Jul 092013
 

ROBOCAST041In this episode we talk about the Ouya for about five seconds, Aron wonders just what a power brick is for as Jessie cheers the fact that the PS4 won’t have one, and we delve into some stories about people being real jerks over fighting games.

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This week’s panel:

Jessie – Twitter

David – Twitter 

Aron - Twitter

Musical consideration provided by Robot Science.

Feb 262013
 
This is what trading on a bonus credit day feels like.

This is what trading on a bonus credit day feels like.

I used to be the kind of guy that rushed out to their local GameStop to trade in a game the moment they were done with it. It wasn’t too long ago that I decided this was a poor way to go about things. Not only do these kind of stores typically take advantage of their customers looking to get something new to play with minimal out-of-pocket investment, but they are also keeping money out of the hands of the developers that make the games we all love. Besides that, I have recently found myself with a small case of “trader’s remorse”, because there are games I wish I still had that I traded in long ago. Some of these games simply have sentimental value, but the others I genuinely think I could get some replay value out of.

Jade Empire
This was one of the three games I played on my original Xbox before getting tired of the thing and trading it in. It is an action RPG set in a mythical ancient Japan. The combat was really interesting, and involved a mix of martial arts, magic, and transformations. In typical Bioware style, there was an intricate dialogue system that allowed you to develop branching relationships with the characters. There were multiple endings to this game, and I got them all but I still can’t help but want to play this again!

I will miss my forays into a mythology tinged version of ancient China.

I will miss my forays into a mythology tinged version of ancient China.

Star Fox 64 3D
This was a very, very short game but it was also a lot of fun! I also never had a chance to try out the local multiplayer (because I have no friends). It took quite a while after beating it for trader’s remorse to kick in, but Star Fox 64 3D definitely gave me a case of it!

The Fable Series
I’m not talking about any of the weird Fable spin-offs here, I’m just talking about the main three games in the series. They weren’t the most well-received games, but overall I found all of them to be pretty fun. The magic system was simple and easy to master, even with the changes brought in later in the series. It was a blast to be able to work through the game as both “good” or “evil”; which I really thought of as “boring” and “quickly efficient” respectively. None of them were much on story, but sometimes you just really want a game that will let you jump right in and senselessly electrocute creatures to death with magic so you can unwind from a long day of work.

The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Series
Knights of the Old Republic was one of the first “true” console RPGs I got into. There is a fantastic amount of depth here, several branching storylines, and a complex combat system that was easy to learn yet challenging to fully master. When the Old Republic MMO was being teased, I mistakenly got my hopes up thinking this could be the third installment in one of my most loved game series, but it was not to be. Even though the console they were made for is now incredibly obsolete, I find myself wishing I could take a second crack at these two games.

 

Dark Side of the Force? Nah, more like insanely awesome side of the Force.

Dark Side of the Force? Nah, more like insanely awesome side of the Force.

Zack and Wiki
This was an interesting and very cute point-and-click puzzle game for the Wii. It was also insanely hard! After making my way about halfway through this one, I found myself running to GameStop as fast as I could before I shattered the disc into a million pieces in a fiery rage-fueled fit. Now that I’m older, I think I have learned to be more patient with a game like Zack and Wiki, I regret getting rid of it and would love the opportunity to sit down with it again.

This isn’t intended to be an anti-used games rant, but rather an account of why you should consider hanging on to games for a little while after you’re finished with them. Sure, their “value” goes down in a used game store’s eyes and they’ll only give you $5 instead of $7 for a game for which you paid $60. Just stop for a second and ask yourself what the non-monetary value is for you if you keep it and decide to play it again a year down the road. That’s the kind of value that never depreciates.

Dec 022012
 

The Wii U is out and I have to say it has exceeded all my expectations, which should have been nearly impossible with the amount of excitement I experienced while waiting to wrap my arms around it on November 18th. While this isn’t actually a review of the system, it is a bit of interesting information that I discovered this week. The Wii U appears to have a better lineup of launch games than any console. This is clearly my opinion, but one based on research and nostalgia. I won’t start too far back, I figured Fifth Generation and on would suffice for this demonstration.

Starting with the misunderstood Sega Saturn, our lineup on May 11th 1995:
• Virtua Fighter
• Panzer Dragoon
• Clockwork Knight
• Daytona USA

Out of these four games the only game I would have gotten immediately would have been the imaginative Panzer Dragoon, a fantastic on-rails shooter that really needs a reboot.

September 9th 1995 gave way for the Sony Playstation which launched with:
• Air Combat
• Battle Arena Toshinden
• ESPN Extreme Games
• Kileak – The DNA Imperative
• NBA Jam Tournament Edition
• Power Serve 3D Tennis
• Rayman
• Ridge Racer
• Street Fighter: The Movie
• The Raiden Project
• Total Eclipse Turbo

As you can see, there were many more options, but was there anything that really enticed me back then? I really don’t think I was excited about the Playstation with these titles. Battle Arena Toshinden looked neat, but it definitely didn’t sell me on the system.

Finally on September 29th 1996 Nintendo came back swinging with the N64. With the only launch titles being Pilotwings 64 and Mario 64, the choice was easy. Mario 64 was certainly a system seller. I remember being so delighted to see Mario PUNCH THINGS! Percentage wise Nintendo can literally say that half their N64 launch titles were must buys. Still, the fact remains is they only released with two of them.

The Sixth Generation is certainly an interesting one that starts off with a bang. On September 9th 1999 the Sega Dreamcast launches. The system launched:
• Sonic Adventure
• Aerowings
• AirForce Delta
• Blue Stinger
• Expendable
• Flag to Flag
• The House of the Dead 2
• Hydro Thunder
• Monaco Grand Prix
• Mortal Kombat Gold
• NFL 2K
• NFL Blitz 2000
• Pen Pen TriIcelon
• Power Stone
• Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
• Soulcalibur
• TNN Motorsports Hardcore Heat
• Tokyo Xtreme Racer
• TrickStyle

That’s a lot to choose from, but I wasn’t excited about many of them. Of course, I HAD to have Sonic Adventure, that was a given. Power Stone looked pretty awesome, so I had to have that. SoulCalibur could also be seen as a must buy. So there were at least three decent launch title choices.

On October 26th 2000, Sony repeated greatness with the Playstation 2. No doubt, this was one amazing console, but how did it fair on launch?
• Armored Core 2
• DOA2: Hardcore
• Dynasty Warriors 2
• ESPN International Track & Field
• ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding
• Eternal Ring
• Evergrace
• FantaVision
• Gungriffon Blaze
• Kessen
• Madden NFL 2001
• Midnight Club: Street Racing
• NHL 2001
• Orphen: Scion of Sorcery
• Q-Ball: Billiards Master
• Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
• Ridge Racer V
• Silent Scope
• Smuggler’s Run
• SSX
• Street Fighter EX3
• Summoner
• Surfing H3O
• Swing Away Golf
• Tekken Tag Tournament
• TimeSplitters
• Unreal Tournament
• Wild Wild Racing
• X-Squad
Wow! I look at that list and I think about each game and what I was into back then. Honestly I can’t come up with many choices that would have enticed me. Dynasty Warriors 2 could have been on my list for sure. Incredible, I am drawing a blank as I stare at them. At the time I wanted Kessen, but I remember hours into the game I turned it off forever. Thinking back, that’s kind of depressing. Interesting.

Nintendo wasn’t going to go quietly and on September 14th 2001 the GameCube was released with this lineup:
• All-Star Baseball 2002
• Batman: Vengeance
• Crazy Taxi
• Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2
• Disney’s Tarzan Untamed
• Luigi’s Mansion
• Madden NFL 2002
• NHL Hitz 20-02
• SSX Tricky
• Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
• Super Monkey Ball
• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
• Wave Race: Blue Storm
A modest list of choices, but a couple of gems can be found. Luigi’s Mansion is definitely one because hey, who doesn’t want to fight ghosts as Luigi? Then the biggest no brainer was purchasing Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. That game was so freaking amazing. It was the number one reason I bought a Gamecube.

A challenger approaches on November 15th 2001, as Microsoft launches the Xbox with these games:
• Halo: Combat Evolved
• Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee
• Dead or Alive 3
• Project Gotham Racing
• NFL Fever 2002
• AirForce Delta Storm
• Mad Dash Racing
• Cel Damage
• Arctic Thunder
• Fuzion Frenzy
• Jet Set Radio Future (Japan launch)
• Double S.T.E.A.L. (Japan launch)
• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2#Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2XTony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2X
• 4×4 EVO 2
• Shrek
Top of the list is really all that matters. Halo was a system seller for sure.

The Seventh Generation starts off on November 22nd 2005 with the release of one the most popular consoles, the Xbox 360. It launched with the following titles:
• Amped 3
• Call of Duty 2
• Condemned: Criminal Origins
• FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup
• GUN
• Kameo: Elements of Power
• Madden NFL 06
• NBA 2K6
• NBA Live 06
• Need for Speed: Most Wanted
• NHL 2K6
• Perfect Dark Zero
• Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
• Project Gotham Racing 3
• Quake 4
• Ridge Racer 6
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06
• Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland
Here’s a fun fact, my roommate at the time and I were discussing whether or not to go halfsies on one. The biggest drawback each time we talked about it was the lack of games we were interested in. Looking at that list, nothing captures my imagination.

November 17th, 2006, the launch of the Sony Playstation 3 gave way to these titles:
• Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
• Call of Duty 3
• Genji: Days of the Blade
• Madden NFL 07
• Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
• Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
• NBA 2K7
• NHL 2K7
• Resistance: Fall of Man
• Ridge Racer 7
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
• Tony Hawk’s Project 8
• Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
Another underwhelming list, except for maybe Resistance: Fall of Man. That was a pretty great game. That list is just as unimpressive as the Xbox 360’s.

Nintendo let us play with our Wii on November 19th 2006, and had these games as launch titles:

• Avatar: The Last Airbender
• Call of Duty 3
• Cars
• Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
• Excite Truck
• The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
• GT Pro Series
• Happy Feet
• The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
• Madden NFL 07
• Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
• Monster 4×4: World Circuit
• Need for Speed: Carbon
• Rampage: Total Destruction
• Rayman Raving Rabbids
• Red Steel
• SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab
• Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
• Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam
• Trauma Center: Second Opinion
• Wii Sports (bundled with the Wii console)
This selection seemed a little more promising, and comparatively it was. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was for sure a must buy. I was also pretty pumped to get Red Steel which was a small display of what the Wii could do.

I find it interesting that in the seventh generation, the three consoles had unimpressive launch titles as a whole. Perhaps they were going for “Look what our system can do!” Perhaps these are tastes of things to come.

Bringing us back to the present, on November 18th 2012, Nintendo made history with the Wii U.
• Assassin’s Creed III
• Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
• Ben 10: Omniverse
• Call of Duty: Black Ops II
• Chasing Aurora
• Darksiders II
• Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
• ESPN Sports Connection
• FIFA Soccer 13
• Funky Barn
• Game Party Champions
• Just Dance 4
• Little Inferno
• Madden NFL 13
• Mass Effect 3: Special Edition
• Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition
• Nano Assault Neo
• NBA 2K13
• New Super Mario Bros. U
• Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
• Nintendo Land
• Rabbids Land
• Scribblenauts Unlimited
• Sing Party
• Skylanders: Giants
• Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
• Tank! Tank! Tank!
• Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition
• Transformers: Prime – The Game
• Trine 2: Director’s Cut
• Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper
• Wipeout 3
• Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013
• ZombiU
That’s a big list, but is it any good? Currently I have five of these titles. Nintendo Land came with the system, but you had to buy the deluxe version so I think it still counts partially. The other ones include New Super Mario Bros U, Scribblenauts unlimited, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. These are all fantastic games. So much so that when I want to play my Wii U its difficult for me to decide what to play. The other thing is, I don’t have a whole lot of money so there are still launch titles I absolutely need like ZombiU, TANK! TANK! TANK!, Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, and Assassin’s Creed III. That’s four more titles. All together that’s NINE Launch titles that I consider must haves. That is more than half of the other systems’ launch titles all together. Granted, this is just about launch titles. What really matters is how they hold up in the long run and that’s still a way off, but at this point, from this perspective, the Wii U is kicking some serious butt.

You’ve seen the games launched on each system over the years, which games did you buy at launch and how did you feel about them? Let us know in the comments below.

Nov 272012
 

Nintendo has announced the Wii mini, a top-loading deviation of the classic Wii console, hot on the heels of its newest beast, the Wii U.

Looks nice, but there’s a catch.

So what does this re-release mean to you?  It means you should be thankful you waited in line (or online) and got a Wii on Black Friday at the same price.  The Wii mini does not have built-in Wi-Fi, nor does it play Gamecube games.  If you wanted to get something for the Canadian Wii enthusiast in your life, you may be in luck.  Otherwise, you may be better off staking out at your local Toys-R-Us for the Wii U, which is definitely worth every penny in my opinion.

Sep 212012
 

Greetings fellow robos! In this newest episode of RoboCast, David, Aron, Jessie, and Cliff talk about the WiiU and other various things relating to Nintendo. They also get derailed quite a few times, but that’s usually when the real fun happens!

Sorry for being off iTunes for so long, but our feed into iTunes is finally fixed (see the button below). Should be smooth sailing from here on out!
[podcast]http://archive.org/download/Robocast027/robocast027.mp3[/podcast]

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Our intro and outro snippets are taken from the song “Teacups” by Robot Science.

Mar 282012
 

At least from the beginning, you’ll probably feel like you’ve heard this story before. A ragtag group of young adults has joined together as a group of mercenaries, fighting for fame and fortune around their homeland. Very quickly, their goals change as their world is plunged into the depths of a brutal war with an ancient race that is one of mankind’s oldest enemies. Along the way, our protagonist crosses paths with a strange a beautiful woman, who wields mysterious magical powers.

This particular series of plot devices may seem a little overused, but there are enough twists and turns to keep a player’s attention in The Last Story. Players take control of a young mercenary named Zael. His ultimate goal is to be recognized by the monarchy so they can be made official knights of the court, but the war that breaks out between the humans of Lazulis Island and another ancient race quickly changes the goals of this group of youngsters. While none of this is exceptionally different from RPGs we’ve seen thus far, The Last Story is a game all about shaking up deeply entrenched clichés. Continue reading »

Mar 112012
 

Any gamer with a Twitter account can probably tell you about Operation Rainfall, and the three large scaled RPGs for the Wii that were slated to be released worldwide…

…except for in North America. In a blazing streak of Internet activism, Operation Rainfall was formed in an effort to convince Nintendo to localize these games for North American audiences. The second game in this series, The Last Story has some especially notable talent behind it, and thus seemed to garner a bit more attention than the other two titles. Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series and current head of Mistwalker Studios, directed The Last Story, which only intensified gamers’ desire for this game to hit Western shelves.

As you may remember, I already unlocked my Wii to play Xenoblade Chronicles, so despite the recent announcement of The Last Story‘s imminent NTSC release this summer, I decided to get my grubby paws on the European version. After about 90 minutes of time spent in the world of The Last Story I can safely say that this game is one any RPG fan with a Wii will want to check out when it hits our shores.

Environments you visit look great. Image courtesy of GamesPress.

First of all, this game looks fabulous. I hesitate to say “for a Wii game”, because I believe everyone is familiar with the Wii’s limitations at this point in time. What I will say is I can’t help but to wonder why Wii games haven’t looked this good since the console was launched. The art style is very reminiscent of modern Final Fantasy games, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everything sort of has that light sepia-toned wash that has become so prevalent in this console cycle, but it works well for the setting and tone of the game.

Where this game really shines is the combat system. This could easily be one of the most intuitive and elegantly designed combat systems of any RPG I’ve played. The Last Story features truly real-time combat, which is almost unheard of in a JRPG. There is a cover system, over-the-shoulder shooting elements, strategy game influences, and a unique take on the typical RPG magic system. All of these pieces congeal into an experience that is both enjoyable and challenging enough to be rewarding.

Combat is surprisingly well designed. Image courtesy of GamesPress.

As with most JRPGs, the story is a deep and complex affair. The plot promises to be speckled with bits of action, romance, betrayal and more; but after an hour and a half with this game, it is clear that I am just getting started in terms of story. I’ve been able to identify the protagonists and their main goal, but little else. This goal is likely to change over the course of the game, and in true JRPG fashion I feel like I will be unraveling the mysteries of these characters until I see the credits roll. So far the development of most characters is good, and the team at Mistwalker has done a good job at creating characters I will relate to.

It will likely be many, many more hours until I am able to discern if The Last Story is worthy of the accolades it has already been receiving. It is clear that this game was created with a level of care and detail we rarely see in Wii titles. Will this be the game to revitalize the Japanese Role-Playing Game genre, which has become almost unbearably stagnant in the last few years? Keep your browser’s homepage set to RoboAwesome.com to make sure you don’t miss out on our full review, coming up in the next few days!

Feb 222012
 

image

After roughly a year of Internet activism, Operation Rainfall and its supporters are finally one step closer to having their wish fully realized. This morning, XSEED Games announced it will be teaming up with Nintendo to bring The Last Story to North America, exclusively for the Wii.

“I am very happy to be able to confirm that The Last Story will be released in North America,” stated Hironobu Sakaguchi, CEO of MISTWALKER. “XSEED Games has a reputation for bringing high-quality JRPGs to America, and I’m sure they will do a great job with this release too.”

The Last Story is a sprawling cinematic experience that follows the tales of a band of mercenaries as they try to make a better life for themselves in the midst of a dying empire. It is roughly set to release this summer.

Now if only Pandora’s Tower could be released in North America, Operation Rainfall can be considered a complete success.

Feb 202012
 

 

Picture it: you’ve just had a long, hard day at the office. Your boss, who is normally pretty mean to you, went above and beyond the call of asshattery made you clean his personal bathroom. Your hard drive crashed, your secretary quit (and took her tight white sweater with her), and you got a call from your accountant saying your tax return would be audited this year. As you drive through the most hellacious traffic you’ve ever seen, you’re thinking about unwinding. You just want to sit down in your big recliner, take your shoes off and do a little monkey slappin’! Continue reading »