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Heroes Community > Other Games Exist Too > Thread: Kain Cougar's reviews
Thread: Kain Cougar's reviews
kainc
kainc


Famous Hero
posted March 09, 2009 08:32 PM
Edited by kainc at 08:47, 10 Mar 2009.

Kain Cougar's reviews

Here's a topic where I will review games and other stuff related to gaming.

Sony PSP (Playstation Portable) 3000, aka PSP Bright



I have never actually tried original fat PSP or the slim & lite (2000) version so I wont be comparing this new model to those. I bought PSP 3000 a month ago. The main reason was, I wanted a nice portable device that could play music, videos and games. Plus; a device that comes with WLAN and a web-browser. Browsing through new mobile phones and smartphones, I realized that you need to pay a lot to get these functions, at least if you want a big screen and efficent hardware for smooth media experience. In some point I asked myself "does it really need to be a phone?". I started considering alternatives. There were some decent MP3 players with video playback (might as well call them portable media players) but they came with very small screen and no gaming or web-browsing capabilities (of course). Then I recalled this PSP device that was released years ago. I went and looked some more information about PSP 3000. Hmmm... audio and video playback, near PS2 quality gameplay, WLAN and a browser as default. Despite some dudes adviced me to get PSP 2000 (so custom firmware could be installed) I went and bought 3000 since I dont play THAT much, or need homebrew software right now. Now that I've been using it for a while, I can say I made the right choise (PSP instead of a new mobile phone. I have currently Nokia 6290 and even it's not a multimedia miracle, as a phone it's superb).

First impressions... design, usability and features
My PSP is Piano Black version. It's somewhat a fingerprint magnet, and not just the screen but all black plastic parts. This isn't much of a problem but can be a bit annoying time to time. At the bottom of this console we have 3,5 mm audio out + video-out (I'm not sure what the video "hole" is called but it certainly isn't one of the standard video-outs). And we have the DC input (power) at the bottom as well. At the top there's a USB port. In my opinion these outputs and input are quite well placed. It might be a bit hard to play if the power-cable is connected since the input is just below the action buttons (x, [], O, /_\). Memory stick duo -slot is at the left side of the console, behind a plastic "cover". Card can be easily accessed and quickly removed by pushing it a bit (which makes it come out). Two speakers are placed near the left and right edges of the screen. On left, there are D-pad and analog "stick". Below the screen are other buttons such as volume controls, brightness, select and start. At the top there are WLAN switch on the left and two shoulder buttons (L and R). And then there are power / hold switch on the right side of the console. All buttons are responsive and I was surprised how well that analog stick works in such as small device. Talking about small, the PSP actually isn't THAT small compared to other portable devices (let's leave laptops out of this). But it surely is more powerful too! And has the largest and best display (4.3 in). Behind the device we have UMD-drive where you can put those little discs. I guess UMD capacity is like 1,4Gt or something...

PSP starts up fast. The user interface is superb and no wonder they have added a similar style in PS3. There are several options you can choose; Settings, where you can configurate your device. Photo, which is for camera (must be bought seperately) and pictures. Music, for MP3 playback. Video, for video playback. Game, options to run them from UMD or Memory Card (at least demos), and a browser for saved games. Network has several features like Skype, Web Browser, Inet Radio and GoMessenger (which will be disabled after March '09 due to lack of users if I understood correctly). At the top right edge of the menu you can see date and time, as well as the battery state. Now let's get deeper into features.

From settings you can update the firmware, manage USB-connection, change Video and Photo settings, set up a theme, wallpaper and interface color, configure network settings and so on. While I rarely use themes (changes those very nice and informative original icons and background), wallpaper support is a big thumbs up.

I don't know about the camera since I have no intention to buy one (I never use mobile phone cameras either, if I want to take a picture I'll use my Canon EOD 400D / Digital Rebel XTi digital SLR and enjoy the quality compared to digital cams or mobile cams). Image viewer is good, and zooming is quick. Other features are rotating, slideshow, send, set as wallpaper.... Way better than mobile phones.

Music lets you, doh, play music from your Memory Card. Songs are listed as folders, and I haven't found any "sort by genre" or "artist" listings. Oh, well a small - here. Folders are displayed as audio CD's cover image if available. They are quite small but you can figure out which CD is currently selected if you're too lazy to read the text. There are also total number of tracks displayed below folder name. At the actual player, there are some visual options, from standard equalizer to some simple visual patterns and animations. I prefer the "backgound / wallpaper ripple". Thanks to 3,5 mm headphone output, you may use your own favourite headset. Rewinding and FWD are quick and there's no lag or anything.

Video player can play .mp4 formats and there are some good free PSP dedicated video converters online that can add solid subtitles, so you can view videos with subs of your own language. Video playback is simply neat! There's no jugging or visible flaws even with high bitrates / FPS. Video playback with PSP 3000 beats other portable multimedia devices I've seen 6-0. The new bright screen and rich color space (I've heard it isn't this good with earlier PSP versions) really makes it a worthy "holiday video player".

UMD games load fast enough, depending on the game of course. With Final Fantasy Crisis Core I never had too long waiting times (I heard someone critisize long loading times, but I simply can't understand this... is max. 10 secs every 1 hour too much?). Graphics are nice, a bit like with PS2. You can't expect portable gaming device have PS3 like graphics (at least today).

Internet browsing has it's ups and downs. Scrolling with [] + analog stick is easy but not as painless as with laptop of some browsing-dedicater mobiles. The major disadvantage is of course the lack of qwerty kb and the touch display. Flash won't work either. If you can pass these flaws, then it should be OK browsing device, but DON'T buy it for this purpose only, pls. It should be enough to check your e-mail and latest news from HC now and then

PSP's (3000) hardware
It uses two 333 MHz CPUs. 2MB Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) at 166 MHz. 64Mb RAM. What else... hmmm... 1800 mAh battery as standard.
With this standard battery, you can play games ~5 hours, watch movies ~5 hours too, and listen to music like 9-11 hours.
What can I say. Independent GPU is essential in gaming. This is why all other mobile devices (again, I'm not talking about laptops or nintedo DS) gets left far behind when it comes to gaming. Battery life isn't fantastic but you can always go and buy a battery with more power-storage capacity. For me, this is enough. You can recharge PSP via USB or mains (or cigarette-lighter-charger @ car).

Final word
I like this little device. If I have no computer available or otherwise am too lazy to get up from bed, I might turn it on and choose between music, videos, gaming or browsing the internet (until I get fed up with slow typing). For traveling far it's as essential as my digital SLR. I bought it with 280 (in Finland), and I guess it may be much cheaper in other countries.

Pros & cons summed

+ Video, music, gaming and web - all in one
+ Good video and gaming quality, an OK music player
+ A fantastic screen
+ Slim, Lite and Bright
+ WLAN
+ 3,5 mm audio out
- Fingerprint magnet
- Typing is time consuming
- Standard battery's life isn't enough for everyone
- Speakers could be better
- (Can't install CFW yet. But not everyone needs it anyways)

4+ / 5


=====================================================================


Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core (Action RPG) (PSP)

Warning: minor spoilers



Magical number "7" - First impressions

Since I'm a huge fan of FF7, especially for it's awesome story that I simply can't praise enough, I waited to get my hands on Crisis Core to witness events that occurred 7 years before Cloud's story. Seriously, I was nervously waiting for PSP emulator for ages to finally see Crisis Core. Now that I finally decided to buy PSP for it's great media features, it was more than obvious I'd buy Crisis Core as well. Luckily there was a Platinum version that cost about 25.

I set the UMD in, and saw the intro where Zack Fair, the protagonist, runs at the roof of a train. It was almost identical scene to FF7. As it is ment to bring back memories, it surely did. There are lots of references to original FF7, but not enough to annoy. Afterall this is a tribute.

The story of FF7 made me really emotional. Seriously, I have never cried in any videogame, except in this one. And now that I have gone through about 13 hours in Crisis Core I believe I will cry again at the end. And this is a good thing, an awesome thing! So call me lady if you want, but the storyline gets its greatness from emotions between those awesome characters.

More winged angels - Characters

As I said, Zack Fair - the mysterious black haired guy from the original FF7 who saved Cloud, is the protagonist. He seems a bit traditional Final Fantasy -protagonist, something between Cloud and FF XII's Vaan. He's quite hyperactive and annoying sometimes, but usually I find his personality appealing. A warm hearted guy who wants to be a hero, and SOLDIER class 1 (at the beginning he's 2nd class). They made good job designing Zack's character.

Other familiar faces are Sephiroth, who is a good guy in the beginning. A soldier 1st class, everyones hero who doesnt value this title much, a ultimately strong and feared warrior with his gigantig Masamune blade. Sephiroth, despite being villain, is probably the most known and famous character in FF7 universe. In Crisis Core he is equally cool as a friendly face (at the beginning, again). He doesnt talk much but isn't rude or annoying in any ways. He's more like cool as a ultimate soldier, keeping his emotions somewhat hidden (not that he wouldnt express his feelings). The design of Sephiroth's character in Crisis Core is as much success as it is in original 7.
Then we have Aerith who seemed bit gloomy at first. She was the second emotional encounter after fist seeing Zack in this game. She's cute as always and I've never find her annoying.
We will eventually encounter Cloud (I'm not that far in the game since I've been doing side missions) as a normal member of SOLDIER. We have the Turks; Tseng, Reno, Rude and a new (pretty) face, Cissnei, who's the youngest of the Turks and a friend of Zack. The mad professor Hojo is present as well, and we can see a little ninja girl Yuffie here as well.
Of course there are familiar summons like Odin and Ifrit, and some legendary enemies as well (Tonberries, Cactuars... even the Magic Pot from original). And Chocobos too!

Two new main characters are Angeal and Genesis. Both of them are soldier 1st class (like Sephiroth) infected with G-cells (cf. Jenova cells) and have a large wing (yeah, one wing per character) sticking from below their shoulders. Angeal is Zack's mentor who is the original carrier of legendary Buster Sword (which he rarely uses). Angeal questions if he's a demon or an angel after finding out that he's "enchanted" with cells. His wing is a white "double-wing". "What do angels dream of...? being human".
Genesis is more disturbed-like, constatly quoting phrases from some play or a poem called "LOVELESS". The 1st class trio (Sephy, Angeal and Genesis) are friends, yet we can say that Genesis is Sephiroth's rival. Genesis suffers from somekind of a degeneraion, deterioration or something, and tries to find a cure. After Angeal and Genesis go missiong, "Gensi" will eventually become a villain.

As you can see the storyline is once again strong and emotional. This is the first major step for a great FF-game.

Advent Core - Visual impressions

For PSP the graphics of Crisis Core are awesome. CG-scenes are stunning, very much like in CG-animation Advent Children. Actually CG-characters look identical. Summons are presented with CG as well, and they look awesome. Well let's move away from GC. In-play graphics are nice for PSP and animations are great. There are enough different backgrounds, but some of them have quite plain and repetitive textures (like facility and cave walls). Spell and skill effects produce various colorful lights, and are ok. Some old enemies are visually enchanted and new ones look good, too.

Digital Luck Wave - Gameplay

Controls work with no problem. You control Zack with analog stick or d-pad. In combat, you choose actions with X and browse through attack, materia and items with L and R button. Battles are quite fast paced, so you need quick fingers if you want to use certain materia or item before enemy attacks. As you may have guessed, Crisis Core isn't using turn-based battle system. Basically you swing your swords with X button and attack highlighted (there's a minimal delay between two consecutive hits). Battle system is very much like in FF XII but with less menus and you control only Zack, not any other characters.
You can equip certain number of materia and two accessories. There are loads of different materia and they can be combined in order to make stronger versions.
Not only HP and MP, there are APs as well. APs are used for yellow materia (special attacks, steal, etc.) and for evade (the [] button) and defence (the /\ button) as well. You will be using evasion very often and it's a great new feature for dodging hostile attacks and spells.
The limit break system, leveling system and summoning system is controlled by Digital Mind Wave. There are three spinning reels which have pictures of characters Zack encouters along his path. If reels stop that you have three similar characters lined, Zack will execute a special attack (a limit break). This attack varies by which character is lined up. For example 3 Aerises give you HP recovery and 3 Sephiroths makes Zack execute Octaslash (a minor version of FF7 Omnislash) that hits an enemy several times.
There are also numbers spinning. If you get three 7s you get a level up (you must have same the character in first and last reel or otherwise this 777 gives you some other benefit). If you get like "221" with 1st and last characters (like "Aerith, Cloud, Aerith") being same, your sencond materia equipped gets a level up. For example with "335" your third materia gets level up and so on. If you don't get 2 similar faces lined in 1st and last reel, but get number 7 on some of those three reels, you'll have some benefit like "no MP cost", "no physical damage" and so on. I don't know if you got the picture. Anyways you might think this randomness especially in leveling character, doesn't work. But it does. It's also very addictive to fight and hope if those reels line up and make your new strong materia even stonger.

Same old song - Audio

Sound effects play their part. Nothing special here but they work. Voice acting is usually good and otherwise mediocre. Some of Uematsu's masterpiece-songs in FF7 get spiced up a bit, and play like dream, again. New composions are well made and suit this Advent Children style very well. You definately need to use a headset if you like FF-music.

Conclusion

I love FF7, I like Advent Children and I love Crisis Core. The game fulfilled every expectations I had giving some nice extras as well. It's worthy to carry FF7 -name and a must have for FF7 fans. RIP, my black haired friend.

5 / 5 (for FF7 fans)
4+/ 5 (for FF-series fans)
4 / 5 (for others)

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Baklava
Baklava


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Mostly harmless
posted March 10, 2009 06:11 AM

Kain Cougar?

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kainc
kainc


Famous Hero
posted March 10, 2009 07:00 AM

Quote:
Kain Cougar?


That would be me, kainc.

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Baklava
Baklava


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Mostly harmless
posted March 10, 2009 08:06 AM

Yeah, I figured that.
I was just amazed with the name.

Kain Cougar.

Like a mixture between a Mortal Kombat character and a pornographic actor.

Awesome.

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Keksimaton
Keksimaton


Promising
Supreme Hero
Talk to the hand
posted March 10, 2009 08:20 AM

I haven't played Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, but I think that I might have to call the referee to apply a fanboy penalty .
____________
Noone shall pass, but no one besides him shall pass.

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kainc
kainc


Famous Hero
posted March 10, 2009 08:22 AM
Edited by kainc at 08:29, 10 Mar 2009.

Quote:
I might have to call the referee to apply a fanboy penalty .


Not quite sure what you ment but I just posted a non-fan score as well to be more neutral.

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kainc
kainc


Famous Hero
posted March 10, 2009 08:24 AM
Edited by kainc at 08:24, 10 Mar 2009.

Quote:

Like a mixture between a Mortal Kombat character and a pornographic actor.


HAHA! Ffs what was a brilliant discover

ah darn dbpost...

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Keksimaton
Keksimaton


Promising
Supreme Hero
Talk to the hand
posted March 10, 2009 08:33 AM

Translation: I might have to call upon a neutral 3rd party to deduct points from the overall score that you gave the game to match a more "realistic" value.

But I guess that it is a score based upon your opinion and not a score based upon what the game actually has to it. Everyone is entitled to have an opinion unless they live in Burma or something.

I have lots of games that I enjoy even though they are not really all that good. In example: Heroes of Might & Magic 3.
____________
Noone shall pass, but no one besides him shall pass.

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kainc
kainc


Famous Hero
posted March 10, 2009 08:37 AM
Edited by kainc at 08:39, 10 Mar 2009.

Quote:
Translation: I might have to call upon a neutral 3rd party to deduct points from the overall score that you gave the game to match a more "realistic" value.

But I guess that it is a score based upon your opinion and not a score based upon what the game actually has to it. Everyone is entitled to have an opinion unless they live in Burma or something.

I have lots of games that I enjoy even though they are not really all that good. In example: Heroes of Might & Magic 3.


Yeah, I'd say knowing and liking the entire FF7 universe will add like 1 or 1 points. If you don't know the characters and are not familiar with the original, it might leave you kinda cold. The gameplay is very good anyways, it's more like the familiar feeling, atmosphere and story that drops those 1-1 points. But I guess this franchise is heavily dedicated to FF7 fans rather than FF-newcomers.

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