Sunday, August 26, 2012

Legasista is the latest PSN RPG from NIS America

Available now, is the latest RPG exclusively playable on the Playstation 3 via download from PSN by the folks that brought us the Disgaea series, NIS America. Legasista is dungeon crawling action RPG, in which the player bust navigate through the trials of the Ivy Tower to convert his sister back to human form, who has currently taken on the role of a crystal. You will form a team of three to navigate through a plethora of randomly generated dungeons, as the fully customizable, down to the weapons antagonist. It’s time to see how this title holds up and if it can hold a torch to some of NIS America’s past niche gems.
I have been reviewing titles from NIS America for a while now, and though they have a lot of titles that can be downright addicting and torturous and won’t let you go, then you get the occasional title that are just hard to get into. That is what has always intrigued me about their new titles and when this one was released, I had to see where it stood in their library. Legasista is a unique title, in which it is bigger than a lot of the other PSN titles out there and priced at an affordable $29.99. The visuals are bright and cartoon like, while the view is from the top down and similar to that of an old Zelda game. However the character customization is where I felt this game really shined. You can change so much about your character to make them unique to your liking, but you can also alter your weapons and assign a personality to your lead character. It is an RPG, so finding loot and then equipping is almost like unwrapping a gift on xmas morning, some are items are duds and others may be equipment you won’t sell or unequip.
After much time with this game, I am still unable to tell if it wants to be a full Playstation title or a downloadable scaled down, “arcade” game.  While there were things I had a great time with like the gameplay and character progression, there were a couple things I would have like to seen included. First off, I think online coop would have been a great fit in this title and would have made dungeon crawling with one or two friends a lot more entertaining. Second, I think it would have been easier to lose myself to this title had it supported cross play. It isn’t too big of a game, but it is a great candidate for cross play between the Vita and the PS3. Had I been able to pick up and play on the Vita where I had left of on the PS3, I think I would have been a lot more into this game.
All in all, Legasista was a lighthearted good time. The character progression and customization was by far my favorite part of this game but the grinding and questing for more loot took a close second. Once again this title is less than a full retail title in price, which makes sticker shock almost non-existent and the gameplay is fun and almost nostalgic feeling. The story is almost cursed with too much dialogue but you are able to speed through and skip if you need to get your dungeon grinding fix. Legasista is available now for the Playstation 3 as a downloadable title on the Playstation Network at $29.99.

PowerSkin supercharges our iPhone’s battery life

It’s the weekend, so that means it is time for some cold ones and some quality time with my laptop for a couple reviews before going back to my backlog of games. This time around it is a battery pack case for those heavy usage days, trade shows, or any other time you need a jump. The power skin is equipped with a 1500mAh battery that is estimated to give you an extra 5 hours of talk time or 200 standby hours and is built to fit both Verizon’s and AT&T’s iPhone 4/4S. We have reviewed a couple of battery packs within the last year, so lets see how this powerful and protective case holds up, for not only the iPhone, but also a number of other current popular smartphone models.
I am not someone that uses my phone for everything, I try to divvy up the usage evenly. There are those times however when I take the family out of town, camping, or when I am attending trade shows. Anyone that has strayed from their charger knows first hand of the battery leeches that show up when you need juice the most. This one piece partly hard plastic/partly soft rubber surface certainly comes through in a pinch and has a unique design that stands out from others out there like entries from Mophie, Third Rail, and Boostpack. With this powerful backpack fully charged, I was able to go from Wednesday morning through Friday night without having to recharge.  Lastly the battery has four indicator lights on the backside to let you know how much juice is left before you need to recharge via micro USB.
Aside from being a convenient back up in times of need, there were a couple reasons in which this powerful accessory will not be a more permanent case for my phone. Two reasons to be exact, the first of which is how the device is charged. The location is well placed, coming from the side of the phone, but the micro USB charger is not always as convenient for me as I have a number of 32-pin chargers for a number of apple devices. The latter pertains to the phone’s material, not the hard plastic battery pack, but the rubber material around the top and front of the phone. It is a tight fit when the phone is in place so you have to pull back and stretch in order to slide your phone into place and tends to grab my pocket and unloads the contents within when I reach for my phone.
When all is said and done, this is a great case, especially if you don’t change your cases often. I say that because you have to stretch it quite a bit to get it on and off the phone.  Though this isn’t the best case we have reviewed, it is far from being a bad case and is comparably priced in comparison to other cases that provide similar functions. The PowerSkin case is available now for the iPhone at the price of $69.99 and also available to a number of other smartphones on the market.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sacred 3, that is all

Today at PAX, our deviant friends over at Deep Silver, you know, those fine folks that gave us Sacred 2 and Dead Island? Well they decided that they had a knowledge bomb to drop today at the show and that bomb consists of a couple of sequels. The first being Dead Island Riptide, the next installment to the multi million selling Dead Island, and the other being the announcement of Sacred 3, which will be playable on the show floor. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming news. Oh you thought I was finished, there is another title Sacred Citadel, the downloa....just watch the below trailer.

XCOM:Enemy Unknown gets trailer, I'm getting nostalgic

Nothing like a trailer for an upcoming game to make me go back 13 years to when I was in high school. XCOM was one of the first PC games I really got into, along with Cannon Fodder and Warcraft…not World of Warcraft. That being said, 2K has released a trailer for the title and though it isn't the same, I am hoping that it will still have the same sort of influence as the original.

XSEED's Ragnarok Odyssey will get a 'Mercenery Edition'

My most anticipated title for the Vita this year has got to be Ragnarok Odyssey, as it looks like it will be a beautiful RPG and give me something that I could really enjoy for a while. Come October you will be able to not only pick up the title, but fans of the Ragnarok Online universe can pick up the Mercenary Edition which will include the game's soundtrack, Mercenary Guide, and 10 random trading cards from the game's 50 and have a price tag of fifty bucks. More information about this online coop RPG in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout.

Resident Evil 6 goes gold and announces RE.Net

Where do I start? It is a good week for RE fans as Capcom announced that not only did the latest entry to the zombie killing franchise go gold, but also announced the introduction to Resident Evil.Net. RE.Net is a free online service that allows players across the globe to track stats, compare your game, social media linking, points for in games items, and more. I have always enjoyed the Resident Evil games, so hell, I am on board for this one as well.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Roccat makes my game station a game Kave

Coincidental or not, Roccat decided to send me, on my birthday, review units of their gaming headphones, the Kave 5.1 and their gaming keyboard, the Isku. As many of you may remember, Roccat had previously sent us their gaming mouse, the Kone [+], and I loved it. This time around I get to review their headset that boasts real 5.1 surround sound, a desktop remote, and a removable microphone with a mute LED. The Isku comes loaded with blue illuminated keys, 36 macro keys, macro Live! Programming, and 8 programmable hotkeys for media and whatever else your PC gaming heart desires. So after being holed up in my home office/cave with my trusty laptop, new keyboard, headset, and my fourth playthrough of Diablo III, lets see how they fair…after I get myself a shower and a shave.
I will start with the headphones, these bad boys are big and pack a punch. The build is very solid and have soft to the touch surface.  The sound is loud and clear, that of other high end headphones, but the individual channel control is easy once setup on your computer. This could very well be the unit’s downfall depending on your soundcard. The headset connects by one USB and four 3.5mm connections so if you don’t have the a compatible soundcard like myself, and had to pick up an external USB card and then spend a good half hour setting up the sound card  in order to get these cans working the way intended. My biggest issue with them are with the wires, if you do not have the right sound card, as the sound is great, they look awesome, and fit comfortably, but you will have a mess of wires if you don’t have an internal card. It is just hard to justify having that many wires hooked up in a small work area devoid of clutter. However, for those of you that have a compatible soundcard, I would highly recommend the Kave 5.1’s as they have outperformed any gaming headset I have reviewed so far.
As for the Isku, once again, it has a great look to it while having a solid and durable feel to it. On top of that, this fancy little keyboard takes some effort to budge once placed on my desk. Enough about the look and feel, lets get to the internals, the plethora of macros and ease of setup is simple and easily programmable. What topped that though was the ability to download macro sets to save time on programming macros for popular titles. For the price point, I would have thought that the keys would have been a little bit more firm and quieter on impact. The keyboard looks good and works great with a number of games, hell even other programs using the 36 macro keys, and with the price point of $89.99 it is completive to those with less features. The only other issue is that the drivers are only available for Windows PC’s, so Mac gamers, even though the keyboard will work, you are unable to go in and reprogram to your specific game of choice.
Roccat has once again impressed us with the amount of features used in their computer gaming peripherals. From the true 5.1 surround provided in the mean looking headphone teamed with the sleek ergonomic Kone[+] mouse, followed up with the aggressive looking illuminated keyboard chock full of custom programmable features and you get a highly personalized immersing experience whether playing games or watching movies. Only suggestion before adding this to current or future gaming rigs, is that you make your components are compatible with the peripherals.

Form and function come together in Ego Case Hybrid review

Ego has provided us with a new accessory for my iPhone, their recent Hybrid Series USB case. It is simply that, an ego phone case with an easy access thumb drive. The case comes in a variety of seven colors, while the thumb drives come in six different colors, and you are able to mix and match.  The drives comes in 2, 4, 8, and 16 Gig sizes that don’t add bulk to the case. The case has been on my phone for just over a week now so lets see how it stacks up.
Now that I have had some time with the case and put it through the tests of my life, I can safely say that though the case feels a bit weaker than some other slim cases I have had the pleasure of reviewing, it holds the phone tight and wiggles less than a lot of them. The USB is what makes this case, it is slim, comes in a variety of sizes, and even though it is slim, it fit snugly into the case and never had any issues with it falling out of the case and into my pocket.  On top of the form and function aspect, I especially like the ability to mix and match colors of the case and drive.
Now for the bad, there isn’t much but there are a couple things to keep in mind with this case. The feel of the case looks like it would have the satin surface used with a lot of recent cases on the market but this has more of a matte plastic feel. While the case did snap right onto my phone and held it tight, there was a slightly noticeable gap along the right side of the phone regardless to how the case was put on the phone. Lastly is the price, though not much more than other specialty cases out there, depending on the size of the thumb drive the price can get a little steep, though not much more than buying a thumb drive or buying a new case, you just get two in one at a higher price.
All in all I really enjoyed the case. Even though there were a few thing I would have changed it was quite useful to me. Whether I wanted to listen to music via USB in my truck or in the office, I always had the drive on me and was especially useful for accessing assets from multiple computers as opposed to the keychain drive I was using before…I forgot my keys all the time.

Konami releases Gamscom assets for upcoming Castlevania

With not one, but two Castlevania games expected to release early next year, Konami is slowly giving us more information and photos to keep at bay. Though, anyone that has played a Castlevania title knows what exactly to expect, and it shall be glorious. Glorious for those that have the 3DS. Mirror of Fate takes place 25 years after the events in which took place in Lords of Shadow. Attached are some screenshots of the upcoming Mirror of Fate, but I got one question, Why release Lords of Shadow on consoles, none of which are Nintendo's, to then release a prequel to the sequel, which will also be on a list of consoles that do not include any from Nintendo

Get Vita skin with Persona 4 Golden pre-order

Atlus has announced that should you pre order their upcoming Vita title, Persona 4 Golden, then you will in turn receive this very limited exclusive skin. Along with the skin, you will also receive 8 matching wallpapers. Expect to see this title on store shelves this fall on the Vita.

Reveangance gives us the trailer we have been waiting for

The fine folks at Konami have had a busy week at Gamescom, as the recent press releases have indicated. This is the trailer I have been waiting for from Platinum Games and Konami, one with killer visuals, lightning fast gameplay, and blood. I for one was hoping for this and was beginning to make me lose my faith in this title, but all has been made well again after the four minute trailer, give it a gander for your own good, particularly if you are a fan of Platinum Games' previous titles.

Assassin's Creed 3 isn't the only Ubisoft game to release new trailer

Liberation, the other Assassin's Creed title that is to be released in the upcoming months has a new trailer fresh from Gamescom as well. In the upcoming trailer we are shown not only gameplay footage from the highly anticipated game for the Vita, along with a glimpse of some of the gameplay features that are to be exclusive to the potent portable.

Naval warfare is next feature to be announced in Assassin's Creed 3

Ubisoft has released yet another trailer for their upcoming blockbuster, Assassin's Creed 3. This time around, we are shown a new type of gameplay that has yet to be seen in the series, Naval Warfare. In the above trailer you will get a breif glimpse into your swashbuckler side. Oh yeah, pre order bonuses have been announced, Mayan Ruins mission and a sawtooth weapon.

WB anounces Catwoman as latest for Injustice

I love when I get emails from Warner Bros. lately as each one seems to be an announcement for the upcoming fighter from the legends that brought us Mortal Kombat. This time around is no different and Catwoman is to be the latest announced kontender. Check out the trailer above to see her assets in action.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

NIS America shows off not one, but two new trailers

That's right,  most companies think that they are the beez kneez when they show off a mouthwatering trailer that makes us realize there is yet another title we will now pine for over the month, NIS America has to go and top it. Two trailers have been released for their upcoming title, Mugen Souls, and from what I see, it is going to be a long wait for September 18th.

Crytek also flexes new engine power's Toad Tech

Ubisoft isn't the only new engine on the block. Crytek has released a trailer for the upcoming Crysis 3 showing of the environments and just how sexy they will look because of the CryENGINE3. I must admit they do look damn sexy.

Codemasters announces GRID 2, my weekend is rocked

Why is it that racing games all seem to come out at around the same time every year? To add on to that, why do they all have to be so damn appealing? My wallet can't handle it, and though we do get most of our games free for review purposes, we don't get them all...yet. So to top it off going into next year, We have Forza Horizons, Burnout Need For Speed Most Wanted, and now GRID 2, come on guys, I am going to need more time between games.

Okay Ubisoft, now you are just showing off

Ubisoft has been claiming that Assassin's Creed 3 is to be the biggest, most ambitious title in the series to date. With the recent trailer showing off their new AnvilNext engine,  a slew of features are displayed and elaborated on. As many may know, I was not a fan of the first and liked Brotherhood the most out of the second titles, but after seeing these trailers show up for the third and how much resources in which Ubisoft is putting into this release, a lot of trick or treaters are gonna get hosed this year on Halloween.

The days of the boombox has returned with the Supertooth Disco

I know the boombox never really died but when reviewing the Supertooth Disco, my first though was, I could take this thing anywhere, and offend or get some toes tapping depending on the mixtape. If you haven’t guessed by the company’s name, the product is a Bluetooth version 2.0 wireless speaker. However, this speaker, unlike many is rechargeable by a NI MH Power pack battery, that when fully charged allows for up to 4 hours of playback at high volume, 10 hours on medium volume, and up to 1500 hours on stand-by, all with just a 3 hour charge. The biggest surprise for me was the fabric case it comes with for those that plan to take it on the go, it is a thick case the has a hole for the speaker port and Velcro flaps for the charger and to cover the speaker face and dial when not in use.

I have to say the my first thoughts unboxing were great as the speaker has a solid feel without being too big and bulky, the Disco is rechargeable, has a thick case to survive most weather conditions, and is wireless.  Syncing is easy to do and once synced, it is easy to start music playback and with 1500 hours standby time, all you have to do is press play and you are good to go.  Now for the important part, volume, it can get loud. I would turn the volume all the way up on my iPhone and just less than half on the Disco and it was enough to hear throughout the house, office, and backyard. I love the fact that it is rechargeable rather than including an AC adapter for home use then if you want to take on the go you would have to load up with batteries. Though wirelessly is the preferred way to use, if you use the included 3.5 mm, the sound quality is much better than connecting via Bluetooth.

Where could you go wrong, right? Unfortunately, sounds quality had some issues, as there tends to be distortion when the volume is at more than half playing wirelessly. A couple other things that would have been a great fit for the product but were not included would be a remote if just for volume and track controls and a usb input to charge your phone while playing music in case you are somewhere without power like camping. Lastly, I kept having issues when trying to get to connect to my Bluetooth enabled MacBook Pro. I was able to connect, but couldn’t play longer than one song before it would cut out and give a connectivity error.

All in all, I liked the Supertooth Disco unit a lot, despite my issues with the sound quality. For the price point and the build quality, it is a very solid product and as long as you are connecting with the 3.5mm cable, the sound quality is surprisingly decent. If you are connecting via Bluetooth, it is not bad, just don’t expect to be able to crank it up more than halfway. Whether you are looking to provide sound throughout the house or backyard or even the on the golf course, the Disco will do the trick and you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Atlus proves that the PSP is not dead, with latest Grownlanser

Atlus is the latest to send me a review code for their recent PSP, but also playable on the Vita, real time strategy game, Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time. The fourth chapter in the Growlanser franchise has been released for a while now in Japan and is considered to be the best chapter so far, and is now available here in the states. In Wayfarer of time, you play as a mercenary without a past that has a date with destiny, and destiny is one mad angel threatening to bring an end to all things. Not only is the action real time strategy, but also the story is heavily decision driven. Lets get to the point where we see if it is the portable time waster the we all so desperately look for.

I haven’t had this much fun with a strategy RPG since in was sucked in by Final Fantasy Tactics in which I have played through on three systems so far. So yeah, it’s got the goods. From the anime cut scenes to the story changing decisions and the large world, it has all of the basics in which you would need in any good JRPG. Now add strong gameplay, portability, and huge replay value to the mix and you get Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time. It is a toss up between the thought invoking decisions thrown at you through the story or the gameplay in regards to what I found the most enjoyable, because throughout the entire time playing I either wanted more battles to commence or thinking back on the last decision made and wondering what would happen if I answered the last question differently. I found myself often thinking back through a number of decisions wondering where I will be or would I have different party members in my next playthough.

All of Growlanser’s greatness wasn’t always there, unfortunately. During the first two to three hours, there is little fighting and a lot of tutorialing. I mean you get one or two battles that take less than a minute and then a long drawn out guide to what you are supposed to be doing, but most anyone that has played an RPG or with half a brain does not need so much reading. Camera or the lack there of could be a bit of a pain at times, as it is hard to see some doors and enemies throughout the game due to the camera’s placement and with unused buttons and the right joystick, there should have been some view control available. This may be a personal issue of disappointment and not to do with how the game plays, but why couldn’t this have been developed for the Vita. I mean I know why, the PSP has way more units in people’s hands than the Vita; at least it is playable on the Vita unlike other PSP titles out there.

Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time is a great game, as after the first couple hours I was hooked. The decisions were impactful to the story, enough that I was continuously thinking about what my actions will be throughout my next playthrough. Like I said before, this is a strategy RPG done right and those seem to be fewer and farther between lately. The fact that it is for the PSP, playable on the Vita, and accessible almost anywhere you go means that you, if your anything like me, will be toting your Sony portable with you, ready to pick up and play at first available chance. Lastly, this game could have been absolutely stunning on the Vita, it is a shame that it was developed for the PSP, but I don’t blame Atlus, it was a safe bet.