Soul Calibur 4 Released!

SC4 is out for 360 and PS3!  I’m going the 360 route (Yoda!) as I have no PS3.  Hilde looks like a great new character so I’m dying to try her out.

UPDATE INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

I beat normal story with Hilde, Yoda, and Seong Mi-na.  I beat hard story mode with Xianghua then arcade with Cervantes.

Hilde was interesting but she doesn’t have as “artistic” moves as like Seong/Kilik with her spear.  Her attacks felt very quick and didn’t have as many natural feeling or wide arcing hits as with a long polearm character.  In this regard she felt more like a Street Fighter character where your combos are a combination of swift non-link-animated attacks if that made sense. I don’t know any of her moves and didn’t pour over her list of moves so this is a very immature glance at the character.  I bet she is waaaaaaaaay cooler in the hands of a skilled player.  UPDATE I take back all the mean things I said, she has some pretty nice combos actually.

Yoda was somewhat akward in the sense that his moves required him to jump up to hit at the normal level which made his initial attacks feel a little slower.  He’s a funny character for sure though but he telegraphs his upward attacks moreso than any other character because of the jumping.

Mi-na is one of my better characters though I use the term loosely because I’m not at all the caliber of player that can waltz into an EVO match and do well.  I thought one of her moves for a cartwheel was Forward and B+K but maybe they took it out or it’s rebound to another key config.  EDIT: Discovered it on Kilik. Either way, one of my favorite staple moves was gone when I was playing but overall she had a lot of her other familiar moves from previous games.

Xianghua felt great but again, one of my favorite moves (up and kick) is now something slightly new.  Overall she feels as elegant as before and doesn’t feel like too much changed from the time I played her before.

Cervantes also feels very familiar and the usual moves I do or can do were all there.

Critical executions or whatever they’re calling them weren’t as easy to pull off.  I thought from reading the screen that all you had to do was bring their block gauge all the way down to red and press all 4 buttons but that did nothing, so I’m unsure how to pull the move off.  I hear you have to break all their armor too.  UPDATE: I find that I can do it if their gauge is flashing red and you’ve JUST broken their armor and they haven’t fallen to the ground yet.  Meaning you need to break a piece of armor and not have finished a combo that will floor them, which is actually quite tricky, then hit all the buttons at once.

Ring outs are far harder to pull off.  It’s like there’s an invisible wall there now so it should be much more rewarding to pull off a ring out since it’s not at all as easy as it used to be.

Character customization is SO cool now.  You can even customize the main roster however you want and save them as seperate profiles.  I haven’t touched it very much, I mainly used my money from the story mode playthrough to unlock a majority of the characters (dumb).  But from my impressions it should be interesting to go online and see what people create.  I think my custom made character will be Kenshin.  EDIT: I made Kenji (Kenshin’s son) instead =)

There’s a lot going on with this version and yet at the same time I feel like I’m missing something from other versions.  Single player had Story/Arcade and 2 other modes.  For some reason I feel like there was more single player stuff in SC3, but maybe I’m imagining it.  I actually only put maybe 10 hours into it and stopped playing.  I’m more compelled to play SC4 with online play and achievements.

Drift linked this to me: How to get characters/achievements/treasures

Picasa vs Flickr vs Gallery

Currently I use Gallery, though it could use an update in version, but I’m looking at moving to Picasa or Flickr to host images.  Though I currently don’t have a lot of images, that may change in the future.  I do need to know how easy it is to upload images, how many you can batch upload at a time (Gallery version I have limits to like 10 images at a time or something, it’s been a while), and how much storage space each one allows.  Gallery is limited to what my webhost allows while the others may have significantly larger amounts of space.

From initial glances, it looks like Flickr has far better support for things like WordPress integration.  Picasa, I’ve heard, is an overall better experience though.  So I’ll have to check into all of them and we’ll see.  My image gallery may see some hiccups though (hopefully not since I don’t have any of those images backed up anymore) while I fiddle with the upgrade.

If anyone has any insight on the various photo hosting solutions let me know.  Thanks!

Flickr Page | Picasa Album

UPDATE

Here’s what I found out so far.

Flickr allows 100MB of storage with an option of purchasing a premium account for more space.  It seems to indicate 100MB per month so I dunno if it’s increased each month.  I’ll find out next month.  Flickr’s uploading utility is quite nice for batch uploads as well as new album creation.  Overall the experience is nice but very basic and straightforward.  I didn’t find any of the nice plugins for WordPress yet much to other user’s claims.

Picasa: This is a combination solution for on and offline photo management.  The software you get from Google is really sophisticated and offers by far a greater set of tools to tweak your images.  Crop, straighten, redeye reduction, auto contrast/color, effects such as sepia and glow are all included.  You get 1GB of storage online which seems like it’s more than enough for me.  It generates albums based on the folder structure you’ve created then you can push images up to the web for online viewing.

Gallery 2 moves from flat file management to a database management and restricts me to the size of the database (which I only have one covering both WordPress and phpbb now) I use.  Gallery 1 limits me to the size of webspace storage I have using a flat file management system. I won’t be making the upgrade to Gallery 2 since looking at Flickr/Picasa I can have potentially vastly larger storage space.

Another image hosting place I haven’t looked at is photobucket so I’ll have to do some research there later.  The nice thing about Picasa and Flickr are that they use accounts I’ve already established with google and yahoo respectively.  Account management is an issue for me and while it’s not favorable to have all your eggs in one basket, it’s also just easier to know that there are all these great services that are linked by your semi-universal accounts.

Final Fantasy 4 DS Released

I got my copy and am loving it so far.  The difficulty is harder than the GBA port which is a welcomed change considering I blew through the game in under 15 hours.  However, for novices I expect a nice 25-30 hour romp with this classic.

Need help with the Rydia math minigame?  http://nenem.jp/dsff4/eq10.cgi

Site Upgrade Complete!

Well, mostly complete.  There’s still some stuff to work on.

To Do:

  • Create archival page for all CuteNews content
  • Digg Integration
  • Migration of Links
  • Update About page
  • Update Project page

There’s some cool new things I can do now which is update the site via the iPod Touch if I’m in an area where I have a wifi connection.  The more tag seems to work as well so I can have sort of spoiler-ish posts with hidden info when I’m talking about whatever show/movie/game I’m watching/playing.  There’s a far better image uploading system as well so I can post my low quality camera phone pictures.  I should really invest in a digital camera.

Dark Knight Review

Short Version
Loved it, go watch it. Kinda long but that’s not a complaint.

Long Version

Read the rest of this entry

Site Upgrades

Well, I’m researching new content management systems and so far I guess WordPress is going to be the winner. I’ll be working on migration over the next two weeks or so and expect a rollout in August. Hopefully everything will be nice and tidy afterwards.

UPDATE: Or I can just roll it out in a matter of days because of the ease of implementation. There’s no import feature for my old CMS so I have to rig the site up to accomodate the old posts. However, moving forward, everything should be far far smoother.

E3 News Day 2

Nintendo News

Animal Crossing City Folk

A sequel to Animal Crossing is coming out WITH an all new peripheral for the Wii, the WiiSpeak community microphone. My concern with the mic is appears to prop up on your TV or something. I can’t imagine running the cord so far over to a coffee table with everything else on the Wii being fairly cord management free. So the real concern is if it picks up voices well over background noise. As far as Animal Crossing goes, I may pass on this iteration. I loved the first one, but I may have outgrown it.

The sequel to Wii Sports is coming out touting a good reason to get the motion plus sensor. Wii Sports Resort will have a frisbee game, jetskii game, and a sword game hopefully among others.

Nintendo also announces GTA: Chinatown Wars for the DS. No comment for me at the moment. Honestly the last GTA games I played and liked were 1 and 2 with the overhead views. But to be fair, I never played the rest, just watched for a bit.

Miyamoto showed off Wii Music which allows you to play 50 instruments with no added peripherals asides from the balance board. The video I watched was amusing and that was pretty much it. It’s interesting you can control tempo but I think the song selection is very rated G and not as popular as the Guitar Hero/Rock Band selections. I think this is good for the under 10 year old crowd to get them into a more classical background into music but the real fun will lie in Rock Band for myself.

A sequel to Guitar Hero On Tour will be coming out this year, On Tour Decades. While I didn’t buy On Tour, the fact that it had 4 buttons and the song selection made me stay away from it. The songs were easy or the hard songs only coupled with 4 buttons didn’t sit well for me. Plus the other blow/yell into the mic gameplay was a negative.

Sony News

PS3 Greatest Hits at $30

Playstation 3’s response to Netflix: PSN Video

Sony is releasing a new 80GB PS3 to retail for $399. The bad news, same hardware as the 40GB which means no PS2 backwards compatibility as I understand it. This will only add confusion because the 80GB you get with the MSG4 bundle does have backwards compatibility.

God of War 3 was announced for PS3.

Videos!


E3 News Day 1

Rock Band 2 News

Press Release

The best news so far is that for a nominal ($5 I think) fee, Rock Band 2 users can extract most of the Rock Band 1 songs onto their hard drive so you won’t have to swap discs. The second best news is that world tour is online. The rest of the great news is, customizable playlists, battle of the bands, and after the game ships, 20 songs will be available for free, although this last bit of news is very sketchy making me wonder if they’ll be all available immediately or have staggered releases.

The full setlist is as follows:

1. AC/DC “Let There Be Rock” 1970s
2. AFI “Girl’s Gone Grey” 2000’s
3. Alanis Morissette “You Oughta Know” 1990’s
4. Alice in Chains “Man in the Box” 1990’s
5. Allman Brothers “Ramblin’ Man” 1970’s
6. Avenged Sevenfold “Almost Easy” 2000’s
7. Bad Company “Shooting Star” 1970’s
8. Beastie Boys “So Whatcha Want” 1990’s
9. Beck “E-Pro” 2000’s
10. Bikini Kill “Rebel Girl” 1990’s
11. Billy Idol “White Wedding Pt. I” 1980’s
12. Blondie “One Way or Another” 1970’s
13. Bob Dylan “Tangled Up in Blue” 1970’s
14. Bon Jovi “Livin’ on a Prayer” 1980’s
15. Cheap Trick “Hello There” 1970’s
16. Devo “Uncontrollable Urge” 1980’s
17. Dinosaur Jr. “Feel the Pain” 1990’s
18. Disturbed “Down with the Sickness” 2000’s
19. Dream Theater “Panic Attack” 2000’s
20. Duran Duran “Hungry Like the Wolf” 1980’s
21. Elvis Costello “Pump It Up” 1970’s
22. Fleetwood Mac “Go Your Own Way” 1970’s
23. Foo Fighters “Everlong” 1990’s
24. Guns N’ Roses “Shackler’s Revenge” 2000’s
25. Interpol “PDA” 2000’s
26. Jane’s Addiction “Mountain Song” 1980’s
27. Jethro Tull “Aqualung” 1970’s
28. Jimmy Eat World “The Middle” 2000’s
29. Joan Jett “Bad Reputation” 1980’s
30. Journey “Anyway You Want It” 1970’s
31. Judas Priest “Painkiller” 1990’s
32. Kansas “Carry On Wayward Son” 1970’s
33. L7 “Pretend We’re Dead” 1990’s
34. Lacuna Coil “Our Truth” 2000’s
35. Linkin Park “One Step Closer” 2000’s
36. Lit “My Own Worst Enemy” 1990’s
37. Lush “De-Luxe” 1990’s
38. Mastodon “Colony of Birchmen” 2000’s
39. Megadeth “Peace Sells” 1980’s
40. Metallica “Battery” 1980’s
41. Mighty Mighty Bosstones “Where’d You Go” 1990’s
42. Modest Mouse “Float On” 2000’s
43. Motorhead “Ace of Spades” 1980’s
44. Nirvana “Drain You” 1990’s
45. Norman Greenbaum “Spirit in the Sky” 1960’s
46. Panic at the Disco “Nine in the Afternoon” 2000’s
47. Paramore “That’s What You Get” 2000’s
48. Pearl Jam “Alive” 1990’s
49. Presidents of the USA “Lump” 1990’s
50. Rage Against the Machine “Testify” 1990’s
51. Ratt “Round & Round” 1980’s
52. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give it Away” 1990’s
53. Rise Against “Give it All” 2000’s
54. Rush “The Trees” 1970’s
55. Silversun Pickups “Lazy Eye” 2000’s
56. Smashing Pumpkins “Today” 1990’s
57. Social Distortion “I Was Wrong” 1990’s
58. Sonic Youth “Teenage Riot” 1980’s
59. Soundgarden “Spoonman” 1990’s
60. Squeeze “Cool for Cats” 1970’s
61. Steely Dan “Bodhitsattva” 1970’s
62. Steve Miller Band “Rock’n Me” 1970’s
63. Survivor “Eye of the Tiger” 1980’s
64. System of a Down “Chop Suey” 2000’s
65. Talking Heads “Psycho Killer” 1970’s
66. Tenacious D “Master Exploder” 2000’s
67. Testament “Souls of Black” 1990’s
68. The Donnas “New Kid in School” 2000’s
69. The Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat” 1980’s
70. The Grateful Dead “Alabama Getaway” 1980’s
71. The Guess Who “American Woman” 1970’s
72. The Muffs “Kids in America” 1990’s
73. The Offspring “Come Out & Play (Keep ‘em Separated)” 1990’s
74. The Replacements “Alex Chilton” 1980’s
75. The Who “Pinball Wizard” 1960’s

Bonus Artist Bonus Song Title Decade

76. Abnormality “Visions” 2000’s
77. Anarchy Club “Get Clean” 2000’s
78. Bang Camaro “Night Lies” 2000’s
79. Breaking Wheel “Shoulder to the Plow” 2000’s
80. The Libyans “Neighborhood” 2000’s
81. The Main Drag “A Jagged Gorgeous Winter” 2000’s
82. Speck “Conventional Lover” 2000’s
83. The Sterns “Supreme Girl” 2000’s
84. That Handsome Devil “Rob the Prez-O-Dent” 2000’s

Final Fantasy XIII

Turns out FFXIII will come to the Xbox360 and not be a PS3 exclusive (except in Asia). This makes sense since the install base for PS3 is so bad here that if you want to make money it has to be ported to a more popular platform.

Xbox360 Updates

More 360 news, the dashboard will be getting an update adding avatars, larger group chat, and the ability to install games to the hard drive. BUT WAIT, installing to the hard drive is purely for loading times as you are still required to have the game disc in the drive for verification. Nuts. Netflix has also partnered with Microsoft for really sweet on demand video streaming. The 360 is a pretty sweet console and it’s feature set gets more and more impressive.

Misc News

Resident Evil 5 due out March 13th, 2009

Van Halen and The Eagles are exclusive to Guitar Hero World Tour.

Nintendo announces a new Wiimote addon that adds far more motion sensitivity allowing for a 1:1 experience. I wonder if this means you won’t need the sensor bar. Additionally, I wonder if it has a pass-through for nunchuck attachment.

Videos!

And that about wraps up day 1’s news of interest to me.

Rock Band 2 Setlist So Far

“Panic Attack” – Dream Theater (or Finger Eleven)
“Chop Suey” – System of a Down
“Give It Away” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Everlong” – Foo Fighters
“Kids in America” – Kim Wilde
“Ace of Spades” – Motorhead
“Hello There” – Cheap Trick
“Any Way You Want It” – Journey
“Pinball Wizard” – The Who
“One Step Closer” – Linkin Park
“Peace Sells” – Megadeth
“Testify” – Rage Against the Machine
“American Woman” – The Guess Who or Lenny Kravitz
“White Wedding” – Billy Idol
“You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morisette
“Aqualung” – Jethro Tull
“Bad Reputation” – Thin Lizzy or Joan Jett
“We Got the Beat” – The Go-Go’s
“Man in the Box” – Alice in Chains
“Spoonman” – Soundgarden
“Drain You” – Nirvana

Man, it’s looking good so far. Testify and Spoonman are gonna get worn out I assure you. =)

Chrono Trigger DS

UPDATE!

CONFIRMED!

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Coming out this holiday season in North America supposedly as well!

http://www.square-enix.co.jp/ctds/

Chrono Trigger DS? I hope so! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Square Enix! Me love you long time!!