Friday, November 25, 2011

KOF XIII Review Part 2 - Orochinagi Ediiton -

Welcome to part II of my ongoing coverage regarding KOF XIII. In this article, it is directed towards the longtime fans (the ones let down by XII) But fear not friends, XIII brings KOF back with a vengeance. And honestly its better than SFIV.

Gameplay modes - Although there are many, its easy to access all of the sub-menus. There may be a loading logo at the bottom right, but it doesn't last very long. Or during matches, its a quick start up and go. Btw I advise any one playing this game to save it to your hard drive. It makes things so much better, and less waiting time.

Controls are quick on the fly, every button press is touch sensitive. Including the D-pad (for those hardcore ones out there  I'm sure you're playing with an arcade stick, hopefully the patch comes out soon for improvements to allow you fun characters to play. Try out the tutorial in case you are not familiar with the adapted setup, it may seem overkill to learn but in fact its worth it. You might be surprised how robust the adapted Drive Cancels really are.  Including the NeoMAX or as we longtime fans love to call them HDM. Explore the different power modes, in fact there are five! I know its crazy, but you will get used to it after awhile, its a lot like breathing.

For those worried about visuals, need not be concerned. Presentation is excellent! The character designs are sharp (actually sharper than XII) The "Zoom" happens when your character unlocks their HDM move and lets their opponent have a fresh serving of pain. It also happens during other special moves, which is a neat feature because it was rare to see the in-game camera focus on a variety of moments. Here it does just that, the character even gives a "wink" to the player when the move is pulled off. Just watch, you'll see. **And I'm sure many know by now of the classic KO specials towards King and Yuri. That aside, the characters actually react more towards their health bar dropping, listen to the audio cues (this is something that really surprised me).

Btw for those longtime fans, the character designs remind me of the CG style we all grew up with in FF and AOF. I am surprised just how much detail went into every movement. From defensive, to offensive, and even when the character stands still. Another hidden detail is from the "burst" mode is that every attack attains a more zen-like quality where you gain full control of the HDSM's without a hiccup. The NeoMax attacks are unleashed full force, and can be controlled until the very last hit. (or an ongoing combo can be made up until the opponent "kisses the earth").

For you newcomers, we're glad to have you with us. Practice, and learn well. And to everyone just have a ball playing this excellent game. I admit it, XIII beats SFIV anyday. Sorry Capcom but you've been beaten by KOF to this gamers heart. *wink*

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The King of Fighters XIII Review

King of Fighters XIII Review
Release date: 11/22/11 Worldwide
Dev and Publishers: SNK Playmore and Atlus USA
Online capable
PS3 and XBOX360

Let’s Get Started! -
Welcome to a new installment of KOF fellow gamer. This review will be covering many different aspects of the newest chapter in the long running series. From mode: to changes, and a comparison towards another series.

Show me your moves! -
KOFXIII brings in series regulars from Team Japan, to Team Iori (with two fellow ladies whom many fans will recognize). Taking a page from where XII missed its mark, XIII makes up for its losses and delivers an entirely different experience than past games. Featuring several bonus EX modes, including NeoMax, and Hyperdrive. In fact a lot of these concepts were adapted from Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting.

For the newbies, this means that whatever move you use (as in special attacks) can double cancel, and include a secondary or third attack making it more powerful. In fact, some of the classic Desperation moves are now remixed into the Neomax (or Berserk!) moves. When used these attacks fill up the screen with colors that nullify an opponent’s ability to counterattack. (There are in fact, more than 4 different types of attacks, practice learning everyone’s skills) Plus it appears that the team member “switch on the fly’ option has been taken away. This was from KOF2k3, so at will you could change partner’s mid-fight. Now it’s back to the original setup of one-on-one until your opponent drops to the ground.

Press Start! –
There is a helpful tutorial available for newcomers, or classic players. At first the “jump” takes some getting used to, even the EX moves require you to take them to mid-air cancels. Keep trying, and you’ll get the hang of it. Within KOFXIII, every character has adapted with the new setup, but its also faster and no longer lags input. So every button press goes along with the players timing. For those button mashers out there, you’ve met your match!

Arcade – select your team, and get going!
Story – Find out why Ash took on this dark quest (includes the option of playing any team, and taking on all challengers throughout the in-game story).
Mission – Time Attack (obtain the best time while taking on opponents) , Survival, and Trial (master different move lists, and learn some new combos)
Gallery – Play through each mode to unlock some bonus goodies, from artwork, movies, and music.

Online – According to friends on the lovely interwebs, many have said mixed things about the online play. Some may experience good bouts with other players, or sometimes unplayable match ups. It all depends on players’ internet connection. Btw you can also setup a team ready to go for online matches.
And setup custom colors for your favorite characters. (you can also unlock more color palettes, the more you play that specific character)

Music to my Ears – The in-game soundtrack is a electric romp of sounds that KOF is known for. Plus some tunes contain remixes of past tunes, giving them a new spin. For those who pre-ordered the game, we were treated to a collection of four cd’s that contain tracks from past games. Featuring tunes in their original arcade sound format, and some with arrange mixes. The fourth cd is the track list from KOFXIII, and it is something definitely worth listening to. You won’t be disappointed with this awesome assortment of tunes.

The Long Road Ahead -
Overall, KOFXIII is an awesome game that must not be missed. Although it has some tough competition, anyone who enjoys 2D fighters should pick this one up right away. On the plus side, this is KOF in its finest form, challenging, fun, and engaging. You will not be disappointed.

Websites of knowledge!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rhythmic Harmonies

For awhile I have been visiting Hardcore Gaming 101, a site which catalogs every title in existence that has been a pivotal (and some titles that we want to forget). But what makes it worth visiting, and reading any article is the writing style. Something I find myself lacking, and I strive to push myself to improve on. Because I would love to send a few articles, and it could be fun to see them highlighted on a well known site. I did some collaborations in the past with Castlevania Dungeon, and OCRemix some time ago. Its been so long I feel out of touch.

In that regard, my new push in writing would be to emphasize or wax poetically about Bayonetta. An underdog in the gaming market, made by talented group that produced some fantastic pieces of visual storytelling and music.

I have been giving it some thought as to how I could pursue writing about a vast title. Its not one subject, but it covers a bit of gaming history. Both in design, and ideas (where it borrowed tons, and gave kind regards to its humble past).

Right now, my college classes are winding down. So I might get started on this project very soon. Just thought I'd share the idea here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sonic Generations - 24 hours later

Sonic Generations – 24 Hours after review

Many years ago, I was one of the millions of fans who grew up with a blue hedgehog. Sure all the rage was about Sonic vs the Plumber, who could outdo the other was all the talk back in kindergarten all the way to high school. I never thought it would carry over in my adult life, but it has and that is something worth sharing. But enough about the past, actually that’s what Generations is built off of. Sonic past meets Sonic from the future in a cross-over no one thought possible. (But I will hint this lovely gem was being planned nearly ten years ago, but the team wasn’t 100% sure the hardware could keep up.) After years of waiting, a little dream has finally come true.

Press Start -
Here I am listening to the “Green Hill Zone” theme from the in-game music library. I remember first hearing this tune from the original Sonic game. Here’s the honest truth, everything fans have ever wanted, or loved is within this game. I remember meeting a few friends that actually played a part in this soundtrack, one of them happens to be Jun Senoue, a long time musician who in the past stepped in for another composer. Only to take a chance at actually being at the helm of a game like no other.

One major thing this game contains in a great way is energy, there is no denying that Sonic Team recognized what fans wanted to play, a mixture of old and new ideas. From the get-go, you get to explore Green Hill Zone as Classic Sonic, braving pitfalls, speed traps and a ton of badniks all over a retouched map of the original stage. Then right after, you take control of Modern Sonic flying across the same level, only to take over in a blaze of speed daring the sound barrier. One word = Wow!

*Extra easter egg note: GHZ was the unlockable level in Sonic Adventure 2 once you obtained all A ranks in the stages. What made it unique was the freedom of bopping around GHZ in a different perspective. Flashback to now..

Listen to the Music – One can never forget every harmony they’ve listened to. Once we hear it, its stuck with us forever. Within the Generations music library, or stage are retouched and original tunes from past entries (with various surprises). What’s even more fun, is that once you unlock more tunes in the music library, you can also change the bgm track in the stage you decide to play.

*Bonus goodie! Songs are also collectible once you’ve completed a challenge stage.

D-Pad – Movement within a 2D or 3D world has always been tricky with the Sonic series. But it wasn’t the case with the original series. Ever since we’ve hit the 3D plane, being able to fly across a level was never easy. (Sonic 06 is a perfect example of how not to collide with every obstacle) Here in Generations, Sonic Team has taken the fans battle cry, and accepted what they’ve done wrong. Controls are smooth like butter, with whichever version of Sonic you are playing. There all done.

Where did my rings go? – All of the classic gaming mechanics we know or loathe are also brought back. From the simple jump, homing attack, spin dash, drift, and ring dash. (*Bonus maneuvers are also buyable from the upgrade shop)  And the scariest sound you never wanted to hear.. “drowning”. Yup its back.

Where’s the goodies? – Once you explore every nook and cranny, you can unlock many more items throughout the game. From art, to music, movies, and many more trinkets. Plus you can upgrade either Sonic with new techniques. And a game that started it all.
Challenges are playable once you’ve played through a specific stage. From time attacks, rival fights, and so much more.  Boss fights = a chaos emerald

Sonic Generations is an amazing game. Fans of the past, or present will want this in their gaming library.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One More Ring

Here I am, in the college library listening to the OST that seems to have found itself within youtube.
That aside, I love the music I will get to hear once I get home. Sadly it won't be for another 4 hours.
Waiting is always worth it. Generations looks to be a fun little treasure.

*I can't say much more about that, because well that would spoil more fun surprises.
Seeing the music being shared like wildfire is something. But hey there is more to the story. More to share next time, and a review.