Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Twilight update

I finally finished Twilight Princess. I need some time to fully process my thoughts, but at this point it’s easy to say the game was awesome. Fantastic characters, good story, and interesting things to do all add up to one very solid Zelda game. Best Zelda ever? I think my favorites are still (controversial choices ahead) Zelda II and Windwaker. I still need to play Majora’s Mask though.

Already I’ve moved on to Virtua Fighter 5 and loving it. When I’m not in the fighting mood, I’ll most likely split time with Lost Planet. MLB 2K7 came out today and I’d really like to check that out. I need to download the demo. I checked out the Crackdown demo and had a decent time with it. It appears there are still plenty of copies of the game with the Halo 3 Beta key at stores, but I think I’m passing on this one. I can wait till Halo 3 is finished actually.

Of course I can always go out and get Oblivion, but the timing is definitely not right at this point.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Rocky path to Oblivion

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for the 360 was easily in the top 5 of games I wished I could have played last year. I was so sure a purchase was imminent I bought the Prima guide for it a week before the game came out. Then...I don’t know what happened exactly. I was always busy with another game or work or whatever. (Note: I was going to buy the regular edition and not the limited one that came with a map and mini book. The reasoning was instead of paying $10 extra bucks for useless LE crap, I could pay $20 for a huge 400 page guide).

Now that the PS3 version is less than a month away, I have a new choice and renewed incentive to check that world out. So which version to get? Let’s look at the known stats:

360 - $59.99
PS3 - $59.99
Winner – PS3
It’s hard to believe there hasn’t been an official price drop for the 360 yet. If you look really hard for sales, the 360 version might be had $49, but the PS3 gets an extra edge when you factor in the $20 it costs you to add Knights of the Nine to the 360 version (it’s included in the base PS3 game). Nine was free for a week during Christmas, but that doesn’t help me now.

This is impossible to judge until the PS3 version comes out and people start doing apples to apples screen comparisons. The PS3 will have new shaders and further draw distances. Many of this will be implemented in the 360 expansion pack, but I’m not sure if these upgrades will affect the original game. Due to the HDMI cable, I’m inclined to think the PS3 will look sharper by a hair regardless.
Winner – Too early

According to the latest developer interviews, the PS3 loads much faster than the 360 version. This is easily the most compelling bonus so far. There are few things more annoying than long load times.
Winner – PS3

I’m going to break down the other deciding factors by system.

Xbox 360
- Controller is far better than PS3
- Achievement points baby
- Ability to buy add-ons right away if desired
- Shivering Isles expansion available in March
- I can go out and buy the game right now if I want
- Some cheat/glitches I could exploit if I wanted that are fixed in the PS3 version (doubt I would want to do it though)

- Whenever add-ons are available, spacious 60GB drive will be handy
- Again, 60GB will be lovely for Shivering Isles expansion
- Lots of fixed bugs

Hmmm. I’m still not sure what I’ll do. The point is moot until I beat Twilight Princess and that is still 20+ hours away. It will be hard to jump right back into another game with a massive time commitment.

My goal is to jam and finish Zelda before Virtua Fighter 5 drops on PS3.

UPDATE: As I was posting this, news came out today that Super Paper Mario for the Wii has an official release date of April 9th. Considering I'm definitely going to be playing God of War II on March 13, Oblivion just can’t seem to catch any breaks.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Castlevania Redemption

Flashback many moons ago when I was but a poor college student trying to feed my gaming habit. At the time, I had in my possession a Turbo Duo, Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, Fatal Fury Special, and the turbo arcade card (which added extra RAM allowing great ports such as Street Fighter II CE and Fatal Fury).

You probably have an inlking of how coveted the Duo Dracula X was, but I also greatly loved the Duo version of FF Special as it contained an excellent CD arranged soundtrack (which was more robust than the NeoGeo CD version and didn’t have ridiculous loading times) and was graphically very close to the original coin-op. There was talk of near perfect ports of Samurai Shodown and other Neo games supporting the arcade card, but it never happened. But I digress.

Like many budget gamers, I eventually had to sell this prize package off to buy new games. Even then I dreaded that day and it was magnified as time went on. After entering the full-time work force, I was able to soothe my Fatal Fury Special loss when I secured a NeoGeo home system (getting one used in Japan was fairly cheap, as was all the early Neo games I wanted like Samurai Shodown 1 & 2, Magician Lord, etc). By this time, the asking price on the Duo Dracula X was just ridiculous. I told myself to get over it because I had probably played through that game at minimum 30-40 times. At most, I would want one more play through for nostalgia sake. Is that one time worth hundreds of dollars?

Thankfully, there have been many great Castlevania games such as Symphony of the Night, the three GBA versions, and now two DS entries.

I didn’t realize how that past regret still gnawed at me until I heard the news today that not only is the original Rondo of Blood coming to the PSP, but it will also be remade in 3D/2D. To top it off, Symphony of the Night is also included. A simultaneous relief and excitement washed over me.

It wasn’t long before conflicting feelings arose. I still have Symphony of the Night for the PlayStation. Plus, I was thinking of going for the 360 version because achievement points are a great excuse to play through the entire game. I guess it depends on what the proposed bonus/updates are for Symphony PSP.

I clicked back at the sample gameplay video for the Rondo remake and everything became simple again. That sweet, sweet soundtrack was all I needed to re-assure me that the game is a must have. Plus the added alternate paths in the remake are awesome.