Hart & Usagi #66: A Westward Odyssey

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Steve returns oh so soon to review Enslaved: Odyssey to the West with us along with news of Atlus, Sega, Nintendo, and more. Tune in today!

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Australia passes controversial anti-piracy web censorship law
* SumOfUs.org takes aim at TWC at shareholders meeting
* Europe bans roaming charges, adopts stricter net neutrality rules
* AT&T promises cheap internet for the poor if FCC approves merger with DirecTV
* Sega Learned About Making Quality Games From Atlus, Aim To Regain Trust From Players
* PewDiePie: “Money Doesn’t Make You Happy”
* Shenmue 3 Creator Says Sony Won’t See a Cent of Kickstarter Funds
* Starting Today, GameStop is Selling Retro Consoles and Games
* GameStop Still Wants to Sell Secondhand Digital Games
* Wii U Exclusive Devil’s Third Dev Responds to “Lies and Rumors”
* Acclaimed Shovel Knight Getting Physical Release on Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, and 3DS
* PlayStation 20th Anniversary DualShock 4 Getting Standalone Release in September
* The Rock to Star in New Movie Based on Arcade Classic Rampage
* Sony Explains Long Wait for The Last Guardian, and Big Changes to Team Ico
* Nintendo Pitched F-Zero Wii U to Burnout Dev
* Ken Announced for Street Fighter V, Additional Beta Phases Planned
* Prototype SNES PlayStation Found In The Wild, Unicorn And Big Foot Expected Next
* Franchises that Deserve the Platinum Treatment
* Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Listen or Download (2:32:23)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

Steve: @ebbderelict | ipernity blog

@HartandUsagi

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Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty

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About three hours after the start and Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty has been completed. I feel like the best way to describe the overall product would be that it’s a playable paid demo for Tools of Destruction despite being the follow up for story purposes.

What’s different between the two games? Well, for one, there isn’t a way to turn off the SixAxis controls. This isn’t much of a bother because it’s only used for the Tornado Launcher. Speaking of weapons, the amount is less than half this time and they’re all holdovers from Tools of Destruction, but all that return are the useful ones. I only missed the shotgun weapon. Sadly it wasn’t available for comment on the situation.

New gameplay elements were based on Ratchet’s wrench. It could be used like a magnet to extend small bridges, move floating platforms, rotate other platforms, and set catapults. Ratchet can also pick up and carry two items with his wrench. One is essentially a flashlight and the other is what amounts to an explosive.

All in all Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty was a fun bite-sized romp that was definitely over before I knew it.

My next and likely final game to be played for this month of Ratchet & Clank games will their PSP outing, Size Matters.

#RatchetNov

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

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Well that’s that with regards to Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. It wasn’t much of an ending and was clearly setting up the sequels. I’ve never been a fan of such stories where developers are planning a trilogy from the outset. I mean, how well did that work out for Dennis Dyack and his game Too Human? Not well at all.

Regardless of any planning for a trilogy, Tools of Destruction was a great first outing on the PlayStation 3 for Ratchet and his robot buddy Clank.

The default controls were a bit different from those found on the PS2. I didn’t care for them and changed to what felt more like the older style layout. One thing that was great this time around is that the inverted camera was set to normal from the start. Of course, this title has use of the SixAxis controller motion. I didn’t mind it for the free falling segments, but for most everything else it was a bother. I turned it off for everything and didn’t look back.

The weapons were some old favorites revamped and brand new ones as well. During the whole game you can try as much as you like, but you’ll never fully upgrade every weapon in your first playthrough. A harder difficulty comes with the second time through and includes leveling past the fifth once you acquire a megaton of bolts to purchase the better version of a select weapon.

Next up for me will be Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty as this month of Ratchet games continues on.

#RatchetNov

*****

HART & USAGI PODCAST #55 – November 2nd 2014 (@HartandUsagi)
HartKnight and usagi704 chat Bayonetta 2, our comfort games are, PC game Hatred, and more.
https://hartarchive.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/hart-usagi-podcast-55-not-all-crotch-cams/

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SPACE SUPLEX #13 – November 6th 2014 (@SpaceSuplex)
HartKnight and 24bitAJE chat Raw’s buildup to Survivor Series, Hell In A Cell PPV, Lucha Underground and the WWE Network.
https://hartarchive.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/space-suplex-podcast-ep-13-lucha-society-x/

Ratchet: Deadlocked

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Three days ago I finished Ratchet: Deadlocked. This was a game I played about four years ago and I was about halfway through and just wasn’t feeling it. I put it down in favor of something else. It wasn’t all that different than when I wasn’t feeling any of the modern games earlier this year around March and went into a month long stroll into my gaming roots playing a bunch of older games.

This time around Ratchet: Deadlocked was much more enjoyable. I definitely like the combat overall much more than the platforming of the Ratchet & Clank series. Not that there’s a whole lot of platforming to begin with, but the earlier games on the PlayStation 2 do have some more. The powering up of the weapons happens the more you use them. This isn’t all that different than what happened in Final Fantasy II. Though here it obviously works for the better. You can also acquire alpha and omega mods for your weapons. I found the dual pistols with the shock mod did wonders on large groups of small, weak enemies. It would chain off of the ones shot to those nearby and take them all out. It was awesome! You’d also have acid and ice among other mods to use.

Your helpful bot bros., sans Clank sadly, are exactly that…helpful. I’m noticed in other games where you have AI helpers than they usually didn’t help fight all that much. Thankfully the more they’re upgraded the better they do.

When I was thinking about doing this month of Ratchet games I knew I’d have to play Deadlocked and I wasn’t looking forward to it after how I felt about it before. Luckily it ended up being a much more fun game than I remember it being. Out of the four PS2 games this one is probably number one or two with Going Commando.

#RatchetNov

*****

HART & USAGI PODCAST #55 – November 2nd 2014 (@HartandUsagi)
HartKnight and usagi704 chat Bayonetta 2, our comfort games are, PC game Hatred, and more.
https://hartarchive.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/hart-usagi-podcast-55-not-all-crotch-cams/

SUBSCRIBE!

SPACE SUPLEX #13 – November 6th 2014 (@SpaceSuplex)
HartKnight and 24bitAJE chat Raw’s buildup to Survivor Series, Hell In A Cell PPV, Lucha Underground and the WWE Network.
https://hartarchive.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/space-suplex-podcast-ep-13-lucha-society-x/

Hotline Miami

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I have to say I didn’t know if I’d like Hotline Miami all that much before playing it. Well thanks to @Gigastormz, who hooked me up with it last year on Steam, I had a blast playing it.

I did hear about the soundtrack and how amazing it was before I ever played a second of the game. Other than one specific track, Perturbator, I wasn’t thinking it was amazing like a lot of other people. However, I did think it was very possible that within the game itself, while playing it, the music would work best for me. As it turns out this was the case. I think @lightnarcissus put it best in late 2012.

“Hotline [Miami] is like a house of cards. Every element of it is essential to its feverish experience. Remove anyone and it all falls apart.”

He’s absolutely right about that. The only thing that could make the experience better would be to get out my DVD season set of Miami Vice and play it on the TV set next to me!

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II

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I don’t know a whole lot to say about the second episode of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 that I hadn’t already said in Now Playing: August 2014. I guess I can regale you with my thoughts on the series as a whole.

I last played a 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game in 2008. It was early in the year via the Sega Genesis Collection on the PlayStation 2. All of my complaints I had back then came back in Sonic 4. I’ve heard the games are all about speed, but I don’t notice that when I play. I was waiting around at different points in at least a few levels when I played these three games. Not that this gripe is all that much of a problem.

My biggest problem with the series as a whole is the underwater levels. These parts are slow, boring, and rage inducing. I can’t understand at all how fans of these games can stand this garbage. Clearly Sega could’ve made them much more playable or omitted them completely in Sonic 4. The levels here have the same annoying qualities as in the Genesis titles. It’s obviously a part of the classic Sonic formula and heaven forbid the underwater levels be changed for the better. These levels actually made me stop playing Sonic Advance 3 on the Game Boy Advance and Sonic Rush on the DS.

Remember that just because something is old doesn’t make it a classic and just because something is considered a classic doesn’t mean improvements can’t be made when revisiting it for a new entry.

Klonoa: Empire of Dreams

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Klonoa: Empire of Dreams for the Game Boy Advance is my 30th game finished this year. I started it on July 4th and finished the final boss on July 7th.

If you’re familiar with the Klonoa series, and shame on you if you aren’t, Klonoa: Empire of Dreams isn’t the style of game that you’d find on the PlayStation or PlayStation 2. Those games are platformers through and through. However, Empire of Dreams (and its sequel, Dream Champ Tournament) introduces a lot more puzzle solving into the mix. These are brain teasers that’ll certainly test your mental capacity. If this style of game sounds interesting to you, then by all means give it a try.

Empire of Dreams certainly has no problems using its puzzles to make you feel a little stupid and out of your league at times. But this isn’t something you can’t overcome. I was stumped by the simplest thing on one of the levels. I needed a block and I didn’t realize how easy it was to throw it over the obstacle I needed to get around. I had to have Usagi704 show me how it was done. It literally took him seconds to figure out what I wasn’t noticing to do.

There’s still one other thing that’s troubling me where three sections where raised water was the obstacle. I couldn’t figure out how to get past these parts without taking the easy way out and taking a hit and abusing the invincibility afterward. It felt like that was the solution, but I have a hard time believing it to be the case.

All in all, Empire of Dreams definitely still retains that Klonoa charm. It just now adds a bunch of fiendish puzzles. For $12 cart only you can’t go wrong.

Special Note: I typed this blog using the Microsoft Arc keyboard. There’s definitely things I like about it, but it can’t beat the k750.

*****

HART & USAGI PODCAST #48 – June 24th 2014 (@HartandUsagi)
HartKnight and usagi704 chat the Assassin’s Creed series, the Retron 5, IGN’s “exclusive” on The Last Guardian, live streams aren’t fun for Nintendo, and more.
https://hartarchive.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/hart-usagi-podcast-48-stop-criminals/

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SPACE SUPLEX #6 – June 21st 2014 (@SpaceSuplex)
24bitAJE and HartKnight review the June 16th RAW and talk about our current thoughts of the (upcoming) Money In The Bank PPV.
https://hartarchive.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/space-suplex-podcast-ep-6-stardust/