Now Playing: July 2014

This month’s game playing time was filled up with Assassin’s Creed III, Gradius Galaxies, and Klonoa: Empire of Dreams. The Klonoa game I talk about my thoughts on finishing it here. I also mention the differences in the controls of Assassin’s Creed III vs. the previous games in the series here.

As far as more ACIII thoughts? I don’t particularly want to bother with the hunting or the shipping goods from the homestead for expanded cash flow. The latter activity feels needlessly complex. I mean, is it really necessary for completing the game?

Another thing I’m not as high on, as I said in the previous blog post, is the naval missions. I’m heard many, many times about how it was the best part of the game. It can be fun, but it also can be frustrating to deal with some of the scenarios.

Overall ACIII is sadly a downturn in quality of the series. That’s why it’s great to hear that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is excellent.

The other game played was the Game Boy Advance shoot-‘em-up Gradius Galaxies. It’s your typical classic style Gradius game. The missiles and shots fired can be assigned to the same button and has an auto fire option. These are great for play-ability. It did progress well enough with the help of the game’s continue option, but this option doesn’t extend to the final two missions. I didn’t finish it, but Gradius Galaxies is fun for those looking for a great GBA shooter.

* Assassin’s Creed III – 17h19m; 40%; 17 trophies
* Gradius Galaxies – Stage 8-3; Score: 65,500

Trading Up

I went out recently with my movie wish list in hand intending to pickup as many of the items listed on it. Most all of them are what I would call trade ups. In that I own the movies already, but they’re either on DVD or VHS. I want to get them on Blu-ray, if it’s possible. Of course, I don’t want a sloppy or inferior version just because it’s on BD. In some cases I might even keep the DVD because it might have extras that aren’t present and accounted for on the Blu-ray edition. I think Halloween 4 is an example of this.

I was able to find five movies this time out. Army of Darkness and Terminator 2 are trade ups from VHS. The rest were all DVDs.

Army of Darkness
Blue Streak
The Rundown
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Transporter

Hart & Usagi Podcast #50: Saito’s My Dreamboat

On this edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we welcome back madtyger after more than a year to chat about Destiny, Assassin’s Creed III, and some hot Saito action of the Hakuoki series. But have no fear because rage of some degree about the FCC is included with each listen of episode 50.

Enjoy the show and remember to subscribe and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast today!

* Destiny beta
* The Pinball Arcade
* Hakuoki
* Tekken has a story?
* Assassin’s Creed III
* The Dragula Singularity: How One Song Conquered Late ’90s Gaming
* Verizon Warns FCC About Reclassifying Broadband Providers as ‘Common Carriers’
* FCC Petitioned Over State Laws That Prohibit Broadband Networks Run by Municipalities
* Congresswoman Proposes Amendment to Stop FCC From Meddling With ‘State Issues’
* Game Developer: YouTube Personalities Need to Do More for Game Developers
* Anita Sarkeesian – BUSTED!
* Collecting the Best Game Boy Advance Games

Listen or Download (2:01:17)
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog
Nicole: @madtyger


Space Suplex Podcast Ep. 7: Six-sides of ECW

Welcome to the return of Space Suplex! On this episode 24bitAJE and I catch you up on our thoughts of the previous month’s wrestling focusing mainly on the recent Battleground PPV.

Enjoy and don’t forget to follow our Twitter account, @SpaceSuplex, and please subscribe to the show (iTunes compatible)!

* TNA as of July 17
* Battleground 2014

Listen or Download (1:02:24)
Space Suplex at the Internet Archive
Anthony: @24bitAJE | ++Good Games
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive


Assassin’s Creed III: The Pace Changes

Throughout all of the Assassin’s Creed games I’ve played up to this point, none have revamped the control scheme more than ACIII. Revelations did have some minor tweaks to the controls up to that point, but they were extremely minor. One example is using the Triangle button for the use of a secondary weapon. Funny thing is that’s probably the one thing that remained unchanged from Revelations to ACIII.

Everybody knows about the series wide strategy to making combat easy in Assassin’s Creed. It goes by one word: counter. The counter attack has always been performed by holding R1 and pressing Square at the moment an enemy tries to strike. In Assassin’s Creed III the counter attack is almost easier. Now holding R1 isn’t needed. In fact holding any button isn’t done. Now you simply press Circle and then follow it up with a quick tap on Square. Then the super easy chain kills can begin if more enemies are around.

On the story side of ACIII I was aware of the slower than usual pace of the game at the start. However, what I didn’t know was that you control a character by the name of Haytham Kenway. You’re under the impression he’s an Assassin until the bomb is dropped on you that he’s actually a Templar. This was somewhat of a downer because his characterization came off as quite the upstanding citizen. I still wouldn’t mind playing as him in a whole game if that’s ever a thing Ubisoft wants to do.

This game also notorious for the amount of glitches and bugs it has and this has remained even after patches. I’ve had two happen to me so far. I desynched after a fall to death. The body briefly did a crazy ragdoll dance. Also on a mission with Ziio. I climbed over a fence and it launched me into the air. This was high enough to kill when the ground came calling.

I’m currently at the 5-hour mark of my time with ACIII. I just recently started Connor’s portion of the game.

Pick 5: Favorite Open World Games

It has been several years since this Pick 5 feature has been seen around, but here it is. As the title states this one will be about my favorite open world games. The games in this genre include whole franchises and single titles of other series. We’ll be seeing a little of both in this Pick 5. Time to get this started.

The initial game in the series was a bit basic, but the concept was solid. Despite being a bit repetitive and, yes, sadly boring at times, there was potential. This was realized in the sequel–this game–Assassin’s Creed II. With a much better story and an excellent protagonist in Ezio, ACII become an instant favorite to many gamers. Once I got around to playing it a few years ago, it was almost overwhelming how much different things there’s to do in the game. I’ve since played through its sequels Brotherhood, Revelations, and I’m currently at the beginning of Assassin’s Creed III. I can easily say that Assassin’s Creed II is still my favorite. Obtaining a platinum trophy doesn’t hurt my fondness for the game either.

Ah, yes. The racing series to end all racing series for me. When Acclaim was publishing the first two games I didn’t even know Burnout existed. Granted this was at a time when I was exclusively playing the Smackdown series of wrestling games. It wasn’t until EA published the amazing entry Burnout 3: Takedown that I got my first taste of the high octane action of Criterion Games’ pedigree. The idea of all of this awesomeness in an open world sounded too good to be true. Thankfully sometimes the “too good” does become a reality. Burnout Paradise was this reality. It’s easily my most played game of the 7th generation of gaming consoles. At around 500 hours of total gameplay time with everything absolutely completed (including the platinum trophy), this game comes highly recommended to arcade-style racing game fans.

A series that started on the PC as a first-person shooter with destructible walls. It was pretty unique for the time. The initial two games eventually saw releases on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. I did play the demo of the first game and was impressed, but I never did bother with the whole thing. It wasn’t until Red Faction went to a third-person perspective in the open world genre with Guerrilla. They took the destructibility to a whole new level with entire structures being able to be brought down with a simple melee weapon knocking out the support beams. Overall a worth while and fun time I’d say.

Originally a True Crime game subtitled Hong Kong, Sleeping Dogs eventually saw the light of day when it was released after delays and even a cancellation. I was never a fan of the True Crime games and I might have never given this middle-of-the-road title a chance if it hadn’t been renamed. I’m glad it was giving a second life as I enjoyed its open world action quite a bit. The hand-to-hand combat was well done and the context sensitive executions were a great way to spice things up. Think of Sleeping Dogs as Grand Theft Auto in the far east and you’ll get the picture.

A majority of Incredible Hulk games don’t let you truly rampage as Bruce Banner’s alter ego like so many Spider-Man games allow you to be Spidey. This release on the 6th generation of gaming consoles does let you do exactly that. You get to HULK SMASH as much as you want with tons of moves able to be unlocked. The graphics aren’t the best even by PS2 and Xbox standards, but they’re serviceable. And besides you won’t care all that much when you’re having a blast throwing cars at enemies and toppling destructible buildings. Nothing feels as good as dropping a huge green elbow from the top of a skyscraper down upon a helpless military tank!

Hart & Usagi Podcast #49: EA’s Uncomfortable With Change

On this edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we talk about how awesome Platinum Games is and how much EA isn’t. We also give our thoughts on what being an “indie” game is. All this and more can be yours with a simple download of the episode below.

Enjoy the show and remember to subscribe and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast today!

* Assassin’s Creed IV, Code of Princess, Shovel Knight, and Klonoa: Empire of Dreams reviews
* Phil Spencer: Consumers love Kinect, they’ll still buy it
* Microsoft Arc and Logitech K750 keyboards
* The Legend of Korra: as told by Bayonetta dev Platinum Games
* Gamers Uncomfortable with Change, Says EA’s Peter Moore
* EA Mobile Says Dungeon Keeper May Have ‘Innovated Too Much’
* It’s Impossible to Define “Indie” So We Should Stop Using It Altogether
* The Best and Worst Character Reboots and Redesigns
* The Greatest Games for NES: 1985-87

Listen or Download (1:51:16)
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog