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  • Onimusha: The Best Series Everyone Already Forgot About

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    Onimusha CoverAfter a flurry of six games in just five years, there hasn't been another Onimusha game since March 2006.  I understand that the series always played second fiddle to Capcom's other series, Devil May Cry, but man, Onimusha always had an awesome combination of historical inaccuracy and great hack-and-slash action.

    I played and loved the four main games in the series, even the one that takes place in France with Jean Reno.  The first time I ever played an Onimusha game was at my uncle's house; the only thing I knew about Onimusha: Warlords was that it played like Resident Evil and was rated Mature.  This seemed to indicate to me that the game would be scary or something, but what it turned out to be was simply a blast to play.  Fast action, great puzzles, a storyline with famous Japanese figureheads that I recognized, and more gore than scare.  My kind of game.

  • Super Street Fighter IV Impressions

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    Super Street Fighter 4 CoverAs mentioned in my previous article, Street Fighter 4 has become THE fighting game phenomenon of recent years, and with good reason. Released to consoles early 2009 and backed by a fantastic media campaign, Capcom gave fans a stunning, well-balanced mix of old and new. Refreshing the memories of old fans while simultaneously creating new ones, the fighting game was resurrected.

     

    Its update/sequel/expansion recently hit stores in April, offering new characters, new ultras, and a fantastic replay system along with improved online matchmaking and play. As I do not actually own a copy of the game, this article will only be my initial impressions on these topics. Currently released on 360 and PS3, an arcade version is planned for the near future, with a PC version yet unannounced and conspicuously absent.

  • Some thoughts on the Halo: Reach beta

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    Halo Reach CoverI used to be a huge Halo fan.  Played 16 player LAN matches nearly every other night during college in the dorms on the original, and then stood in line at midnight to pick up my copy of Halo 2 even after we had downloaded an early leaked French version.  But even though I had loved Halo, the sequel left a bad taste in my mouth.  It was probably a combination of the totally crappy and unfinished story along with the extremely gimped pistol that just left me wishing Bungie still cared (not to mention the horrible "ohhh take it!" E3 Zanzibar video).  My brand new Xbox Live membership went virtually unused and I used my Xbox to play good games like Beyond Good and Evil.

    By the time Halo 3 rolled around, I was as unexcited for the series as ever.  Every time there's a new Halo, we always here about how there's now more polygons in a gun than in an entire soldier in the last game. Who cares?  Well, I ended up playing through Halo 3 with a friend and I enjoyed it for what it was, a decent ending to a tumultous series.  Here I was, a guy who had beaten the first Halo over five times including on Legendary, and I was giving Halo 3 a seven out of ten.  What had happened in to this series?

  • A half hour of Heavy Rain

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    Heavy Rain CoverI recently had the chance to sit down and play some Heavy Rain while my brother-in-law (who had already beaten the game) provided some running commentary.  Heavy Rain is one of a handful of games on the PlayStation 3 that makes me jealous of those who own one. In 2007, I played the first hour of Indigo Prophecy (the fourth first hour review ever!), also be developer Quantic Dream.  I really enjoyed it and went on to beat the game within a few days.  While the game had plenty of flaws, I thought it was still a fun experience that brought me on a slightly hilly ride of emotions (that basement level in the precinct was so creepy!).

    Without knowing anything about Heavy Rain I wanted to play it.  I guess that's the most any developer could ask for, Heavy Rain isn't a sequel to Indigo Prophecy (commonly known as Fahrenheit outside the U.S.), it's not even on the same set of consoles, but I still counted down the weeks until it would arrive.

    Heavy Rain's arrival came and went though and it wasn't until last weekend that I finally sat down and played it.  I wish I could have set aside a solid hour along with a notepad or voice recorder to do a proper first hour review, but alas, sometimes you just take an opportunity when given it.

  • Five great indie games at your own price

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    There's an absolutely stunning deal running right now that can net you five great indie games for whatever price you want to pay.  Similar to the pay what you want World of Goo deal that was running last year, the Humble Indie Bundle can be grabbed for as much as you feel like handing over.  They even allow you to split your contribution up between the developers, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Child's Play charity. All great programs that do good work and need money.

    World of Goo is honestly worth the $20 I originally paid for it (plus the $3 I tossed to them last year during their promotion), so go get that game. GO! The other games are Aquaria, Gish, Lugara, and Penumbra Overture.  While I know next to nothing about these titles, supporting the independent developer is always a great cause.  The best part: all the games are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux and are DRM free. No excuses now!

    Buy the Humble Indie Bundle, it's running for six more days!

  • Retiring my Nintendo DS Phat

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    ds ConsoleIt's been four years since I received what is probably the best handheld system of all time, the Nintendo DS.  My original DS was the red one that came packed in with Mario Kart DS.  Even though I was obsessed with Mario Kart on the GBA, I only played it on the DS once.  No explanation for that one.

    I love this system because it's truly a portable fan's dream, not to mention all the awesome and innovative games available for it.  The best feature of the DS is that you simply close it to put it in standby and open it to start playing right away.  It's like a laptop but works super fast and never fails to come back.  Battery life can last for days with it in standby meaning you can close it up at night and then resume right away in the morning.  There has been many-a-time where I fell asleep playing the latest Ace Attorney game in bed, and the DS fell to the ground and closed on itself.  No need to even save the game!

  • Why I still don't own any current gen consoles

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    ConsolesTo video games afficionados, it may seen odd to find a peer who doesn't own any modern consoles. In fact, I'm honestly frequently asked by peers, "Do you have a 360? Oh, a PS3?" Nope, only PC. "Why?"

     

    Normally this query would get a brief brush-off response as I really don't feel like talking someone's ear off about such silly things, but that's what writing is for, no? So here are the reasons why I still do not own a Wii, 360 or PS3 despite liking games enough to write on a website about them.

  • Video Games Live

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    Video Games Live LogoThose of us who play a lot of video games know the power that music brings to them.  We all have our favorite classic tunes, and we know the feeling of hearing a great piece of music while playing a game.  Personally I am a huge fan of game music, listening to soundtracks and remixes of soundtracks in my everyday life.

    Video Games Live is a show designed to bring the joys of video game music to the greater public.  The show consists of an orchestra playing music from games while footage from the game plays on big screens, accompanied by a light show and sometimes stage antics.

    Last week I had the privilege of attending this show.  For those of you who are stalking me online, let's just get this out of the way.  I live in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the show was just outside the city April 1st.

    Now for those of you who listen to the podcast, you will know that myself and one of our other writers, Michael T, were planning on attending the show in February but it was canceled.  Although we're still not completely sure why, they rescheduled it at a different venue about six weeks later.

  • Borderlands: It's gonna be addicting

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    Borderlands CoverI received Borderlands from my brother-in-law for Christmas, but didn't have the opportunity to play it until my other brother-in-law was over to visit and asked to play it.  I watched him play while trying out the new Miles Edgeworth game, but Borderlands really grabbed my attention.

    He chose to play as a berserker, and after the initial bus ride cutscene, he was on Pandora and kicking butt.  The game was very open but it always seemed like he had something to do. There were a couple of quest givers, he was leveling up, finding new guns, shooting more and more enemies.  He played for about two hours and had taken out the game's first boss after a few attempts, and then it was my turn to give it a go.

    I can't believe I left this game on my shelf for so long, it's... awesome. I haven't played a game like it since World of Warcraft.  The open world feels big and intimidating, but it's one of those perfect examples of sandbox non-linearity with just the right amount of linear guidance.  The quests keep coming and I just kept leveling up.  There were skill points to earn and bigger and better guns to collect. I'm already hooked.

  • The Nintendo 64: Ten Years Old

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    This blog post was originally posted in 2006 on a separate site, which can be seen here.

    Ten years ago today, I received my Nintendo 64. I was pretty ecstatic, not as crazy as the Nintendo 64 kid, but still, pretty happy. It’s easily one of the best consoles of all time and probably my favorite one that came out in the last ten years. It had so many great games: Mario, Zelda (Majora’s Mask was better…), Harvest Moon, Star Fox, Goldeneye, Star Wars, etc. The list goes on and on, see my game collection for my favorites obviously. I have quite a keen memory when it comes to dates and video games (9/9/99, 11/23/98, etc.) so I quickly recalled that today was the day!

    I hadn’t played my N64 in at least a year, I remember playing it for about an hour actually a few months ago when my sister wanted help on Super Mario 64, but besides that, it’s been a while. The time before that was probably when I played through Mischief Makers again (quite an underrated game), and the time before that was when I received my copy of Wonder Project J2. So maybe once or twice a year, unfortunately. I play my SNES far more than any other system.

    But tonight I pulled my N64 out of it’s plastic tub and stuck in Super Mario 64. “It’sa me! Mario!” rang the TV, and I settled in and collected 20 stars. I had already perfected the game years ago, gettin all 120 stars and visiting Yoshi on the roof, but playing the game again brought me back ten years. To a simpler time when I was 12 years old entering the world of three dimensions. The Nintendo 64 isn’t remembered as the greatest system of all time, let alone its time by most people, but to me, it will always rest in a special place within my heart.

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