Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We are not going away, but becoming the more unified J1 Studios that were supposed to be. In the next coming weeks this blog will be moving over to the new home for all J1 Studios sections. There's good news and there's bad news. The bad news is that we won't have our specific section names. The good news is that what we post will stay the same quality if not better, and we will be able to post more often than specific times a week, so that way you can come back at any time and find more and more news and reviews. We will also truly be under one roof. If you are looking for a specific subject when you get there, you can use our new search bar, or our Categories section on the right. Thank you for your cooperation. Come see us at

Friday, May 18, 2012

God of War: Ascension Multiplayer???

 As a fan of God of War, I was surprised when I learned that Kratos’ adventures didn’t end with the third. Now I’m ecstatic to see something never done before for the series—multiplayer. What does this mean for GoW fans? It could mean that you may finally stick it to that friend who says they’re better than you. But this could also open up the series to new gamers who will play this and consider taking a step back to the previous releases just to get up to speed. However, Santa Monica Studios is going up against other multiplayers especially recent titles such as Call of Duty and the upcoming Halo 4. On the other hand, this is happening for a series that hardly anyone thought to go multiplayer. Plus, this move keeps God of War fresh and with so many games offering online play, how could Santa Monica resist?  
Even though it is still in the early stages, the proposed multiplayer scene which features four Spartan warriors taking on a giant Cyclops is impressive. I hope this number gets raised. Sony Santa Monica is really upping the gore factor for this edition (look out Mortal Kombat).  And the amount of detail in this little snipet shows that they are planning to use the full capabilities of the PS3. This just a sneak peak! Imagine what the finished product will look like.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (Grimlock gameplay)

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Two years ago, High Moon Studios delivered Transformers fans the game they waited for after
three less than stellar movie adaptions with Transformer: War for Cybertron. As impressive
as War for Cybertron was, I wondered what High Moon would do for a sequel. Imagine my
surprise when Fall of Cybertron was announced. So far, we’ve already seen Optimus and the
other Autobots in action. Now we get to see Grimlock stomp around, crushing Decepticons in his

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Abobo's Big Adventure Review

Abobo's Big Adventure

    Why aren't you playing Abobo's Big Adventure? Seriously, after you finish this article, go to and play this game until your keyboard breaks. Then hook up your NES controller, and break that too.
    Abobo's Big Adventure is one of the best old school fan service games ever. There are more  cameos from beloved (and obscure) characters than you can probably pick out, creative gameplay, and nostalgic 8-bit graphics that hug the line between “just as I remember them” and “jaw hits floor”. Oh, and there's blood. Lots of blood. Apparently, Abobo has quite the mean streak besides just punching Billy and Jimmy into a crumpled heap.

For the duration of this game you punch, kick, and annihilate just about every character you ever encountered during the 80's and early 90's. Characters from Super Mario Bros., The Legend or Zelda, Balloon Fight, Punch Out, Contra, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more await having their faces rearranged by your angry fist. And the controls couldn't be easier: A, B, D pad, Start, and Select. Each level has its own button mapping (as each level is a parody of a different game), but the attack button will always be the attack button, so you don't have to relearn everything in between levels. Added to the game was a Rage meter that builds up as you lay the smack down on someone, and decreases as you take damage. Fill the meter up all the way, and you get a Rage attack, which upon unleashing kills just about everything on the screen.

    The game is free to play or download, which only proves that it was really a labor of love. You should also cough up a few bucks for the additional content if you wish to support ABA. If you were looking really hard to find fault with this game (and you would have to look pretty hard) I guess you could say that it holds your hand a little too much as far as difficulty is concerned. One whole level is literally impossible to fail, and most of the rest have more opportunities to regain health than I remember from my childhood. This is not really a flaw, not is it even throughout the whole game. The Megaman and Contra levels are just as hard, if not harder, than their original counterparts.
    If you are 25 or older, and owned a Nintendo, then this game will definitely resonate with you. If you just want to play a fun 8-bit adventure, full of violence and humor, then this game is for you. If you don't like fun, and spend your days polishing your New Kids on the Block or Justin Bieber shrines, then get the game, and then seek professional help.

Abobo's Big Adventure: 5 out of 5

Friday, May 4, 2012

Capcom: A Love/Hate Affair

Capcom: A Love/Hate Affair

    Capcom, you have given me some of the greatest gaming moments in my life. Landing my first Spinning Pile Driver or Shoryuken ranks at the top of my list of greatest videogame memories ever. And in most respects, things have only gotten better. Street Fighter X Tekken has taken the series into territory that it's never gone before. King and Zangief in a real match? Dragon Punch versus Electric Wind God Fist? Everyone hoped it would eventually happen, and you delivered. With that said, Capcom, you have also made some decisions that really made it tough for your fans.
    Take for example, Street Fighter 4. That game pretty much put fighting games back on the map. All our old favorite characters, an all new engine, no R. Mika, and just enough innovation to keep it fresh. Everyone was happy to drop the $60 to play the future of fighting games. Then Super came out, and again, we were happy to drop $40 to get the new characters and gameplay tweaks. But then Arcade Edition was announced, and gradually things started to get weird. Why? Because tallying things up, I had already spent more than $100 on just one game. And that doesn't count the new arcade stick, controllers, avatars, costume packs, and so on that were also available for purchase. That's a lot of dough, yall. That also doesn't count the $100 spent on (Ultimate) Marvel vs Capcom 3, or the likely $100 I will spend for the necessary DLC characters in SFXT. Excluding perhaps Call of Duty, I can't think of a game out that I have had to pay for so many times just to be able to continue playing it, and certainty never for content that was already on the disc.

   And that just opens a whole new can of worms: did you really think someone wasn't just going to hack the disc and find the characters already there, ready to play? Did you not care? It's understandable: you put the “DLC” characters on the disc to avoid the weirdness found in fighting someone online that doesn't have them. In effect, everyone has all the characters, but only need the unlock code to get the full roster. I get it. But at the same time, that means you buy a disc, and then months after the game has been out you pay more so that you can actually use the content on the disc that you already paid for. That does not leave a good taste in anybody's mouth that bought SFXT, especially considering some of the gameplay issues your fans are having to deal with.
    Offline SFXT is a really fun experience. Its fast, smooth(ish), and the new gameplay tweaks from SSF4AE still have me finding new tricks every time I play the game. But man, this game has some bugs. Online is much laggier than any of the versions of SF4, the sound issue still drives me nuts, and something more punitive needs to happen to ragequitters. And that doesn't count the need for a better clock, fixing some of the freezing/flying/infinites that Desk has been so nice as to show you, and character re-balancing. Excuse my arrogance in telling you anything about game development, but I swear, it's almost like you released this game before it was really finished.
    Speaking of finished, the new Ashura's Wrath DLC is another prime example of how you at Capcom make us incredibly happy and incredibly angry at the same time. Here, I'll give you a chart to understand how someone can both cheer and boo you at the same time.

                                  Awesome                                                           Not Awesome                                
    •    Ashura's Wrath is a great game, with two      The ending we paid $60 for isn't the real ending?
    •    emotional endings.
    •    New DLC? For a great price? Awesome!       I can afford to pay for gas to drive to work or I can
    •                                                                            buy more Capcom DLC. Hmmmm...

    We love you Capcom. We love your crazy executives (get well Ono-sensei!). We love the stories you tell. We love your characters (Dante, Ryu, Leon). But most of all, we love your games. Your games have helped us relax, to have fun, and work toward a goal. For that we are thankful. Heck, I was weaned and socialized on Street Fighter 2. We don't complain because your products aren't good (because they're awesome), but because we expect better from a company that we have literally let into our lives. Your fans will happily support (almost) everything you do, but that doesn't mean we are a bunch of money pumps.

On disc DLC that I have to wait months to buy. You have got to be kidding.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

God of War: Ascension - Teaser Trailer

First off, let me say that I’m glad that Kratos will soon be back in action. There was no way
Santa Monica Studios could let his adventure end with the cliffhanger left by God of War 3.
Seeing this reveal trailer begs the question of how are they going to top part 3? As awesome as
GoW 3 was, I can’t imagine how Santa Monica Studios can better themselves. Releasing the
two PSP games helped keep the Spartan in the lime light and a graphic novel written by a New
York Times bestselling author gave us a behind the scene look at the first game. It seems Athena
may still be present in this sequel. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is. Sony will release more
information as it becomes available and I’ll be keeping track of it.

 God of War: Ascension - Teaser Trailer

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Asura’s Wrath Afterthought Review

Asura’s Wrath Afterthought Review

Platform(s): Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Developer(s): CyberConnect 2, Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Genre: Action
Rating: T

Looking for a good action game? Then take a look at Asura’s Wrath. You are Asura, one of the Eight Guardian Generals, godly warriors who fight to protect Heaven and Earth from a destructive force known as the Gohma. Returning from an epic battle, Asura is summoned to the Emperor’s throne where he discovers the Emperor has been slain.  He quickly finds himself being pursued by Imperial Guards after he blamed for the crime.  Asura rushes home to protect his family only to find his wife dead and daughter, Mithra, kidnapped.  His former ally, a god named Deus, reveals himself to be the Emperor’s assassin.  Enraged, Asura attacks Deus for his betrayal, but Deus gains the upper hand and tosses the beaten Asura off the platform and falls to the Earth.

Twelve millennia pass and Asura finally escapes the underworld to discover that his former comrades have used his daughter’s power to amplify their godly abilities.  Asura swears to rescue his child and nothing will stand in his way.

Right off the bat, you are thrown into an epic battle that takes place high above the Earth.  Taking control after the opening cut-scene, you unleash Asura’s powers upon the enemy horde attacking the Imperial Armada.  The target mechanic allows you to attack several enemies at once.  Place several cursors across the screen and Asura will launch a powerful attack that will damage all his foes.  The scene is something out of Star Wars with an armada of giant spaceships locked in an orbital dog fight with lasers blazing.  Asura’s Wrath is a straight forward beat ‘em up action game that is on tier with other hack-and-slash titles like Devil May Cry and God of War.  Your weapons are your fists and a lot of pent up rage.  Combat in the game is done mostly through contact-sensitive sequences.  Press the button at the right time for the best score.  You’ll spend most of your time building up Asura’s Boost Meter that will grant him extra strength when activated.  This is mostly used as a finishing move.

PRO: The action in Asura’s Wrath goes over the top especially in the boss battles.  I was impressed with the game’s opening cinematic, wasting no time throwing me to the wolves during a climactic battle much like Bayonetta’s opener.  And the larger-than-life Dragon Ball Z inspired boss battles are truly something.  The first boss battle is against the weakest of the Seven Deities, Asura’s former comrades.  Asura fights against this mountain sized titan until the god releases the power stolen from Mithra.  The boss grows to planet-sized proportions.  My immediate reaction, after making a Transformers-The Movie reference, was ‘I gotta fight that?!’  Imagine my surprise after witnessing a man-sized god defeat his planet-sized adversary by attacking his finger that covered an entire country. This scene truly sells the size this god has achieved.  CyberConnect 2, the same company behind the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series, left no attention to detail unchecked in the design of the characters and epic battle scales.

CON: However, the game’s strength is also its weakness.  Though Asura’s Wrath is chock full of action, it wasn’t varied enough to truly satisfy.  The enemy sets were minimal, maybe six to seven at one time on-screen, when compared to the aforementioned titles.  If Asura was supposed to be in an all-out battle, it would’ve been more pleasing to see him take hordes of foes or several enemy sets.  Granted that ending the scenario by activating the Boost Meter is an option and enemies continue to spawn if you don’t, I would’ve liked it to be a part of normal gameplay instead of putting spawning enemy sets on the back burner.  Ok, we all know cut-scenes tell the story otherwise, you’ll have no idea what’s going on.  Asura’s Wrath is no different except they use too many of them.  I like how each chapter is set up as if you watching an anime but most of these chapters are told through cut-scenes.  There’s a cut-scene followed by a bunch of fighting, another cut-scene, more fighting, rise and repeat until the epic boss battle.  I can deal with the storytelling but I would’ve preferred the scenes to be a bit shorter; some run for nearly three minutes, a couple times the scene was almost four minutes, before you get back to the action.

OVERALL: Despite all that, Asura’s Wrath is still an enjoyable game with intense action, out-of-this-world battles against the gods and a raging avenger that will even make Kratos cower in his sandals.
Asura’s Wrath gets 3 out of 5.
See you on the next level,
Brian M.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Skullgirls Review

Skullgirls Review

Platforms: Playstation Network, Xbox Live
Developer(s): Reverge Labs, WayForward Technologies
Publisher(s): Autumn Games, Konami
Genre(s): Fighting
Release: April 10 (PSN), April 11 (XBL)

Skullgirls is a downloadable 2-D fighter developed by Reverge Labs that features an all-female cast of characters, each with unique powers. The game’s story centers on an ancient artifact known as the Skull Heart which will grant the deepest desires of the woman who possesses it. As with many other fighters, each character has their own story and set of goals. Skullgirls is played differently than many other fighters. Players can choose the ratio of characters they want from one to three. Single player teams are powerful whilst two to three player teams are able to perform assist attacks.

PRO: Skullgirls features a unique combo system that puts an end to infinite combos, the main gripe about the VS. series. The fighting system gives players a chance to break looping combos in several ways, thus giving them a chance to fight back. No more putting down your controller and watching a combo exhibition.

At the selection screen, players can customize their characters. I was impressed with the character models. Each one is hand drawn and in the match looks a lot like a Saturday morning cartoon. The theme works for this game.

CON: The throw back to an eight-character list is nostalgic for those of us who remember Street Fighter II. However, new players who grew up during the era of larger character lists may not feel that there is enough variety. Unlike the aforementioned game, Skullgirls does not feature any sub-bosses before the final boss.

OVERALL: Skullgirls is a solid fighter with high replay value. The characters are beautifully drawn and backgrounds are visually impressive. And Michiru Yamane, best known as the composer for the Castlevania series, provides music that completes the feel of this animated fighter.

Skullgirls gets 4 out of 5.

See you on the next level,

Brian M.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Project X Zone: An Initial Look

So this is a bit of big news. There has been word circulating of a major crossover game between Namco Bandai Games, Capcom, and Sega but just recently, a title for it has been revealed.

It's titled Project X Zone (X standing for "Cross") and it is a strategy RPG game that will be coming out for the 3DS sometime this year. While there aren't many details on this title yet, the first set of screenshots gives us an interesting take on what the roster may look like. From the screens released, characters from Sakura Wars, Valkyria Chronicles, Super Robot Wars, Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Tekken, Xenosaga, Mega Man X, Space Channel 5, Virtua Fighter, Darkstalkers, Devil May Cry, Tales of Vesperia, .hack, Rival Schools, Dead Rising and Shining Force are in this title. Below are a few screenshots of Project X Zone:

We will post up more information will be posted about this title as we come across it. However, if you want to check out all the screenshots of Project X Zone and read up on the title itself, you can click on this link right here: 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hammerfight Review

Platform(s): PC
Developer(s): Konstantin Koshutin (aka Gkosh)
Publisher(s): Kranx Production
Genre: Action/Combat/Hack-and-Slash
I recently discovered one of the most addicting and deep games I’ve ever played for Mac and PC; and it seems to have a genre all of its own. In my best words, it’s a 2D Physics-based, Hack and Slash fighting game, with RPG elements. On top of that, 80% of the controls is in the way you move the mouse.

As you can see…this game is insane. You’re constantly swinging a huge weapon, around a flying machine that you pilot around the screen with your mouse. It sounds easy, and learning the controls is simple, but to master the physics of the vast array of weapons (whether it be a Hammer, Chain Mace, Pickaxe, Scimitar, etc.) takes a lot of experience. Once you land your first “Crushing blow” to an opponent’s pod, you’ll have a hard time quitting.

The main storyline takes place about a thousand years ago in a made up Egyptian-themed land. You start off as a guard in a small village. In the first few levels you smash your way through several waves of attackers with a limited variety of cheaply forged weaponry. You are then captured by a rich warlord and enslaved to fight in an arena for glory and for a shot at freedom. You fight intense one on one battles with single more skillful foe, capturing the opponent’s weapon upon certain victories. After you gain your freedom you are sent on several and they differ vastly: from slicing your way through massive flying worms and hornets, to raiding a village and breaking down walls and structures with the movement of your mouse.

Once you play a few levels of each different type of challenge, you unlock an arena version of each game mode. So, if you prefer quick thinking and dodging, there is the 1 on 1 arena battle. You can play arena mode from the game menu and fight a tougher opponent every time you win and earn coins to be spent on your character’s machine.

As you play, you can lead a path for honor and glory: showing mercy on other fighters that beg for their lives, or trashed their machine’s health to a point where it can’t fly... or you can ignore their pleas and smash the disabled machine anyway, resulting in more loot, but less honor from the crowd. As your honor goes up you gain access to new weapons and armor and you gain new flags for your machine with each title you are given. As I mentioned, this game is very dynamic.

Personally my favorite part about Hammerfight is the range of combat skill that you can potentially reach and how many different weapons you can become skilled at using. Swinging a fixed Iron hammer at an opponent is pretty easy to learn, and with practice, you can get a deadly good whack at the opponent every time.

And if using one weapon at a time doesn’t satisfy your hunger for destruction, you can combine two different swords together; all of a sudden you’re Kratos. S winging two fixed swords around your character scrapping up every beast and opponent around you. It’s not an easy fighting style to play, but when mastered your offensive and defensive abilities are dangerous.

Complete with legendary weapons, gem sockets for weapons, throwing knives, mortars, poison, and several different game modes, it’s shocking that Hammerfight hasn’t made it to consoles yet. No fear though, if you want to play against a friend, plug in up to 4 mice on your computer for a battle royal.

I give this game 4 stars out of 5, only because it demands you have a mouse with a right click and scroll wheel to enjoy the full range of controls. I highly recommend it.

Here’s a link to start playing Hammerfight. Supported on Mac and PC.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

JXD S7100 Tablet Review

The JXD S7100 is an Android 2.2 based tablet, designed with gaming in mind. It has a seven inch screen, a d-pad, four buttons, and an analog stick. You can get it either with a resistive or a capacitive touch screen; it also has start and select buttons. The buttons are alright, though a bit clicky and cheap feeling. The capacitive touch screen is good enough that I decided to type this little review on the tablet's touch keyboard using Kingsoft Office. So far, so good.

The S7100 also comes with a micro SD slot, a mini USB port, headphone jack, volume rocker, charge port, reset, mic, and a mini HDMI. Also included are front and back cameras, neither of which are really worth using unless youre desperate.

The neat thing is that the unit comes loaded with a bunch of games and emulators. it can play everything from NES and SNES, up to N64 and PSX from day one. Also included are a bunch of touch games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds. There are other emulator consoles out there that offer the ability of being able to play just about any rom you throw at them, but the big advantage the S7100 holds over them is the fact that it can also run Android. Which means access to the Android Market, an easy to install (or change, or root) operating system, and the ability to get some real work done.

There are some cons. If you aren't capable of rooting a device, or comfortable with learning how, then the S7100 isn't for you. When mine arrived, it was mostly in Chinese, had no access to the Android Market, and the home screen looked like someone had thrown up a bunch of icons. I updated the firmware to the English version, installed the Market, and created a second home screen with ADW Launcher. I would consider all of these steps to be necessary to make this tablet your own.

And if I am honest, the screen isn't terrific. It's very capable of hd, and the touch sensitivity is good enough that as type this, I have not once just said screw it and reached for my laptop. But you won't be mistaking this thing for an iPad, it is just not as sharp or colorful. The seven inch screen is great for gaming or watching movies in HD, but you are going to need some huge pockets if you expect to carry this portably without a bag. As a plus, the big screen size means watching a movie won't force you to squint or hold it an inch from your face. There is no kickstand for hands-free movie watching, sadly. 

The emulation runs well enough, with occasional drops, but nothing that'll really keep you from enjoying the game. The one big knock is that there are no shoulder buttons, which effectively makes some games unplayable. For some folks expecting to play Goldeneye or Metal Gear Solid just how they remember it, you will be somewhat disappointed. The battery life is ok, something like four or five hours. As an added plus, the HDMI out works great for both games and movies with no hiccups at all, even if it's a bluray file. So you can use it to play Tekken 3 on your TV, then switch over to watch Tekken: Blood Vengeance. All this for less than $180.

For the price, this thing is boss. Customizable, capable of doing just about anything you throw at it, and surprisingly quick; the JXD S7100 hits the spot as far as alternatives for buying one of the emulation consoles (Geimei A380, Wiz, Canoo). If you do your research, you'll see that this is the best one of the best options for a portable gaming tablet or an emulation console.

Overall Rating: 4 Out Of 5

by Chris Alexander
PSN: Imnotonfacebook
XBL: Mastergief

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Reset Button: Haunts, Crackfiend, LPN, and N3SS in GamesRadar's Street Fighter x Tekken livestream!

Check out the two-part video as Haunts, Crackfiend, and LPN join N3SS (Marcos Sanchez) in GamesRadar's Street Fighter x Tekken livestream!

Characters shown in demo:

Sagat, Abel, 
Nina, Kazuya, 
Steve, Rolento, 
Hugo, Juri
, Balrog, Xiaoyu
, King, Lili
, Poison, Ibuki, 
Chun-Li, Guile, 
Cammy, Raven
, Asuka, Vega, 
Law, and Kuma.

Part 1

Part 2

Friday, February 3, 2012

Legend of Zelda: The Hero of Time. A Full-length live action movie!

The Hero of Time is a fan-made, feature-length Legend of Zelda Movie. Film made by Director-Producer Joel Musch and Producer-Actor David Blane.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review

Platform(s): XBOX 360, Playstation 3
Developer(s): Square Enix Production Development Division w/ Tri-Ace
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Genre: Role-playing game

As you may have realized already, Final Fantasy haven’t had a lot of luck with sequels with their mainstream games since Final Fantasy X-2 having an unneeded storyline and Final Fantasy XII attempting to create a RTS with a Final Fantasy feel to it. So, I was a little bit skeptical about getting Final Fantasy XIII-2, especially since they was bringing back the theories of the space/time continuum – a topic that's always interesting to explore but notoriously difficult to execute. Luckily, Final Fantasy XIII-2 does bring back the space/time continuum with some touches and innovative play style.

Story-wise, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is lacking a little bit but it still makes a heavy impact. It follows the events of its predecessor: Lighting was written out of history for disrupting the flow of time by “achieving the impossible” in defeating Orphan and saving Cocoon. Presumed to be dead, everybody moved on and began their life on Gran Pulse believing that Lighting gave her life up to the common good except for Serah, her sister, who believes that her sister is still alive because of her dreams. Along the way, you run into familiar faces and learn the reason for the paradoxes and problems in time. The story does make interesting theories regarding time/space continuum as well as give more depth to the story and events in the world of Final Fantasy 13. Especially since, as a Final Fantasy first, you are granted the ability to time travel from the beginning of the game. The game introduces a variety of side-quests and multiple endings that more than compensate for the short story that can be achieved through various criteria.

When it comes down to actual in-game content, Final Fantasy XIII-2 has revamped their gameplay style, bringing back the paradigms roles and adding cinematic triggers to the various battles to add more of an action element to the game, while maintaining the graphics that the original game is known for. The game brought back some favorite such gaining gil after battle, random encounters, exploring town, Moogles, and, which was a shock for everybody, the Beastmaster class. This feature in the game allows the player to capture and raise various monsters, each with their role and assign them to your party. To take it a step further, different monsters can also be absorbed by another monster to obtain passive abilities and/or learn new abilities.

PRO: Unlike its predecessor, Final Fantasy XIII-2 focus more of adventure than the main storyline on the game giving more freedom with great side quests to complete and various endings to see which adds to its re-playability. It also took combined the traditional elements of Final Fantasy with the gameplay style of Final Fantasy XIII. Of course, the graphics are breathtaking, especially when it comes down to its their cutscenes. Finally, the return of the Beastmaster class was a welcome addition to the game allowing the player to add their trained monster to their party, even if you can only add three at a time.

CON: Final Fantasy XIII-2 does have a few flaws. For instance, the game is pretty short for a Final Fantasy game. The other thing that can be a nuisance is the low odds of monster crystal being dropped but there are workarounds. All and all, the flaws can be overcome.

OVERALL: Final Fantasy XIII-2, in my opinion, has finally broken the curse of sequels of the Final Fantasy mainstream games providing a sensible story and unbelievable gameplay features. The story may be a little short but it will keep you hooked from beginning to end.

Overall Score: Final Fantasy XIII-2 gets a 4 out of 5.

Justin P.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Final Fantasy XIII-2 demo strategy guide (FREE)

Thanks to gamer "Safer Sephiroth VII", we are blessed with a "Final Fantasy XIII-2" demo strategy guide to help the new and old RPG fans who happen to be curious about the world of "Final Fantasy XIII-2". How in-depth is it? Trust me when I say you will fully understand how the game plays!!

Download "Final Fantasy XIII-2" demo strategy guide HERE!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

The Kraken
By Doug Beaver

Many pirates tell the tale of a beast so grand that they only dare to whisper its name.  It’s a monster so powerful, ye scallywags, that it even makes the mighty Google herself hoist her anchor and head for bluer seas.

This new-aged Kraken that has come up from the depths of Hell – aka bowels of Congress – is the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

But when the myth is separated from the monster, this animal is just another bloated government jellyfish, full of formless regulation, with nonspecific goals.  It’s an internet business owner’s nightmare, but a lawyer’s wet dream.

Even the mission statement on the first page of the Act trails off at the end:  “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.”

And for other purposes” is more vague and ambiguous than a Netflix business plan.

It’s not as though the idea of protecting intellectual property (like music, games, movies, and even pictures) is a new one.  We all know the drill, if you’re a pirate, you’re stealing.  In the long-term, pirates can ruin the market that creates the work you love.  Pirates take away the biggest driving factor behind all this popular art: profit.

While many artists claim that their work is for the masses, and that they stand out against greed, they are referring to pieces that would be distributed for free anyway.  These pieces aren’t in danger of being pirated.  That art will always be safe.

SOPA is trying to protect Lindsay Lohan’s breasts.

Lohan’s rack hit the internet right in the face (which doesn’t sound too bad) before the magazine went on sale at newstands, costing Playboy revenue, and forcing them to release the issue ahead of schedule to prevent major damage.

Playboy still does rather well for a gentleman’s magazine when there are fewer gentlemen in the world than ever before, but piracy could threaten to shut down The Mansion for good – and no one wants that before we get a chance to party there.

While it’s tough to be a business that has to constantly find new and innovative ways to protect its content from piracy, SOPA is also attacking entrepreneurs from the opposite angle by placing costly and time-consuming regulations that are difficult to enforce.

Internet companies will have to constantly monitor its own users’ actions to ensure no copyrighted material is even linked to, or access to the whole site could be immediately blocked.  That’s like shutting down a Target store if a customer were to show his friends a leaked trailer on his iPhone at the checkout line.

The government has placed internet businesses at a real disadvantage, because sites are responsible to follow traditional business rules and regulations (like Sarbanes-Oxley) as well as the PRO-IP Act, which is the forerunner to SOPA.

There will be a lot of winners if SOPA were to pass.  Lawyers and bean counters love these regulations, as it gives them purpose with a paycheck, and keeps them in business.  True pirates see PRO-IP and SOPA as a challenge, and internet geeks love nothing more than to be challenged and demonstrate holes in existing systems.  The government would get to collect on fines and fees. 

The only ones that don’t win in a SOPA controlled internet are the businesses, and that’s why sites like Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook are against it.  It made perfect sense that GoDaddy was boycotted for supporting SOPA, because the businesses that get their domains from GoDaddy are facing additional hurdles.

Instead of congress creating these acts that benefit everyone except the businesses they effect, a better solution would be to have the companies that need piracy protection laws – companies that support SOPA, like the MPAA, Viacom, and Nike – work with companies like Google to create a system to combat internet piracy without government interference. 

After both sides of the argument come to terms that can be agreed upon, the government can be consulted to ratify it.  Other than that, congress should stay out of the internet’s way, and keep the krakens they are trying to implement away from private enterprises.

“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help,” are still the nine most terrifying words in the English language… and the attempt to the internet by implementing SOPA is just another great example.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011's Game Of The Year

We have now come to the end of the year and we have seen the best the industry has had to offer. Now, we must decide, what were the games this year that really pushed the industry forward, what made us say wow, what will we still be playing for years to come. Ladies and gentleman, let us begin.

Sound Design:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

In gameplay you can actually use the sounds in the game to locate bad guys, make yourself harder to find, make enemies investigate curious noises, and identify what’s running toward you, trying to eat you (bears and wolves announce themselves from a ways off, dragons shout challenges, skeletons rattle like old bones should) . All this plus weapons unsheathing have different sounds (which change based on which enchantments you place on them), arrow’s impacts sound differently based on what they hit, and no loud annoying click announcing that you just scrolled through a menu. Games like this are the reason people bother to hook their consoles up to surround sound.


L.A. Noire

If you really read the above description, you would have to know why this game had to win this award. The facial motion capture improvements used in this game really put people to shame. This was the first time that a game really fooled me into believing that what was moving on the screen wasn’t just normal mapping and pixels, but human flesh, muscle, and skin. There were prettier games this year (Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3, arguably Crysis 2) but this game has now reset the bar for facial animation in engine (that is to say, not a cutscene) and their advances will no doubt disseminate into the rest of the industry.

Best RPG

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Multiple main storylines, interesting NPCs, almost unlimited builds and play styles possible, and more enemies than you can shake a six foot glass warhammer at. This game is quite possibly going to be the Final Fantasy VII of its console generation, the new official heavyweight champion of RPGs. And its not from Japan! Bad news though: not that many hot chicks to cosplay as (except Aela).

Best Mulitplayer

Super Street Street Fighter 4 AE 2012 Ed

Yeah, I went there. Call me a fanboy, but when you look out over that room, and all you see are faces of people who paid through the nose, and waited forever in line just to sit (or mostly stand) and watch people play a game, you have to give props. Ask yourself this, have you ever cheered while watching someone play a FPS like this roomful of people cheer while watching Daigo play?

Don’t get me wrong, Mortal Kombat 9 has more players, and lets not even talk about MW3, but the design of Street fighter really does allow for great multiplayer fun through the integration of big comeback moves (Ultras), enhanced moves that significantly change the characters abilities for a moment, the ability to save your online matches to watch again in the future, spectator mode, and mostly lag free online. Plus, at high level, the game is still fun to watch: not just who gets first hit wins, or who picks Bob first, or who has the best near-infinite combo. Now that Yun, Yang, and Fei have been put in their places after the new update, we should have some great matches for the next year.

Best Shooter

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Think of a big Hollywood movie. Got it? This game made more money than it. How about a book? Still more money. Game? Same answer. CD or record of your favorite artist or group? Not Even close. In the first day of sales, MW3 sold $400 million plus, and in a week, blew right past $1 billion. And guess what, the game ain't bad either. Kinda settled the MW3 vs. Battlefield argument right there, huh?

Best Fighting Game

Mortal Kombat

While Street Fighter is traditionally always the better gameplay-wise, Mortal Kombat has been more fun. And while Mortal Kombat once again borrowed heavily from its fighting game counterparts (Ultra vs X-ray, Enhanced vs Ex, 2d gameplay with 3d characters, Tekken juggle system and four limb control…), the package they came up with is well, fun. With the challenge tower, and deep story mode, Mortal Kombat even added value for people who didn’t have friends. Granted, at high levels, the game basically becomes less about fun, and more about meter management, first hits, and 40 to 60% combos (yeah, really); but really, who didn’t want to watch Kratos fight Freddy Kruger?

Game of the Year

The game of the year is not the game that had the best graphics, although they were pretty good. It’s not the game that sold the most copies, although it did ship more than $450 million worth of copies in the first week. It’s not the game with the best multiplayer or co-op, because it has neither of them. If there was an award for most ridiculous glitches, it would win easily. This is game of the year, because it exceeded what we at J1 Studios thought was possible to do in a game. It won because there will never be a good reason to trade it in. It won because it simply blew everything out of the water as far as sound design, attention to detail, story, and depth of gameplay.

Our Game of the Year is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Here’s how it broke down for the top ten list of 2011 GOTY Nominees (and conveniently, the last ten games for 25 Days of Begging)

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

2. Batman: Arkham City

3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

4. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

5. Assassins Creed: Revelations

6. Rage
7. Portal 2

8. Battlefield 3

9. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

10. Gears of War 3