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Einhander: A Shoot-Em-Up Classic from an Unlikely Source


In the 16-bit era, shoot-em-ups were enjoying their new found technological freedom. As technology stepped up, so too did the amount of enemy ships trying to blast you out of the air. Levels lengthened, enemies took on a wide variety, and bullets split the sky in various patterns. I was in heaven.

In the 32-bit era things went decidedly differently. Perhaps this was due to the continued decline of arcades and the inherent arcade nature of shmups. Polygonal hit boxes and the commonly low budgets for shmup developers (things that are still true today) clearly had an impact as well. Most great shoot-em-ups of the 16-bit days either went dormant, or stuck with the tried and true gameplay of their past iterations. New shoot-em-up franchises you say? Maybe in Japan, but even with the PSX being the money maker it was, publishers rarely cared to put in the comparatively minimal effort needed to bring them stateside.

Then Square stepped up to the plate by releasing Einhander in the US in 1998. Perhaps feeling cocky by the release of FFVII they were translating and releasing everything they could develop searching for their next big hit. Even things that were not RPGs were getting developed by Square, practically unheard of today.

Not only did Sony bring shmups into the polygon era, they nailed it on the first swing. Large bosses, huge variety of guns and strategy to using them, great music, amazing graphics. Any criteria you could use to judge whether a shmup is good or not (meaning don’t judge it on the story whatsoever) was impressive. I still go back and play this game when I want to blast hundreds of generic enemy ships into oblivion.

I, as I am wont to assume, believed that this was the beginning of an incredible series, rather than a one off experiment. Evenually other companies dragged shoot-em-ups new and old into today, but Square was so far ahead of the curve it is truly surprising that they didn’t capitalize on it. Square never saw fit to develop a sequel, nor any other shmup game ever since. Even worse, they are too lazy to let me download the originalon PSN, even though it is available on the Japanese PSN!

Oh Square-Enix, finding the dumbest ways to try and take my money while simultaneously finding other ways to keep me from throwing money at them.

PS3 Dual Shock 3 and lazy controller design


Remember the original Xbox controller? Of course not, nobody remembers a thing about the first Xbox!

History lesson! The Xbox controller sucked. The Type S came out, it still had the same wonky button layout, but at least it was more ergonomically designed. Unfortunately Microsoft insisted on that giant meaningless X in the center (which still couldn’t burn the memory of the system in anyone’s mind).

Once the 360 came out, Microsoft *GASP* looked at the miscues of their hideous controllers, then redesigned it into the most form fitting standard controller of this console generation.

Now take Sony. They took the basic SNES design and added more buttons, as was the style at the time. Eventually they added the dual analogs back in 1997. Since then the controller has almost never changed! Fifteen years and three consoles with the same controller!

Worst of all, the tiny changes they did add only made the controller worse than the fifteen year old original!

Take the “triggers” for example. They are going the wrong way! Did Sony’s R&D not know what a trigger looks like?! The trigger is not curved out, its not even curved flat. The trigger curves in. They had to go out of their way to make the triggers less intuitive and more difficult to hold down.

Don’t even get me started about how the shape makes the DS3 perfectly built for one thing. That thing is constantly falling off of all the places I place it on. Slides off my desk, slides off the arm of my sofa. Man, and don’t even attept to place it on top of the PS3. This Dual Shock 3 just can’t stay still. Who’s controlling who?

Then there is the weight of this controller. Where is it? The controller is as delicate as they come. You could kill a person with the heft of a Nintendo or XBox controller, and return to your game with the controller still performing up to code.

I have had two DS3’s die on me in the three years I have had my PS3. I didn’t exactly treat them tenderly, but my other controllers survive heartily under my care. Hell, my PS1 Dual Shock still works. The second DS3 stopped working, because if you grip the right side too tight, the A button triggers. 

I went so insane trying to figure that problem out that it could be its own lengthy article.

This is all just my opinion, and I obviously own a PS3, I’m not hating. Nintendo got the message with their Wii U Pro Controller. I just want an Xbox 360 controller on every system I play.

Don’t let all this make you think the Xbox 360 controller is so perfect though…

The Last Guardian

Where is it!?

I literally bought a PS3 for this game. I chose it over the 360 because this is the only PS3 exclusive game I actually want! Even to this day!

I want to play it!

I bought a PS3 to play it!

Let me play this gaaaame!

Is your PS3 up to date?

Every time I try to play something, anything, it feels like there is a system update, a game update, an update update. Then after the update downloads, it has to install the update. It’s worse than any electronic device I own, and I own plenty of internet connected devices.

The day I came home with my PS3, I plugged it in, turned it on…

System update…

Pop in Little Big Planet…

Game update…

…two hours later, I was playing my PS3 for the first time.

That is not right.

Since I bought the thing, this has happened countless times, especially when I purchase a game that has been out for a few months.

It’s happening right now!

When I put a disc in, I want to play that disc, right now! 

Just needed to vent.

PS3 is pretty okay really. You know, when it allows me to play video games on it.

Why I can’t play House of the Dead Overkill Extended Cut


So House of the Dead: Overkill right? Amazing Wii game.

Know what would make it even better. If it was in HD, had some new levels, and maybe added a few more ‘fucks’ for good measure.

Oh also if it was fucking affordable!

To play the HD remake of House of the Dead Overkill I need the game. I need two Playstation Move controllers, and the Playstation Eye Camera.

Based on the cheapest prices I have ever seen these items, this still adds up to 100 bucks! All this just for one game. One I already own on the Nintendo Wii!

I really want HotD for PS3 but that price is just absurd!

Some folks might be thinking, “But the PS Move is an investment, you can play other games too!”

No. It is not an investment because HotD is literally the only game worth having a PS Move controller for! Everything Move compatible works just great with the standard controller. Anything Move specific I already played on the Wii five years ago.

So no HD HotD for me. Unless someone has $100 bucks to give me for this truly ignoble cause.

A quick note about Killer is Dead and Shadows of the Damned and Myself


Cybernetic limbs? Travelling to the moon? Has Suda51 been reading my dreams?

This post is a bit more about me than Killer is Dead, but don’t worry. there are plenty of Suda51/Grasshopper/Killer7/is Dead/etc ideas floating all over my brain.

Basically I wish I had a cybernetic arm, and I wish I could fly to the f-ing moon!

I have another wish, to hunt monsters/demons for a living. This wish is obviously the least likely of the three. Some more background? I am a Mexican American living in Los Angeles. Sort of like Shadows of the Damned’s Garcia Hotspur. A man who hunts demons for a living!

Holy crap Suda, how do you do it!?

Complaining about: Uncharted

So there I am on an island no one knew about for centuries, in a place no man has set foot on in hundreds of years. I’m fighting a cunning group of thieves out to kill me and steal the treasure I came here to retrieve for probably more noble purposes I guess.

I am crafty enough to steal a Jet S- WaveRun- AHEM ‘personal water craft’ from the villains, and I set a course upriver. Unfortunately, the enemy knows I’m on the way. Suddenly they begin to toss dozens of barrels into the river. Oh no! They are full of oil, and explode violently!

This is the part where I pause the game and take a deep breath.

Hold on a minute now Uncharted.

Oil prices are in the range of a hundred bucks a barrel, and these henchmen are just tossing it into the river like it’s worthless. These guys wouldn’t need to steal such rare things if they were just more careful with how they use their money and supplies.

Did they really bring hundreds of drums of oil to just throw into a river when they got here? And if not, then what were they intended for? Because you sure as hell can’t use them for that when you are throwing them in the fucking ocean!

But before we can even worry about that, we have to ask the underlying question, how exactly did you get all that oil here? You can’t just pick up some oil drums from the local supply store, and fill them up at the uncharted gas station. These barrels had to be carried onto a boat, likely by the same henchmen that are chucking them out like expired food as we speak. If you factor in the cost, as well as the fact that a giant cargo ship docking anywhere and buying hundreds of barrels of oil and weapons, landing in any port anywhere not exactly being inconspicuous, I can only conclude that at the very least, these thieves need to hire an accountant.

Oh Uncharted, you had me going there for a moment, but you burst the reality of my experience like an exploding barrel blows up a personal watercraft.