slycat: (LocoRoco)
I've not posted here for a while, but then I've not done much worth recording.  I did go to Thorpe Park again on the 13th with [livejournal.com profile] arakinuk and [livejournal.com profile] yagfox, but otherwise not done much.

What I have been thinking about is what mobile phone I want to get next.  I'm pretty much sold on the Nokia brand for my next phone as I am so used to the interface but there's 2 phones out there I want to get.  When it comes to phones, I have to be honest, I don't use them much for their primary use of talking to people.  I don't generally speak with many people on the phone with a few exceptions, I'm more likely to text people.  Anyway, where I don't use a phone much for calls, I do love my gadgest, and so there's 2 new smartphones from Nokia which I've got my eye on.  I need to decide which I want though.

Firstly there's the N80 which has just come out which literally does everything you would ever expect a phone to do with the added bonus of a 3mp camera and wi-fi.  It's got a gorgeous screen and is a slide style of phone (which I've liked since the old Nokia 7110).  The other option is the N93 which is supposedly out sometime in July.  It's got all the features of the N80, but has a larger screen (with a lower resolution), 3x optical zoom in the camera as well as autofocus, can play awesome games and can record DVD quality 30fps 640x480 video.  The downsides are that it's pretty large, not out yet and is a clamshell.  Personally I'm fairly adverse to clamshells as they generally seem girly to me.  Realistically though I don't need the camera, as nice as it would be.  If I really need to use a quality digital camera, my digital camera can do the same but with a better lense and resolution.  I also don't need a phone that can play graphically amazing games, as I have PSP (and shortly a DS Lite, read below for that) for that.  No doubt the N93 will cost more too, so with all things considered I'm undecided.  The sensible side of me says get the N80, but the irrational side of me says get the N93.  Ah, I'll probably give it a month and reconsider I think, my problem is that I always want to have the latest and greatest thing.

Which nicely leads me on to the fact that the Nintendo DS Lite had a European release date announced today.  It's going to cost £99 (€149), will come out on 23rd June and will be available in iPod White and PSP Black.  As it seems we're the only region to get the Black, I've preordered that.  It'll go nicely with the PSP and personally, I detest the "fashionable" pearl white colour.  No this doesn't mean I'm ditching the PSP, I think that both platforms excel at different game types.  The DS is good for quirky, unique but effectively simple games (admittedly more suited to when you just want a quick game) and the PSP is best suited to fun immersive 3D games such as Daxter, Katamari and Outrun.  I still play the PSP, even the older games like Lumines, but I often feel like I never give it the time it deserves.

I've already got a big list of games on the DS I'm interested in including Phoenix Wright, Trauuma Centre, Brain Training, Tetris, Advance Wars, Mario Kart, New Mario Bros, Elite Beat Agents and of course Zelda.  Not got any of them yet, or even ordered them.  Obviously I can't have them all (especially when they aren't out like with New Mario, Elite Beat Agents and Zelda) so I need to decide what will be good as an all rounder before delving into other games.  Maybe I can get some advice in that department, I pretty much like the more unusual puzzle like games.

Elsewhere, I almost bought an Xbox 360 from Game.Net last Friday during their 24hours sale.  They had 10 360 premiums going for £220 but they all went in less than a minute :P.  Probably for the best really as I don't really need a 360 yet.  I'd be buying it for their Live Arcade if I got one one as there's no really inspiring games on it at the moment.  I will get one eventually and also a Wii I expect.  Doubt I'll be in a hurry to get a PS3 though due to their price point and relatively dull games, I think Sony may have lost the ball with the next generation.

Anyway, that's it for now. Until next time :)
slycat: (LocoRoco)
I downloaded the first downloadable demo available for the PSP this evening in the form of a demo of LocoRoco (click that link for a fun site!).  I had seen screen shots of the game before but I wasn't overly convinced as to how it would actually play.  However, now I've got to play the first level, I'm utterly convinced.  It's insanely cute to the level that the "character" you control can be seen singing along to the music which happily plays in the background.  As a demo level, it introduces you to the mechanics of the game which basically involves you tilting the world using the L & R buttons to roll the character on a 2D world to collect items which increase your character's size.  At any time, you can push the O button to split into smaller parts to negate parts of the level.  There's plenty of secret things to find which makes the game more interesting.  All the visuals are very simple and low colour but used to great effect to create a unique cartoony style.  Like the main character, everything is blobby and cute and the way you interact with the surroundings is done very well.  I'm looking forward to seeing this one come out, allegedly on the 24th June in this country.

Anyway, for the PSP owners out there wanting to give it a go, follow the instructions at Eurogamer and enjoy.  Warning, version 2.7 of the firmware is required, but frankly I've long not cared about homebrew now.
slycat: (Dizzy!)
Gitaroo-Man Live!

Finally they're releasing more games I was fond of from the PS2 but in PSP form.  I love the quirkier kinda games, which I have been rather jealous of the DS for but at least with the addition of Gitaroo-Man, things are improving.  Now all I need is a version of Frequency to be ported over and I'll never need to get a PS2 :P

Edit: Pre-ordered from Lik Sang as it's the only place with it listed and willing to ship to the UK.
slycat: (Dizzy!)
I finally got my copy of Outrun 2006 Coast 2 Coast for my PSP today, but before I mention how good it is, I've not mentioned how good Daxter for PSP is, which I've had for a few weeks now.  Now, I'm not normally a fan of 3D platformer type games, but in light of the outstanding reviews it was getting, I had it imported from America.  Only cost £28 which is pretty much what it'll be here, if not less :).  Initially, you get a distinct feeling that the game is very much like the old fashioned 3D platformers which were everywhere on DC/PS1 era, but it soon develops into much more than that.  At first, the levels are somewhat simple in design but that's to give you a feel for the controls and also introduce extra abilities as you play through the levels.  Soon enough, the levels become much more interesting, with the introduction of a scooter thing to drive about in one level and various ingenious level design touches.  As with any platformer however, there are annoying bits that you end up playing over and over, but this doesn't happen that frequently.  Also, you get to play various bonus "dream" mini-games where you re-enact scenes from movies like the burley brawl from The Matrix or the battle in Braveheart via the means of hitting the right button at the right time, in a rhythm game style.  The humour in the game adds to the enjoyment and the graphics are absolutely supurb for the PSP.  Finally, with no real noticable loading times (has been a problem is earlier PSP games), it makes it a joy to play.  I'm only 25% into the game but am still enjoying playing it.

Now, Outrun 2006 C2C.  Having played it most of this evening, I can say it's fully lived up to my expectations.  All the levels are there from Outrun 2 & Outrun 2 SP, but rather than make it a straight arcade conversion, they've made it fun for single player.  Firstly they've broken the game down into small tasks which you get ranked on individually.  On completing these tasks, you get rewarded with Ourtun points which you can use to buy access to more of the soundtrack, better cars and alternative versions of tracks.  Considering you start with a pretty awful selection of cars, if you want to play online, it's a good idea to buy some of the better cars.  Which brings me nicely to the online side of the game.  For the second time on the PSP (the first being Twisted Metal) the let you play the game over the internet or "infratructure mode".  Why more games don't do this I'm not too sure as it's a fantastic feature, something the Nintendo DS takes full advantage of.  I can only assume Sony havn't made it easy for developers to include the feature.  Anyway, I've had a few games online and have found it on the whole to be pretty much pain free.  Although one of the games, the track seemed to disappear while driving... I think it may have been due to the host disconnecting or having a horrendous ping or something.  It's quite liberating to be able to play over the net via wifi anywhere in the house rather than having to use the TV.  The only downside is that there is no way to communicate with your fellow players other than adding them to a friends list.  If anyone fancies challenging me, let me know and I can set up a game :).  Many reviews and people have pointed out that the frame rate is poor in the game.  While there is a bit of noticeable slow down on occaison, it's never enough to cause any problems while playing.  The graphics generally are beautiful and smooth, just like on the console.  You can tell that they're starting to push the console to it's limits at the existing processor speed though.  Maybe future games will use the full 333mhz processor speed.

Looks like good times for the PSP finally.  It's certainly been a long time coming but I think the console is finally starting to get the games it deserves.  The console is a fantastic piece of hardware, but let down by the lack of first rate games.  I started out with Wipeout Pure, Lumines and Ridge Racer.  I've not really gone back to any of these in a while.  Also not really played Burnout Legends in a long time as I got so far and then got stuck.  However, I am still playing Me & My Katamari every now and then (which I will be buying the European version of so I know what the King is going on about and what I need to do in the side missions) and am playing Daxter, Tales of Eternia and now Outrun on rotation at present.  Hopefully there will be more games of this standard to come.  I think I will still get a DS Lite when they come out here, but now with the games I have for my PSP, I'm not in such a rush any more :)
slycat: (Dizzy!)
Today, the lovely postman delivered my copy of Boku no Watashi no Katamari Damacy (English title: Me & My Katamari Damacy) from Lik-Sang.  It was dispatched from Hong Kong on 22nd December, the day of release, via the free delivery option of Global Priority so I was suprised it got here so quickly despite the Christmas post and the like.  Admittedly, I was a bit miffed when my brother got his copy yesterday considering I had ordered mine months before him  but it's here now so all is forgiven :P.

For those who don't know about the game or have never heard of it... well it's a bit hard to explain.  Basically the objective is to roll your Katamari Damacy (Translates to: Lump of Souls) which is basically a ball, around a world where's there's lots of stuff lying around.  As you roll over things which are smaller than your ball, they stick to the ball making it larger.  You start off picking up tiny things like tacks and bits of sushi but as the game progresses and your Karamari grows larger allowing you to pick up larger things such as people and eventually their houses!  It's quite bizarre a concept but one that works really well.  I had only played the game once before when [livejournal.com profile] sandroo showed it to me but I fell in love with it there and then.  Now with the release of the PSP version, I don't need to bother getting a PS2 or 3 (well not yet at least).

The main problem with this version of the game is that it's in Japanese.  Now, I know I was ordering a Japanese game but I expected to get by without knowing the language seeing as it's a pretty accessible game.  However, it is easily playable without knowing a single character of Kanji, however when you get to mission based levels, you kinda work out what you were supposed to have done once you failed (like get 3000 points from collecting animals).  The controls emulate the PS2's dual analogue controls by using the D pad and the 4 buttons on the right as the analogue sticks, and the same "tank track" controls are used.  It can be a bit fiddly but it's not so bad once you get used to it.

Anyway, despite the minor setbacks of the game, it is a very enjoyable game and every bit as fun as the original.  The music is fantastic and the graphics are beautiful.  Once this comes out in Europe (yes, it's been announced but don't know when... maybe March), I'll be snapping it up again.  This is certainly a killer app for the console, definitley what it needed, and about time too!

January 2015

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