Clueless Gaijin – Phantasy Star Portable

Sony’s PSP has proven that if there’s one thing that the Japanese love, its Monster Hunter Portable. Seeking to capitalize on the success of this absolute sensation, Sega’s finally ported a version of Phantasy Star over to the device. It’s funny, back when the PSP was announced; I felt that Phantasy Star Online, a game that at the time was dominating my free time without a shred of mercy, would have been a perfect fit for the newly conceived handheld.

Years later I get a mildly skewed version of my wish in the form of what amounts to Phantasy Star Universe on a handheld. For those keeping score, Phantasy Star Universe was a largely uninspired sequel to PSO featuring a forgettable story mode, needlessly complicated coop play, cumbersome equipment creation system, and a criminally bad theme song. →  Read the rest

Clueless Gaijin – Kenzan

So there I was, in Japan, wandering about in the gamer’s wonderland that is Akihabara. I had purchased a PS3 shortly before my trip, planning to make use of the device’s lack of region coding to return triumphantly with all manner of bizarre import games and blu-ray anime.

Things did not go as planned.

It seems that anime on blu-ray will set you back well over $80 per disk and the PS3 has yet to receive the influx of “oh, that shit is so crazy that it’s NEVER coming out in the US” titles.

But they did have Kenzan.

Kenzan is a pseudo-sequel (maybe prequel?) to Sega’s critically acclaimed, albeit not tremendously successful Yakuza series. This time taking place in the 1600s and putting you in the shoes of an identical-looking ancestor (Sega laughs in the face of basic genetics!) →  Read the rest

E3 games you may have missed

We’ve all been beaten over the head with Gears of War 2, Resident Evil 5, Resistance 2, and the like for days now, but here are a few gems waiting just below the surface that really got my attention this past E3.

Dead Space
At first, Dead Space may look like a paint by numbers imitation of games like System Shock 2, but after taking a closer look, I’m really enjoying the direction this game is taking. Dead Space adopts a HUDless over the shoulder camera, and outfits its protagonist, the lone survivor on a derelict spacecraft now inhabited by malevolent creatures, with weapons improvised from the ship’s mining equipment.

The trailer brings to mind films like Event Horizon, which, while not being a particularly good example of film (OK, it sucked), certainly had its share of intense and disturbing imagery. →  Read the rest

Dyack takes on the world

Recently, Denis Dyack of Silicon Knights appeared on the 1up Yours podcast to discuss the current state of forum accountability, specifically citing the popular forum NeoGAF as a place that requires change before “something bad happens.”

The crux of his argument (though I recommend anyone interested listen to the entire podcast, because there are several layers of smoke and mirrors before he really gets to his point), is that the anonymity of online discussion leads to a lack of accountability, and that, coupled with the attention that such boards get from journalists and marketing organizations, is bad for the industry in general and society as a whole. It should be noted that Mr. Dyack also seems to think that message boards are “not for profit organizations,” when in reality they are simply giant internet water coolers where word of mouth propagates. →  Read the rest