Hart & Usagi #68: EVO2015 is Curtis

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It’s time for another scintillating Hart & Usagi Podcast episode. In this corner it’s USGamer’s 10 best PlayStation 4 games and in the opposite corner it’s two guys who played almost none of them. A captivating match-up! Other showdowns include Ant-Man vs. Pixels, UK businesses vs. personal use, and EVO vs. Jamie Lee Curtis.

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

NEWS/TOPICS:
* PlayStation Mobile Officially Closes Today
* The 10 Best PlayStation 4 Games
* UK High Court Kills ‘personal use’ ripping of copyrighted material
* Jamie Lee Curtis Attended EVO Disguised As Vega From Street Fighter
* Don’t Celebrate A Tournament Win Until You’ve Actually Won
* Acclaimed RPG Odin Sphere Getting HD Remake in North America
* Xbox One Backwards Compatibility an “Enormous Engineering Challenge”
* What are the Hardest Video Games?
* Adam Sandler’s Video Game Movie Pixels Wins Friday With $9.2 Million
* Pixels Has Slow Start at Box Office
* China’s Console Ban Is Now Totally Over
* Google+ and YouTube are finally splitting up

Listen or Download (57:30)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

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2008 Game of the Year Nominees

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Here’s my rules and nominees for my choice for Game of the Year. Don’t like or see something you expected? That’s too bad. Keep those stupid “everybody should like what I like” comments to yourself. This is my award and it’s totally awesome solely because of that.

There will be 12 nominees and they will come from my monthly Now Playing blog posts from January ’08-December ’08. The 12 games will consist of the games that I enjoyed the most for each month. This rule will be the case regardless of whether or not I’ve played the game before. It also doesn’t matter if the game was released in 2008 or not. So in case you were wondering, yes, a game can win back-to-back Game of the Year awards if I choose to do this again in the future with these same rules.

THE NOMINEES
Jan. — Ninja Gaiden (NES)
Feb. — Burnout Paradise (PS3)
Mar. — Odin Sphere (PS2)
Apr. — Twisted Metal: Head On (PS2)
May — Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3)
Jun. — Orcs & Elves (DS)
Jul. — God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)
Aug — Power Blade (NES)
Sept. — Rise to Honor (PS2)
Oct. — Motorstorm (PS3)
Nov. — Resistance 2 (PS3)
Dec. — Tomb Raider: Anniversary (PS2)

I’ll reveal the winner soon.

Pick 5: Games Never Finished (version 2)

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Back in early 2007 I had put together this list and it consisted of Call of Duty 3, Metroid Fusion, Need For Speed Most Wanted, Ratchet & Clank, and Super Castlevania IV. Of those five games only two have since been completed — Call of Duty 3 and Ratchet & Clank. Tomb Raider: Anniversary would’ve been on this list, but I just completed it a few days ago after being away from it for about a year and a half. Here’s a new short list of games that were started yet still not completed out of the 55 games that I counted. These aren’t listed in any specific order other than the order in which I thought of them.

I. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2)
I remember really enjoying the original game. Soon after completing that one I started MGS2. For what ever reason I did the usual and blamed the debut character Raiden for losing interest at the time. Since then I know better than to think that one character really kills the game. When I think back it was more likely because I was on Metal Gear overload and needed a break.

II. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (GBA)
One night when thinking of what portable game out of two to take with me over to a friend’s place I thought of this Zelda title. I knew that if I waited to get in the mood that I never really would since I’m definitely not much of a fan of the series. For about a month after that night I tried playing it on and off (mostly off) and got discouraged when trying to find my way around the overworld map. I realize that this may sound silly to big fans of the series, but it just confuses me to no end.

III. Odin Sphere (PS2)
When playing this game earlier this year I really did love it. I still do too, but as I even stated at the time, fighting the Skuldi wizard boss battle with Oswald was annoying. It’s even annoying just thinking about continuing that game at that point now. It also doesn’t help that the regular enemy wizards are also a pain in the ass to fight. Still I do hope to best Skuldi and move on in this beautiful game.

IV. Prince of Persia Revelations (PSP)
For a game that’s basically Prince of Persia: Warrior Within with a few new areas to explore, you’d think that I’d be finished with this one seeing as Warrior Within is my favorite game of the previous trilogy. I was cruising through the game, remembering where to go and what to do when I came across the first of the new areas. I figured out the first part of this new area, but the second part was less platforming and more puzzle solving which. of course, got me stuck. One of these days, Revelations!

V. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (GEN)
Ah, yes, Shinobi III. How I adore your awesome “Ninjaness” so I’ll count the number of ninja ways.

1. Awesome ninja controls. Best with the original three button Genesis controller.
2. Great ninja challenge. Easy to play, but difficult to master. However still a lot of fun.
3. Lots of ninja variety. The levels are always different and interesting throughout the game.
4. Killer ninja moves. The Joe Musashi moves of old these are not. Everything needed to kick ass is in this ninja.

All of that and I’ve yet to finish the game. I guess whether it’s on the Genesis or on the Genesis Collection, I’ll find a way to overcome it.

Now Playing: April ’08

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Seven games make up this month of April’s game playing lot. If you count the games within the Sega Genesis Collection, then you’ll get a grand total of 11. Another number I’ll dole out is three. As in the number of games that I finished.

Now before I get into talk about said games, I’d like to readdress what I had said in my Odin Sphere Update. At the time I decided to retract the idea of being finished with Odin Sphere by this point when I originally stated that I would be finished with it. In a way it was good to take a break from that game and play something else. I’ll definitely be going to back to it soon. Now on with the games!

The game to take the place of Odin Sphere was Twisted Metal: Head On – Extra Twisted Edition. This game plays as good as the series ever has with a great soundtrack too. The Twisted Metal 2 Paris level was remade for this game and it, I feel, was improved on in a big way. Because of this game being a another fantastic entry into the series and with all of the extras, it is my Game of the Month.

I was happy when I was able to find a complete copy of Mercs for the Genesis early in the month. I was somewhat disappointed that the co-op mode wasn’t available in this port, but Capcom did make up for that with “Original Mode.” In that mode it has some RPG elements like collecting medals to use as currency to get better equipment and more members join the party every so often. It’s a fairly difficult mode, but it’s still fun.

In the Sega Genesis Collection (PS2), I decided to finally get back to trying to start (again) and finish both Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2. I did so and ended up rating the first game a 6.5 (gasp!) and the sequel an 8.0. The reason being that Sonic 1 (also noted by Usagi704) had too much platforming in its levels and that didn’t gel with the speed of the game. In Sonic 2, there was less platforming, which was much better, but I wasn’t digging the underwater parts of a few levels. I also enjoyed the boss fights more from the second game. Overall I had a fun time of it.

Other games that I played on that disc was Golden Axe II and Comix Zone.

I amused myself with a few other games as of more recently. Road Rash (GEN), Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle (SNES), based on the anime of the same name minus the subtitle, and finally Kirby’s Dream Land (GB), which I finished twice.

Burnout Paradise (PS3) remains from last month and I played it off and on. I have officially finished this game having gained the elite license. The only thing that I don’t get is how I still don’t have the silver finish for all of the cars and that the game completion is only at 99%. I’m unsure as to what I have yet to do if anything.

That’ll do it for this month. See you next time!

Odin Sphere Update

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Normally I’d wait until my month ending Now Playing column to inform you of how I’m coming along in a game or two. This time I decided to let you know earlier for two reasons. 1) I have nothing really planned to blog about right now (a rarity) and 2) I figure I should retract the idea of being finished with Odin Sphere by the end of this month.

I wouldn’t say that I’m stuck, but I do have an annoying level ending boss battle within the fourth story. Those that have played Odin Sphere until at least half way through the second story will be familiar with the highly annoying enemy wizards. Be they bosses or just regular enemies, they still have quite a few number of attacks. They’re difficult to hit more than once unless struck by a sword that they summon.

Offensively they can and will do many things. They can shoot fireballs, summon floating eyeballs that shoot small homing lasers, summon flying swords, poison the player, and morph the player into a frog. All of this and you still have to deal with other enemies as well. Guaranteed to be the most annoying moments in the game.

After quickly searching for “odin sphere wizard” on YouTube, I was able to find a video of the very boss that I’m talking about. Take a look.

Good day.

Now Playing: March ’08

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Near the end of February I started playing Odin Sphere and I still have yet to finish it. That’s certainly not because I’ve been ignoring the game. Far from it. It’s been quite the interesting game with a great story and fun beat-’em-up style of gameplay. I’m currently over 26 hours into it and I’m on the fourth of five stories. If you’re looking for another RPG to kill time, then this game will fit the bill perfectly.

Two games that I spent a couple of days on were Mega Turrican and Super Contra. The former game was tough at first and then felt totally unfair the further I got (and that was with cheats on). Super Contra was more fun with Super C except it was on the Famicom.

With everybody being all excitedly playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Usagi704 decided to pull out the original N64 game and asked if I’d like to play. I did and I still don’t really like it all that much. However, I did come back several times so that he could own me yet again.

That’s it for this month. By the next time you should be reading what I thought of Odin Sphere as I will be finished with it by then.

Now Playing: February ’08

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Wow. This month was sure low on the amount of games I played, but the good news is that they were all of a high quality.

Instead of waiting I’ll go right away to my Game of the Month. That honor goes to Burnout Paradise. Both online and off this game just rules! I’m less than 15 wins away from my elite license, have less than 5 billboards and 5 smashes to find, and I’ve completed all of the road rules events.

I’m sure that those that have played Burnout Paradise have a favorite vehicle. My favorite is the Hawker Solo. I love it’s maneuverability and how quickly it starts moving forward again after an 180 degree e-brake turn. It’s durability is great too despite what the rating may actually say.

Near the beginning of the month both Usagi704 and I bought Stuntman Ignition. He bought the PS3 version and I got the PS2 version. I knew after playing the PS3 demo a few months back that I’d like the full game. Boy did I ever fail to realize at the time how much I really would like the game. You can read my review, if you haven’t yet, to get all of my thoughts on the game.

The solo handheld game I played was some more Ultimate Mortal Kombat. Any two-player matches were against Usagi704. We’re somewhat evenly matched and I think his favorite character is either Kitana, Kabal, or Human Smoke. I personally like Sub-Zero, Stryker, and Scorpion.

The game that I’m currently playing at the moment is the gorgeous Odin Sphere. At first I was a little bothered by how I felt I was getting to do very little in the game. It wasn’t until I was forced to start a new game that I realized I had to think of this game not as an RPG, but as more of a beat-’em-up with a heavy RPG-style story and game mechanics.

Now you’re probably wondering how I was forced to start a new game. Well, that was my fault and mine alone. I had saved my game at the start of a boss fight with very little health left. There wasn’t anything I could do to get around the predicament I was in. I couldn’t exit the stage until the boss was defeated, but I had next to no health for which to be victorious. So once I started over I played almost two hours straight, a rarity for me, to get back to that point.

I hope you had a month full of quality gaming as much as I did.