Friday, November 30, 2012

Merging Ahead (on a Few Fronts)...

This weekend should be "fun" if you consider moving posts here to the other DAF clog and adding a few new reviews if I can get all I need done. I also need to find banner images (I know what game I'll choose for December), write up some article I had notes for, lost, then found a day ago and so forth and so on. Hmmm. I also realized that some people think the world will end next month... Er, if you're reading this and are one of those folks, can you send me all your money in a well-wrapped package? Hey, you can't take it with you and I'll make sure to put it to good use. IF you DO decide to take me up on this offer and the world doesn't end, I'll send it back - er, minus shipping and a 5% fee.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Now Playing (Plus): Wii U, I'm Exhausted!

While I'm flipping a mental coin and deciding where to end up (I'm only posting here for the time being while working on a few new site ideas), I'm also up to my eyeballs in games. I just got in Zombi U yesterday (which took me away from Nintendo Land and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for a few too many frightening hours of creeping around trying to survive) and I have something like eight more games on the way (some old, some new). It's not all Nintendo games (just in case you were thinking I'm only reviewing Wii U stuff, as that's the next batch of games I'll be posting impressions on). I also need to get back to posting Random Indie Game and Random Film of the Week reviews, as I've been backlogged with a few half finished pieces during all this holiday crunchiness and wacky WP nonsense that seems to have been cleared up. Anyway, stay tuned for more updates either here, Wordpress on some other site. The money is spent, so I just need a hell of a lot more time to get everything up and going full steam ahead...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Final Naughty Bear: PiP Costume Will Make You SCREAM...


One killer bear game gets one more costume change based on yet another popular slasher flick. I can only imagine how much more gory a Naughty Bear game would be if they went for a Mature rating, but then again, that would limit the fan base a bit in places where some users would be shut out of a purchase. Then again, given that Panic in Paradise is a digital download, that point might bee totally moot. Anyway, go grab that Ghostface Bear costume (which includes The Mask of the Major Yawn, Pitch Black Hood, Pitch Black Garb and Pitch Black Skirt) from PSN or Xbox Live NOW. Naughty will stalk you if you don't (and that's NOT a good thing)...

Help FOTONICA Go Steam Greenlight!


One of the coolest indie games I've played is looking to get even more love from gamers worldwide. While you can indeed (and SHOULD indeed) grab FOTONICA (and its fantastic soundtrack) for five bucks from the Santa Ragione site, the developer also want to get the game on Steam Greenlight. I say help them out if you're a Steam user and nominate them! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition

Platform: Wii U 

Developer: WB Games Montreal

Publisher: WB Games 

# of Players: 1 

ESRB Rating: T (Teen) 

Official Site 

Score: A- (95%) 

Nintendo-only console owners have most likely been hearing about how stellar Batman: Arkham City was on the PS3 and Xbox 360 for long enough that I've heard of some of the more hardcore fans of the Dark Knight plunking down the money for a competing console and a copy of the game. For the rest of you who waited it out, you're getting the definitive version of Arkham City that not only features every bit of DLC (on the retail disc (not as some download you need to buy or add before you play), but great new GamePad exclusive functions and some nice new costumes that make the experience even better than before. I'm console agnostic myself, so as soon as I heard this was coming out, it made it to the top of the list of "ports" that had to be played. While perfection comes thanks to the wealth of content old and new, some minor technical issues break the illusion from time to time. Nevertheless, WB Games Montreal has done some amazing work in bringing Rocksteady Studios' smash onto a new console in such fine order.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Incoming 2! NEOGEO X Gold... GET!

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I couldn't help myself. Pre-order placed (thanks Best Buy!), as people are already trying to sell these for almost $100 more (and up!) on eBay. Lovely on them, but not when you can get it at its actual price and with free shipping to boot. Some in the industry think and keep going on about dedicated handheld systems being dead thanks to the glut of me-too mobile devices, but I say they're dead wrong if someone manages to do something as cool as this. I'll get a review up on one of the blogs sometime in mid-December after my system arrives. Now, go get one of your own, I say...

Or maybe get one for that gamer guy or gal on your Nice list - they'll thank you 'til the cows come home!

Incoming! More of Too Many Games (But That's A Good Thing)...

Yes, it's been slower than usual around here, but that's due to all the craziness of a site move (again), getting my other site back, trying to juggle what's turning into a small empire (well, in one corner of my brain) and getting a ton of games in and coming in over the next few days. Eek. Well, nothing to do but forge on ahead, decide where to post (little in-joke there) and get cracking. Back in a bit - I think that's Fed Ex at the door...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Moving Onward (Slowly But Surely)...

UPDATE! So, new host gotten (whee). Working on a site migration shortly. If it all works, DAF will have a NEW home (again) where I can hopefully have the freedom to make the occasional mistake and not get kicked around by bits and pieces of a TOS that makes no sense in the real world. Hell, let's hold ANYONE running for office or thinking of getting into politics to the same damn standards and I'd bet more than half of the loons out there would be out of a job (and not wasting taxpayer time or money for that matter)... Feh - back to the salt mines, as I have a ton of games to review (and some more on the way - eek)...

Video Game Appreciation 101: Twinkle Nights Isn't Inexpensive (It Just Reeks of Cheapness)

While it's rare and probably still fairly expensive once found, Intarus' Twinkle Knights has far too many problems keeping it from being anything other than a cool prize for hardcore 3DO fanatics, collectors of Japanese strip games (of which there are plenty, according to one friend who seems to have dozens for all sorts of systems)  or those folks heavily into Kusoge ("shit" games). As an actual game experience, it's far too short and quite easy to beat, yet can be infuriating at times when the CPU decides to put a stop to your progress. As "adult" entertainment, it's pretty poor (OK, it's beyond terrible) and of course, if you're still one of those people that thinks imports like these are packed with all sorts of hidden salacious content, you'll be very sorely disappointed in a WYSIWYG manner.  Besides, there are far better ways to get that sort of er, "sexy interactive excitement" on a shiny disc you can pop in a player of some sort.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Platform: Wii U

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Namco Bandai Games

# of Players: 1 - 4

ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

Official Site

Score: B (80%)

As a launch title for the Wii U, Namco Bandai's TANK! TANK! TANK! may not look like a system seller, but look past its colorful arcade visuals and initially simple gameplay and you'll find a fast-paced (and 100% tank focused) party game shooter that owes more than a little credit to Sandlot's always fun Earth Defense Force series of games. In fact, the game manages to play almost exactly like an arcade version of EDF would, streamlining the experience down to timed stages, random weapon pickups that you can use instantly and a mix of assorted enemies from giant robotic spiders and wasps to some pretty wild bosses that need to be taken down as quickly as possible. Granted, blowing monsters into scrap metal over and over is all you do here in the main game whether playing in solo or co-op, so those seeking something deeper should look elsewhere. On the other hand, given that this is a rather enhanced port of an arcade game that offers much more than the original version, you SHOULD expect and respect the repetitive nature of the game to the fullest by diving in and shooting up the scenery as much as possible.

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Retro" Review: The Dark Spire

Platform: Nintendo DS

Developer: Success

Publisher: Atlus

# of Players: 1

Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

Official Site

Score: A

(Note: while I'm cooling my heels and planning a new site relaunch soon, here's an old review to peruse. this previously lost review was written LONG before the PSN Wizardry games from XSEED and Wizardry Online were announced, but I decided not to alter anything mostly because I'm surprised this turned up in a folder packed with stuff I thought was gone for good - enjoy!)

Since no US publisher seems to even be thinking about reviving the classic Wizardry franchise anytime soon, Atlus has pretty much taken up the mantle of "publisher of Wizardry-like gameplay experiences" on the Nintendo DS. Some of you might be asking "Hey! what about that excellent 2001 PlayStation 2 game, Wizardry: Tale of the Forsaken Land, huh?" However, that game (great as it was) wasn't at all related to the eight Sir-Tech PC games. Other than a few console remakes of the first seven games scattered over an assortment of Japanese consoles and a few handheld version the numerous Japanese-developed Wizardry games are their own bird (and yes, it would have been grand to see them localized in English), but that's another subject for another time. Anyway, thanks to titles such as the two Etrian Odyssey games (which can be seen as spiritual successors to Sir-Tech's original games) and now The Dark Spire, developed by Success, Atlus will absolutely make you do a happy dance if you love your RPGs old-school tough yet completely user-friendly.

Jack the Giant Slayer Trailer: Well, It's Got To At Least LOOK Better Than the Original, Right?


Hey, I'm old enough to remember seeing the original 1962 flick on TV a few times during the late 60's and early 70's, but even then I thought it was pretty cheesy when it came to the special effects. That was thanks to seeing almost all of Ray Harryhausen's work in better films and noting my my smart little head right away that the "special" effects in Jack weren't up to snuff. Hell, 1940's The Thief of Bag(h)dad beats JtGK by a few miles in terms of sheer visual punch.Anyway, some who view this trailer are crying "sacrilege!" or claiming Warner Bros has RUINED their childhood memories, but I say this new coat of CG paint might at least be a better film in terms of looks. OK, and acting as well, as I never could stand Kerwin Matthews as a lead. There was something about him was so wooden that the effects in the fantasy films he was in were more compelling (well, except for the ones in the original JtGK). We'll see about the story and all that in a bit, I suppose...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Three More Wii U Quick Takes (Before I Go Back To Playing)...

I'm in a Sergio Leone sort of mood, what with all this chaos happening in my tiny corner of the blogosphere, so here you go: a tiny bit of humor to lighten the mood...

THE GOOD! TANK! TANK TANK! Is basically a riff on Sandlot's Earth Defense Force series of games, but with all tanks, all the time, a lot of them to unlock and some pretty fast-paced levels. Playing on the Gamepad is pretty awesome and you can even play multiplayer with bots in case you can't get online (or don't want to). Nice.

THE BAD! For some crazy reason, Nintendo seems to think EVERY potential Wii U owner has a HDTV (thankfully, the console supports standard definition TV's, but you need to set the system up correctly) AND a solid broadband connection. You absolutely CANNOT register the console unless you connect online, which is quite stupid. The company should have thought ahead and included a "low-fi" option (old-school reply card, toll-free phone number, online registration for dial-up users, whatever) for people who want to get those 160 Club Nintendo points for filling out the registration survey. FIX THIS!

& THE UGLY! The otherwise superb enhanced port of Tekken Tag Tournament: Wii Edition is GREAT and quite spectacular to play (long load times aside), but some of the Wii U exclusive features are silly to the point of distraction. In particular, the Mario, Luigi and Peach costumes for some of the characters just look really dumb (at least I thought so). It wouldn't be so bad if there were ONE character stuck in those ridiculous get-ups, but, noooooo - here you see too many of the same goofy costume. Granted, there are a bunch more Nintendo-themed outfits to see (and yep, anyone looks good as Link), but it would have been nice to have a choice from the beginning. Fear not, Namco Bandai - I'm not going to dock the game any points for having to look at Paul Phoenix and a few too many others in the game with those red overalls, bag, fake nose and familiar mustache.

OK, back to working on some games and plotting out some more reviews... Back in a bit.

To those who celebrate it - Happy Thanksgiving, by the way!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Random Film of the Week: COLOR ME OBSESSED: A Film About The Replacements

For a film that hasn't a single second of their music, zero interviews with surviving band members and only briefly shows a few photos of the band at its ending, COLOR ME OBSESSED: A Film About The Replacements manages to be one of the best documentaries on any subject I've seen this year. Whether or not you agree with the "Best Band Ever" status the Replacements have among their most avid fans, director Gorman Bechard (a seriously obsessed fan of the band himself) makes the case for this haughty title thanks to a series of outstanding interviews with their their peers of the period (fellow musicians and producers, that is), die-hard fans young and old and even a few Hollywood types, all who reveal their love (and sometimes hate) for the band as the film progresses.

Like any great music documentary, COLOR ME OBSESSED will make you want to track down the band's back catalog of releases because the stories you'll see told about their work are more than compelling enough to make you want to create a playlist based on the songs and albums discussed. One very cool thing here is how Bechard compares each of their releases to the biggest selling albums of the year they were released in. You'll find out that compared to top acts of the time, the "Mats never sold a ton of albums throughout their history, but the loyal fan base and critical acclaim they received all added to their legendary status. At least as far as their recorded works...

Video Game Appreciation 101 - Gallery: Wii U Stuff

Well, my crappy site destruction issues aside, things aren't a total freak-out here. My Wii U arrived as well as some games, so I've been buried in setting up and diving into everything so I can get reviews posted here while also figuring out my next move in terms of getting a new site up and running. In the meantime, here's some...

Fun Wii U info:

1. Low-Fi Gamers, Beware. It doesn't come with standard AV cables and the default screen setting is for 16:9 HD sets (you get a nice HDMI cable), so don't sell that Wii off if you've got an old analog TV or else you'll need to shell out for a new first-party cable when you buy the system. That sales clerk at Gamestop or wherever won't even bother to ask what sort of TV you have, I'd bet.

2. You don't need to download that update UNLESS you want to use the online features. Granted, Nintendo WANTS you to be social an all, but if you can't get online for whatever reason, you can still play single player or couch-co-op games out of the box. The system will play those games without setting up an account. It took me about 10 minutes to set up my system from opening the box to glancing over the quick start sheet and piecing everything together. Par for the course, Nintendo has made it pretty easy to get up and running. You get a bunch of stuff like a pair of "feet" for the Wii U that give it a nice profile) a charger cradle and GamePad stand (one's a dedicated charger, one's just a stand), but don't you dare toss anything you think you aren't going to use. You'll be buying a second GamePad at some point so yeah, you'll need somewhere to set it, right?

3. Nintendo Land is pretty cool (but EVERY game should have had a solo play component). I wasn't expecting much (and a few of the games could have been a bit better), but leave it to Nintendo to make mini-games that are basically extended tutorials VERY fun and even more rewarding. Pikmin Adventure is my favorite, and it needs to be expanded upon with bigger maps and turned into a full-fledged game. Heck, it's good enough as it is to get put on the 3DS, but what's here is addictive and has a nice old school meets new school thing going for it. More on the other games in my review...

4. You can play Batman: Arkham City completely on the Gamepad (and it's quite impessive). Yeah, yeah - everyone is talking about the new Mario game, but for me WB Montreal's super-duper port of Rocksteady's already amazing game will make Vita owners REALLY pissed. Granted, there IS some annoying slowdown in spots, but the incredible amount of content here (ALL the DLC packs, new costumes and added GamePad functionality) makes this the best version of the game to date.

There's a lot more to cover, but I'll get to some of that when I start putting reviews together...

OK, back in a bit - Tekken Tag Tournament is calling me and there's still a big chunk of Arkham City to explore.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On the Hunt for a Host (The DAF Saga Continues!)

Hmmm. So... here we go again, huh. I actually did find a new host for the blog, but it'll take me a bit to prepare for the move. I'm going to probably import some recent posts here just so I have that older content up for the month while I get set for some (more) MAJOR work. I'm actually more amused than annoyed, as I figured something crappy would happen with the new site before the year was out. Of course, I didn't expect to be nuked off Wordpress (boo!), but oh well. At least I can export my XML file and hopefully not need to go crazy re-reformatting work.

Ah, technology...

In the meantime, my Wii U is arriving today, so I'll get to finally crack open some games and get to playing at some point (stupid mandatory update aside). Reviews incoming!

Review: Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (PS3)

Platform: PS3 

Developer: Blitz Games 

Publisher: Disney Interactive 

# of Players: 1 - 2 (Co-op) 

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) 

Official Site 

Score: Single Player: D+ (65%)/Co-op B+ (85%) 

Rather than cut and paste my Wii review of Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two  from earlier today with a few HD-themed edits, I decided to get a little more creative... to a point. Yup, this is what happens when you stay up to long playing one version of a game after another, folks...

More Epic song? OK, I've got one- 
In HD, Mickey's hot as strong sun
The shadows here? They can't be beat  
with detailed backgrounds that are quite neat.

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two looks great on the PS3, with some gorgeous cartoon colors, more detailed backdrops, better draw distance and some great use of shadows that give areas a lot more life than on the Wii version. It may seem like a small thing, but the care that went into elements such as the bucket-carrying brooms casting shadows on the walls (and yes, recalling the Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence in Fantasia) add to the overall game experience. Granted, lovely shadows and backdrops don't make a great game, but for the most part, the game doesn't disappoint on the visual front...

OK, Back Here Again (For Now)....

Gah. I seem to have some might DUMB luck as of late, as I'm suddenly booted off Wordpress. Feh. OK, I'll run some posts here in the meantime while I try and sort stuff out. Back in a bit....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sandy, Systems and Such...

It's been a hell of a month so far, as you can probably guess if you keep an eyeball on the news. Hurricane Sandy did a number on the NYC metropolitan area and the surrounding states (in a fairly wide random areas at that), so things are a bit chaotic in a few places, yet quiet in others. We didn't get much bad damage here, but a few blocks over in any direction, the power has been out for folks, but is slowly being restored. Staten Island, parts of Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey were beat up badly and will take ages to get back to "normal" - but with enough help and effort, they can do it, I'd say...