Hart & Usagi #70: Feel The Electricity

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It’s time for another scintillating Hart & Usagi Podcast episode. We talk about Edge’s top 100 video games list, Nintendo against Fair Use, and the greatness of the original PlayStation among other topics.

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

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Mortal Kombat X for Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 Canceled
* Mega Man Movie is in Development at Fox
* 20 Brilliant Things About PlayStation
* Wow, Umihara Kawase games coming to PC
* Nintendo’s cracking down on speedrunning and ROM hacking videos
* 3 ways the original PlayStation changed gaming forever
* TGS 2015: Sony Reveals Fresh New PS4 Wireless Headset, Controllers, HDD Bay Covers
* Edge Special List: The 100 Greatest Video Games
* Former ESPN Host Criticizes Gaming Again
* Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 Day One Update Is Reportedly Bigger Than Game Itself
* Burnout Spiritual Successor Teased By Ex-Criterion Founders
* New Street Fighter V Character Laura Leaked
* What Are the Best Video Game Remakes?

Listen or Download (1:26:41)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

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Pick 5: Favorite Open World Games

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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.

ASSASSIN’S CREED II
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 became an instant favorite to many gamers. Once I got around to playing it a few years ago, it was almost overwhelming how many 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.

BURNOUT PARADISE
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.

RED FACTION: GUERRILLA
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.

SLEEPING DOGS
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.

THE INCREDIBLE HULK: ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION
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!

Games that Need Sequels

A recent Game Sack episode was on the topic of past games which they felt needed sequels. If you listened to the previous episode of our podcast you would’ve heard us slightly touch on this topic.

Well I’m here to give you my top five games which I’d love to see a new entry from.

Burnout Paradise 2
It wasn’t until Burnout 3: Takedown that I’d even heard of this game series, but that didn’t stop me from becoming a fan right away. I’m sure a number of fans would like Burnout: Takedown 2, but I opt for a sequel to Burnout Paradise from 2008. All Criterion would have to do is give me a new city to drive around in.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within II
Before the reboot of Prince of Persia with The Sands of Time in 2003, I wasn’t a fan of the 2D games. However that all changed once I got a taste of the wonderful wall running and platforming that was on display. The combat wasn’t very good, though, just serviceable. In the follow-up, Warrior Within, the combat received a surprisingly fun upgrade and it didn’t feel ridged anymore. Sure the tone can be lightened up for a Warrior Within II and, no, I don’t count The Two Thrones as this wanted title. It introduced speed kills which made the combat engine mostly useless.

Power Blade 3
Natsume has quite a good track record as a developer. They take what would likely be an otherwise typical licensed game and make the gameplay actually competent. When it comes to the series in question, Power Blade was a fun take on the choose-any-stage-in-any-order style which started with Mega Man. The hero’s weapon of choice, a boomerang, was also quite fun to use. Power Blade 3 for downloadable services, please!

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks II
In 1997 Midway tried their hand at an action game for their Mortal Kombat fighting franchise. The idea sounds great on paper, but the ultimate result, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, was a disaster. However, in 2000, a larger disaster in the form of Mortal Kombat: Special Forces was also created and released. This is why in 2005 their third attempt was surprisingly successful. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks was a great 3D brawler with all of the usual MK flair along with a huge helping of MK and MKII nostalgia. Maybe for PS4 NetherRealm Studios can try their hand at creating Mortal Kombat: Black Dragon starring Kano and Kabal. I’d be up for that.

Final Fight 4
As a big fan of the beat-’em-up genre, I hold the original Final Fight in high regard. With the two Super Nintendo sequels I loved the series even more. As least where Final Fight 3 is concerned. This third SNES game gave the characters the ability to have fighting game like special moves. Each also had a super bar which could then be used to unleash a super move. A fourth game with Final Fight 3 as a base would be awesome. Also because we still need to wash the taste of Streetwise out of our collective mouths.

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Now Playing: June 2013

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Five games total played for the previous 30 days. Initially I played Wonder Boy in Monster World via PSN, but it was too old school for me despite being of that gaming era myself. Check out my detailed thoughts on the game in the previous update.

In a second update a little over a week ago, I talked about playing with the GPY clan in Burnout Paradise and going through the single player story missions in F.E.A.R. 3 along with RivalShadeX.

In F.E.A.R. 3 we had completed up through Interval 5 at the time. Since then RivalShadeX and I finished the game twice. Both of us played as each character and it was fun times indeed. We also played some multiplayer modes as well. These are co-op too. There’s the typical wave survival mode, a possession mode (Soul King) to get more points than other players, and a mode called “F***ING RUN!” where a “wall of death” is always closing in. Players need to keep moving while taking out enemies along the way. I was surprised as anybody would be that there were a couple others playing this. I had to create the games, of course.

The other two games played was Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on the Super Nintendo and Double Dragon on the Game Boy. I just played around on UMK3 a little bit with some cheat codes. Shao Khan didn’t allow me to have an easy finished game to add to my list for this year.

Double Dragon also didn’t work out in this fashion either. This edition on the Game Boy isn’t nearly as easy as the sequel was. The first two missions are simple enough. It’s midway through Mission 3 where the pits of death and Abobos come out to play. It wouldn’t be so bad if losing a life started you at least somewhat close to where you died. Not the case here. A life loss means you return to the very start of the mission. I wasn’t able to get any further than the first set of moving platforms in Mission 4. Everyone knows the platforming in the Double Dragon series never worked out well. It’s what sadly does me in and you can watch my downfall in my 18+ minute video.

Thanks for reading and viewing.

Peace!

U.N.F.E.A.R. 3

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It has been fun this last seven days. On Friday I got back into Burnout Paradise thanks to a GPY game event. I was joined by fellow members RivalShadeX, madtyger, and SonicHomeboy. Sadly usagi704 couldn’t play as planned because his PS3 wasn’t reading discs. He’s in the process of getting it fixed.

The rest of us played on and it was the usual high speed fun that I’ve now racked up 430 hours playing since 2008. That’s about 86 hours a year or around 7.1 hours a month. If you ask me, I won the event based on those hours played alone. :P

The other GPY-ish game I played was F.E.A.R. 3. I started it on Sunday the 9th in co-op with RivalShadeX. Since then we’ve played three different times completing five stages (or as the game calls them, Intervals).

I’ve hosting all the games therefore I play as Point Man and Rival plays as Paxton Fettel. Both play very different and this reminded me of the multiplayer Half-Life modification called Vampire Slayer. I loved this mod as it also played very differently depending on if you chose to play as a slayer or a vampire.

Two things are a certainly about F.E.A.R. 3. It’s quite fun to play this game co-op and it’s not scary in the least. I’ve heard that madtyger finds this game scary to the point that when I asked if she’d like to co-op with me if Rival wasn’t able to I was told “hehehehe…no” and “My nerves are made from cooked spaghetti noodles.” I’m not a fan of the horror genre because I don’t enjoy being scared, but F.E.A.R. 3 just isn’t frightening to me. Regardless, I am having a great time talking and co-oping with Rival.

One last thing.

I bought Batman: Arkham City on Saturday. It only cost $15 at my favorite local game store, It’s About Games.

Here’s the tweet I put out before I bought it.

Below is the game as it is now with replacement case. Beautiful, isn’t it?

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Thanks for reading. Peace!

Hart & Usagi Podcast #29: Blood Dragon

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It’s time for a dynamite episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast. In this edition we welcome first time guest stripesonfire and speak on Electronic Arts’ unwillingness to change for the better for their customers. We also discuss the “always-on” debacle and how CISPA supporters can suck it.

In the episode ending “happy time” Usagi talks Saturn, stripes gets hyped for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, and I think back on my first 50 minutes playing Bioshock Infinite.

It’s all this and much, much more in Hart & Usagi Podcast episode 29: Blood Dragon!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Dark Souls claimed nearly 2.4 million sales worldwide
* Ubisoft: gamers are ready for always-online
* Microsoft man on always-online consoles: ‘Deal with it’
* Peter Moore’s “We can to better.”
* Burnout developer Criterion moving away from racing games
* Bushnell: Xbox 720 will win next-gen
* Battlefield 4 dev ignoring motion control ‘gimmick’
* House passes revamped CISPA cybersecurity bill amidst warnings of ‘digital bombs’
* Climax Studios ‘tech demo’ resembles Prince of Persia
* Rumor: Rare ‘Pluto’ prototype variant of Sega Saturn shown
* Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
* Characters on box art
* Bioshock Infinite

Listen/Download (1:59:02)
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Now Playing: December 2012

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This month I didn’t take a chance to have any game bum me out. I asked for suggestions on what to play from my mastered list and played those. I had a blast revisiting Burnout 3: Takedown, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. You can read about them at the links provided. There was one other game I did get some time with as well.

The first time I played any Call of Duty game with any other human being was a week ago last Friday when I played against ShinVlad and madtyger. It was in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. With yearly releases ever since, this game feels like it should be considered “retro” at this point.

It was fun, but I was disappointed to find out that leveling up doesn’t happen in private matches. It was even more upsetting when Usagi704 couldn’t join us. For whatever reason his PS3 rejects the idea of CoD4’s online mode by freezing up every time. We tried my copy in his machine as well with the same outcome.

A few days later ShinVlad returned to go up against new competition in the form of SonicHomeboy. He had played prior on public servers and brought those new weapons/abilities with him. I made sure to pick up anything he dropped to get an advantage. Quite fun as it was I floated the idea of getting 2010’s Black Ops eventually so we could level up and hopefully get Usagi in on the action.

Happy Holidays and a Merry War on Christmas to you all! :D