Hart & Usagi #69: The Super SNES

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It’s time for another scintillating Hart & Usagi Podcast episode. We talk about DigitalTrends.com’s Top 25 SNES games article, the cancelled Jak 4, and we get excited for announced titles such as Mafia 3, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, and Dark Souls III. All this and more!

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

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Here Are The Top 25 Games That Made The SNES, Well, Super
* USgamer Community Question: Which is Best – Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis?
* Consumers complain to FCC about ‘data caps’
* Beautiful Concept Art from Naughty Dog’s Jak and Daxter 4 Canceled Game Surfaces
* Scathing Nikkei Report Hints At Shameful Treatment Of Staff By Dictatorial Konami Management
* PlayStation Game-Streaming Service Officially Hits PS Vita Tuesday
* Need for Speed Series Had Too Many Games, Too Quickly, Dev Says
* Why New Need for Speed for Xbox One/PS4/PC Is Always-Online
* Activision Blizzard CEO Donates $50,000 to Chris Christie Presidential Bid
* Reddit bans some of its most well-known racist communities
* Mafia 3 Tackles Racism and the Vietnam War in 1960s New Orleans
* Why Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a Frontrunner for Gamescom’s Best Game
* Dark Souls III is Faster, Smoother, and More Fluid Than its Predecessors
* 90 Minutes with Dark Souls III Put My “Sequelitis” Fears to Rest
* Street Fighter 5 is a Bolder Reinvention Than Looks Suggest
* Crackdown 3 to Include “100 Percent Destructible Environments”
* Crackdown 3 Destruction Restricted to Multiplayer
* Sony’s New PS4 Projector Costs As Much As The Console
* Sony Explains Decision to Increase PlayStation Plus Three Month Subscription Price in Europe
* PS4 System Update 3.00 Adds Twitter Video, YouTube Broadcasts, and More
* Resident Evil 2 Remake Confirmed
* Wow, Spotify’s New Privacy Policy is Atrocious

Listen or Download (2:01:48)

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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Hart & Usagi Podcast #30: Mean Streets of Burnout

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Welcome to a brand new episode of the Hart and Usagi Podcast. This is episode 30 and we celebrate by talking about our memories of racing/driving games. And by we I mean Usagi704 and myself along with our guests Gigastormz and ebbderelict!

This is a single topic episode and the longest one to date. We are the record setters around here. :D Below you’ll find a few helpful notes, but otherwise enjoy the show!

Listen/Download (2:13:42)
RSS Feed
YouTube

NOTES:
* Encyclopedia Bombastica: Burnout 2: Point of Impact

List of games talked about (a portion of):
* Pole Position
* Outrun
* Mario Kart
* Need For Speed
* Daytona USA
* Stunts
* Gran Turismo
* Lucky & Wild
* Burnout
* Chase H.Q.
* Jak X: Combat Racing
* MX vs. ATV
* Pure
* R.C. Pro-Am
* Championship Sprint

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Digital Derby Auto Raceway
VIDEO

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New Releases 2013: March

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March is a month of big releases and one of the mainstays of this month over the last eight years has been God of War. Being a big fan of the series I was quite disappointed of the demo for Ascension. I’m sure I’ll pick it up eventually, but I don’t feel the need to right away like I have in the past.

I’m more interested in Tomb Raider and a possibility of Darkstalkers Resurrection, a compilation of the second and third arcade games.

WEEK of 3/3
Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk (PS3)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate (3DS)
MLB 13: The Show (PS3, PSV)
MLB 2K13 (PS3, X360)
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 (PS3, X360)
Scribblenauts Collection (DS)
SimCity (PC)
The Amazing Spider-Man: Ultimate Edition (WU)
Tomb Raider (PS3, X360, PC)
Total War: Shogun 2 Gold Edition (PC)

WEEK of 3/10
Darkstalkers Resurrection (PS3, X360)
God of War: Ascension (PS3)
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm (PC)

WEEK of 3/17
Dead or Alive 5 Plus (PSV)
Gears of War: Judgment (X360)
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (WU, 3DS)
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (WU)
Resident Evil 6 (PC)
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (PS3, X360, PC, WU)

WEEK of 3/24
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel {PS3, X360)
BioShock Infinite (PS3, X360, PC)
Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Collection – Seekers Edition (X360)
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
Pandora’s Tower (WII)
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity (3DS)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 (PS3, X360)

Games Finished In 2012

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The list below shows every game that I finished in 2012. The total number comes to 51. That’s up 11 from 2011.

1. Metal Slug Advance (GBA) – 1/11
2. Batman Forever (SNES) – 1/14
3. Riot Zone (VC) – 1/15
4. Mortal Kombat via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN) – 1/30
5. Darksiders (PS3) – 2/14
6. Daxter (PSP) – 2/19
7. Super Street Fighter II (SNES) – 2/24
8. Max Payne (PS2) – 2/27
9. Contra (NES) – 3/6
10. Fighting Force (PS) – 3/7
11. Deus Ex: The Conspiracy (PS2) – 3/22
12. Medal of Honor: European Assault (PS2) – 3/26
13. X-Men (PSN) – 4/4
14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GBA) – 4/10
15. Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival (GBA) – 4/12
16. Assassin’s Creed II (PS3) – 4/17
17. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PS2) – 4/30
18. Yakuza 2 (PS2) – 6/1
19. Super Hang-On (PSN) – 6/14
20. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (PS3) – 6/23
21. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within via Prince of Persia Trilogy (PS3) – 7/1
22. Prince of Persia: Revelations (PSP) – 7/21
23. Beyond Oasis via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 7/24
24. Neo Contra (PS2) – 7/25
25. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (PS) – 7/30
26. Tetris DS (DS) – 8/6
27. Tetris DX (GBC) – 8/8
28. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (PS) – 8/17
29. Rise to Honor (PS2) – 8/19
30. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (PSN) – 8/22
31. Half-Life 2: Episode Two via The Orange Box (PS3) – 8/29
32. Mortal Kombat II via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN) – 9/4
33. Mortal Kombat II (SNES) – 9/5
34. Devil May Cry via Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS3) – 9/7
35. Crash Commando (PSN) – 9/14
36. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES) – 9/23
37. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (FC) – 9/24
38. Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth (VC) – 10/5
39. Marvel Super Heroes via Marvel vs. Capcom Origins (PSN) – 10/10
40. Alien Storm via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 10/17
41. Streets of Rage 2 (PSN) – 10/27
42. Growl via Taito Legends 2 (PS2) – 10/30
43. Contra (FC) – 11/1
44. Prototype (PS3) – 11/16
45. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3) – 11/22
46. Burnout 3: Takedown (PS2) – 12/2
47. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow via Castlevania Double Pack (GBA) – 12/7
48. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (PS3) – 12/8
49. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES) – 12/10
50. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES) – 12/13
51. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3) – 12/18

August, September, and December proved to be the best months for beating games with 6 in total for each with a monthly average of 4.25.

When it comes to earning those fancy trophies, I was able to earn 207 last year. One of them was a platinum from Assassin’s Creed II in April.

Now Playing: November 2012

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Only four games played this past month, but all where finished giving me 45 total beaten in this calendar year.

The first two were quite quick. Contra on the Famicom you know I can breeze through. Growl, however, is a Taito developed arcade beat-’em-up which is not much remembered today.

I played it thanks to the PlayStation 2 version of Taito Legends 2. The whip is king of all ways to attack as I saw during a speed run. Usagi704 and I completed the game together on Easy and then I later tackled it on Normal. The final boss has an alien bust out of him during the fight and it makes for a much different tone than the whole rest of the game up to that point. It felt like one of Vince Russo’s WCW wrestling storyline swerves for the sake of it.

Those of you that don’t follow me on Twitter didn’t get to read my thoughts on Prototype. If you’ve played any of The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction or the game based on the Hulk movie starring Edward Norton, then you know what to expect. It’s roughly the same sans Hulk.

I started on Normal difficulty, but once I got to the mission titled “The Altered World” I just couldn’t escape the military and had to restart on Easy. You know it’s a no fun, pain in the ass, rage quit moment if I easily remembered the name of the mission and no others. It was either I got away quickly within seconds or it was simply never going to happen.

When Prototype was fun, it was lots of fun. When it wanted to be an ass, it was really Hulk smash rage quit inducing. So much so at certain points that I took Prototype 2 off of my wish list. Whether the sequel is nearly as bad with difficulty spikes I won’t know because I’m not likely to get it.

Overall combat and movement was a blast once powered up. However, I don’t recommend this game because of the difficulty problem along with a few technical issues. I had to restart the last phase of the final boss battle because the game sort of froze on me. Get last generation’s Ultimate Destruction instead.

Finally, I purchased, played, and beat the new Need For Speed: Most Wanted developed by Criterion. I already posted a review focusing on the single player portion so I won’t be talking about that here.

I did play a few rounds online since then. I ended up finding out that anything unlocked offline doesn’t translate to the online portion. These are separate where you have to unlock everything once again. Even the colors have to be unlocked. I wasn’t a fan of this nor did I like the overwhelming amount of information that was on screen at any one time. I’m certain I won’t be playing this game for anywhere near the close to the 430 hours I’ve put into Burnout Paradise since 2008.

GAME STATS:
Prototype – 15h27m; Easy; 31/31 Missions; 15/41 trophies
Need For Speed: Most Wanted – 20h10m; 92%; All Most Wanted defeated; 35/47 trophies

Need For Speed: Most Wanted — 3-Hit Combo

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The three-hit combo for the new Need For Speed: Most Wanted is 1) purchased (42nd), 2) played (45th finished), and 3) review. I haven’t experienced the online portion yet, but I have finished the single player mode by beating and then taking down all ten most wanted racers. Stats: 90% in 16 hours and 47 minutes.

My main comparisons will be with Burnout Paradise since I didn’t play Criterion’s previous title Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted review by HartKnight
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent: 10 to 20 Hours

7.0
Worth playing

Great game, but you may just wish they made a new Burnout instead.

PRESENTATION & GRAPHICS
As far as what you’d expect for presentation-wise out of a Need For Speed game, it’s well done. There’s an intro for every event which often goes trailing off into crazy territory with cars floating in the air being the most tame of them all. It’s the most artistic part of the game and you might get a kick out of them, but I didn’t. I just wanted to race and it only served to waste my time. They can be skipped, but still load up every time a race is restarted or played again. Otherwise the game is grounded in reality.

Speaking of that reality, it’s rendered very well with stunning graphics. I didn’t think they were hugely improved from Burnout Paradise of 2008, but then again that game was (and still is) great looking to this day.

There are technical faults with Most Wanted that Paradise didn’t have. A few times while in events part of the world wasn’t loaded into memory in time when I got there and the game would just stop for about 15 seconds to load it. Not exactly good programming this time around.

SOUND
The sound of the cars, cops, traffic, etc. is all as you’d expect. It’s done well, but nothing really stands out.

What does stand out is the music from the EA soundtrack. As typical it sucks and gets annoying very quickly. The custom soundtrack that was patched into the PS3 version of Burnout Paradise is missing and would’ve been a welcome improvement to say the least.

GAMEPLAY
Since all you do in this game is race, it had better be good and thankfully it is. The events you can compete in are point-to-point and lap races, ambushes where you have to lose the cops in as little time as possible, and trying to cross the finish line at or above a set average speed. Doing well nets you upgrades for your current car like off-road tires, boost, etc. Unfortunately, you’ll have to basically start from nothing again once you change vehicles.

If you’ve played Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 from 2002 or Criterion’s own Hot Pursuit of 2010 then you’ll have a good idea of how the cars handle. They’re not simulation by any means, but they are more realistic than that of the Burnout series. Despite this the rest is very much Burnout-like with earning boost in the same ways and ramming the competition to get takedowns.

Another element from past Need For Speed titles is the police. They’re inclusion made for a fun experience back in 1998’s Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit. Sadly, the follow-up Need For Speed: High Stakes in 1999 started the trend of the cops being entirely too difficult to get away from. This is usually the case in this game too. You either get away fairly easily or maybe not at all until you get busted.

The CPU controlled racers are of an odd breed. In the normal events they usually act as you’d expect in such a racing game. They have their programmed habits of artificially making the outcome of the events close with the rubber banding AI. In the ten races against the Most Wanted drivers they act very stupidly. You can catch up to them much easier even though you’d think these events would be the most difficult of them all. Rarely did I fail to win on the first try and once beaten in a race they’re available to be taken down during free roam to defeat them for good and get their vehicle.

This is where the Most Wanted racers become absolute morons. When they appear going after them and scoring a hit is easy since they drive like a 16 year old who just got their driving permit. They book it to be sure, but they’ll run into walls and other traffic and all you have to do is ram them while they aren’t moving. I had the final Most Wanted driver actually hit me from behind as they spawned into the world and it scored me the win. It was a hilarious way to finish the game!

OVERALL
Criterion’s second outing with the Need For Speed series is a big success and if you liked these titles in the past, then you’ll surely enjoy this one. As more of a Burnout fan, like I am, you’ll appreciate the inclusion of many elements from Paradise and find this fun, but ultimately you’ll wish this was a fully featured Paradise 2 instead.

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New Releases 2012: Oct. 28-Nov. 17

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WEEK of OCT. 28
007 Legends (PC)
Assassin’s Creed III (PS3, X360)
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (PSV)
LEGO The Lord of the Rings (PC, PSV, DS)
Natural Selection II (PC)
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3, X360, PC, PSV)
Okami HD (PS3)
Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (PC)
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS)
Rockstar Games Collection: Edition 1 (PS3, X360)
Sports Champions 2 (PS3)
Thundercats (DS)
Transformers Prime: The Game (WII, DS, 3DS)
WWE ’13 (PS3, X360, WII)
Wreck-It Ralph (WII, DS, 3DS)
Zone of the Enders HD Collection (PS3, X360)

WEEK of NOV. 4
Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection (PS3, X360)
Halo 4 (X360)
Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning (3DS)
LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3)
Mass Effect Trilogy (X360, PC)
Midway Arcade Origins (PS3, X360)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 (WII)
Rayman Origins (3DS)

WEEK of NOV. 11
Assassin’s Creed Ezio Trilogy (PS3)
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (PSV)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (PS3, X360, PC)
Karateka (X360)
LEGO The Lord of the Rings (PS3, X360, WII)
Madden NFL 13 (WU)
Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
Resistance Collection (PS3)
Scribblenauts Unlimited (PC)
Wonderbook: Book of Spells (PS3)