Posts tagged ‘SEGA’

12/04/2012

In which I respond to aspersions cast by an internet necromancer

by wfgodbold

Nearly two years ago, I posted an overly long and verbose piece on why, despite my preference for region-free consoles and gaming, consumers don’t have the right to region-free games. This was mainly in response to Nintendo’s decision to region-lock the 3DS. Early this morning, through what I can only assume was the use of the necromantic arts, someone responded to that post. Because my response to that comment would have been far longer than a comment has any right to be, I chose to respond in a new post. Consider this a sequel to that original post.

In the two years since my original post, Nintendo launched the 3DS (region-locked), and then had to drop the price because it was too expensive and no one was buying it. I still have not bought one (the last Nintendo console I bought was the DS Lite–I haven’t bought a Wii and have no plans to buy a Wii U), though I have bought a PS3 and PS Vita in the meantime (both of which, you will notice, can at the very least play out-of-region physical games).

This, dear reader, is a little thing I like to call The Market.™

Sony has made choices with which I agree, and to support those choices, I am willing to pay for their consoles and games (and I have games for both systems from both the US and Japan).

Nintendo has continued to region-lock their consoles and games. The prices of those consoles and games have not dropped to the point where I would be willing to forego the ability to play games from all regions on one console, so I have not bought them (even though I would dearly love to play Tales of the Abyss with load times that aren’t measured in geologic time, and Project X Zone looks ridiculous enough to be awesome).

Sullivan, in his comment, says,

And Nintendo doesn’t owe you anything? You are a customer. Neither Nintendo nor their shareholders would make ANY money without the customers. They sure as hell owe you. And what you get for your money is that they patronize you and severely restrict your freedom. It is not okay. And telling people not to buy the system because of that is just stupid. It is not a solution. It was not the game developers’ choice to make games region locked.

In response, I would like to point out that Nintendo does not owe me anything.

I bought a DS Lite. Nintendo fulfilled its side of the bargain bye delivering what was promised–a region-free handheld gaming system. Since then, I have not been a Nintendo customer–I haven’t bought anything because I don’t want to pay them to restrict my gaming options. If you buy a 3DS/Wii/Wii U knowing that it’s region-locked, Nintendo still doesn’t owe you–you’re still getting exactly what you paid for.

I don’t owe support to game companies. Game companies don’t owe me good games, bad games, mediocre games, region-free games, or region-locked games. If a game company has a game I want to play, I buy it, and the relationship ends there.

Not buying the system because it’s region-locked is not only the solution, it’s the cheapest solution (it’s certainly cheaper than trying to get a big enough block of Nintendo stock to control the company’s decisions). If you’re not willing to give up the ability to play the games that come out despite the region-locking that Nintendo has foisted upon consumers, then you’ve made an economic decision that region-free gaming is not worth as much to you as it is to someone who chooses not to buy a Nintendo console because of the region-locking.

Nintendo is free to choose to region-lock their consoles and games. Sony is free to choose not to region-lock their consoles and games.

And the consumer is free to vote with his wallet and support whichever philosophy he agrees with, if he even cares. Sadly, I suspect most consumers don’t care about whether or not their consoles are region-locked.

09/26/2012

Tabula rasa*

by wfgodbold

First, XCOM: Enemy Unknown news:

It hits Oct. 9, which was probably old news to you if you cared.

The PC “demo” is up on Steam. It’s actually the tutorial, and is on rails for the first mission and part of the second.

You do get to experience enough of the game for it to give off that X-COM vibe, though, and I’ll definitely cash in gift certificates and various reward points to get it at launch.

Firaxis gave Game Trailers a new gameplay video, this time of a downed UFO mission. Unlike the other videos they’ve shown, this one is not in an urban environment.

Monolith Soft released the opening movie to Project X-Zone, their Super Robot Wars-esque mashup of SEGA, Capcom, and Namco characters. I would be all over this game if (1) I had a 3DS, and (2) Nintendo hadn’t made the 3DS region free. The licensing problems a game like this would cause pretty much nixes any chance of its release in the US.

Falcom is porting Trails in the Sky to PS3. I’m sure it will look great (since the original game was on the PC and supported high monitor resolutions), but I don’t know how many people in Japan are going to be willing to pay again for a game they’ve already bought once or twice before (PC, PSP, and now PS3). The Square-Enix business model focused on rereleasing your good old games to fund your crap new games will only get you so far.

Ufotable’s animation for Tales of Xillia 2 is just as good as everything else I’ve seen them animate. This preview video also has portions of Ayumi Hamasaki’s theme for the game.

Using his own logic, I could have the UN Secretary General shut up for “[humiliating] my values and beliefs” (i.e., free speech). The answer to bad speech is more speech. The idea that people or groups do not have any agency and are forced to dance to the whim of the speaker is reprehensible.

In the same vein, Posner** is a big fan of the heckler’s veto.

*No, not that SF MMO Lord British tried to make. It’s close enough to “tab clearing” for government work.

**No, not that Posner (though it is his son).

04/14/2012

I really should stop doing these tab clearing posts

by wfgodbold

But they’re great for when I don’t really want to devote a whole post to any one thing (and for when I can’t come up with a substantial post on a real topic!).

Thinkgeek is selling an Aperture Science 1970s era coffee mug. Right down to the retro form factor!

Bill Amend has put together a few Foxtrot collections formatted for the iPad.

The Japanese have gone and made an anime series about a moe anthropomorphization of Nyarlathotep. Because nothing says eldritch horror like taking the Crawling Chaos and turning it into this.

Nihon Falcom has added more details to the Nayuta no Kiseki official site. They’re marketing it as an action story RPG (whatever that is), and have posted character profiles and some battle screenshots.

Sega, Capcom, and Namco are collaborating on a Super Robot Wars style crossover mashup SRPG, Project X Zone. It’ll have Ryu and Ken (Street Fighter), Shinguji Sakura and Ohgami Ichiro (Sakura Wars), Kurt and Riela (Valkyria Chronicles 3), Jin and Xiaoyu (Tekken), KOS-MOS and T-elos (Xenosaga), and Yuri and Estelle (Tales of Vesperia). And that’s not even an exhaustive list!

And finally, Looper comes out this fall, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis in an action-packed SF time travel flick. The trailer looks pretty good:

07/12/2011

Eternal Glacies

by wfgodbold

Panzer Dragoon Orta turned out to be the final game in the rail-shooter Panzer Dragoon series, where the player controls the pilot (?) of a flying dragon, hell-bent on fighting against the evil empire and its hordes of mooks.

Because it’s on rails, you don’t actually control the eponymous dragon’s full range of movement; you’re limited to moving around the screen to dodge enemies, obstacles, and incoming fire (a la Space Harrier, another SEGA classic). As you kill more enemies, the dragon levels up and can be customized.

Unfortunately, on my first playthrough I customized for the way I’d been playing the game up to that point; it turned out that my playstyle was utterly useless against the final boss, and so I had to start over (that happened to me in Knights of the Old Republic, too, and I was even more furious then; restarting a ~30 hour game is a much bigger PITA than restarting a 4-5 hour game).

At one point, Orta is crippled and has to run across the tundra; the following track plays during that stage.

06/07/2011

Finally, details on the NGP that aren’t rank speculation

by wfgodbold

It’s not going to be officially called the NGP; the actual console name is the PlayStation Vita.

The wifi only model will be $250, and the 3G model (via AT&T) will be $300.

Sony is aiming for a worldwide release by the end of 2011.

Over 150 developers have signed on to support the NGP (PSV. Whatever.), including Falcom, Namco, SEGA, tri-Ace, and Square Enix.

It’s got an OLED touch screen, and a touch pad on the back, a built in mic, a PSV card slot, a memory card slot (probably some Memory Stick variant), and front and rear cameras.

That leak was fairly accurate (even if some of the information it contains doesn’t appear to have been presented).

It’s an impressive little system, and unlike the 3DS, it won’t give anyone who tries to use it a splitting headache.

No word yet on whether it will be region-free, though; hope springs eternal.

05/15/2011

A memento of …

by wfgodbold

Resonance of Fate is that rare beast in the JRPG world; a a science-fiction RPG.

SEGA published this tri-Ace game for both 360 and PS3, and while I haven’t played it, I have listened to some of the music, and it’s good.

Instead of relying solely on their go-to guy, Motoi Sakuraba, they also brought in Kouhei Tanaka (best known for the Sakura Taisen series). I might have to pick this game up, now that it’s cheaper.

I’ve played the Japanese demo, and while it’s certainly flashy (lots of firing two guns whilst jumping through the air), I skipped the directions to get to the gameplay and wasn’t entirely clear on WTF was going on.

04/23/2011

Boss Battle (Crisis, Opportunity)

by wfgodbold

Skies of Arcadia was an excellent JRPG that was released just over a year after the Dreamcast’s launch in the US (it was later updated and rereleased for the Gamecube).

It’s really too bad the system was SEGA’s death knell; it was a good system, and had some good games, but they didn’t capitalize on it. They also stupidly made the system ridiculously easy to run pirated games on; you didn’t need a mod chip, but a boot disc burned at home would let you run pirated games.

The game follows the adventures of Vyse and Aika, two sky pirates (with flying sailing ships and everything!) out to avenge their family and help the mysterious Fina (If you played Valkyria Chronicles, you might recognize Vyse as one of the shock troopers, Aika as one of the scouts, and Fina as the medic); along the way, Vyse becomes a true sky pirate captain, with his own ship and crew. You can recruit various people from all over the world to work on your ship, and your choice of crewmembers affects the stats of your ship in the ship-to-ship battles.

As your party battled against various bosses, the music would change; if your characters were near death, the music would grow more tense; if you were near victory, the music would grow triumphant.

04/10/2011

Valkyria Chronicles 2: portable squad-based tactical gaming at its finest!

by wfgodbold

I’ve only played through about 20% of the game so far, and I’m enjoying it immensely; when Valkyria Chronicles 2 was first announced, I was thrilled.

Then SEGA announced it would be on the PSP instead of the PS3, and I was disappointed. I was further disappointed when they revealed that the setting would be a military academy, and the focus would be on a class attending said academy.

The gameplay, though, is just as good as the original’s. In each mission, you command a squad of up to 6 characters (including a tank or armored personell carrier) as they fight against fellow students (in training missions and inter-class rivalry matches) and against the Gallian Revolutionary Army that has split the country into three parts in its bid to overthrow Cordelia.

The plot so far hasn’t been that impressive; it mostly serves as a skeleton on which to hang the meat of the game’s real draw: the missions. I’ve completed more than forty, which means I only have another 160+ missions to go before I’ve finally finished the game. By that time, my copy of the third game will have hopefully arrived on the slow boat from Japan.

While for the most part I think the game is great, there are a couple things that bother me.

The first is the small squad size; in the first game, you could have much larger groups of soldiers, and the battlefields themselves were larger. In Valkyria Chronicles 2, you’re limited to a total of six squad members, and can only have five in the same sub-area of the map. I’m sure this was done because of the difference in hardware capabilities, but it’s still annoying to have to transition from one sub-area to another; I preferred the size of the levels in the PS3 game.

The second is the non-mission gameplay; I don’t have a problem with selecting destinations at the academy from the map, but the portraits used to show characters talking are very limited. I think each character has a handful. The voice acting is also greatly reduced from the first game; aside from story related scenes (and battle voices), not much else is voiced.

Finally, I’m annoyed at having to back out the mission select screen to adjust the equipment on my tank (unless there’s some way to adjust it from that menu that I haven’t found). The tank can be equipped with a lantern (for night missions) or a heater (for snow missions), but you only see what the local conditions are after you’ve entered the briefing proper; to equip your tank for the conditions on the ground, you have to back out, change the equipment, and then re-enter the briefing.

The difficulty is fairly consistent, though some of the story missions are harder than they ought to be for their place in the game.

Those problems aren’t enough to detract (too much) from the experience, though. If you liked the first game, this is a credible sequel. If you never played the first game, then it might take a few battles to get used to the system, but even then you should be enjoying yourself before too long.

04/06/2011

Decisive Battle

by wfgodbold

Just because I haven’t finished Valkyria Chronicles 2 doesn’t mean that I can’t listen to the music! The sequel builds on the quality strategy franchise the first game established, with changes made to accomodate the portable console; maps are smaller, and the graphics aren’t quite as nice.

SEGA also added in the ability to specialize your troops; instead of just the four classes in the original (scouts, shock troops, lancers, and engineers), you can customize your soldiers to better fit your command style.

Two years after the events in Valkyria Chronicles, the Principality of Gallia is still reeling from the war with the Empire. A rebel army has begun purging the small country of anyone with Darcsen blood, and it eventually falls to the main character and his classmates at the Royal Gallian Military Academy to defend the country against the new threat.

Sakimoto continues to compose suitably martial tracks for the series; while he might not be a great fit for Final Fantasy, he definitely has a gift for military-style music.

03/27/2011

Fly Me to the Moon (Climax Mix)

by wfgodbold

Bayonetta, an action game for the 360 and PS3 from SEGA, was advertised as “∞ Climax Action,” and it’s easy to see why; the eponymous heroine punches, kicks, shoots, and magics her way through hordes of angelic foes on her quest to recover her forgotten past (ah, amnesia; is there anything it can’t do?).

Combat is ridiculous and over the top; Bayonetta’s main weapons are four guns. She wields one in each hand, and has some contraption on her high heels to let her fire the guns strapped to the backs of her ankles.

Yes. Her ankles.

shamelessly stolen from IGN.com.

Fortunately, the action is too fast-paced for you to realize how ridiculous the premise is; unlike Wile. E. Coyote, she never looks down and notices that the ground is gone and only air remains. The Rule of Cool strikes again!

In the prologue and occasionally throughout the game, the soundtrack plays a cover/remix of Frank Sinatra’s classic song, Fly Me to the Moon. The cover is decent enough, but the idea of flipping around blasting angels to classic music is bizarre.

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