Archive for February, 2013

The Golden Difference(s)

There is quite a lot that has changed in Persona 4 Golden since it was just Persona 4 on the Playstation 2. So much so, in fact, that I thought the changes deserved their own article. For those who have played some or all of the original game, this list may help you decide whether the revised game is worth getting at all. I’m going to try to be exhaustive here but may miss a few.

Indeed, kitten.

Indeed, kitten.

I’ve divided the list into three sections: the small changes, the medium-sized changes and the big changes.

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Game Review: Persona 4 Golden

This Vita gem was scheduled to be released in Australia today, but it has already been in stores for a couple of days. The Americans got it last November and I imported it back then so I could finish it by our release date. Easier said than done, but here we are.

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Platform:
PSV
Developer:
Atlus
Rating: M
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IZANAGI!

From the unhinged people who brought you Catherine!

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It’s a hectic week.
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High school life never slows down. My teachers are irritating and they keep picking on me to answer questions I have no idea about. I have to attend drama and soccer practice as regularly as I can, because they improve my expression and diligence. I should try to help out my classmates who need to find all manner of trinkets, but exams are coming up so I really should study. I should also make time to hang out with friends, but things don’t pay for themselves, so I have to work hard at a part time job. Oh, and I need to fuse a decent Persona so I can beat a grotesque shadow monster when I next go inside a TV at the local department store.

Such is the bizarre equation of Persona 4 Golden, a truly fantastic entry in one of gaming’s most unique RPG series.

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Oscars 2013 Reactions – Almost Live!

So I missed the live broadcast of the Oscars this morning on account of work, but I’ve been pretty successful in keeping a media blackout going, so I shall now watch the recorded version and write my thoughts on the big awards here as I see them, then post them tonight. How exciting!

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz

This one was arguably pretty open but I was still surprised that the favourite, Tommy Lee Jones, didn’t win. Very pleasantly surprised, that is, because Christoph Waltz was AWESOME in Diango Unchained and I had pretty much assumed that the Academy would ignore his turn because he had already won quite recently. Two wins from two nominations!

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K-Packaged

Yes, looks like another K-Pop post. But this time I’m not writing about the music. I’m even not writing about the people who perform the music. Today I’m writing about just how damn shinily those Koreans wrap up their products. Because it is, quite frankly, on another level, and it is, quite honestly, ridiculous.

At the end of last year I touched on just how important presentation can be to me in my Top Ten Game Cases of 2012 list. I’m the kind of person who genuinely got goosebumps at Apple’s colour-soaked iPod Nano ads from the latter part of the last decade. Good presentation is like a drug to me; it’s a weakness, God knows it really is.

Anyway, yesterday, this happened:

Kpopsplurge1

No really, I can explain.

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The Playstation Vita: One Year On

Two posts today, methinks.

It’s hard to believe that it has already been one full year since the launch of Sony’s latest and greatest dedicated gaming handheld, the Playstation Vita. 366 days ago I was quivering with excitement at the thought of a shiny new piece of tech and, aside from hours worth of initial setup, I was not disappointed. You can read my day one impressions of the system here and my first month impressions here.

Now wouldn’t it be nice if I could write a lovely piece about all the ways the system has moved ahead in leaps and bounds since launch, building on its rather strong start to etch out an authoritative corner of the gaming space, in doing so announcing itself as a must-have piece of hardware?

Yes, yes it would. However, this simply isn’t the case.

Apt.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore my Playstation Vita and in the last two months, I haven’t played any other console nearly as much. This is mostly due to the excellent Persona 4 Golden, which I am very nearly finished and very nearly ready to review, but I digress. Aside from that Atlus gem, there has been precious little gaming content to write home about. To put things into perspective, though the Vita did have a very compelling launch lineup, in the space of a year the amount of Vita-specific games you can buy for your handheld has barely doubled. There are some worthwhile titles there, such as Gravity Rush, Assassin’s Creed Liberation and LittleBigPlanet, but outside of games you can also buy on your PS3 the list doesn’t go on much farther than that.

This isn’t the last you’ll hear from me about the Vita for the conceivable future, as I’m thinking of doing a comparison article with the 3DS for the benefit of people trying to toss up which system to get. But as for a standalone anniversary article, there just isn’t enough content to fill one out, sadly. Happy first birthday Vita. I hope by the time we get to your second there will be a lot more to celebrate.

A Hole Filled

Credit to deviantart’s alicexz

A few days ago, after over a decade of sporadic chances to do so, I finally watched Disney’s “animated classic” Mulan for the first time. I watched it on the big screen no less, as part of Event Cinemas’ Disney Princess festival. It was all kinds of awesome, which wasn’t entirely unexpected, but watching it at my age, with my catalogue of film watching experience (*adjusts monacle*), made me notice some interesting stuff. Here I shall rant a little about them. There might be spoilers here, but come on, who in their right mind wouldn’t have seen this movie by now?

1. It looks amazing.

I did experience it in a cinematic atmosphere, so that is probably a factor here, but I flat out did not expect to be so floored by Mulan‘s visuals. I mean, this is a 14 year old movie we’re talking about. It reminded me of how good Disney’s hand-drawn craftsmanship can look and, perhaps more surprisingly, its liberal use of the kind of CGI seen in the famous Wildebeest scene in The Lion King didn’t actually look that dated (probably because it’s combined with said craftsmanship). The film’s city finale in particular really made an impression on me. Continue reading

The VR K-Pop Starter’s Guide

So we are now a week and a half into the Year of the Snake (the year in which I was born, incidentally). To celebrate the Lunar New Year I thought I’d post something with an East Asian flavour and I had this in the pipeline for a while, so here goes. Took me way too long to compile, this one.

So you’re aware of this whole K-Pop thing. You’ve seen Gangnam Style a hundred times and maybe you think there’s something you might enjoy in the genre. Perhaps you have a friend who listens to the stuff and you’re interested in what the fuss is about. Or, perchance, you’ve read my own reasoning for being a fan (a guy can dream) and it has piqued your interest. Regardless, you might be wondering where to start. Well, look no further.
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THE ESSENTIALS

Before you read anything else, watch these clips.

Gee – Girls’ Generation

WHY IT’S A BIG DEAL: This 2009 mega-hit was the most viewed K-Pop video on Youtube before PSY decided to riff on the Korean elite. It was partially responsible for the whole phenomenon of easily accessible Youtube K-Pop, plus it was the first K-Pop song to make any significant impact on the Japanese charts (the second-biggest music market in the world, apparently). It established Girls’ Generation (also known as SNSD) as a group at the very forefront of Korean pop music. Suffice to say they haven’t looked back.
LIKE IT? Check out some of Girls’ Generation’s other hits, such as Genie, Run Devil Run and Hoot. If you like the cutesy style of the clip, well, welcome to like a third of all K-Pop. You’ll be right at home.

I am the Best – 2NE1

WHY IT’S A BIG DEAL: Just compare this to the previous video. 2NE1 are K-Pop’s most successful “attitude girls”, going for a look and style that inspired a shift in girl group presentation back when they debuted in 2009. This is their biggest hit thus far, released in 2011, and its meticulously crafted swagger is truly something to behold.
LIKE IT? For more 2NE1 ‘tude, have a look at Fire and Hate You. If you’re after more of this kind of devil-may-care style, head the way of Miss A and GLAM.

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