye before, so it was a real treat to go through for the first time. This theme starts off with the Goldfinger motive followed by the traditional James Bond theme/melody. Around the midpoint the song speeds up for when action happens during the level.

v495. Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity - Catch Me If You Can

Catch Me If You Can was the theme song of the original Sonic Riders. It had the same lyrics, but it was entirely different musically. The Zero Gravity is much more rock oriented as opposed to the techno-based Sonic Riders theme. I prefer the Zero Gravity version as you can probably tell. Underrated game Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity was.

Next week we'll be celebrating the 500th VGM. I hope you are dripping with anticipation! I know I am!