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  • Gundam vs Gundam – PSP review
    By on November 20th, 2008 | 9 Comments9 Comments Comments

    Gundam vs Gundam screenshot Gundam vs Gundam screenshot Gundam vs Gundam screenshot

    Previous Gundam related games like Gundam Seed: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. Portable, Gundam Battle Royale and Gundam Battle Tactics were all great games, specially Gundam Seed: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. Portable that had, at the time, the latest mobile suits from the Gundam Seed series. Now, Gundam vs Gundam, the newest Gundam game has released for the PlayStation Portable in Japan (no date for North American release yet). Is this one worth buying at all? Read on…..

    For those that haven’t played the games or even heard of Gundams before, they are basically transformers but only look 100x better. The games mentioned above basically put you in one of the mobile suits, not necessary Gundams because there are different robots in the series. You will be controlling and fighting against one of the other sides, usually two sides each with different mobile suits and mobile armor (these are not necessary robots but can be fighter planes etc). Its really a third person shooter, just replace human/monsters with robots.

    Gundam vs Gundam screenshot Gundam vs Gundam screenshot Gundam vs Gundam screenshot

    If I remember correctly, this game was originally from the arcade and it was ported over to the PlayStation 2, then to the PSP. Gundam Seed: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. Portable was a great game that offered hours of play time and great replay value because you can upgrade many of your mobile suits’ stats such as how fast the weapon can fire, more ammo, more fire power as well as more health, jump higher and more booster power etc. This is pretty much level grinding though, which I think was necessary in order to pass some of the harder levels.

    Game play
    Gundam vs Gundam is really just the arcade version ported over to the PSP. At first I thought there was a story mode just like Gundam Seed: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. Portable. I should have figured that out from the name of the game, stupid me. The controls are basically the same or really similar to the other games though – jump, boost, shoot, melee, shoot 2, special shot, special melee and special. The three specials are hard to execute because you have to hold triangle, plus either the shoot or melee. The special move is slightly easier and its executed by pressing triangle, square and cross (might as well press your right thumb onto all four buttons)
    I have yet to even execute any of them. How did I even figure out how to execute these hard to do moves? They are actually mentioned in one of the game options. I will update once I figure out how to execute them. I have never had such frustration over special moves from previous Gundam games.

    [Update: I have finally managed to execute the special attack (only when your special gauge is full) by pressing.....L and R together twice]

    Gundam vs Gundam screenshot Gundam vs Gundam screenshot Gundam vs Gundam screenshot

    Aside from the standards, now you can assign orders to your computer teammate, commands like attack, dodge and surprise attack. You can also call in support where an additional mobile suit for a second and throw in a few more shots at your current target, as usual, the calls for support can be recharged with time just like recharging your gun’s ammo. I find the support useful because, if I remember correctly it was able to take the hits for me as well as acting as a decoy for a short time.

    Enough with the controls, the game has three game modes – “normal” mode (I call it the normal mode, was going to say story mode but its not a story) where you fight through 8 stages with the last stage as boss stage, quick play and multiplayer that supports 2 on 2 battles. I think the 2 on 2 is the selling point here, just like the arcade version, the fun is from shooting and slashing other human piloted mobile suits. Once you have selected a mobile suit from the list with 20+ of them and more can be unlocked by completing the “normal” mode. They range from the oldest 0079 series all the way to the newest ones from the Gundam 00 series. The objective of any of these game mode is the same, you and your enemies both have a life bar, you will lose if your side’s life bar reaches 0. When you and/or your teammate dies (same goes for enemies), the amount of life your team loses is based on the mobile suit you picked. The stronger the mobile suit, the higher points its worth, which means when it blows up, your team loses a bigger amount of life. So that means its not always better to pick the strongest from the list. I picked my favorite Freedom Gundam and its worth 3000GP, I lost one of the games once by dying only twice!

    Gundam vs Gundam screenshot Gundam vs Gundam screenshot Gundam vs Gundam screenshot

    In “normal” mode, you will fight in random locations and you will have a random computer mobile suit to fight along side with you. There are a total of 8 stages with the last one being the boss stage. The boss is huge, relative to your mobile suit and it took me 2 tries to beat it, I was one hit away from losing the game for the second time! I guess I just need to practice more with the controls, a training mode would be a perfect game mode for this game.

    Quick play is no brainer, you pick your mobile suit and pick up to 3 other computer to fight with or against you. You can modify options like how long the match lasts for, how fast your special gauge fills up or different stages/music.

    Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to try out the multiplayer.

    Gundam vs Gundam screenshot Gundam vs Gundam screenshot Gundam vs Gundam screenshot

    So as you can see, there isn’t any level grinding here. Although you can still unlock more mobile suits, intro movies, endings and images for the multimedia galleries.

    Graphics and audio
    Graphics are again, PSP quality, the mobile suits are nicely detailed, environments are plain but the game is so fast paced you won’t have time to appreciate or pay attention to, not that there is anything to appreciate here. Music is actually real sound tracks from the Gundam series, so based on which Gundam series’ stage you are fighting in, you will be listening to that series’ soundtrack. The soundtracks bring back a lot of memories by the way.

    Gundam vs Gundam screenshot

    Final verdict
    Overall I think this game is OK. I still prefer Gundam Seed: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. Portable because it has a story mode and level grinding although you can still unlock more mobile suits, maybe its just me. For those that are looking for fast paced arcade style game play, Gundam vs Gundam should suit your needs. Skills really matter in this game since there’s no level grinding where you can easily overpower your enemies by powering up your mobile suits and weapons. If you have lots of Gundam loving friends with PSP, I suggest convincing them to get a copy so up to 4 of you and your friends can fight each other anytime without going to the arcade.


  • Shaun White Snowboarding – PSP review
    By on November 13th, 2008 | 2 Comments2 Comments Comments

    shaun white snowboarding screenshot shaun white snowboarding screenshot shaun white snowboarding screenshot


    I haven’t played another snowboarding game since the SSX 3 from the PlayStation 2, that was one addictive game…while it lasted. Also because lately I have been doing more exercise with my new pair of Vessi Footwear shoes. What a perfect time to release another snowboarding game during or I should say near Winter time. Shaun White Snowboarding, available for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable. As a beginner snowboarder myself, its time for me to play another snowboarding game to get me warmed up…well at least mentally.

    Story and controls
    Well there isn’t really a story, you choose a character out of the initial 3 and there are 6 unlockable characters. Then you will be basically snowboarding your way through 5 different slopes with increasing difficulties, you unlock the next one by completing the current one’s objectives and challenges. Each slope has its own quests and the first slope’s quests are basically tutorials that teach you about 4 basic skills – Speed, Carving, Rail riding and Jump/Grabs. Speed is obvious, basically you collect more points by going as fast as you can, without crashing of course. Carving is, in car term, drifting, but in snow and you get more points by performing near misses such as carving really close to a tree. Rail riding is riding on rails or broken tree branches and performing tricks while keeping yourself balanced by tilting left and right. Finally Jump/Grabs is jumping over ramps and perform tricks. This last skill is the trickiest and hardest to master because it has TONS of combinations. While in the air, you can rotate in all 4 directions, you can grab your board with your left hand, right hand or even both hands. You can combine them and perform something complicated such as rotate left while grabbing the board with your right hand and then rotate back wards while grabbing your board with both hands etc. Of course the trickier stun you can execute, the more points you get.

    shaun white snowboarding screenshot shaun white snowboarding screenshot shaun white snowboarding screenshot

    After each quest, you gain XP, as experience for each skill you have executed, so if you executed Speed skill, you get XP for skill etc. You can then use these XP to either upgrade your current skill level or buy new boards that will boost your skill levels plus other positive or negative boost for other skills. Why negative? If your Carve skill is level 4, some boards will bring your Carve skill back to 3 for example. So choose your board wisely when tackling on a particular slope or quest.

    There is a main objective for each quest and 2 sub objectives which I highly suggest you complete as they unlock new boards with new boost bonuses and they aren’t really that much harder to do, at least for the first 2 slopes.

    The game also supports multiplayer which I have not had a chance to try out unfortunately. But basically there are two modes – Co-op and competitive and I’m sure I don’t have to explain too much here.

    Gameplay, Graphics
    Controls are very easy to get used to, at least in terms of executing basic moves and tricks. Like I said, it will take a bit to master or even get a hang of executing combo moves for LOTS Of POINTS, as the game’s tutorial explains. You can find your fingers pretty busy most of the time, even more so when you are attempting tricky tricks! Overall I think its pretty addictive since there are skills to level up and boards to purchase, collect them all anyone?

    shaun white snowboarding screenshot shaun white snowboarding screenshot shaun white snowboarding screenshot

    Graphics are your typical PSP quality, at least it looks or at least I think its better than Spider-man: Web of Shadows. The game uses “blur” effects to simulate the sense of speed but didn’t quite do as good of a job as Burnout. Burnout is the only game so far that can give me the great sense of speed that I crave for. Your character is very alive though on the other hand, very energetic.

    I wish I could take more in-game pictures but its just too blurry to take them while actually snowboarding. I apologize but you can check out the images for the PSP version at IGN.

    Also your typical snowboarding music, some rock and some techno ones. Gotta love them and would be perfect in combination with the sense of speed if it was done better. Environmental sound is also nicely designed, with the board scratching sound to bird singing but the music is pretty loud so most of the time you will only hear the music and the occasional bumping sound or ice/snow scraping sound.

    shaun white snowboarding screenshot

    Final verdict
    If you are into games and snowboarding, I think Shaun White Snowboarding will not disappoint. With different boards with different attributes to unlock and character leveling, you will have hours upon hours of snowboarding fun…..on a PSP. You might also consider getting this game on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 for better graphics and other features, but if you are looking for on-the-go gaming fun like me, this game should be another worthy game to purchase for your PSP.


  • Spider-Man: Web of Shadows – PSP review
    By on October 28th, 2008 | 1 Comment1 Comment Comments


    I saw the trailer about a month ago and was really impressed, then again, its only a trailer and probably not the PSP version. I took some time to play around with the PSP version of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and I was not impressed. Another disappointment. Again for the PSP version and does not necessary imply the PS3 and the XBox360 versions are just as bad.

    You start off at the top of some building, typical. You will basically be swinging around from left to right or right to left, occasionally you will get inside some buildings, you have your basic punch combos and kick combos by repeatedly pressing square for punch and triangle for kick. You shoot out your web by pressing x, as well as holding a direction and press R to perform web swinging. You can also walk on walls and I had experience a buggy situation where Spidy was literally flying up instead of walking up vertically along the wall.


    Overall the graphics are…well…pass, I think Lego Batman has better graphics than this game. So far I have only seen 3 to 4 variations of enemies PLUS Venom, which is the boss for first level. Oh yea after defeating Venom, you also get infected by the black matter and you can now turn toggle between original Spidy and black spidy with different abilities / attacks by pressing select. And basically you are just moving vertically and horizontally.


    After the first level is complete, you can purchase new skills by spending you good Spidy points and bad spidy points, you can’t purchase good Spidy skills using bad Spidy and vice versa. Now how do you get Spidy points? When you interact with people, you get to choose good answer or bad answer, obviously good answer will give you good Spidy points and bad answer will give you bad Spidy points. You will get more by accepting quests from people that you encounter as well to gain more Spidy points.


    So far that’s all I have discovered after playing Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, it was too linear and down right boring after a while that I’ve decided to turn off my PSP. Oh yea did I mention the voice acting is bad as well? I suggest sticking to the PS3 and/or the XBox360 versions. Or better yet, rent to see if you like it or not.


  • Garnet Chronicle (Japanese version) – PSP revie...
    By on October 25th, 2008 | 2 Comments2 Comments Comments


    Today I had a chance to spend some time on Garnet Chronicle, an anime style RPG game but unfortunately its the Japanese version and as far as I know there is no release date for the English version.

    Story and controls


    Since its in Japanese, I vaguely know what is going on, so far! Your hero character is a knight student from a Knight academy. Your first quest is to bring a recommendation letter from the principle of the academy to the commander somewhere near the village. All of a sudden the entire battalion is being attacked by an evil looking character and his werewolf like companion, to no surprise, the entire battalion is wiped out and of course our main hero survives but barely and saves by a sexy female elf thief/treasure hunter. From then on, she joins you in the quest for the “Stone of the Evil Mind” (sorry that’s a direct translation from Japanese to English). Then once inside the “Tower of Lost” you meet up with another character, this time he’s a wizard class and he joins you afterwords. That’s how far I am in the game.


    The controls are typical walk with your analog stick, R will bring up the map but so far there is no map when venturing inside dungeons, circle is confirm while cross is cancel, typical Japanese style, the American version might have these two buttons reversed. Unfortunately there’s no run button so walking around might feel slow at times. You can also save the game anytime and thankfully the menus are in English as well as the Japanese explanation, only the menus though.

    Game play and graphics
    Game play is pretty much the same old turn based RPG similar to Final Fantasy (up to Final Fantasy X-2 since the battle system has changed starting FF11). You and your enemies will take turns to attack/defend/cast magic on each other. Which is fine except it feels really slow and rather boring, it would make a huge difference if the attack was smoother and faster such that attacks are executed as soon as the one before finished its move. But as you gather more people on your team, the fight gets more interesting and faster so its not too bad after all. Level grinding is also part of the game but not necessary. It is surprisingly fast to level up though, at least for the first 20 or so levels which can really speed up the grinding. As you finish each battle you are rewarded with money, experience, random items and skill points. Skill points can be spent on each character’s skill tree to unlock more powerful attack and support skills. Skill points are shared among all your characters unfortunately! And last but not least money you earned from each battle obviously will be for buying weapons, armors and support items. There are also cards and stones that can enhance your weapons such as turning your sword to have ice element and upgrade your special abilities. Treasure chests are scattered all over the map, inside buildings, out in the woods or anywhere in the villages. Some are less obvious as I have found one hidden one so far.


    One interesting feature that I have never seen before, at least in an RPG, is the “sneak” feature. When you approach your enemies from behind without being spotted, you can deal damage to them before the battle starts. Same applies to the enemies, if they spotted you, they would run to you and if your back is facing them then you will get attacked first. You will know when your enemies have spotted you when an exclamation mark appears on top of their heads. This feature is independent of who attacks first when the battle begins, so that means there’s a chance you can attack twice before an enemies can attack you, same applies to the enemies. If you can utilize this feature you can really gain an upper hand when fighting and makes battles a lot easier.

    Graphics are nothing fancy but well drawn anime style. Everything is 2D based but don’t let that get you because even though the characters are simple 2D sprites, their expressions and body gestures can be seen clearly depend on the situations. There are also nice flashy special effects when your characters use their speical abilities.
    One thing I don’t like is the fact that, all enemies look the same on the map, so you don’t know what kind of enemies you will face until the battle screen comes up. I don’t see why the developers cannot make the enemies show up on the map as well. But then again, what if there are more than one type of enemies, which one would they show? Maybe that’s the reason why.



    Your typical anime music, your characters and enemies will say something before they attack which makes battle less dull. Sometimes your characters will even voice over during conversations. I can imagine the English translation will be bad and takes away the Japanese “atmosphere” just like any other games that went through the Jap to English translation. In general the music is great most of the time, but sometimes they can get a bit too repetitive and get annoying afterwords.

    Final Verdict
    Overall I think this game is worth a try, this type of game is nothing new but the game is still enjoyable. I had problems turning off my PSP until it went out of batteries while playing it. That should give you an idea of how addictive and enjoyable this game is, specially for level grinders like myself. Hopefully the American version will be released soon so you English speaking people can enjoy this game as much as I am now. And for those that can read Chinese, Japanese or don’t care about the story, you should be able to get a copy from ebay or YESASIA.


  • Midnight Club Los Angeles Remix: PSP review
    By on October 24th, 2008 | 1 Comment1 Comment Comments


    I had a chance to play a bit of Midnight Club LA Remix that’s released recently. The game really reminds me of GTA and Burnout Paradise, well go figure. After playing it for about an hour and a half, I called it a quit because I was getting bored and annoyed.


    The game play, as I have mentioned reminds me of GTA and Burnout Paradise because back in the previous Midnight Club games, you would simply go through the story by beating your component(s). Midnight Club Los Angeles Remix allows you to roam freely in a city just like in the other two games, on the map there will be markers showing you where you can race opponents with green being the easiest, yellow is harder and red being the hardest. You flash your lights to initiate the race when you reach the parked area. Even the yellow level isn’t too much of a challenge, haven’t seen any reds though. Conversation between characters is done through a mobile device (T-mobile branded). I have also come across the garage where you can customize just about anything from styling your ride with fancy spoilers, rims, body kits to performance upgrade like intake and turbo etc. I would say the level of customization is quite impressive with so many things you can choose to mod your car.


    The controls are a bit different and takes a bit of time to get used to, strangely the triangle button is now your brake/reverse, L is gear shift, R is your “drift” button while cross is your gas, square is nitro and circle is special ability which I had not had a chance to experience. I find the controls odd and inconvenient even though you can change them. You can also change the music by holding L and choose by pressing up or down key.


    The graphics are in most cases acceptable and nothing eye catching but they look rather nice when at night with all the lighting effects. There is no damage to your car unlike Burnout, you will only see pieces of glass fly out from no where and your car will never be totaled, at least I wasn’t able to. If you manage to hit another car head on at full speed, the worst that will happen is slowing your car down which is really unrealistic. Unlike Burnout, Midnight Club LA does not have sense of speed at all, maybe because I started out with a somewhat slow ’98 240SX?


    As you can tell, I am kind of disappointed at this new Midnight Club, at least for the PSP version, maybe because I was never a fan of this type of racing games and Midnight Club. But the game play and the graphics both contribute to why I managed to bored and annoyed of this game in less than two hours. Maybe its just me but I suggest you rent this one before you actually buy it for your PSP. Otherwise you might as well play GTA or Burnout Paradise instead.



  • LEGO Batman review for PSP
    By on September 25th, 2008 | 4 Comments4 Comments Comments

    LEGO was part of my childhood, it was and still is an innovative toy. When you combine LEGO with Batman, the result is an extremely addictive game with so many features to keep you from turning off your PSP.

    I have never played LEGO Star Wars but I’ve played LEGO Indiana Jones (demo). I think LEGO Indiana Jones is an average game, probably because I am not a huge fan of the series. On the other hand, I’ve always loved Batman series so its only naturally for me to love LEGO Batman as well.

    lego batman lego batman

    Story and controls
    The story is no brainer, all your well known villains are in this game including Penguin, Poison Ivy, Joker, Riddler, Clayface and Mr.Freeze are here terrorizing Gotham City. Your job obviously is to clean up the mess. The controls are very simple with jump, punch and switch between the two characters etc. Anyone will be able to figure out the controls almost immediately. Tips will show up when you are near key areas so most of the time you will know what to do and how to get to a particular area. Player friendly is one of the reasons why I think this game is worth the money. Auto aim also exists so that your character will punch whatever is breakable (if in range).

    lego batman lego batman

    Game play and graphics
    As I mentioned the controls are easy to get a hang on, this also makes the game play more enjoyable because you can actually PLAY the game instead of constantly trying to figure out what is what. I assume because the target audience is kids since its rated E for everyone. When you destroy objects, you will get LEGO pieces, those are actually your money that you can spend on upgrading your suits and other “toys”. This greatly increases the replay value of this game because of the unlockable and upgradable items. After the first chapter, you are given either to continue to next chapter or back to the Batcave. Instead of picking continue which will load the next chapter, you can save the game and enter your Batcave.

    After finishing the first episode as Batman/Robin, you can then play as Riddler/Clayface by unlocking the option in the Batcave or you can choose to continue with the other two Batman episodes.

    lego batman lego batman

    lego batman lego batman

    The Batcave is amazingly designed with detailed textures (when comparing to PS2 graphics) and the cave is really big separated by different areas. The main area will allow you to pick one of the 3 episodes using one of Batman’s vehicles which are made of LEGO. You can jump from episode to episode and don’t have to play them in order. You can also go back to the mansion and check your trophies from your accomplishments.

    Aside from having detailed buildings, the characters all have detailed facial expressions as well which make the cut scenes so much more fun to watch (the cut scenes are hilarious by the way!).

    lego batman lego batman

    The Batman themed music is pretty much from the Batman movies starred Michael Keaton (personally I think he was the best Batman) if not exactly the same. The music is so good that as I’m writing this review, its still in my head playing non stop. But I’m guessing I might get bored of it sooner or later.

    lego batman lego batman

    Final verdict
    LEGO Batman is a perfect casual game for those looking to kill some time. It might not have online component but the shear amount of unlockables will keep you playing for hours and hours. I also suggest you buy this game for PSP instead of for PS3 and/or XBOX360 because it doesn’t utilize the graphic capabilities of the two next-gen consoles. So there is no point getting it for them but to get it for your PSP and even the DS if you have one. I am sure I have not covered EVERYTHING this game has to offer but I hope this helps those that are planning/thinking about getting this game a bit.

    I also want to apologize for the quality of the pictures as I took them using my digital camera while playing the game.


  • New PSP coming out in two months (Japan)
    By on September 2nd, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    Sony PSP-3000 will be released in Japan on October 16th. The newest version features faster response time, higher contrast and color depth that result in better display quality. It also has an anti reflective screen, I’m guessing its something similar to the TFT technology on most of Sony Ericsson’s cellphones starting from the T630. Video-out option now supports outputting to analogue televisions as oppose to only progressive televisions.

    Display improvement aside, a built-in internal microphone will also included in the new PSP located just below the screen which supports Skype.

    The new PSP will come in three colors – Piano Black, Pearl White (my favorite) and Mystic Silver. Again in two trims – the basic version with the PSP, AC adapter and a battery while a value pack will have all those plus strap, cloth for cleaning the screen, a nice pouch (specially the white one) and a 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo which is something extra. It used to come with a 256MB one if I remember correctly.

    I am happy Sony is adding so much more features to the PSP, features that will actually be useful! Unfortunately I’ve already got one, the oldest version in Pearl White.

  • Lucky Japanese PSP owners get free WiFi access
    By on August 25th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    Sony, BestBuy and Spanish based WiFi provider FON have joined forces to provide free family wifi access for PSP owners in Japan. Imagine surfing the net, watching streaming music and movies on the go! But in Japan only, which is somewhat expected since Japan has a history of keeping the goodies to themselves. For those lucky enough to be in Japan and own a PSP, they will also be able to download custom Dissidia: Final Fantasy themes which the game itself will be released in December. I wouldn’t have heard of a new Final Fantasy release if it wasn’t for this WiFi deal.

    It would be great if this offer became available to us in North America, but chances are pretty slim in my opinion, at least it won’t be free. One reason is that Japan is much smaller than say, Canada, so setting up those hot spots is much easier and less costly. They are already setup in Japan which made the setup even easier. Its just a matter of integrating with each other’s system.

    Although we will most likely not get this free WiFi access anytime soon. It is still good news to those living in Japan, again the Japanese always gets the goodies. :) Think I have one more reason to go to Japan since I have a Japanese version PSP.