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Archive for May 2015

Zelda II: Adventure of Link Review

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With the then masterpiece that was The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo owners (myself included) eagerly awaited the sequel.  Things were different back then and no release dates were ever given, so games would just show up in stores and it was first come, first serve.  This was most definitely the case with both Super Mario Bros. 2 and Zelda II: Adventure of Link in 1988, when both games dropped in the holiday season.  The latter, however, didn’t peak its head out until December with hardly enough time for parents and even Nintendo’s Fun Club newsletter to prepare the rush of players eager to share another quest with Link.  For better or worse, Zelda II was drastically different from the original, now incorporated more traditional RPG mechanics like leveling up and magic as well as being much more difficult.  If you can stomach it, however, there’s a lot to appreciate with Adventure of Link.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 31, 2015 at 11:00 am

Suikoden Review

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Suikoden has always been regarded as one of those many staple JRPGs that graced the North American Playstation with its presence after Final Fantasy VII paved the way for the genre to become mainstream in the United States.  In contrast to Square’s innovative title, Suikoden is a transplant from the late SNES days and  to a certain extent its 16-bit roots show (and not just graphically).  Couple that with developer Konami being relatively new to RPGs itself and you see why the overall game feels like a dated throwback to the days before even Final Fantasy IV or VI (II or III in the US), but despite these shortcomings there is the foundation of a much stronger title.  Oh yeah, and did I mention that the game has up to 108 playable characters?

suikoden_plotSuikoden is based off of the Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan (which basically translates to the same name) that tells a tale of politics, religion, revolution, and social unrest, which is somewhat common of Eastern storytelling in classic literature.  You play as a hero – named whatever you choose – that enters into the posh world of being the son of the empire’s top military officer.  It’s early in your life and no one respects you yet.  When your father travels off to the north to protect the borders, an adventure unfolds that has you not only questioning everything you know, but lands you as the rebel leader for the army opposing the empire.  There is, of course, a lot more to it than that, but for the sake of the review and your enjoyment with the game, we’ll leave it there.  From the very start you can tell that Suikoden is going to throw more characters at you than you may be used to.  Some of the earliest missions you partake on have you hot-swapping up to six characters, many of which will join your party along the way and you’ll be using in battle within moments. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

May 29, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Playstation, PS3, PSP, Reviews, Vita

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Legend of Zelda Review

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The Legend of Zelda series has transcended time and now acts less as a genesis of the 80s and more as one of Nintendo’s long running trains through time.  Like all trains, many have gotten on and gotten off over the decades and thus the original is no longer that paramount flagship title that gave way to action RPGs that it used to be.  In fact, these days I can’t imagine how one not familiar with the game could get started without a guide.  Where would you go?  What would you do?  How long until you eventually enter the first dungeon that read “level one” and would you know that it means first dungeon instead of top level of the dungeon?  On the other hand there are that other half of the gaming populous that is acutely familiar with all of the intricacies of what was our first true digital adventure.  I myself know exactly where every dungeon is (on the second quest too), know exactly where to bomb a wall or burn a bush, and could navigate the lost woods with my eyes closed.  That’s because I’ve done it so many times that the very movements of my average run are more muscle memory than anything else.  It was one of the first games I played and one of the best.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 27, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Podcast: Length Matters

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In honor of the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, this week is dedicated to games that are either long experiences or that we spent a long amount of time with.  Contrary to what you may be thinking, this is not a podcast about RPGs and MMOs as it turns out our hosts have spent a large amount of time with some of the shorter games of the past.  Either way it’s an interesting conversation about some favorites and some relatively obscure titles.


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Written by Fred Rojas

May 27, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in podcast

Capcom Confirms Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster

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It was bound to happen, if only because all the texture and sprite work from the Gamecube era was already done, but Capcom finally revealed it will be making an HD Remaster of Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0 in Japan).  This comes on the cusp of the success of Resident Evil HD Remaster, which was developed also on the Gamecube using the same engine.  Many had speculated it was coming and some even reported before the official word from Capcom, but we waited until that actually was announced today to report on it.  Releasing in early 2016 on the same platforms as this year’s remaster (360/PS3/PC/PS4/XB1) we’re betting it will get the similar digital only treatment and $20 price tag but that has yet to be announced.  The link above also provides a video from Koji Oda, the director of Resident Evil Zero, that’s a bit charming.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 26, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Fan Translation Double Dip: Dark Half and Super Shell Monsters Story (SNES)

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Not one, but two notable Japan only JRPGs from the SNES (Super Famicom) era received completed fan translation patches this weekend: Dark Half and Super Shell Monsters Story.  Since you may be justified in having no idea what these games are, let us enlighten you.

Dark Half is most notable because it was developed by Westone aka the Wonder Boy developer.  In proving its unique pedigree, this 1996 Enix published JRPG has you playing the hero and the villain in a dark and mature story and related game mechanics. It’s definitely worth checking out if you love Wonder Boy and want to try something new while the rest of us were getting caught up with the PS1 re-releases in the West.  Thank you Aeon Genesis (AGTP) for the hard work.

Super Shell Monsters Story is a much more typical JRPG released on the Super Famicom in 1994 by Hudson Soft, this is a traditional turn-based title that like many others steals the Dragon Quest (Warrior) formula and gives it that super cute and bright colored spin Hudson was known for.  It’s somewhat obscure, even to the Japanese, so playing through this title may be more for earning your otaku cred than anything else, but the team at Dynamic Designs worked hard and clearly love this game.  Thanks for the hard work and I hope to someday give this title the love it deserves.

Clicking on the links in the opening line above will take you to the fan translation patch page.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 26, 2015 at 11:44 am

Life is Strange Episode 3 Review

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Episode 3: Chaos Theory

The story of lead character Max, her best friend Chloe, and the various people that cross paths with these girls in the small Oregon town of Arcadia Bay continues.  We are now on the third episode of five, which is the time where typically the twist of the season presents itself and the direction for the overall story arc begins to come into view.  I don’t know where Life is Strange is headed – the twist at the end I never saw coming and it only furthered my intrigue – but I am pleased to say that the flaws I was detecting in the second episode are quite absent this time around.  In fact, it feels like perhaps two different teams at Dontnod are programming episodes because Chaos Theory feels more like the first episode and might even be able to get by if episode 2 didn’t exist (save for a plot point or two).  Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed this third iteration, although despite my gripes from episode 2 being resolved, all new ones have emerged that prove there’s still room for improvement on this project.

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 21, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Community N64 Top 10

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The ballots are in, the votes have been tallied, the insults to our N64 Top 10 have been ignored and now it’s time to find out what you all chose to be the Top 10 Games from the Nintendo 64.


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You can find the actual top 10 list below:

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Written by Fred Rojas

May 21, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in N64, podcast, Top 10

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Podcast: Saturnday

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It’s the 20th Anniversary of the Sega Saturn.  Originally released in the late spring of 1995 the Saturn was unfortunately surrounded by bad circumstance all caused by Sega itself  The oddity is that from a Japanese standpoint, Sega’s biggest failure in all other regions was its biggest success.  Join Fred and Jam in discussing the early development, releases, and ultimate deaths of Sega’s most intricate home console.


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Written by Fred Rojas

May 20, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in podcast, Saturn

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Documentary: The Evolution and Making of Halo

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Sorry Everyone: Due to Copyright Claims we didn’t think we were violating (because we don’t do ad revenue) this video was removed by our editorial team.  We want to continue to offer high quality content to you and we also do not want to violate the rights of any developer, publisher, or business.  We apologize.

Many of you may know the story behind the original Halo, and for those that don’t we have this trusty podcast from a while back.  It’s one thing to hear it and it’s quite another to see it.  This documentary series shows off the initial MacWorld reveal of Halo in 1999 when Steve Jobs himself introduced what was to become a real-time strategy (RTS) title, the progression to a PC squad-based shooter in 2000 at E3, and the final reveal as a first person shooter on the Xbox in 2001.  After seeing how it progresses we then get about half an hour of developer commentary on the various decisions made in the development process to result in the finished product you know as Halo: Combat Evolved.  This video and the gameplay footage in it are owned by Microsoft and Bungie.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm