Now Playing: December 2019

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The previous three months has been a trying time to find a game I can get into. I succeeded, but the percentage was low. The racing games of Hydro Thunder (PS), Burnout 2: Point of Impact (PS2), and Flatout 2 (PS2) were more of the usual rubber-banding AI opponents that can make for a frustrating experience.

Flatout 2 had the worst of this issue, but the most annoying problem was the destructible track elements that got in the way on later laps once they were destroyed the debris was laying about. Burnout 2’s deal was solely the issue of the AI being perfect. I was having fun even when not winning, but once a certain mountain area track was what I was currently racing there seemed to be no way to progress regardless of the car I selected. Arcade racer Hydro Thunder was fun, but the bare bones presentation and odd decision to lock tracks behind a currency earning progression system was where I fell off of this one.

I then went to portable side of gaming with my DS Lite and PSP. I was hankering for some Puzzle Quest, but Puzzle Quest: Galactrix was too much of a departure of what made the first game so enjoyable. On top of that they added timed puzzle to complete. This is not what I call a fun Puzzle Quest experience. It was an immediate turn this game off moment.

I had the sequel on hand so I inserted the cartridge for Puzzle Quest 2. It was much more of the traditional fun game with additions that are much more welcome. There isn’t any timed puzzled, thankfully. I didn’t complete the game, but at least I had gotten my fill of Puzzle Quest in a more satisfying way.

Medal of Honor Heroes 2 was a first person shooter, as one would expect, but it’s on the PSP. Because of this everything hinges on how good the controls are. They’re…decent. It’s not a quick reflexes style of the recent Call of Duty titles on home consoles. It’s quite plodding to be very honest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mainly suffer from AI that can aim accurately. This is bad when you’re under a time limit to get out of a base that’s going to explode! This is precisely the scenario I was in when I hung this game’s boots up and moved on.

The game I moved onto was a 2019 released game, if you can believe it. It was The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors. Not a new game in practice since the original version was from 1994 on the Super Nintendo. I love the original and this is definitely a worthy improvement. I’m not fond of the two new characters or that you can’t grab and throw the level 1 boss, but otherwise it’s excellent. The game didn’t need a two-player mode, but it’s done well enough with both players sharing the life and blaster (battery in the new version) meters.

Finally, I not only bought The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors in the last month or so, but I was also given Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night by Usagi704 for Xmas. My total new games for the year of 2019 is a big ol’ seven.

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Hart & Usagi #96: Free Hong Kong

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In episode 96 we chat about Blizzard & the NBA censoring speech and banning players, PS4 cross-play, PlayStation 5 hardware details, and more.

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

TOPICS:
* Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble
* Puzzle Quest 2 & Galactrix
* Blizzard Suspends Hearthstone Player For Voicing Support of Hong Kong Protests
* Blizzard Reduces Suspension of Hearthstone Player and Casters Following Community Outcry
* Blizzard cancels Overwatch Nintendo Switch launch event without providing a reason
* Blizzard bans US Hearthstone collegiate team after Hong Kong protest
* Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Takes Shot at Blizzard, Says Epic Supports Speech on “Politics and Human Rights”
* Over a decade later, Saints Row 2 is finally getting fixed on PC
* PlayStation 5 Is Official, Releasing Holiday 2020 With a New Controller and Hardware Accelerated Ray-Tracing
* PS4 system software update version 7.00 launches October 8, adds Party and Remote Play enhancements
* Both PS5 and Xbox Scarlett to feature cameras and a focus on streaming – report
* PS4 cross-play is out of beta despite no official announcements
* Counter-Strike deploys X-ray Scanner to get around loot box controversy in France
* Duke Nukem 3D composer Bobby Prince is suing Gearbox Software and Valve over his soundtrack

Listen or Download (1:08:12)

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Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

@HartandUsagi

Now Playing: June-July 2018

After over three months of playing Yakuza 4 off and on (mostly off), I have finished it. Vets of the series like usagi704 and others will scoff at the fact that I didn’t do any side missions/activities. I enjoyed the main story and I just wanted to focus on that. It took me long enough as it was and I didn’t want it to take any longer.

Of course Kiryu is the best of the bunch simply because he’s had three previous games all to himself. Of the new trio of characters I liked Akiyama the best with Tanimura and Saejima second and third, respectively. All were will written and voice acted. Tanimura’s fighting style was the most divergent from the rest. He used more holds and throws than outright brute strength.

Character progression, I felt, was hampered with the four characters being split up into individual sections of the game, but the story faired much better because of it. You didn’t know how all these guys and their events would tie together, but it was a pleasure in finding out and seeing it through.

I also, during this time frame, played and finished the 2001 arcade game Sengoku 3. I played it via the Wii Virtual Console with the pro controller. It was initially difficult and I did opt for the max of nine lives in the options menu, but eventually I did manage to beat it. Damage dealt to the player is quite high, but it’s doable with the correct battle strategy.

As a birthday gift I received Puzzle Quest: Galactrix from my bro.

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THPS Throwdown

I’ve been forcing a depletion of my video game wish list as of late. I’ve done this several times in the past, but this is probably the most severe. Not necessarily the most in number as it is of titles I wanted the most. I cleared out all systems pre-DS. This included Grind Stormer and The Punisher (port of Capcom arcade beat-’em-up) on Genesis, seven PS1 titles including Einhander and Darkstalkers, and my beloved GBA with Duke Nukem Advance among the six listed. This doesn’t mean I won’t jump at the chance to get them if I find them at a great price. I just won’t be actively looking for them.

Now onto a more positive take on lessening my wish list.

I happened to come across the crazy deals at Best Buy a few days ago and saw a number of more recent games on sale at $10. I already stated that I wasn’t going to bother with any Assassin’s Creed game after playing II and just wait for III. However, it was quite a deal to find AC: Revelations and despite the tower defense crap in the game I still picked it up.

These next set of titles are quite an odd thing for me to get. While I played some of them at the time, I didn’t get into the series quite like Jeff and Ryan of Giant Bomb did. It was very entertaining to listen to them reminisce about the old Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games in their Quick Look and Thursday Night Throwdown of the recently released HD version. Because of this and of how cheap they were on eStarland.com, I ordered the PS1 versions of all four games and this is on top of already owning THPS3 on GBA and THPS4 on PS2. I also got Puzzle Quest 2 for DS to get some fast and free shipping.

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2007 Game of the Year Redux

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Just as with my previous entry for 2006, this is a revisiting of that year in gaming. These are the nominees chosen out of the games I’ve played which were released in 2007.

Please make note that any comments made revolving around where this game or that game is will be dealt with accordingly. I think you can figure out what I mean. This applies to everybody whether you read this warning or not. In the words of Kamen Rider Accel, “Don’t ask me [such] questions.”

NOMINEES
Crackdown (X360)
God of War II (PS2)
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (DS)
Stuntman: Ignition (PS2)
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3)

2007 Game of the Year: God of War II

I can easily say after playing all of the games in the God of War series that God of War II is still my favorite. It benefited from the improvements made from the first game and it also has the best first boss encounter of any of them. I love how the Colossus of Rhodes follows your every move even only watching and waiting to attack.

God of War II is also one fantastic game for the PlayStation 2 at a time when it was finally winding down to make way for the new generation of consoles. I felt it still beat out most of them in quality and overall gaming experience.

Runner-up: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Speaking of a great gaming experience, the game which was initially nicknamed “Dude Raider” was Naughty Dog’s newest IP in quite awhile. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune combined great shooting and platforming with the sarcastic wit of its main character making for a fun time even if Sixaxis grenade throwing wasn’t the best idea around.

Previous entries: 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006

Games Finished In 2009

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The list below shows every game that I finished in 2009. The total number comes to 47 across 11 systems. That’s up 17 from 2008.

PS3
Burnout Paradise
Conan
Crash Commando
Fracture
God of War
Grand Theft Auto IV
Half-Life 2
Infamous
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames
Prince of Persia
Saints Row 2
Street Fighter IV
Streets of Rage 2
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
Uno
Viking: Battle for Asgard
Watchmen: The End Is Nigh
Watchmen: The End Is Nigh Part 2

SNES
Fatal Fury
Final Fight 3
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
The Ninja Warriors
Street Fighter II

PSP
Captain Commando
Chili Con Carnage
Metal Slug
Metal Slug 3
Sengoku
Tekken: Dark Resurrection

GBA
Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival

GEN
OutRun

NES
Contra
Double Dragon II: The Revenge
Shadowgate

PS2
Batman Begins
Burnout Revenge
The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match
The Punisher
RayStorm
TMNT
Unreal Tournament

DS
Biker Mice From Mars
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
Retro Game Challenge

PS
Crash Bandicoot: Warped

GB
Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams

TG-16
Splatterhouse

I also got my first two platinum trophies within the previous 12 months. The first one came along back in March with Burnout Paradise and the second one was captured more recently in November with God of War.

In some interesting trivia about my game collection (idea from DuncanR2N), the oldest game I own is Dodge ‘Em for the Atari 2600. This is an estimate since it’s extremely hard to find more than just the year of 1980 for a release date. GameSpot has it listed for 1978 so it’s obviously not known for sure.

The newest game I own is a lot easier to look up. It would be Pandemic’s final game The Saboteur which was released a month ago.

On my wish list the oldest game that I’m looking to get is the NES version of Konami’s Gradius which was released on December 1, 1986.

The newest game that I’d like to have (mainly because I’m a big fan of beat-’em-up games) is Revenge of the Wounded Dragons on the PSN. It was released 23 years and 9 days after Gradius on December 10, 2009.

Coming up soon I’ll have my Game of the Year announced. Game on!