Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pokemon Black 2: Part I

Note: My playthrough of Black 2 has been postponed indefinitely due to my marriage to my wonderful bride on June 30th.  The next post will briefly touch on this, and then pick up as if nothing ever happened.  It's an illluuuuuuussioooooon... ;)

And thus, our adventure through Unova begins.  Or should I say...continues?

And away we go...

  • LOVED the intro.  
  • Unlilke every other game in the series, the PC lives in a bigger city--complete with a Pokemon Center and School.  Also, there's no local Professor.
  • Looks like the player's mom comes up and gets a call via Xtransiever
  • Introduced right off the bat to the rival, whom you get to name this time around.  Intimidating dude with enormous, spiky blue hair.  His default name in Japanese is 'Hyuu,' or 'Hugh.'

  • Found Bianca! (a central character from BW) in the north part of town.  Ooh, lookie what Bianca's got with her:

  • Went with Tepig this time around.  Named him 'Sunny.'  To oppose when I played through a Japanese copy of Black, with an Oshawott called 'Rainy.'
  • And of course, soon after this is the first rival battle.  Hugh's Oshawott against my Tepig...he went down in flames. :)
  • The new rival battle music is intense! Leaving now.
  • Bianca gives you your Dex, shows you the basics of Pokemon training, and gives you your first ten Pokeballs.
  • She has you meet her in nearby Route 19, where she shows you how to catch Pokemon with a Lillipup.  I wonder if her Stoutland from BW had puppies...
  • Ok, annoying Youngster is annoying, and isn't letting me into the School.  Deciding to move on with my life.
  • Finding nothing but Patrat and Purrloin on Route 19, no thanks...
  • Later on Route 19, we run in to the former Unova Champion, Alder...
  • ...who goes ahead and jumps off of that cliff.  Ballsy guy.  He then proceeds to...check you out...then lets you continue.
  • Next town...in Japanese, its Sangi Town.  Not much to see, moving on.
  • In the north part of Sangi is a worn building with a battlefield in front of it, to the east is the entrance to Route 20.  Alder, being the douche he is, isn't letting me near that battlefield.  Eastward it is!
  • At Route 20, we find our first regular trainer battles! Easy stuff...a Youngster and a Lass.  
  • And then in the tall grass...

  • Sewaddle! Didn't use one in Black or White, so I'll give him a spot on my team for now.  Named him 'Gucci.'
  • FOUND A SUNKERN.  Was so excited to find one at first I forgot how poor of Pokemon it is...caught one, but deposited it right away.
  • One little detail I noticed, when you leave a building during the daylight, you'll notice a sun glare towards the top left of the screen.  Minute, but nice.
  • Alder still isn't letting me on his battlefield.  Moving on.
  • Trained Gucci to level 5, and had him fight his first real battle.  Success!
  • North of Route 20 is 'Sangi Ranch.'  
  • Immediate rival battle! Hugh with his Oshawott, level 8.  Cinch.  
  • Following the battle, a couple of...ranchers? I think?...come up to us, proclaiming something.  Can't tell if they're yelling at us for fighting on their property or just really excited about something.  One of them gave me a potion, sweet.
  • And suddenly, we're moving again.  Following the path the fences make, and Hugh repeatedly catches up to me.  
  • Mareep in the grass! Caught one! Won't use it, but caught one!
  • Azurril? Flippin' nice! Again, won't use it (seeing as how Azumarill is my signature in every other game I play), but cool to have so early on.
  • Found a Psyduck.  Don't think I've played through a game before with one, so she'll stay with me for now.  Named 'Cider.'
  • ....RIOLU?! Wild? Early game? YES!
    • Named it 'Edge.'  So boss!
  • Thing is, Tepig's higher forms are part fighting, and Riolu's line is Fighting...don't want an overabundance of weaknesses to the same type.  Might as well train both right now and see what happens.
  • Towards the back of the ranch, found a weirdly dressed person with a Herdier.  I think that's what we've been chasing all along.  Not quite sure what I said, but the person fled and I got a TM from it!
  • Back in Sangi to heal...Alder is finally letting me in!
  • His house...two kid trainers, one with a Pansage, the other with a Panpour.  Easy stuff.
  • Trying to head home now, Alder stops me again.  Gives me a few Oran Berries, lets me be.
  • Seems like I can at last enter the Trainer's School.  Go inside, check things out...and out back is a Gym.
  • ...Cheren's Gym!

  • Cheren was a rival and central character in BW.  Seems like he finally got what he was looking for.
  • Has a Youngster and a Lass training under him, they're both easy.  Time for the showdown...
  • Cheren uses a lv. 11 Patrat, and a lv. 13 Lillipup.  They can hit hard if you're not prepared.
  • Ha! A well-timed counter from Edge, and his Lillipup is down.  Victorious!
  • Basic Badge get.
Stay tuned for Part 2...

Pokemon Black 2: Unboxed

It's here!!!!!


Good day, and welcome to MT Ideas' episodic playthrough/journey of Pokemon Black 2.  Follow these next few posts as I take on the sequel to the revolutionary Pokemon Black, in glorious Japanese.  

No really, I'll do my best.

I'm a little surprised I'm even still at the computer, to be honest.  Thought I'd get the ball rolling, though!

Pokemon Black 2, Unboxed

A little funny how this time around it's just a case, whereas last time the game came in a box.  But whatevs.

Stick around for the next segment of this journey.  A new post will be up in a little bit after I've collected some notes.  So stay tuned :) 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pregaming: Pokemon Black 2

My dear, dear friends: We are close.

So very, very close.  In two days, Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 launch in Japan.  My order for an imported copy is in, and thanks to some good ol' fashioned expedited shipping, I should hopefully be receiving it around the 26th.  You know, just in time for my wedding.

I've plugged it a few times before, but I really want to get the ball rolling: Stick around this website and my Twitter account for a frequently-updated, episodic coverage of the game, starting from the hour my copy goes into my DS.  

Excited? I sure am.

Of course, this certainly helped my excitement...

I wish I'd had the time to post to MTIdeas when this video was released last month.  It by itself deserved a dedicated post praising its awesomeness.  If only the anime had turned out like this...

For the record, the rival looks almost like he was designed to be paired up with Samurott.  Just how warrior-like he looks with his hair all...uppity... And of course that's Cheren paired up with Herdier.  Being the Normal-type Gym Leader this time around, I'd totally expect it.

I have a nasty habit of pre-determining which Pokemon I'm gonna use every time a new release comes out.  Been that way for ages.  Part of the reason I loved Black was that I imported it from Japan; there were maybe 5 words written in English.  It's true when they say that if you've 'played one' Pokemon game, you've 'played them all,' but being immersed in a brand new setting, with completely foreign Pokemon, and not being able to read a damn thing...that was a fantastic experience.  Felt like I did when I got my copy of Pokemon Blue, way back when I was a kid.  This time around, I know most of Unova (save for the new bit added on for the sequel), and I know the newer generation of 'mons.  

Well, mostly.  One thing BW2 are featuring is the 'addition' of the hidden/mythical/you-have-to-cheat-or-hack-your-game's-programming-to-find Pokemon; Keldeo, Meloetta, and (presumably) Genosect.  Specifically, they're really plugging Keldeo.

D'aww....just look at him!!

Keldeo is the fourth member of the 'Musketeer Trio,' consisting of legendary Pokemon Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion.  Keldeo draws his inspiration, most likely, from the character D'Artagnan, who essentially became the 'Fourth Musketeer' in the literary classic.  While it's been known for a while that Keldeo will be featured, one thing GAMEFREAK threw in to the mix is Keldeo's new 'forme,' called 'Resolution Forme.'

Like a My Little Pony for dudes...

The World Tournament feature is also something I'm way too excited about.  It was also foreshadowed from a bit of postgame dialogue with a character in BW, who basically suggests that a tournament be held between all the champions of the known regions.  Getting a chance to re-battle Gym Leaders from the previous games is a wonderful idea.  

Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 are going to rock, just as hard in Japanese as they will in English.  Again, keep it here for my interpretive, poorly-translated playthrough of Pokemon Black 2, as soon as the game arrives in my mailbox. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Mad Dog McCree

First of all, I'm not even sure this technically counts as a video game.  I would probably liken it more to an 'interactive, knock-off-of-a-knock-off episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.'  Also, beware: Even though it is advertised as a '3DS Download,' there is no 3D.  Honest.  In fact, as soon as the game loads, the 3D light to the right of the top screen goes dark.

Warning: Not actually in 3D

So, what is this, then?

Mad Dog McCree is a port of an arcade 'game' that came out in 1990.  You know, 22 years ago.  Just saying, I was two years old when bad ol' Mad Dog saw the light of day.  The big thing about Mad Dog, back in his day, was that it was a major laserdisc release.  What that means, for those who aren't aware, is that the game is basically an interactive movie.  A laserdisc game uses pre-recorded video as the graphics engine.  The laserdisc format was the precursor to our (increasingly obsolete) compact disc.  The Mad Dog Series (yes, series--its sequels are called The Lost Gold and The Last Bounty Hunter) have been ported to various devices, such as the iOS and Wii.

Basically this...but in the Wild West.

Back in the day, supposedly, Mad Dog was top dog.  It was a well-received game that started an apparently decent trilogy.  But, sadly, it hasn't withstood the test of time--like red wine mixed with whiskey and tears and let to sit for two decades, it didn't age well.  Mad Dog McCree was essentially a first-person shooter, set in the American 'wild west.'  Back during the time of its initial release, FPS's were pretty bare-boned; you basically ran and shot things, with no regard to limited amounts of ammo, multiplayer, storylines, pretty graphics, snipers, heavy weapons, etc.  You just ran and shot.  And that worked for the time.  If Mad Dog had been updated in any way, shape or form, then I feel it would be a much better purchase.  But because it was merely ported, it falls short of the thralls and intricacies of modern day first-person shooting.

  Also, this guy.

The setting is pretty straightforward.  You play a nameless gunslinger, who just arrived in a town taken over by a gang of wanted fugitives.  The gang is lead by a truly fearsome outlaw--Mad Dog McCree.  Your character won't stand for this, I guess, and decides to rid the good people of their unwanted guests.  The town consists of several different 'stages': the Sheriff's Office, the Bank, etc.  Each stage is a different firefight with more and more of the Dog's goons.

Gameplay in Mad Dog is very, very simple.  You aim the crosshair (on the top screen) with the stylus (on the bottom).  Tapping whilst holding the L button will allow you to fire; simply tapping without the L button being depressed lets you reload.  Aaaand, that's it.  You point to a bad guy and fire, hopefully not hitting a citizen in the process.  Your character is a one-hit wonder, and has three lives cowboy hats.  Every time you take just one bullet the screen gets a 'shattered glass' effect, and you lose a cowboy hat. Lose all three, you're treated to a game over screen, but don't worry--you have unlimited continues.  Should you choose to carry on, the next thing you see is the town priest--come out of nowhere, to revive you.  After you're revitalized, you have to win a duel with a random thug--win, and you can jump right back to where you were, no penalty.  Lose, and it's the priest all over again.

Forgive me, Father...

And really...that's pretty much all there is to the 3DS's port of Mad Dog McCree.  I'd go in to detail about the graphics...but it's hard to review live-action.  The acting is pretty awful, though.  Decent for the early '90s, but not too hot by today's standards.  The music has an apt, appropriate wild west sound, and is actually kind of alright.

I'd reccommend this for anyone who remembers it from twenty years ago, and is in the mood for a nostalgic kick.  Or for you truly die-hard wild west fans. Anyone else, save your monies!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: Devil Band: Rock the Underworld

Per normalcy, the 3DS's eShop has been updated today, once again.  Nintendo's online game stores have built quite a reputation for playing host for a ton of 'subpar' games.  On major review sites, they garnish the majority of lower-end scores--3's, 4's, so on.  Occasionally, higher-name games perform quite well.  These would be your Pushmo, your Sakura Samurai, etc.  If a game released through these outlets is even professionally reviewed at all, however, they really don't perform too hotly.

Just released today, Devil Band: Rock the Underworld is a perfect example of the mediocrity and lack of quality being pumped into Nintendo's online shops.

Devil Band is an interactive strategy/defense game.  You take control of a demonic metal band called 'Xaviors,' which rules legions of underworld fans with an iron fist.  In the opening bit, an NPC called "Biggest Fan" is praising the members of Xaviors, when all of a sudden,

"Look at the sky, it has grown dark all of a sudden."

Great...great writing at its finest, folks.  The line comes out of nowhere, and then suddenly the band's minions are being eaten by demonic beasts.

Yep.  Carrying on.

There is no backstory to the game, and barely a tutorial.  Devil Band plays uncannily similar to Plants vs. Zombies, just unpolished, and sloppy.  In fact, the game can be thought of as Plants vs. Zombies's goth, sub-par second cousin.  You have a selection of troops ('Fans') that you can place on a grid in the center of the touch screen.  On the left is the band, and enemies approach from the right...

Look familiar?

Devil Band's single uniqueness is how it lets you play as each member of the band.  You can tap each member to select (although I personally found using the up/down buttons on the D-pad to be much more effective), and then stroke from left to right to use a specialized attack.  For example, the lead guitarist shoots sound waves, the drummer creates rifts in the ground underneath enemies, etc.  One thing I think would serve to enhance this feeling of playing as different characters, would be to have the background music sort of 'highlight' different instruments.  When the keyboard player is selected, the keys part in the music would be slightly louder than the other tracks.  Play as the drummer, and the song's beat would be more pronounced.  I thought it was cool that each character had a different attack, but it still feels a bit incomplete.

Good luck getting past the first wave of enemies.  Devil Band is incredibly unforgiving.  And I mean, that's ok--challenging games are good games, usually.  But on the first level, when you don't have the in-game money to spend upgrading your fans, you will get slaughtered.  Repeatedly.  I feel that this could have been done so much better by implementing an actual tutorial.  Games with intricate and/or complex intricacies and systems are all well and good, but to be successful a very thorough establishment is needed.  Devil Band just doesn't perform well here, at all.

Speaking of music, for a game revolving around a band, it's surprisingly lackluster.  The score makes sense--I guess--but the sound quality isn't exactly swell.  Think of the music as a regular Castlevania sound, but done with a garage metal band.  Graphics are what you'd expect--cartoony and goth.  The game gets its 'T' rating from the bits of blood that spill out of enemies as you attack.

Devil Band: Rock the Underworld gets far from a standing ovation, or any sort of round of applause, really.  There is some depth beyond the defense nature of the game, such as upgrading your characters and fans, but it doesn't add enough value to warrant the game as playable.  With a textbook-dry story and dialogue, douchebag characters, and a needlessly unforgiving difficulty level, avoid this one--even if it is only $1.99.  That's basically $2 better spent towards a Virtual Console title, in my humble opinion.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In Other News...

Hello again, gameblogging world!!!

I apologize for the tragically long lapse in posts.  Life has been interesting, and several things have been demanding my attention and energy.  Even my time being able to just sit back and enjoy a game has been sorely diminished.  It's tragedy, I tell ya.

Some of the things that have been absorbing ALL of my free time include...

  • Cats
The one towards the top likes to piss on EVERYTHING.
  • School
Studying this...

...so I can professionally do this.

  • Work
Basically what I do for a college job now.  Just not in space.

  • Wedding
The wedding isn't until June 30th and I've already learned this.  
Thank you, Boromir.

Now that I'm just about off from school for a couple months, I can finally devote more free time to MTI.  And inMotion Gaming, the primary website I write for.  So what's next?

Lots, and lots, of this.

Well for one, my "hilarious/awkwardly translated playthrough of a Japanese copy of Pokemon Black 2" project is still happening, in a big big way.  Coincidentally, its release falls on the same day as my bachelor party--the23rd, so my coverage won't start until the 25th, or 26th...or whenever my copy gets in from Japan.

The next bigger writing project is going to inMotion, but that's okay! Microsoft revealed their lineup for the Summer of Arcade 2012, and I'm already in love with at least one of the titles they're bringing us.  Lighter reviews are completely fair game for MT Ideas.

Glorious days of the 6th grade, prepare to be revisited!

The highly-anticipated Episode 2 of Telltale's The Walking Dead is due out by the end of June, so stay tuned for my review of that one.  According to the E3 articles out there, this episode is going to be MUCH gorier than the last one...and that's saying something.

I'm definitely excited to be back in the blogosphere, that's for sure. :)