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Next Quiz Date: January 11, 2014
Subject: 999 (Nintendo DS)
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436  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 18, 2012, 03:04:27 PM
C. Platformers..... PLATFORMERS ROCK!!! I am still loving Ratchet and Clank a Crack in Time
I'm glad you're enjoying Crack in Time.  I've already made my Ratchet & Clank love evident, so I'll just give you an internet high-five and go back to playing Pokeymans. 
437  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: NEW MEGAMAN on: December 18, 2012, 03:02:08 PM
It's pretty good!  Bosses have interesting patterns and are modeled after their most recent movesets - Blanka uses all three types of Beast Rolls, electricity, and an electric roll, for example.  Each boss also has a super meter and super combo that can really **** you up if you aren't careful.  Using Blanka as an example again, he electrifies the entire floor (like his Ultra 2 in SF4 AE), then throws four watermelons, then Beast Rolls through the watermelons.  That's the kind of game this is. 
438  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 16, 2012, 11:17:32 PM
Demolishing Pokemon White 2 with a team of Fraxure, Excadrill, and... that's the list.  Just got the 8th badge, now about to challenge Team I stopped using the starters after they evolved to their final forms.  I've been keeping Deino around with a permanent Exp. Share, but right now it isn't quite battle-ready.  Also have a Watchog and a Ducklett around as HM slaves. 

I'm trying to use Gen 5 pokemon exclusively so I can get a taste of what's new (sorry, Riolu that I used for the first Gym).  I want to round out my party out to four eventually, so I'm open to trying out some new pokes.  Recently caught a Mienfoo, also thinking about training up a Timburr or a Tynamo that I caught ages ago.  I could use some Fighting or Electric coverage. 
439  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPGz you want HD'd/Remade on: December 14, 2012, 06:40:03 AM
Dragon Quest VIII HD. PS3 and Vita. Make it happen, Square-Enix. You know, after you make that FF X HD that allegedly still exists.
440  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 13, 2012, 07:25:56 AM
Got Pokemon White 2 as an early Christmas gift this weekend - I haven't played any of the 5th-gen Pokemon games yet.  Shortly after getting the game, myself and two friends had a "let's sit around and trade Pokemon" party and now I have all three starters, a Deino, a Gothita, a Vullaby, and and DURANT.  All of them are level 1 babies bred by my one particular Pokemon-obsessed friend, and are either un-catchable in White 2 or unavailable until the post-game.  Mostly I wanted a Pokemon named DURANT. 

...I don't know if I'll go whole hog into White 2 the same way I did into Diamond (Pokedex around 470-475, decent EV-trained Sandstorm stall team), but I'll definitely play it like a normal RPG and check out the new Pokemon in the new generation.  So far I haven't caught anything particularly cool (only 2 badges in), but I like a lot of the small surface changes that the game has made. 

Edit: I should mention that after the game was gifted to me, one if my friends INSISTED that I use Durant and a second Pokemon that I won't name. Durant because my friend and I both love basketball, and the second Pokemon because it is almost EXACTLY my last name. Seriously, remove one letter and it's my name exactly. Paul said: "man you have to use ____." Your name is right there!" Turns out it's a pretty good Pokemon once it evolves and I can catch it without much trouble. So why not?
441  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: December 12, 2012, 07:20:38 AM
Silver Linings Playbook was pretty good.  Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is some pretty people - lots of unexpected gratuitous shots of miss Lawrence's... assets.  Only problem is that the film portrays fans of the Philadelphia Eagles as human beings. 
442  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 12, 2012, 12:05:46 AM
Beat Civ V as Ethiopia in one sitting.  Prince difficulty.  Cultural victory.  Four cities.  Never touched coal, aluminum, or oil.  Never researched nukes.  Ethiopia's good at faith/culture and defending the homefront.  Now I need sleep. 
443  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Youtube on: December 10, 2012, 03:44:30 PM
new Epic Rap Battle of History is Moses vs. Santa Claus.  Moses is portrayed by Snoop Dogg.  Not joking. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0kRAKXFrYQ4
444  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 08, 2012, 01:19:46 AM
I guess I should add Civilization V: Gods and Kings to my list of beaten games, because I've beaten it... at least ten or eleven times this year.  Religions are fun, but I don't like basing a major strategy around them.  Religious structures and spreading them around for bonuses are nifty, but I'm still way more inclined to strategize around building up gold, science, or culture.  Fav civs are Babylon (science!), Greece (diplomacy!), and Ethiopia (faith and culture!).  
445  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 07, 2012, 07:44:05 AM
Folded and bought Pokemon Black Version 2. I have no intention on making this game easy for me, so I'm going to pick 2-4 pokemon and use em as my team. The 3rd/4th is going to be my HM slave--which will be adjusted to fit my HM needs. Time for fun.



That's usually how I played... mainly because I found "raising them" or whatever to be a pain.  Find one I like the look of, and stay true to it the entire game.
That's how I've played every Pokemon game from Crystal onward. If you have decent type diversity then it makes the game harder stamina-wise (items more important than ever!) but easier grind-wise. You get plenty of levels just from fitting trainers.

And shit, playing with a small team of 4 gets you REALLY attached to those four. My Diamond team was Staraptor, Torterra, Medicham, and Lucario. Plus two HM bitches for surfing and cutting or whatever. Never forget.
446  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Decide My Signature (AKA Quotes Thread) on: December 04, 2012, 10:50:07 PM
From the most quotable athlete of all time, Charles Barkley. 

 "I can be bought. If they paid me enough, I'd work for the Klan."
"We are in the business of kicking butt and business is very, very good."
 "I think that the team that wins game five will win the series. Unless we lose game five."
"You can't even jump high enough to touch the rim, unless they put a Big Mac on it."
"All I know is, as long as I led the Southeastern Conference in scoring, my grades would be fine."
"I always laugh when people ask me about rebounding techniques. I've got a technique. It's called just go get the damn ball."
447  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 04, 2012, 05:46:12 PM
I don't think anyone asked for this, but I'mma do it anyway.  Monsoon breakdown of the entire Ratchet & Clank series:

Foreward: Ratchet & Clank is my favorite PS2 series.  Each of the four games had a clear direction, made specific improvements and further experimented with the series' formula with each sequel, and was a consistently fun blend of running, jumping, and shooting with ridiculous equipment and weapons, plus several alternative gameplay modes in each game like hacking minigames, racing, turret shooting, space shooting, and arena battles.  The stories of Ratchet games are character driven and HILARIOUS, with some chuckle-worthy jokes in almost every cutscene.  Each game is maybe 10-14 hours to finish, with a larger time investment if you get into item collection or special challenges in a big way.  

The PS2 games are a clear "original trilogy" plus a fourth spinoff (no "Clank" in the title, scaled down stages, etc.), and I really enjoyed all four.  The recent PS3 collection is the first three games.  In the PS3 era, Insomniac Games made two full-blown Ratchet & Clank Future games, a third half-game taking place in between the two Future titles, and then two more recent spinoffs that introduce new gameplay types, including co-op.  There are also three handheld R&C games, and they're decent, but I don't consider them part of the Ratchet canon as they weren't made by Insomniac.  I'll be using the American titles for each of the games and rating them each with up to five stars of quality.  Five stars = excellent, four stars = pretty good, three stars = decent, two stars = sub-par, one star = bad.  

Ratchet & Clank (PS2, 2002)

It's hard to go back to the original after playing the recent games, because the targeting mechanics are unrefined, the platforming is less sticky, and there is no weapon upgrade system to speak of.  Still good, though, with a well-crafted storyline and some truly ingenious platforming segments.  The old InfoBot macguffins were nice, and I sort of wish the series had continued using them in some capacity.  The first Ratchet & Clank is an important part of the series to introduce the main characters (mostly Ratchet, Clank, Qwark, and The Plumber) and to just be a good foundation, but I prefer a number of its sequels.  Morph weapon turns foes into chickens.  Four stars


Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (PS2, 2003)

I think Going Commando is where the series finds its groove.  The expanded arsenal is upgradable via EXP for the first time, the stages are larger and more diverse, the number of collectibles is huge, and we see some good character development out of Ratchet (who settles into a more laid-back persona) and Qwark (who is, for my money, the best character in the series).  The villains of Going Commando are probably the best in the series, and Ratchet has a voice actor change from Mikey Kelly (Michelangelo in the old TMNT cartoon) to James Arnold Taylor (Tidus in Final Fantasy X) that proves lasting.  Oh, for the record, Clank has always been voiced by David Kaye and Qwark has always been voiced by Jim Ward; they're awesome.  Morph weapon turns foes into sheep.  Five stars


Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PS2, 2004)

My second-favorite game in the series.  I think its storyline is roughly as good as the first two games, but Qwark is at his absolute best and the game also introduces Dr. Nefarious, who becomes a major character in later games as well.  UYA has my favorite weapon selection in the entire series, and some awesome in-game bonuses from having completed save files of the first two games.  Great stages and collectibles, but fewer than Going Commando and generally shorter stages.  Weapon EXP is better than Going Commando, with more upgrade tiers and better weapon mods.  The alternative gameplay modes (Rangers, vid-comics, arena, racing) are probably my favorite in the entire series.  Sadly, Up Your Arsenal is the last Ratchet game to feature voice work from Neil Flynn.  Morph weapon turns foes into ducks.  Five stars


Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2, 2005)

Spin-off game whose gameplay consists of ENTIRELY arena stages.  Sure, the arenas are a good size and the boss battles are solid, but the smaller arsenal (only 10 weapons, with one of them endgame-only) and lack of stage variety is a major downside.  The highlight is probably weapon customization, which improves upon the mod systems of both Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal.  Still, Deadlocked is a letdown compared to the original trilogy.  I think a lot of development time was spent on the multiplayer functionality, which was okay but unbalanced.  Morph mod turns foes into chickens, sheep, ducks, and pigs.  Three stars


Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3, 2007)

The older Ratchet games are crisp and nice to look at.  The Future trilogy is freaking GORGEOUS.  This was the game that got me sold on the visuals of the new generation of consoles.  But as a Ratchet game, Tools isn't in the top tier.  The weapons are great, but the new characters aren't quite as interesting as older NPCs and the Clank-only missions are weaker than usual.  The addition of Combat Devices is unnecessary (basically makes ammo more expensive for a few weapons), but the Raritanium weapon mods are a great change to weapon upgrades and the weapon selection is quite strong, maybe better than Crack.  Firefights are still pretty good, collectibles are still pretty good, the lack of PSN trophis is disappointing.  The Six-Axis controls (used on a few weapons and transportation modes) are okay, but ultimately I wish Insomniac implemented them less frequently.  Plot cliffhanger at the end was extremely frustrating at the time.  Morph device turns foes into penguins.  Four stars


Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty (PSN, 2008)

The download-only game is probably not worth the $15 price tag, but is decent fun for its 3 or 4 levels and provides a crucial plot point to serve as a bridge between Tools and Crack.  Your arsenal is five or six re-used weapons from Tools of Destruction and the gameplay is good, but nothing to write home about.  My recommendation: play Tools of Destruction, read a synopsis of Quest for Booty, then go straight on to Crack in Time.  No morph weapon.  Two stars


Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (PS3, 2009)

This is what I'm talking about.  A Crack in Time (the original working title "Clock Blockers" was nixed by Sony and I still wish they hadn't) has bigger and better stages and some fabulous firefights and arenas.  Space shooting and space travel is the best in the series, and the Clank-only segments (mostly-forgettable parts of earlier games) are the best puzzles in the series.  They ditch the Combat Devices from Tools of Destruction, make the best of the old Devices into new weapons, and bring some old and new weapons to the table to make a solid arsenal overall.  The storyline is excellent, delving into the pasts of both Ratchet and Clank in a big way, bringing Clank to the story forefront for the first time since the first game.  Welcome returns of several old favorites as well.  My favorite game in the series, but if you like Commando or Arsenal better I won't judge you one bit.  It's a close call.  Morph weapon turns foes into chimpanzees.  Five stars


Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (PS3, 2011)

This is pretty good as a co-op action game, but a little weak in single-player.  Players control Ratchet, Clank, Qwark, or Nefarious, and each can use a unique gadget in addition to a modest selection of traditional Ratchet weapons.  Stages are more linear than usual, but boss battles are big and entertaining and the shooting is still fun.  Great in a group, much less-great alone.  I'd say more, but I never finished All 4 One and won't be inclined to pick it up again unless I can get multiplayer going easily.  Morph weapon turns foes into pigs, sheep, or dinosaurs.  Three stars


Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (PS3, 2012)

Probably my least-favorite game in the series - not a very awesome way to celebrate a tenth anniversary.  FFA was released just last week for only $20, but it also has only five stages and they balance real-time strategy with platform shooting in a way that's not always fun.  Not very many weapons either, with only a few new additions to a selection drawn from the other PS3 games.  Challenge level is also quite low in a series where it's never been that difficult to begin with.  The co-op is better than the single-player when I tried it, but only made the game easier and seem even shorter.  Look, my favorite parts of Ratchet games are the awesome weapons, funny characters, and massive variety of gameplay, and FFA falls a little flat in each of those elements. The paid-DLC skin packs don't enhance the experience, either.  Take what I say with a grain of salt, though - I only played it for maybe 3-4 hours and I didn't even find the morph weapon.  Two stars

---

Look, long story short (too late), I'd go with the Ratchet & Clank Collection.  PS2 copies of the first four games are probably five bucks a pop if you don't mind tracking them down.  If you like those, then by all means continue with the newer PS3 games.  The Future trilogy heavily relies on background from the PS2 trilogy, and Crack is a direct continuation of Tools.  You can totally skip Deadlocked, the PSP games, All 4 One, and FFA and not miss anything important, but you really ought to try the first three.  
448  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 04, 2012, 01:47:17 PM
No superheroes and no war, hm....  maybe the Uncharted games?  They're basically in the Tomb Raider / Indiana Jones mold, with okay 3rd-person gunplay and great dialog.  Uncharted 1 is pretty good, Uncharted 2 is spectacular, and Uncharted 3 has some awesome parts, but is ultimately lacking in direction to the point of disappointment. 

And of course there's my favorite PS2 series, Ratchet & Clank!  Cartoony aliens and robots with multiple theatres of gameplay.  R&C has been my Mega Man replacement for the past several years - colorful, cartoony platforming and shooting with an over-the-top arsenal of weapons. You can get HD versions of the first three R&C games in a bargain $30 PS3 collection, plus there are 4.5 R&C games made more recently for the PS3.  The original trilogy is excellent; some of my favorite PS2 games.  On PS3, Tools of Destruction is decent, Quest For Booty is weak and not worth the $15 tag, A Crack in Time is one of the best platformers of the past 10 years, and the last two (All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault) are okay, not great.   

And while I'm bringing up those PS3 HD collections, the best reissue of them all is the Ico / Shadow of the Colossus collection.  Ico is really interesting and Shadow of the Colossus is on my shortlist of the very best games of the PS2/GC/XB/DS/PSP generation. 
449  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 04, 2012, 12:39:45 PM
that is a hell of a list.... kudos to you
Thanks.  In early 2011 I realized that my backlog was out of control, so I endeavored to beat 50 games on the year.  Some of them were cop-out entries like fighting games and arcade games, but I still did it.  After doing that, I set a similar goal for 2012, but targeting longer, more involved games in my stacks of unplayed titles like Persona 3 and FF XII.  For the rest of 2012 I'll probably just finish Valkyria Chronicles (haven't started it yet, but will soon!) and play a few side games of Torchlight II and Civilization V. 
450  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 02, 2012, 09:39:45 PM
I guess I should update my games beaten list as well:

1. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
2. Radiant Historia
3. Mass Effect
4. Mass Effect 2
5. Breath of Death VII: The Beginning (Hard mode)
6. Grandia II
7. On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness - Episode 2
8. Mass Effect 3
9. Journey
10. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
11. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
12. Star Ocean: Second Evolution
13. Red Dead Redemption
14. On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3
15. Persona 3 FES
16. Final Fantasy XII
17. DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue
18. Super Mario Galaxy
19. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
20. Fire Emblem: Fuuin no Tsurugi
21. Torchlight II
22. Rogue Galaxy
23. Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana
24. Okami

All of those are first-time plays except for SML2, BoD7, and FE6.  Right now I'm very, very early in a playthrough of Valkyria Chronicles and messing around with Tales of Graces F with a group of friends.  We only play Tales when all four of us are hanging out, so that one won't wrap until well into 2013. 
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