Hart & Usagi #80: Shadow of Logan


Episode 80 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast is here! We chat about a variety of topics like the Nintendo Switch, recently played Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow, E3 now being open to the public, and more.

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

* Nintendo Switch Battery Life and Play Modes Confirmed
* Splatoon 2 Announced for Nintendo Switch, Due for Release This Summer
* Nintendo Switch Controllers Prices and Details
* Ultra Street Fighter 2 Announced for Switch, Has New Characters and Mode
* King of Fighters ’98, Metal Slug 3 and More Neo Geo Games Coming To Switch
* Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Dated for Xbox One/PC, Physical Xbox One/PS4 Versions Coming
* Yakuza 0 Review Roundup
* Trump’s proposed trade tariff could impact the price of consoles, games in the US
* Trump’s Travel Policy: Video Game Industry Group Responds
* PS4 Patch 4.50’s Boost Mode Improves Games That Aren’t Pro-Enabled
* E3 is open to the public this year, 15,000 tickets go on sale Monday
* Steam Greenlight Is Dead, Long Live Steam Direct
* Mortal Kombat/Street Fighter Crossover Game Sounds Unlikely, But Not Ruled Out
* Nioh DLC And Free Updates Detailed
* Crash Bandicoot Trilogy Remaster May Not Be PS4 Exclusive
* Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow

Listen or Download (1:19:38)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704


Hart & Usagi #73: Yakuza Zeroes In


In this new episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we talk much about the Yakuza series and specifically the North American release of the 5th game and about the announcement of Yakuza 0. We also touch on Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Uncharted 4, and more!

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

* Last Chance to Play Uncharted 4’s Closed Beta, “No Plans” for Open Beta
* DariusBurst Chronicles Saviours PS4 Review: Taking it Back to the Old School
* Street Fighter’s Akuma Joins Tekken 7 Roster
* Street Fighter V Changes Made “Internally” To Reach Larger Audience
* Street Fighter 5’s Final Launch Character and DLC Fighters Revealed
* Former FCC commissioner drags ISIS into net neutrality fight
* PlayStation 2 on PlayStation 4: The Good, the Bad, the Plain Ol’ Ugly
* Max Payne Rated for PlayStation 4
* These Eight PS2 Games Are Coming to PS4 Tomorrow With 1080p Graphics
* Yakuza 0 Will Get A Physical Release In The West!
* How Dare You Criticize Fallout 4 Jeff Gerstmann!
* Onimusha Meets Dark Souls in Team Ninja’s New PS4 Action Game
* Uncharted 4 Has Branching Dialogue Options in Some Parts

Listen or Download (1:19:10)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704


2010 Game of the Year


Now I present my 2010 Game of the Year award winner. If you want to see the nominee list, check out my previous blog post.


2010 Game of the Year: Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil
Runner-up: Mirror’s Edge

When I was narrowing the choices down from the initial 12 nominees to the final five those games were:

Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil
Sly 2: Band of Thieves
Mirror’s Edge
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Metroid: Other M

I pretty much knew right away I’d want Klonoa 2 as my Game of the Year. It’s probably the best platformer on the PS2.

I also knew I wouldn’t be choosing Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Sure I liked the game a lot as I did with all the games I nominated, but I had played this style of game before. This would explain why I didn’t choose God of War II, III, or Ghost of Sparta. All three are really fun, but there was just too much of that series too quickly.

Sly 2: Band of Thieves wasn’t chosen because the game overstayed a bit too long. I had my fill of the series with just this game.

For my runner-up I was thinking about placing Metroid: Other M in this slot mainly to spite those who thought along the lines of “daddy issues” like the X-Play review. However, in the end I had to give it to Mirror’s Edge for one of the more original games I’ve played in many years.

Now Playing: December 2010


As promised in my holiday update here’s my final Now Playing entry for 2010.

Right off the top I wanted to give a mention to Geometry Wars: Galaxies. I played this game on the DS and even though I included it in my finished games list for this year, I forgot to talk about it. I found the best way to control where I was shooting was to use the four face buttons over using the stylus on the touchscreen. I guess I’m too used to Smash TV on the SNES. I played until I maxed out the levels on the drones and got at least the bronze medal on all levels. My best score was 524,479,400.

I also forgot to quickly mention my final stats on Metroid: Other M. After finishing the main story you are allowed to go back and collect the rest of the items which were unreachable or simply not found before. For my game it added on roughly two hours and during that time you fight another game ending boss and race to get off the ship in traditional Metroid fashion. Check out last month’s Now Playing for more of my thoughts on this game.

Metroid: Other M final gaming stats – 10h27m; 100%; 80 missiles; 9 Energy Tanks

I played a few beat-’em-ups. With the help of Usagi704 we managed to get to the final stage of The Combatribes before all of the credits were used up. I’m sure most of you haven’t heard of this game. It was ported to the SNES from it’s initial showing in the arcade and as such was subjected to being censored at the time by Nintendo.

We also played Final Fight 3 together on the Expert difficulty setting. It didn’t seem as hard as one would expect from such a name. Usagi704 played as the newcomer Lucia and I stuck with series mainstay Haggar. He’s my favorite of the four characters because of his long range and powerful moveset. You could say I cleared it on one credit even though Usagi had to use one on the final boss, Black.

For single player action I went back to X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I hadn’t played it since back in January and finally wanted to get to the end. I’m still not there yet, but it’s as fun as I remember it being. It’s a fairly lengthly game and rewards you with a lot of experience points for finding hidden collectibles. It also has brief nods to World of Warcraft and Portal.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine trophies – 32 / 51 (63%)

You can check out my thoughts on other beat-’em-ups I played in previous blog posts including Bruce Lee: Return of the Legend (from Dec. 6th) and X-Men (from Dec. 21st).

I’ll leave you now with a quote from my complaints with the DS version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare from December 9th.

The AI, as one review put it, was like it was in the original Doom just without them moving forward. Yes, they literally move into their scripted position and do not move once there.

Happy holidays!

Now Playing: November 2010


Welcome to Now Playing for November 2010. Every game played in the last month has been finished bring the total for this year to 38.

One of the games I’ve been fairly quiet on has been Metroid: Other M. Well that ends now.

The last time I talked about this game (Now Playing: October 2010) I said:

The story scenes are no doubt a low point, but surprisingly don’t bother me as much as I expected them to. I guess I just know what to expect from Team Ninja and a good story isn’t one of them. It’s a good way to avoid getting needlessly upset over nothing.

Upon finishing this game I’ve changed my mind on how I feel about Other M’s story. I actually kind of liked it. I felt it was pretty decent and that Samus’ actions and reactions made sense. All of the reviews that made a huge deal about the story and how Samus was portrayed in it need to really get over themselves. Before Other M Samus’ character wasn’t explored much at all so nobody can claim they knew anything about her before the current game. It was all speculation before now. And don’t get me started on X-Play’s review.

Now we come to the controls. Before this year’s E3 I wasn’t thinking much about this game, but all of that was changed once I heard about how simple, waggle-free, and yet still Wii-specific they were. The d-pad works surprisingly well in the 3D space and the quick switching from third-person to first-person for shooting missiles works great a majority of the time too.

In the end I don’t have a whole lot to negatively say about Metroid: Other M. I think it succeeds on the whole more so than it doesn’t.

Metroid: Other M gaming stats: 8h33m; 67%; 57 missiles; 7 Energy Tanks

For details on the other three games I played during November (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, and WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role), check out this previous blog post.

Now Playing: October 2010


I hope everybody has been enjoying themselves this Halloween season. I know I have been. Let’s get on with this edition of Now Playing.

With most of what I wanted to say about Castlevania II already said in my third Halloween gaming update, there’s a little bit more I wanted to add.

Of course, like with any game, once you know the game really well you can breeze through it. I’m just about at that point with Castlevania II. I’ve finished the game two more times since the update mentioned above and I think I’ve got the essentials down.

Of the three items in the first town you start in, the Thorn Whip isn’t needed. Other unnecessary items are the Dagger, the Silver Knife, the Golden Knife, Diamond, Silk Bag, and Garlic. Without these things travel time decreases greatly along with several parts of the map that can be ignored altogether.

Time is also cut down by purchasing an Oak Stake on the way out of the third mansion making for a much easier and shorter route through the fourth mansion.

One of the games I didn’t end up talking about during the last month was Power Blade. This is an NES game which I bought a few years ago knowing nothing about it, but quickly became one of my favorites on the system.

It’s a simple platformer with a boomerang as the hero’s weapon of choice. It’s also very easy to get into and with the take-on-any-level-in-any-order structure like with the Mega Man games.

I was able to finish the game on both Normal and Expert difficulty levels.

Just as with Power Blade, I was able to finish Splatterhouse on the two difficulty settings available as I detailed in my second Halloween gaming update.

I don’t have a lot to say about Metroid: Other M as I’m only just over five hours into the game. I’ve been mainly focusing on the games I had chosen to play for Halloween.

However, of what I have played, I’m really digging the combat and the controls feel really good to me and this is coming from someone who didn’t see much point in getting the Wii a year ago. Granted it doesn’t rely on shaking the remote around which goes a long way to helping me like the game.

The story scenes are no doubt a low point, but surprisingly don’t bother me as much as I expected them to. I guess I just know what to expect from Team Ninja and a good story isn’t one of them. It’s a good way to avoid getting needlessly upset over nothing.

Additional gaming stats:
* Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest — Drcaula defeated and best ending achieved. (West of Jova to third mansion. OFIR G5AX 1L5S QJQA)
* Metroid: Other M — 5h18m; Sector 2; 37 missiles; 4 Energy Tanks

Thanks for reading.

Now Playing: September 2010


This past month of gaming has been slim on the amount of games played, but not in the time spent overall with each.

The first up is Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands which I’ve already reported as being finished with my fifth platinum trophy and a speed run of 2 hours and 32 minutes. Out of the five main games in the PoP series released within the last decade this one clocks in at number three. The Forgotten Sands will make a good first impression if you’re looking to play one of these games for the first time.

Ever since Mortal Kombat first arrived on home consoles back on the infamous Mortal Monday in this very month back in 1993 I’d never played the Genesis port of the game. I have experience with the other three versions. Mainly the SNES with memories of the slow Game Boy and somewhat choppy playing Game Gear titles.

Considered the best of the two console versions at the time, I look back after playing it a good bit this month and also finishing it on Very Hard difficulty to realize the blood code was really the only redeeming thing about this version. The SNES version may have been censored, but other than that it’s way closer to the arcade version with accurate music/sound effects, most of the announcer’s lines, more colorful graphics, and better animation.

As I did last month with the SNES game, I also played against Usagi704 on the Genesis port. We didn’t play nearly as long. The number of matches where probably around half of the 50+ from before.

The two games I decided to start playing more recently because of the love it/hate it mentality gamers have toward them are Metroid: Other M and Sonic Adventure. I’m not very far into either game, but so far neither are as bad (former) or as good (latter) as so many claim.

I’ve lightened up a bit on Sonic Adventure (playing the DX Gamecube port). However that doesn’t mean I think it’s good. The camera is overall horrible and glitches abound in this game. In the very first “action stage,” as the game likes to called them, I raced around a corner only to get caught up in said corner and fall though the solid ground to my death. Unlike Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, this was not a good first impression.

I can see how the game tries to wow players especially when they’re playing the avalanche stage. It was pretty exciting. But then there’s times where some of the cutscenes dragged on with too many moments where nothing was happening and the camera was just a static shot of one of the characters not saying anything.

When it comes to the complaints with the story in Metroid: Other M it seems like not many played the 2002 Game Boy Advance game Metroid Fusion. Quite a bit of the backstory of Samus Aran and Adam Malkovich are mentioned here. So while Team Ninja may not have presented the story is the best of ways, it was already established in Fusion eight years ago. Check out this episode of The Game OverThinker as it overall features how I feel about the complaints.

I haven’t experienced much complex combat in Other M yet to fully know where I stand on that issue. I’ll be sure to get back with you fine folks once I do.

That’s been another Now Playing. Thanks for reading.