Two Million Sales for Street Fighter 4

February 23rd, 2009 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Playstation, Xbox 360 2 Comments »

Street Fighter 4 has already sold 2 million copies, just two weeks after release. Some gamers had to leave stores empty handed as the game rapidly sold out. As well as making a few dollars for Capcom, Street Fighter 4 has proved a big hit with reviewers, with metacritic scores of 93% on Xbox 360 and 94% on PS3.

Capcom were in need of a hit after a slow 2008, so this is good news for them, and good news for their many fans.

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Free Star Ocean Soundtrack with Japanese Pre-orders

January 23rd, 2009 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Japan, Xbox 360 2 Comments »

The latest installment of the Star Ocean series is coming out on February 19th. Star Ocean: The Last Hope is set in the year 2087, several centuries before the original game – and just after the third world war of the series’ mythology. With the invention of warp technology, humanity is taking its first steps towards exploring the universe.

As an added bonus, those that pre-order the Japanese version of the game will get a free Soundtrack CD, packed with music from the games. The Soundtrack disc contains nine tracks, including five voted for by fans, two selections from series composer Motoi Sakuraba, and one each from producer Yoshiharu Gotanda and tri-ace president Yoshinori Yamagishi.

We don’t expect the Japanese release to include English support, so brush up on those Kanji if you’re thinking of ordering. Or buy it twice and use one as a luxury coaster.

[Read, via Famitsu]

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Ninja Blade: First Impressions

January 9th, 2009 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Xbox 360 No Comments »

I took the Ninja Blade Demo for a spin today. Mixed feelings about it to be honest. The graphics are pretty nice, although the imagery is cliched techno-ninja fare. The gameplay seems to sit half way between Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry. You have a selection of weapons with which to mash up the hordes of undead monstrosities seeking to maim you. The combat is broken up by quick time event sections which look nice but are easy to fail. Failing brings up an instant restart screen which let’s you restart the same event again immediately. The system breaks up the game flow without offering any challenge which is a shame. Sadly a few technical deficiencies further distract from the atmosphere. Lip syncing in the intro movie is about half a second off. There are small pauses between accessing menus and switching sections which disrupt the fast paced flow the game aims to maintain.

Having said that this is a demo and it’s possible they’ll fix the glitches before release, but this certainly isn’t looking like a Ninja Gaiden beater, or even a Naruto beater for that matter.

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Space Giraffe bursts onto PC

December 16th, 2008 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in PC, Xbox 360 No Comments »

The magnificent piece of psychedelic genius that is Space Giraffe has just been released for PC. There are a few gameplay enhancements plus the option to use toned down visuals for those weak minded fools who found the original too difficult. There’s now a gameplay guide on the Llamasoft website to help you out if things get too tough. This is a very difficult game but it is full of charisma and one of the most original games on the marketplace – heartily recommended for those of you with the skillz to handle it.

The original Space Giraffe is still available on Xbox 360 for a meagre 400 points.

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A Kingdom for Kelflings: Impressions

November 25th, 2008 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Xbox 360 No Comments »

So, the avatars are here! A Kingdom for Kelflings is the first chance we’ve had to put them through their paces. Our first impressions are very good. A lot of people have been dismissing them as a gimmick, including us, but seeing our pudgy little man wandering through our kelfling town is a pretty cool experience. Games that let you customize your appearance are obviously ten-a-penny – but the avatar is going to consistently represent you in a lot of games and we reckon people might just grow to love them, despite their shaky start.

On to the game then – A Kingdom for Kelflings casts your avatar as a giant in a world of little people. You help them build a town by carrying the heavy stuff around for them and organising their work. It’s very reminiscent of the Settlers, but with a giant instead of a mouse pointer doing the work. Since you have to do a lot of things manually, literally carrying everything about yourself, it could become tiresome although players of the Harvest Moon games will know how this kind of work can be strangely satisfying. The same is true here, a lot of toil goes into your buildings and that makes it more satisfying than if you’d just dragged and dropped something out of a menu.

This is a fairly enjoyable game, a light, relaxing way to spend a few hours and while you won’t be playing it for long, you’re not likely to regret having done so.

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New Xbox Experience arrives, confounds and confuses.

November 22nd, 2008 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Xbox 360 2 Comments »

New Xbox Experience

Oh dear, oh dear.

You know how the Xbox 360 let’s you change the interface language? Well now it doesn’t – at least not fully. Although some marketplace content and advertising was in Japanese prior to this update, it’s almost all been switched to Japanese. More worryingly, some of the guidance text that tells you which buttons do what has also been changed, leaving non-Japanese speakers potentially unable to download and use the marketplace entirely.

Language settings are of critical importance to foreign gamers in Japan and the new Xbox experience leaves the Playstation 3 as the only real choice for anyone wanting an English friendly console. Let’s hope this isn’t a taste of things to come, and is fixed in future updates.

The headline feature of the update is the new avatars. Like Nintendo’s Mii’s, the avatars allow you to create a little cartoon persona to represent you in games that support the feature. Unlike the Mii’s, however, the avatars are rather charmless. It’s a blatant lift of Nintendo’s concept and has been executed with no real skill. You can almost see the team of marketing men ticking boxes at the design meeting – desperate to capture a slice of the ‘casual’ game market, but the result seems clumsy and uninspired. Nintendo still rules the roost when it comes to cuteness and accessibility. If Microsoft wants to expand into that territory it needs to do much better than this.

On a more positive note the interface is a little streamlined, the new party feature is good, allowing you to move between games with friends more easily. Games can be installed to the hard drive making things much quieter and reducing loading times in most cases – something that should become more pronounced as developers take advantage of the feature. There’s also a quick-launch feature that allows you to switch between games with a few button presses. Great for those with attention spans as short as ours.

There were some connection troubles as the update was roled out but those seem to have resolved now – not so those poor gamers who found the update bricked their console and gave them the all too familiar three red rings. The Japan Gaming Guide 360 was spared that, at least, although since it’s third breakage was only a couple of months ago we’re still keeping our fingers crossed.

All in all we’re quite dissapointed by the update. It seems to have been designed by the Microsoft suits rather than by gamers and takes away almost as much as it offers.

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Sonic World Adventure screens

November 12th, 2008 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Playstation, Wii, Xbox 360 No Comments »

Sonic World Adventure/Sonic Unleashed is coming to all platforms in all territories over the next few weeks. Here are some screens. Recent Sonic games have been fairly poor, but there’s something of the old titles in these level designs. Let’s hope this marks a return to form for the blue hedgehog.

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New Xbox bundle includes Ace Combat and Beautiful Katamari

October 22nd, 2008 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Xbox 360 No Comments »

Ace Combat 6 and Beautiful Katamari will be included in the latest Xbox 360 hardware package. The 29,800 yen value pack also includes a 60gb hard drive, wireless controller and media remote, and will be available from November 6th.

In more good news for 360 owners, the platinum software range is set to expand with several good titles released over the coming weeks. Gundam Musou and Ace Combat 6 will be available for a wallet friendly 3,800 yen. Beautiful Katamari, Lost Odyssey, PGR 4 and Assassin’s Creed will go for an even more wallet friendly 2,940 yen.

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360 feet high and rising

September 26th, 2008 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Xbox 360 No Comments »

Edge-Online just published an interesting article on the Xbox 360’s fortunes in Japan. After a tepid start the 360 has started getting a bit more attention lately. Microsoft might be starting to think they can turn things around. Check the link for some interesting hints on where the console is heading over the next couple of years.

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Xbox 360 is Japanese number 1

September 21st, 2008 ThreeHeadedMonkey Posted in Xbox 360 1 Comment »

It took a big price cut and a decent RPG to do it, but it seems the Xbox 360 has finally started to make an impact in Japan. 28,681 units were sold in the week to September 14th, more than the Wii and Playstation 3 which have both outsold the 360 for most of its lifespan.

Several factors have contributed to the surge of interest: the hefty price cut, the launch of Tri-Ace’s Infinite Undiscovery and the end of a recent production shortage. Hopefully the machine can build on this success and continue to generate interest, not least so Japanese gamers can enjoy the many quality games on the platform.

In fact Xbox 360 games are regularly praised in hardcore gaming publications such as Famitsu, but until recently many Japanese we spoke to were simply not aware of the machine or its games. That should change as hardware sales pick up and word of mouth spreads, but whether it can happen quickly enough to catch up with its rivals is still open to question.

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