Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: etc, etc, etc

In a sentence, imagine Street Fighter II with slightly nicer graphics and hyper combos.

In more than a sentence, why is it that Capcom’s fighting games are allowed to be so lazy and yet get relatively good reviews? Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs Capcom 3 and the 1.1 versions of both of those. Shallow and lazy. Particularly the versus series. Great potential for some kind of interesting story mode reduced to a handful of cool cutscenes.

So. What do you get in Tats vs Caps? Not a lot. Punch people in the head on seven stages in Arcade Mode. Punch people in the ahead against the clock in survival mode and punch as many people in the head before your life runs out in Survival Mode. Even for a Capcom game there is a paucity of unlockables. →  Apply directly to the forehead.

My First Import

As much as I love this hobby, the truth is I have never bought import games before. I’ve been given one (as seen in picture), and played quite a few, but never did I lay out my own cash. The main problem was finding a way to play them. I just didn’t want to spend extra money for a Japanese console/fliptop/Freeloader disc in addition to premium price for the game itself. As for the Dreamcast, I didn’t realize its import friendliness until it was too late. It hasn’t been much of a hindrance, as localizations for worthy games have become more common (even for fighters).

This weekend I finally brought home my first import game, Salamander Portable. It was a nice and easy choice. The game was apparently imported by at least a few non-specialty retail outlets (including Fry’s), and was common enough that some shooter fans talk about it like it received a US release. →  Double your reading, double your fun.

Quick Impressions – The World Ends with You

I’ve put around five hours into The World Ends with You and besides the “I cut myself to see if I can still feel pain” emo moniker I am very pleased. The battle system makes use of both DS screens simultaneously and though movement of your character via stylus is sort of spotty, everything ultimately works together nicely. The music is absurd Japanese pop that’s both infectious and terrible and the graphics are very stylized – this is one of the few DS games that has a AAA presentation and Squeenix deserves praise for actually trying. Of course the game flopped in Japan and will likely follow suit worldwide, so their effort will be entirely unrewarded and they will realize what a huge mistake taking a chance was. Life is back to normal. →  Lamers so loved the world that they gave their only article, so that everyone who believes in reading won’t perish but will have eternal lives.

Review – Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

After finishing last year’s stellar Trials and Tribulations, and damn near falling out of my chair during that final case, I immediately went online and pre-ordered the next installment of the Ace Attorney series, titled Apollo Justice. And as I did this, I realized how lucky we all are to get another lawyer adventure game so soon after the last one. It took Capcom no more than four months to give us a new sequel, which is quite possibly a miracle in the video game world.

But wait? Who the hell is Apollo Justice? Does this mean no more Phoenix Wright? No more Edgeworth? And more importantly, no more Dick Gumshoe? How could this be!? Why would Capcom stoop so low? We’ve become extremely attached to all of these characters through the course of the last three games, willingly living and breathing their crazy and complex lives. →  You do not simply walk into reading more.

Review – God of War: Chains of Olympus

Reviewing God of War: Chains of Olympus can be done in either a paragraph or several pages. Actually, describing the game can be done in one hearty breath, though its existence makes for a longer and frustrating commentary on the industry.

Let us get the first part out of the way; Chains of Olympus is developer Ready at Dawn’s attempt to bring the full God of War experience to the PSP. In this goal they have succeeded; the game looks and plays so closely to the PS2 originals that Chains (almost) sits right up there with them in terms of quality. It really is amazing to think that this game is being played on a handheld. Unfortunately, in trying so hard to emulate the PS2, the experience also becomes excessively generic. →  Is that an article in your pants, or are you just happy to read me?

Metal Gear Solid: The Settle Collection

As the PS2 winds down, it has become quite popular to release cheap three game collections for it. Until now, the best one out there was the Devil May Cry pack, but now it has been usurped by Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection. With the first three MGS games for $30, this is the perfect way for MGS newbies to experience the series before it signs off with its fourth and final entry. Whether it is worth it for long time fans is a tougher question to answer, as this package is shy from perfect.

The content is the toughest question. Metal Gear Solid comes in a nice DVD case, but is the original Playstation pressing, meaning you will need a PS1 memory card. Annoying, but you can’t really ask them to recode a budget release. →  Nobody puts article in a corner.

Echochrome Demo impressions

Thanks to their simple file format, getting Japan only PSP demos is a snap. Thank goodness, because that means you can play the three level demo of Echochrome without hassle.

EXCITING!

The experience is quite interesting, but I am not completely sold. The stylings are nice and simple – an absolute bare minimal interface, simple levels and constantly looping string music make this the closest thing to therapeutic gaming. Despite the Japanese text, the controls are easy to learn; you can make your stick figure avatar either move faster along the terrain, or stop to “think”, giving you time to do the same. The D-pad of course allows you to rotate the world, which is the mechanic used to solve all the puzzles.

How well does said mechanic fare? It isn’t easy to say from the demo. →  Final Fantasy Mystic Post

Better Late Than Never — Tyson Reviews the Xbox 360

I showed up a couple of years late to the party that has been the Xbox 360. Thanks to my cheapness and the joys of region encoding, I held off getting Microsoft’s newest system while I was in Japan, vowing to grab one mere minutes upon my return to the United States. Over the past two years I have had bouts of jealousy, smug satisfaction, and concern as I watched the trials and tribulations of the Xbox 360 owner. From red rings of death to the release of Halo 3, I have quietly observed from the sidelines and bided my time. Well, that time has come. Holding true to my promise, I picked up a 360 Elite two days after landing in the US and since then I have been sampling the many facets of the console. →  Apply directly to the forehead.

Review – No More Heroes

No More Heroes looks to be another feel good indie hit, which means it will be used as fodder in a growing debate in the entertainment world. These days, a surefire way of garnering critical acclaim and a small but fanatical following is to produce something that appears to have hipster/geek chic and indie cred. Do this, and watch people fawn over how “charming” your work is, while still containing a powerful message about something. Go far enough, and you will have something that goes beyond the rest, reaching a level of acclaim it has no right holding.

Examples of this are not too hard to find. On television there was Gilmore Girls, a show whose every DVD boxset had to include a booklet explaining every pop culture reference used in the season (making sure it looked like an old marble composition notebook for those who thrive on nostalgia). →  Now is the winter of read this content.

All you ever need to know about Japan

After spending 10 nights in Japan I am now qualified to make sweeping statements about the Japanese culture. The following are immutable truths (told in a convenient pros and cons style) about this wonderful and bizarre country:

Pro
Suntory Boss is the boss of them all since 1992.

There’s no use denying it.

Con
Japanese people seem as pro-Japan as Americans are pro-America. I was asked by one of my gracious host’s fathers why we came to Japan. He was an awesome guy but really pushed hard for an answer he found satisfactory. I think the question was probably just mistranslated and he actually asked, “How awesome is Japan?” The same day, a man on the street approached us and told us in English that “Japan is number 1.” With proof like that who was I to argue. →  Holy crap, show me more!

Two years of me – The Christian story

I was asked to write a retrospective of sorts, about myself as a gamer. How I have changed in my time as a writer for this site. It isn’t terribly easy, as at first glance it seems to me that nothing changed at all. I still play a lot of games, of many different genres. But I have changed, most of it in the last year. It has been slow, but certain, and I know that it is only going to progress.

I’m not sure if I like the future gamer that I will be. I’m not sure I even like the gamer I am now. Maybe talking it out will fix things (or maybe I’m just becoming a gurrrrrrl).

When I first joined vl, my company allegiances were something along the lines of “Love Nintendo and Sega, like Microsoft, grudgingly forced to follow Sony.” →  Speak softly and carry a big post.

My little piece of gaming sentiment for the past two years

October of 2005 was a severely messed up time for me. I was newly divorced, living with one of my best friends, and had just found out that in several months time I would be moving to Japan. My life has always been kind of weird but the Fall of 05 was the pinnacle. Back then, gaming was an escape. My real life kind of sucked and games were an escape for me. I had an Xbox I had modded, a PS2, and a Gamecube. What I lacked in a love life, I more than made up for in pixilated goodness.

When I wasn’t playing video games, I was sleeping or at work. I hated my job and I didn’t sleep often so it can be said that I played a LOT of video games. →  Speak softly and carry a big post.

Woah Vid-Lamer, Keep on Rollin’

It appears that our editor Jay has apologized in the post below for any lack of content during his trip to Japan. If he is referring to quality content, he may be right. But in terms of volume, all I can say is lies.

While the Jammaster himself is out (and Tyson is busy fulfilling his every whim), rest assured that I will make sure the site stays going with fresh content, while second in command Pat pulls my puppet strings from the shadows, making me dance a sauntering jig for the prize of a few choice comments.

Just what will you see? Your guess is as good as mine. There are many ideas – the question is which will be worth writing, and which will be more of my classic drivel. →  Sid Meier’s Alpha Centarticle

Domo arigato and bon voyage!

Tomorrow morning I will be leaving to join Tyson in Japan. There may be fewer updates and hilarious articles while I’m gone, but by January 8th I’ll be home and within the next month or two we will be ready to think about planning preparations to return to full speed.

In the meantime, enjoy fluffy filler material I’ve preprepared. Ever wonder how the staff here has evolved and changed as gamers in the past two years (hey, that’s how old this site is, what a coincidence)? Wonder no more because this site will soon be flooded with human interest stories.

While you’re reading videolamer and doing whatever it is I assume you do with the rest of your day (hit refresh until you need to pee/eat, pee/eat, repeat), I hope to absorb the local culture by enjoying a Big Mac and Nippon Disney – who cares about what people think beyond what they think of me? →  Monster Reader 4

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 12.21.07

PSP sales explode in Japan
Sony’s handheld has been selling very well lately, this last boost thanks to a new red model. If Sony simply releases a new model and/or colored PSP every other month they may be able to seriously compete with Nintendo. At least on the hardware front.

Games simply don’t appear to sell on the PSP. The leading theories as to why this is are:

If you cut yourself while playing you won’t even notice.

1. The PSP is a successful multimedia machine. A significant percentage of purchasers are using it to listen to music and watch movies. Reports of people not particularly interested in games buying the system are common, and even dedicated gamers (see Christian of this website) are very interested in all the multimedia aspects of the PSP. →  Ask not what this post can do for you - ask what you can do for this post.

DS games on the go!

So you have a DS but you don’t have the time to sink into long playing sessions. Or in my case, you have the attention span of a seven year old on crack. The whole concept of the aging process bringing patience is a lie and I’m living proof. When I was ten I could sit for hours and rock Final Fantasy 2 on the SNES, now I can barely sit through a thirty minute session of Phantom Hourglass. I think I am turning into more of a casual gamer and I know for sure that my mind is usually elsewhere when I flip the switch on my black-as-my-soul DS.

This does not mean that I don’t enjoy games anymore; I just don’t get overly involved in most of the games I play. →  PaReader the Reader

Numbers are fun – November ‘Nihilation

There has been a lot of good sales news for the industry over the past month. Enough numbers have been released that PR people from all three console manufacturers are able to claim some victory. We have all grown accustomed to hearing that Nintendo’s grandparent-friendly hardware is setting the world ablaze, but recent information has shown that its competitors may be gearing up to offer a viable challenge. The biggest headline probably has to be the fact that Nintendo DS sales set the record for most systems ever purchased in a single week with 653,000. This, combined with 350,000 Wiis sold during the same period adds up to…a lot of stuff sold by Nintendo during Thanksgiving week. The Wii is still supply constrained so it’s tough to say how many units Nintendo could be moving, but the Wii reached five million units in the US sold faster than any other system in history, doing so in a mere 12 months. →  Fine, but this article then no more.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 11.30.07

Gamespot editor allegedly fired for giving a bad review
Jeff Gerstmann was supposedly let go because he gave Kane and Lynch a mediocre review (recent updates indicate the firing was a culmination of multiple reviews that angered sponsors). The story goes, Eidos was paying CNET a ton of cash to promote the title and threatened to pull future ads because of the review. It’s true that when this story broke yesterday, the Gamespot site was covered head to toe in stupid K&L ads. The people who say the firing happened because of the review range from Penny Arcade (who confirm the comic isn’t simply a joke in their forum), to a freelance Gamespot writer (who gave Shenmue a bad review…breath in…), to mods in the Gamespot forum who said things like – if we tell you what happened we will be fired, and don’t blame us, it’s all CNETs fault. →  Tony Hawk's Pro Reader 3

The State of Japanese Gaming Plus A Couple of Signs That the End Times Are Upon Us

As I type this, I am covetously inspecting my growing stockpile of canned goods and rice. Earlier I cleaned and loaded my Colt .45 Airsoft pistol with silencer and under barrel flashlight (think Metal Gear Solid 3). Within the next couple of hours I will be ready for what I am guessing is either going to be the zombocalypse, the Second Coming, WWIII, or possibly the release of a Vanilla Ice Greatest Hits album. One way or the other something bad is going to happen and I am going to be ready.

The Japanese are doing curious things that have tipped me off to our fast approaching doom, let me explain.

First, as I was browsing through the video game section of one of my local electronics stores I spotted a Japanese man loading up his shopping cart with: A) Halo 1,2, and 3 B) An Xbox Live membership card and C) one or two other 360 games that I couldn’t make out. →  Article Kombat

Review – Wild Arms 5

Let me start off this review by telling a little story I think everyone here knows.

There’s this kid, see – well, maybe I should call him a young man, he’s around 15 or 16. He lives in a small village far from civilization, where he lives on his own (his parents are dead or missing). He is brought up with good values, like honesty, kindness, independence, and obliviousness. Soon after we are introduced to him, an incredible event occurs that sends him on the path to solving many of the problems in the world (almost all of them, if you like sidequests).

Along the way he finds a few plucky characters to join him and his pair of love interests on their quest. As he progresses, he confronts the underlings of evil, finding them variously misguided, ignorant, insane, or all three. →  Just read it.