Thursday, November 6, 2008

Naruto Databook 3 Analysis II

Okay, lets keep up with the analysis of data? That sounded weird, anyhoo if you missed the first part then click here.

Also, remember we are still using the skill chart for reference as to some of the conclusions. Okay? OK.

* Pain must be ridiculously powerful, maybe the strongest ninja in the Naruto universe.

First lets lay the facts. Jiraiya was among the top ninja of the Naruto world and overall on par with such a complete ninja of the level of Itachi who is a genius Uchiha and owner of a Mangekyou Sharingan. (Remember that Jiraiya was one of the few that Itachi showed concern to fight against)

Now with those facts in mind let us note the following main points:

  1. Pain man- handled Jiraiya even before revealing his "Six Paths of Pain" (Jiraiya was able to sustain himself without being completely dominated only for a while) and then smacked him around with summonings, taijutsu, ninjutsu and some weird genjutsu towards the end.
  1. Then their was the part that was not shown in between, where the 6 avatars of Pain attacked Jiraiya.It ended with Jiraiya only being able to trap one of them and loosing the ability to sustain Sage Mode anymore.
Even after knowing all this...


Given that Jiraiya pushed him so hard so as to make Pain reveal his secret... Pain's abilities are far beyond an S-class ninja. This just means that Pain must be on some level comparable to that of Rikkudou Sennin (the sage who created ninjutsu) or even superior. I mean we know that Nagato (Pain's "real name") was able to control and use all of the 5 elemental chakras by the age of 7, yet we did not see him even use one of them during his fight with Jiraiya... nor do we know if he has the capacity of fusing them to make Mokuton and/or Hyouton like elemental techniques, given he has the eyes of the person who helped the first ninjas understand how to use them.

Then there's facts like him finishing a whole civil war, by himself! Murdering the leader of the Hidden Rain Village (who even the Legendary Sannin had in upmost regards as a very powerful opponent) and all his allies and family, and has a technique in which he has complete awareness of all that happens in the radius of the whole village and to an unknown limit, it's surroundings.

Pain's techniques, experience and personal resume are probably as or even far greater then those of Madara. Pain may not have controlled the Kyuubi nor have a Mangekyo Sharingan, but he has the eyes and intelligence of the man who created the ninja world and all in it! He can control all the natural elements, can use all type of techniques and even separate into different bodies. He has an omniscient ability that far exceeds the Byakugan and is more penetrative and incisive than the Sharingan

* Note: The Sharingan and Byakugan are a derivation of the the Rinnegan. *

No doubt that by the present chapter (424), 6 Pain's are very troublesome to handle even for an elite ninja as Kakashi and other Jonin and Chunin of Konoha... I can only wonder what the original body is capable of, I'm guessing it's not friendly.

A true feeling of fear and desperation will come, to any mortal who dares challenge a god.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gears Of War 2: Anime Or Gay Friendly?

Well, recently the Gears of War media machine has released the spiritual successor to "Mad World" trailer and it feels like a too emo variation of the predecessor. This one, for Gears of War 2, is titled: "Last Day".

I don't know, it doesn't ring with me like Donnie Darko did and hence the "Mad World" trailer. That trailer was set in a very depressive and gloomy environment filled with children killed insinuations in the form of broken statues, war torn cities with pouring rain and a lonely single man in the midst of it all. OF COURSE! The Donnie Darko theme was perfect for that trailer.

In my opinion the theme song for the new trailer should have reflected more of the "finish the fight" ambience that the trailer, and I guess, the game speak of. Have you not seen the previews?! They are fighting on top of Brumaks! Hot Brumak on Brumak action. Personally, maybe some Metal would have been fine or to keep it kinda emo, some Within Temptation.

Still, I think... I really think that this trailer could foreshadow the possible coming out of Dom and Marcus. I mean, it's there and out in the open. I guess the world isn't ready for it. Also, that rumour has already been debunked and apparently Marcus will have a female love interest this time around and who knows, maybe Dom will get some alone time with his wife too.

Getting this whole gay and emo thing out of the way... man! does this trailer look alot like an Anime opening or what? The whole helping each other up the platform, the shots in dramatic posses of the characters, they all seem too Anime familiar to me. I could name any number of Anime OP's but I'll just show you the latest Naruto Shippuden opening (Blue Bird) so you can get an idea of what I mean.

Just goes to show that all of life's answers are in Anime and Manga, you just need to look for them.

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Tapping to the beats : "Rhythm Tengoku Gold" Review

Not too long ago, the guys behind "WarioWare" games released a funky GBA Rhythm game, "Rhythm Tengoku" (literally meaning "Rhythm Heaven" in English). The game really did turn out to be a sort of "heaven" for fans of rhythm games with its funky levels, comical characters and very simple gameplay. It was definitely a memorable experience all throughout. Now, after 2 years, Rhythm Tengoku Gold (RTG) released for the DS ,in Japan.

Lets have a look at short video to introduce you to the game

*How to be rhythmic

The game has stuck to its core and the gameplay is as rhythmic as before. The cartoony and personified art style is retained in RTG, and the animations of the characters will make you want to swing along to the rhythm. This time, you will observe that the game takes advantage of the DS's power and contains many levels where the objects are rendered in 3D rather than in good 'ol 2D. Every thing represented on the screen has high quality animation expressing their own rhythm, be it clapping hands, or rolling blocks.

Gameplay this time revolves around you doing two basic actions (as opposed to the previous' single-button-press gameplay). The first action being a single tap on the screen, which feels very similar to the old button tapping gameplay. Then there is the second action which is a "down to up" sliding action. This might take a bit getting used to, as changing instantaneously from a continuous tapping motion to a sliding one can get confusing at times. Also, timing on the sliding motions have to be more precise, making games based on sliding a bit more difficult. Overall difficulty of the game is "OK" with games not being too easy and not too hard with the exception of 1 or 2 games which can be very difficult to pass.

*Simple yet effective

RTG has the same basic game structure as the previous one. There are 4 different mini-games to be played in every level. Each game begins with a simple training session, which any one (even those, who have little to no knowledge of Japanese) can understand. After succeeding in the training level, the main game starts, usually lasting ~2mins.

The simple level structure and lack of "story" allows for a perfect handheld experience which means that you can just turn your DS on whenever you want, play for a while and then shut it off. There is nothing like the player will get "out of sync" after not having played the game for a long time (Aka, ouendan etc) as there is basically no concept of memorisation used in the levels, and the gameplay itself is simple.The songs themselves this time are very different and nice, but the remixes do not impress much, when compared to the ones in the GBA game. They are good, but not as good as they could have been.

* Is it Freaky?

These minigames are the heart of the game. Each one is unique in its own freaky way. Games where you make frogs swing their hips or make a guy eat eggs, all while responding to beats in a rhythm, are some of the game's defining moments. You will have to see it to understand how and why these are the main selling point of the game.

To pass a game you will have to get most of the hits/slides correctly. There are two ranks given for passing, you either JUST pass,which is indicated by a silver/ash outline on the game's selection box, or you do very good and get a gold outline. As soon as you pass, the next game is unlocked. If you fail, the next level is not unlocked and you will have to retry till you pass.

There is a small feature in the game which allows people to bypass this in case you are failing repeatedly in one game (~5+ times continuously). When that happens, the kettle icon on the right-end of the line with the "move" icon starts boiling and upon pressing that, you can select to unlock the next level. Once 4 games from a level are completed the 5th game is unlocked which is a remix using all the previous games of the level. Once this is completed the next level is unlocked.

* Import friendliness and worth.

Apart from the 50 levels that that you play to get the "end credits" (which again is a minigame in itself) you have loads of extra games. These levels feel more like an integral part of the complete experience one can spend a great deal of time just playing these unlockable games. They are unlocked when you get a "gold" for the levels you play. These games range from things like flipping coins to punching those "hit me nots" toys, all to the rhythm, making nice music as you do it. These are very addictive and add a lot to the whole value of the game. Makes all those golds you get in the games really feel "worth it"

50 levels each with around 2 minutes of gameplay might make it sound like a short game. But the mini-games are just so good that, no matter who you are, you will find yourself replaying some of them, just for fun. Also, its not like every level can be crossed at first try. It takes a few tries to understand the music and play accordingly. All these factors, along with the infinitely long long extras that you unlock by playing game, add a lot to the replay value of the game.

The game is very import friendly

The game being Japanese only for the time being means that importing is the only way to get it. But how import friendly is it? Well, lucky for all of us, the game is very import friendly. It will only take a few minutes to figure out what is happening and which buttons is the "ok" or "cancel" button. The meaning of all the extra options in the menu can also be found out by trial and error method. There are usually images on the other screen which give a basic idea on what it is.

*In Conclusion

The game's very import friendliness, great replay value, catchy music, easy gameplay and "handheld" structure really make it a must have for anyone who is looking for something fresh and entertaining for their DS. This will keep you busy for 10s of hours and will you want to get back to it even after months of playing it. All in all, it is something that every DS owner should atleast try out. The game has already sold over a million copies in japan, that sure speaks volumes of its appeal.

Lets end this review with another nice video

For Hi-Res pictures : checkout the album.
For more Gameplay Videos : checkout my youtube playlist (all videos created by me)

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Diwali crackers and Otaku-ness

*The Occasion

Its Diwali time once again in India, and everyone is busy buying sweets and crackers (thats what we call fireworks here, not something that polly would want). Its India's festival of lights where people of all ages have fun blasting crackers the whole night. Little kids with sparklers and plastic guns that blast "tickli"s , big kids with atom/hydrogen/lakshmi bombs, and then everyone else with their flower pots and rockets.

It is indeed a sight worth watching where everyone tries to show off their purchases by blasting at the right moment. Its not like a special location is fixed where you can blast them. Anyone and everyone blasts them on their colony roads, in their house's plot etc.. the community handles the aftermath (cleaning roads etc)

*The Point

Now what does all this have anything to do with the topics that we at WEastGamers deal with? well, the special thing about Indian crackers is that there are many companies/small households making these things and the best way to sell their wares is by having the most attractive covers for the boxes they sell them in.

They usually have things that kids (cartoons) and adults (famous actresses) would notice the most. Not too many years ago, I started seeing things like Mario and Sonic popup in these box covers. I immediately wanted to have a look these boxes, and then understood how effective this idea is. However, the first thing I got in my head was "copyrights!" but seeing that this is India and no one cares for such small things.(not like they are earning billion dollars and they don't have an "official" presence here either) Its freely done.

*The Reason

Recently I saw a post @ Kotaku showing "devil may cry fireworks" People went "Wow" by looking at it.. seeing that how everyone was surprised at the thing, I commented there saying this:

Wow, guys, if you find that amusing, wait for "Diwali" to start here, there are so many cracker boxes with Mario, Peach, Sonic and many other game characters that are sold here since years!

Cool, so I will take pics and send them this diwali!

So, yeah I am man of my words, today was diwali crackers shopping time for me and I took pictures of all those boxes with references that I thought you all can relate to.

Without further ado..
These are the ones I could find, but I am sure there are many more somewhere out there. I leave them here, for your viewing pleasure, to make it more interesting, why not try and name all the characters that you see here in the images.

Will try to take videos and more pictures of things this diwali. Keep looking for updates :) But yeah one thing is for sure.. people found it very amusing, seeing me take pictures of these things :P As for myself it felt kinda different but nice!

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Naruto Databook 3 Analysis I

So, user Agrias over at Mangahelpers was nice enough to upload some scans of this book.

For anyone who doesn't know, Databooks are a common class of books published by many mangas (specially long running ones) in which the creative team of that manga put out vital and/or non-vital statistics concerning characters, events, backgrounds, consequences, abilities and plot-lines for the respective title.

Now these scans are all in Japanese so tough luck on getting all the facts, specially if you don't know Kanji... what user Agrias did provide so kindly was an understanding to what the following graphic stands for: (Click to enlarge)

Skill Chart

**Note: The embedded skill chart was edited by me, but using the information provided in the image's description.

The basic rule by how this class of chart works is simple: the more the color area covers, while pointing towards one specific attribute, the more skillful the character is at that particular attribute.

It's nice to finally be able to see some stats since the two year gap in Naruto, the Itachi vs. Sasuke fight and the appearance of Pain. It helps in giving some idea of the growth the characters have gone through and realize what some of the new faces in the manga are capable of.

Some characters stats are still a mystery, given that they have not made a move or the real extent of their abilities are unknown 'til this moment, and on the other side, some characters may have not yet shown their skills to the fullest capacity.

Among the data I was able to see, I came to some conclusions:

Tobi was saying the truth, Itachi was stronger than Sasuke and let him win.

I'm not saying that Itachi is stronger in the sense of physical strength, but as the overall ninja he was superior to Sasuke in almost every aspect. So I will have to give this one to Tobi's side of the story as it is now basically a fact in reference to these stats. So, the way Sasuke won was by having an edge over Itachi (Itachi's illness) and by Itachi not really going "all out" from the beginning by having orchestrated the end result to go in favor of Sasuke. This last statement explains why Itachi was very close to killing Sasuke like 10 times before exhausting (and didnt kill him). He also expelled Orochimaru out of Sasuke, that too, in such a way where Sasuke didn't perceive it...all because of his blind hatred towards Itachi at the time.

It's true that Sasuke Uchiha's stamina is just a bit above Itachi's but it's not known if the creative team was counting on this pre or post loss of the Cursed Heaven Seal and/or a partition of Sasuke's M. Sharingan. Also, its fair to mention that Itachi's stamina was seriously affected by the continuous use of the M. Sharingan and how just using it once, drained alot out of him; not to mention the life threatening illness he had succumbed to, for who knows how much time.

Either way, without the M.S. and not at full power, Itachi was more than capable to handle Kakashi and Naruto through Pain's Shapeshifting Jutsu. Which tells a lot about his overall strength

**Update: One point I failed to mentionn regarding Itachi's stamina was that before his fight with Sasuke he gave some of his power to Uzumaki Naruto. So that could have properly drained him of energy or overall lower his stats to some degree.

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Getting 'yer booty off PSN : A Huge Pain.. in 'yer booty

[UPDATE] Just now I finished download the game for the nth time.. this time the "current went off" only twice throughout the download, although I expected it to not work like all the previous times. I was staring at the "loading please wait" screen that comes before the installation starts(after which the error is usually shown) and after minutes of non blinkage, I was surprised to see that even after having 2 abrupt cut offs, the download started installing.

This is just great with one of the best timings, because now I dont need to buy the Rs.800/- worth Standalone version that has been released, and neither do I have to spend Rs.600 extra (an alternate plan that I thought up of) to increase my Internet's bandwidth by twice and download again, trying for complete download with no power cuts.

All is well and My bilind faith and continuos retries have paid off! Dont know if the problem of abrupt power cuts spoinling downloads has been fixed now though. Maybe thats the reason? (from FW 2.5) 

Let us just hope so.

OMG Ratchet and Clank ?

I have been a big Ratchet and Clank fan ever since I first played the game. I always tried my best to get all the games ever released and play them (never cared for the Mobile ones though). You could say one of the biggest reasons I even bought a PS3 (and DS3) was Ratchet and Clank. So, yeah I think you got the picture.

Recently "Age of Booty" a small expansion pack to Tools of Destruction was released on PSN. I knew that I would get it the instant I saw the announcement at E3 '08. But never did I imagine that getting it would be that difficult.

With my friend's help I was able to get game from HK PSN store. After seeing its size was a whopping 2.8 GB, I told to myself "oh well, its only 24hrs of downloading", I was casual about it,because I was (and AM) playing GTA IV, which I know will easily take me more than 24 hrs to play, so I can always have the game download in the BG, hence not wasting much electricity.

Realisation 1.0

So I start the download and then start playing GTA IV, what do I see after a 2hr session? the percentage had not increased at all. After a bit of googling, I found out that GTA IV on PS3 doesnt support background downloading (unlike MGS and many other games). What did this mean ? well, now I had only one option.. turn on the PS3 "not for gaming" and just leave it like that to download stuff. becasue GTA IV is the only game I will be playing till I finish it.

Whats the problem?

Well, first of all, leaving the PS3 turned on for hours together, with no A/C and that too in a closed room is just too risky. Also, it feels like unnecessary current waste.

What did I do?

Well, I started watching movies on the PS3 just so that I can download things while watching movies, so there is atleast something got from turning it on (also that I will be using A/C when there). This time I realize another thing..

You cannot BG download when you are watching DVDs/BDs on PS3..
WoW, just what I needed :| Luckily , I have a lot of Anime and movies burnt on DVDs, and luckily PS3 supports them, so I started watching them.

Problems for Developing nations

I am from India, and as you all might know India is still a "Developing Country" what does it mean? One thing is that, in many areas you have constant power cuts, most of all, these are Random. Because of this thing, I was first afraid that such abrupt power cuts would hurt the PS3, but even then I kept downloading because "I wanted to play it"

So after many hours of watching anime (and also leaving it on , just downloading) the download was finally done. With great happiness I started the installation. only to see

What is this you ask? well, its a fatal error, where "Re-Download" is the only option. I've googled for it earlier, while trying to solve the problems of people in forums, but never actually faced it. Why did it happen? well, it was because of the "power cuts" that were happening whenever I was downloading.

There is this problem in the PS3 where downloads get corrupt if there is a power cut when you are downloading the file. I remember very well having power cuts while downloading demos, months ago, but never faced the problem till this time. Maybe its one of those "new features" that the constant firmware updates bring up.

What did I do then?

Well, just like any other fan would do, without a moment's thought, I started the download again..Not once, but 5 times!

Here is a small list of the downloads
  1. Complete Download - Corrupt
  2. PowerCut @ 400 MB
  3. PowerCut @ 700 MB
  4. PowerCut @ 200 MB
After observing all this, I started downloading only at nights, as per my friend's recc. power cuts are almost null at night times (you know, cause everyone sleeps and uses nothing electric) After a few nights of atleast 4 hrs download each, I reached 1.5 GB..

But as fate would have it "Current Wala" always waits for the right moment. It being the time when you can feel sad the most. As there was once again a very unexpected powercut @ the 1.5GB mark late at night, where I practically went mad.

How time was wasted?

In my 256K Internet speed (yeah, its another one of those "developing nation" thing) it takes me almost 50mins to download 100 MB. So thats around 4 GB of download that takes up easily 35+ hours of download.

So I've spent that much of time trying to get the thing working and its still not done, however, just in hope of current not going off again, I started downloading it again.

Possible Solutions

0.Keep Trying

I can always keep trying and maybe one day, like that scene from very other anime "I will believe" and then there will be no problems, or better yet.. I will believe so much that, even after powercuts the download will be work! ~the power of fandom~

1. Get a UPS

Well, First of all, people would say "buy a UPS", The thing is that spending so much money on getting only this download done, is a pretty, non economical solution IMO. I would rather rely on my luck than to spend more money to get it. As for everything else I will download after this.. I am guessing it will be under 1 Gb which I think luck will allow me to download.

2.Wait for fix

Seeing how frequently we get PS3 Firmware upgrades, I can only sit and wish that in the next upgrade they fix this problem. I mean, Sony cares about its customers.. right? no matter how much of a minority they are. Seeing that it has not been fixed till now (it seems the problem was there since many months) I feel we are being ignored.

3.Buy the Retail Version

Oh yeah, definitely.. once it comes out in India, with a proper (i.e not Rs.1499/-) price tag, I will be first in line to buy it. Well, hope it happens sometime soon, seeing that the UK release has been cancelled and the EU release is not known right now.

4.Move to some other country

Nope, I dont think that is going to happen soon.

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Halo 3 Secret ODST update?

[UPDATE2] The game has been officially Announced, and it will be called "Halo 3:Recon" and yes, the game will infact be based on the ODST. It will be a tactical shooter, no Idea if its Third Person or First person, will have emphasis on "Stealth". The game will release with new maps and some forge items too.

Here is the boxart of the game and the complete trailer

[UPDATE] Thanx to the Cool people at Digg, got the thing clarified.. ANS : Long term memory loss!

Just a few days ago, I dropped by at my friend PeldonPeldon's GS Blog and found out something strange. It seems when he was replaying the Halo 3 campaign he found that all the marines he encountered in "The Ark" level were ODSTs. Neither he nor I and other friends remember finding them in the levels back during the previous play-throughs.

Was this a case of poor memory? or something else? As far as I can say, I think this could be a case of "tricky marketing". A small update might have been sent in the BG when your 360s were connected to Live which made all those ODST models to appear. Let me quote myself on what I said when I saw this.

maybe its some kind of secret marketing technique where they are trying to make people feel that the ODST were really a huge part, hence a game around them, making sense.

After considering the teaser trailer for the new Halo game which was released recently, this could be true. I mean, the HUD shown in the teaser also had a helmet type view and was not particularly like the one Master Chief had. It could be of those ODST troops, and Gamespot has officially listed the game as a "Halo 3: untitled ODST project"

So is actually some kind of stunt by the Bungie/MS peeps.. Or did we truly forget that they were present in the game since the beginning ?

Enjoy the video

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Why The Dragon Ball Movie Will Break My Heart I

Well as and when I find more details trickling out on the web or by any other means, about the Dragon Ball live action movie, I'll keep posting them on this "mini blog" series. Here is the first of "X".

According to the new post on Kotaku, I just keep finding more and more reasons for my heart to get broken into pieces by the impending and nearing premiere date of it, on DVD/Blu-Ray or the big screen which doesn't make a difference.

*FYI* I'm a huge Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and luke warm Dragon Ball GT fan, I was born within the same week or more like around the days that the original Dragon Ball anime was premiered in Japan. It was destiny... no wait, Dragon Ball chose me. XD

So some new pics have been released and from all of them, two just rip out my heart and dance the Jarabe Tapatio on it (Full House reference, watch it, it's a nice family show); not that the rest of images aren't crap because they are... MEGA CRAP!


Piccolo, as seen in the "movie"

WTF?! OK, before just loosing it and as the image was loading I saw something white and said: "Calm down! Your a grown ass man!, it could be the turban Piccolo uses." The image kept loading and I saw the eyes and thought: "OK, too much white now but the eyes look menacing... cool :S ?." Anyone who has seen DBZ knows that all Namekians are nice but basically scare the life out of anyone just physically... kinda look like demons (Piccolo was at once affiliated with them and their leader Garlick Jr). After that just watching the rest of it loading, I was asking myself: "Why is that shiny black thing on his body?"; and then the gruesome truth appeared before my eyes, they had given Piccolo a spandex suit. To make it worse, a black "didn't you see the X-men movies and how dumb that was" spandex muscle suit.

By the end I wanted to know what the hell were Eli Damaskinos (Blade II) or The Ubvervamp (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) doing in the movie? I kinda knew that Goku and many of the human characters where going to get messed up from day one, but it really, really hurts when they do this to the cool/strong/few words/loner type characters from any story. I'm talking of the Vegeta's, Sasuke Uchiha's, Wolverine's, Sabertooth's and yes Piccolo's of the fiction world.


A Dragon Ball as seen in the "movie"

From this batch of images, this one hurts the most but not on a nostalgia value as the Piccolo image did, but more on common sense level. What is the name of the movie? Dragon Ball. Why don't the friggin Dragon Balls have stars on them. It can't be a huge budget expense, I'm guessing, if at least to get something right in the movie.

I really cannot believe that anyone whose name is affiliated in any shape or form to this sham even thinks this is a serious/"good decision for my acting career" movie. The director is just doing it to get a directorial seat push of some sort or publicity at a Uwe Boll type of "Their is no such thing as bad publicity" level. Of course make his way in the most mediocre form possible and using such a beloved story as his stepping stone through the Hollywood swamp.

At this rate and from whatever half-baked production is behind this blasphemy as my evidence, I'm guessing someone can put out a movie where the Nazis are the good guys and get a budget and support for it.

I'm not trying to sound like some angry nerd, I know that stuff like DBZ, Naruto, Bleach, Gantz (maybe), Blue Dragon cannot be faithfully recreated, but at least anime and/or video game movie should have some stream of decency and character behind them to make them more credible. Like, take the original idea and use stuff approximate to it, and if some things are particularly hard to do then twist the concept in another direction while keeping the spirit of what was originally intended. Thats not so hard.

Better yet, this movie could be great if they had stuck to the Dragon Ball idea but used an aesthetic closer to reflect Journey to The West (in the fantastical aspects of the Dragon Ball story), which is the classical Chinese novel from which the original idea of Dragon Ball cribbed from and has the look and feel of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon to it(aesthetically speaking).

Of course that's just an idea, but I think it would be at least a bit more decent then what the movie has become up to now.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Now Playing - GTA IV : The Social Life Emulator

After some Busy months at college doing some projects, I finally got me some holidays! I have been trying to make the most of these "Holidays" by playing as much as possible! Played many marathons of GTA IV till now, am 25hrs into it and just finished the "Three leaf clover" Mission, it was pretty interesting and I think I am getting to the part where I will have to kill making my OWN choice.. Its going to be very hard for me as I will have to compare my personal thoughts on those characters ,also think of how the game will turn out after I Kill 'em!

From as far as I got,I am guessing I will have to kill either Dwayne or PlayboyX and then from the others, I would have to kill either Frankie McReary or someone from the McReary Brothers.. This is going to get intense! At the present stage I would prefer to kill playboy ANY day.. but I think some more "character" will be given to him soon, to make my decision harder.

As for the other things, I think the game is pretty HUGE! I havent even explored the 3rd City yet and have spent considerable time wandering around and having fun doing various thing.. no not THOSE things, but the other more-enjoyable-in-a-game things. I however am getting really bugged wth the "socialize" part of the game where I have to constantly move around from one part of the city to the other to go DO stuff with people.. it breaks the flow of the game very much, and feels like more like a chore than anything else.

For a while I was feeling so happy that Roman stopped going "hey Cousin, its your COUSIN" on the phone, but soon I
got a message from him saying "i think we are drifting apart". I mean WHaaaa? And for these "calls" I have to stop doing whatever I was going to do and go show him some "big american fake t!ttes" so that he would stop calling me for a while and stop thinking that I "dont love him no more"

Other than tis socialising part most of it has been great, I am playing the Ps3 version, the game isn't necessarily an a great graphical achievement in the looks dept (neither were
any of the previous ones) I've noticed many frame drops, and very bad Anti Aliasing till now. However it still is able to immerse the player into the game's world with its great style, like when you are slowly flying around in a helicopter at night, the sight is just beautiful!

The sound has been great, radio channels specific to every race in the game can be found here :P , and it retains its awesomness in the Talk Show radio Channels very interesting to listen! The TV has been very addictive too with me spending atleast an hour till now sitting and watching all the random nonsensicle things it has been showing.

It has been a good ride so far. Hope the game's story gets to the "OMG 10!" part soon.. Haven't yet got very attached to all the characters as I did in the previous ones.. maybe its because there are too many...

P.S: And Check out the great VGCats Comic Strip that describes exactly what I am feeling!

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Different Take On The Kyuubi Attack

Saw this pic while keeping up with PAX 08 on Kotaku, it was one of those advertisement banners they have. (Click to enlarge)

Wish one of them had a white robe on, to tell apart the Yondaime Hokage.

Looks cool and can even relate to some at a "childhood reminiscence" level. None the less pretty cool, although that could change depending on who's point of view.

Credits go to John W. DeFeo, or at least thats who appeared when I clicked on the banner.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Only Colossal things cast Shadows

I read about "Lords of Shadow" just yesterday and the first thing I noticed was "Shadow" and then thought of.. you know it.. "Shadow of the Colossus" and then I saw it was a game by Konami, which made me think "they aren't THAT unoriginal" (I mean.. a similar name for a similar concept) and then, Just now, I saw this Video.

I mean, WOW..the game DOES have Giant things, and it is about slaying them.. other than the character being more appealing to people who like "bada$$" things the trailer only tells me one thing "This is very much like SoTC, only more violent and maybe,with blood and guts spitting out"

Ok, The game could have been of a similar premise, but why does it have to be that the name is "Lords of Shadow" thats VERY generic and has a "decided-over-at-lunch" feel to it.

I mean, I love what konami does (making you break controllers multiple times, i.e) I always look forward to what they are going to make.. but this is very surprising to me... hope it turns out be something better than what I am thinking! and wish that I will end up really liking this game :P

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Liquefying the Solid Metal.

This, is a Sneaking Mission.

Solid snake is on another sneaking mission and this time, he is determined to settle everything. Many gamers around the world have been waiting to get their hands on this game for a long while, and after watching all those teasers the game has finally come out. And it turns out that it definitely did live up to the expectations.

The story of the game is everything everyone wanted it to be. All the loose ends are tied together, every little detail is covered, and all questions are answered. The gamer's memory is also tested in the game, as many references to events from the old games are made throughout the story. But all these references do not completely alienate new comers to the series. One can easily cook up their own flashback to fill in the small blanks and still have a great story to enjoy.

*The Beginning of the END

The game itself starts with a 8 mins Mandatory install, which doesn't feel that long because of Installation messages are worth readingthe lines of text that come pouring into the screen, telling the player, what to do (and what NOT to do) with a profusely smoking old snake in the BG. After the install we are introduced the main screen, where old snake is shown paying tributes to the boss and then slowly taking out a gun and testing it.. all with a very dramatic music in the BG, which really sets the mood for the player and tells you "This is the END". The camera pans out to the sky after snake puts the gun towards him, with the music looping in BG. Then the game starts.

MGS4 Starts off with you, as old snake, going to the battlefield in a truck filled with militia, in morocco. There is a small tutorial type section and soon after that you enter into the action filled MGS universe, right in the beginning you will be introduced to the newest and probably the most feared recurring enemy in MGS games, the mooing mechas , commonly known as Gekkos. You try your best to evade them and then are informed about the main objective of the mission. FIND OCELOT and Kill him.

Friend or Foe? You Decide.Delicate Beauties in rugged Beasts

In the First Act itself you are introduced to the 4 Main bosses known as the B&B Corps (Beauty and The beast) which is a group of 4 Beauties who have been turned into Beasts due the traumas they faced during the wars. All of them are reincarnations of old MGS Bosses, but improved. You are also shown how "old" snake has gotten and how there are limitations to his agility now.

The early introduction of characters and the main goal somewhat ruin the Snake might be old, but he still is cool!emotional moments of the game later on, where the player gets the feeling " oh, I've not beaten all the bosses yet, so obviously there is no need to be sad now" Although you can make yourself get into the moment by pretending to be really sad. A comparison would be, how in DBZ when Vegeta is tearfully dyeing in the hands of Freiza, the viewer is probably thinking "They will get him back with the dragon balls anyways" but will still want to be immersed in the moment by giving a value to Vegeta's death and painful story.The complete story however, we will discuss in a later post, let's get to the Gameplay part of the game.

*Tackle them Forcefully

Everyone, even before playing the game will know that this time "It's different" , The whole gameplay has changed to something like a hybrid between a pure third person action game andTake them down! previous MGS games. It's more accessible this time and with the addition of "Over-the-shoulder" view and First person aiming, all those guns we collect have finally got some use to them. Every area you visit in the game is under some kind of civil conflict and war, so there are many scenarios when you find yourself running and gunning rather than sneaking around.

One side of the war are the Rebels/militia, and the others are Soldiers of Private Military Corporations(PMCs) Hired by the government to fight the rebels.PMCs are completely ID controlled with ID locked guns with the help of nano-machines, where as the rebels use unlocked/laundered guns. The game says that you can help any side by killing the other, but then again, it also says "The PMCs are programmed to kill you" suggesting we team up with the rebels and kill as much PMC as possible. In many cases you will find yourself gunning alongside the Rebels to overthrow the PMCs and take over a patch of land, after all the nearby PMCs are killed, "Huzzahs" resound in the air with everyone thanking you for the support. All this adds to the "BattleField" feel of the game , making the player want to take part in the ongoing war, and get the a feeling similar to that of an online TDM.

But there is a problem in some locations where PMCs respawn indefinitely and you are stuck There are many,action filled scenarioswondering if they will stop thus keep wasting bullets. The devs have put a nice morale balancing technique where in "The voice of God" (?) makes you vomit in the battlefield saying the words "Because you like killing very much" in case you kill a lot of people in one location. This can also act as a hint "They will keep coming, so advance to the next section"

The game introduces us to a new character and gameplay element. The character is Drebin, he is a weapon launderer who makes it possible for you to unlock ID protected guns that you collect in the battleground from fallen PMCs. In order to unlock weapons you need Drebin Points which you get by collecting "extra" weapons and selling them to him. Not only can you unlock weapons, but also buy ammo, and new weapons from drebins shop. The Prices are not-so-well balanced, as you will rarely be in a situation where you are out of points to buy new stuff.

Drebin's shop also allows you to modify your weapons, which ranges from adding the very-necessary Suppressor, to stability increasing extra handles, it also has nice additionsCustomisations add layers to gameplay like "master-key" and others which will allow you to add Shotgun attachment to rifles, which definitely helps in many situations. There are a plenty of customisation options, but they too, like the weapons, will never make you spend a lot. One can play through the whole thing by buying only the suppressor for guns. This feature will, however, come in handy during the next playthroughs as there are many things that can be done alternatively in the game, and every small customisation adds a twist to the gameplay strategy.

*Evade them Stealthily

Thankfully, the whole game has not turned into a run and gun affair, its only in those battlefield like areas that you find yourself using guns with no suppressors. Every act has its "stealth" part where you are either tracking down footsteps in the forest (like a Ninja) or trying to find a secret base by following unsuspecting passer-bys.

It is in these stealth sections where the new "OctoCamo" comes into use, it's the most advanced Knock them off!and probably the best new feature of the game wherein your body suit dissolves into the surrounding area's texture, keeping you very well hidden when motionless. But the enemies are not totally dumb, if you are well within their field of vision and they see a strange lump on the floor, they will come to see what it is.In these situations the new "on your back" prone position can prove very useful where you can aim while lying on the ground.

You also have the trusty Mk. II which helps you in scouting ahead and procuring items in dangerous locations. It has limited battery life, but one can easily Some events are pretty intense in sneaking modeplay through the whole game without finishing a single battery. The MK. II proves useful in many locations where stealth kills are of most importance. You can sneak behind enemies undetected and zap them, after which, snake can silence them forever. There are a few irritating things like Otacon always warning you when Mk.II is going out of range, even though one can easily tell by looking at the signal strength indicator. There is also the time consuming boot-up process where it takes 3 secs to stretch. Mk.II being an essential gameplay element will be used very frequently and hence such minor things irk the player a lot throughout the game.

Stealth is a major part of the game, you are well rewarded for being sneaky at the end of every act. Mk.II, your best friend on the battlefield.You can also prevent major battles in the game by sneaking around enemies. There is a part in the game where you have to sneak around with a gekko patrolling the area, its footstep's sound add to the tension when you are desperately trying to sneak. Such situations and many more are very memorable in the game, where sneaking is the best and (sometimes) ONLY means of proceeding.

Control the Snake

All Gameplay Elements are right in place, and for them to play along nicely, the control scheme has been laid in a very well thought manner. The game plays very different to every other one out there, where you are not holding a weapon all the time, therefore, the default position of the character is NOT a holstered position.

To holster a weapon, you need to press the L1 button, which readies the Gun for aiming. After this you are in a very familiar, over-the-shoulder position with offerings of both Auto-lock andStealth Kills are always very satisfying manual aim at the player's disposal. It also has small options where you can switch over which shoulder you aim. This mode of aiming will be easy for automatics, and others, which will come in handy during those warzone scenarios where you are bombarded with action all over.

But the game is primarily a "stealth" mission, so you will find yourself in many locations, in a situation where silent one shot kills are a must, so that the enemy has no chance of warning others. And it is during these situations when the newly added "First person" aiming mode comes in handy. At any point when you have a weapon holstered you can press the Triangle button and toggle to First Person aiming mode. This mode paired with a silenced gun will be the best option when you are in need of silent head shots to sneak away undetected. The Controls are very customizable too, with many options for the camera, and weapon change functions. All this customizability makes the game as good as the player wants.

Speaking of which, the game can played as good, or as bad as the player wants, one might try to run and gun and use the wrong weapon in some locations. But such decisions will lead to nothing but frustrations, as sometimes, trying to blow things up to smithereens is just doesn't work in some places (where it feels to be the viable method to deal with enemies)

Please the SensesSurround sound, places you virtually in a battlefield!

Apart from the Gameplay, the Game has its sound and Cinematics, which are by no doubt, of top-notch quality. The game has complete 5.1Dolby digital support which will certainly please anyone with the right hardware. The surround sound experience can be used very much like ears in real environments, where sound of footsteps and other things help in pointing out exactly where the enemy is. Of course, there is the solid eye, but playing it this way adds to the fun factor and immerses the player into the environment.

Graphically the game is sure to please everyone, it looks very beautiful, and motion capture, lip syncing Sneak past enemies using novel techniquesis done as good as possible. The incredible sound quality and voice acting paired with the beautiful looks will please the gamer's senses. There are however a minor framerate drops in large outdoor areas where there are many characters on screen along with a lot of explosions and things happening onscreen. This doesn't get anywhere near botheration level though, hence keeping the whole experience, smooth at best.

The cut scenes at the end of every act tend to cover a lot of story and hence are of good length, the acts are laid in such a manner than one will usually find himself playing the game one act at a time in one single stretch. After every act , the game installs for 5 -8 minutes for the next act. This can also serve as a relaxation break for the player, where, as suggested by snake, one can do a bit of stretches and other things to relax a bit. Hence playing one act every sitting (which are each of almost 4-5 hours in length) is the best and most comfortable way to play the game.

The boss fights of the games, are still as great as ever, figuring out the right and best way to conquer them will be a challenge, and the way you defeat them will have different immediate consequences (not related to story).

Final ThoughtsA journey that will never be forgotten

MGS4 surpasses all the older games in every technical aspect and ends everything that had started. It leaves no room for missing connections from previous games and leaves the player completely satisfied at the end. It is a "must have" for anyone who has played a MGS game before and enjoyed it. The game plays and feels different from anything out in the market, so it will seem very foreign to new comers, they will have to play the game with a grain of salt, as the long cutscenes , sneaking around, and fact that running and gunning doesn't always work, might not be their cup of tea.

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