ROCK BAND™ TAKES ON NEW WAVE WITH DEVO AND DURAN DURAN

Harmonix and MTV Games announced today the addition of tracks from New Wave pioneers Devo and Duran Duran to the Rock BandTM Music Store catalog of downloadable content.  On August 19, Devo’s “Girl U Want” and “Through Being Cool,” and Duran Duran’s “Rio” and “Girls on Film” will make their music gaming debut.

Considered to be one of the most influential acts in pop music history, Devo originally formed in 1973 but didn’t find commercial success until the 80s with the help of their colorful music videos.  Devo re-recorded exclusively for Rock Band, “Girl U Want” from their third studio album, the 1980 release, Freedom of Choice, and the synthpop hit “Through Being Cool” from their fourth studio album, New Traditionalists, released in 1981.  These tracks join “Uncontrollable Urge”, from Q: Are We Not Men, A: We Are Devo!, which is featured on Rock Band 2’s disc.

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Rondo of Swords

RONDO OF SWORDS

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Lately, I’ve been spending more time playing my Nintendo DS than my Playstation2. The game that’s been keeping my attention is called Rondo of Swords. It was put out relatively recently by Atlus. This game is a strategy RPG, like Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem. You play a series of battles on a giant grid, usually involving a ton of enemy units trying to destroy your units. What sets this game apart from the rest is its Route Maneuver system. You’ll draw a line on the DS over the squares you want your character to move, and if that path takes them over any number of enemy units, the character will attack those units. You could attack 6 guys with 4 of your characters in one turn! You’ve got to be careful though, because if you wind up in a vulnerable position, the enemy will do the exact same to you.

The setting of the game is the typical medieval setting with knights and princesses, etc. The music from this game is average at best, but that’s not a big deal since it’s a DS game, and you’ll probably be playing it in some noisy places anyway. Graphically, the game looks really old-school. Characters are shown on the top screen in 16-bit style, along with their stats. You’ll view the board on the bottom screen, and when any unit begins an attack or casts a spell, the top screen displays a battle sequence, complete with some nifty spell animations.

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Disgaea 2

I’m surprised that it’s taken me this long to review this game, but here it is. One of my greatest addictions, despite its many flaws. Disgaea 2.

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When this Atlus game was released in 2006, I was pretty much rabid to get it. I’m a huge fan of the original Disgaea (released in 2003) and had insanely high hopes for this game. Did it fulfill my expectations? Kind of. It fulfilled them enough that I’ve already put 300 hours into this game. Maybe you can guess how many I’ve put into the original?

Disgaea is the SRP for Playstation 2 that Final Fantasy Tactics was for the original Playstation. If you like strategy games, then you need this game. If you like games you can literally play forever, then you need this game. If you are a completionist (like I am) then you may never get 100% in this game and it will drive you nuts. I still haven’t gotten all the pirate maps, and have yet to see The Land of Carnage.

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Odin Sphere for PS2: All the Drama!

Ever wonder what a 2-D game on crack would be like? No, not Guilty Gear. I know that was your first guess. This week I’m covering Odin Sphere, a fantasy action game for the PS2.

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Odin Sphere was released by Atlus in 2007, although it’s definitely unlike any other Atlus game I’ve ever played. I’ve always wondered what a modern 2-D side-scroller might be like this day and age, and Odin Sphere is a perfect example. However, the graphics are a bit much. They remind me of these stickers from the eighties: Lisa Frank stickers. This game is very pink and overdone on the color, like a TV with “tint” turned way up. Some of the artwork is really stunning, but I think they just went a bit overboard, especially on the food in this game. This game is literally like a buffet at times. Your characters eat to gain permanent hit points.

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Playstation 2: Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XII Photo

The last few weeks I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XII by Square-Enix for the Playstation 2. I purchased this game used; I was able to get a great deal at Gamestop, getting the Collector’s Edition used for only twenty dollars. I got the strategy guide free because a friend of mine hated the battle system in this game so much he sold his copy of FFXII. So with game and guide in hand, I made my skeptical journey into the world of Ivalice. Those who’ve played Final Fantasy Tactics or Vagrant Story will definitely be familiar with this world.

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How Weird? Katamari Damacy for Playstation 2

This week I’ll be covering a game I consider to be a modern classic: Katamari Damacy for the Playstation 2. This game was released by Namco in 2004 and it is one of the WEIRDEST games you will ever play. You never forget this game after playing it, and one of the reasons is the music.

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Katamari Damacy is one of the simplest, yet awesomest games of all time. I remember playing this game on a friend’s Japanese PS2 before it hit the American market, and I wanted to keep playing it so badly that I was seriously considering buying a Japanese PS2 just to keep playing. The premise is basically a snowball effect. Your character, the tiny Prince of the Cosmos, rolls his Katamari (the snowball) around collecting objects until the Katamari gets larger and larger, thus picking up more objects. You can pick up everything from candy to children to continents in this game. The destruction you cause throughout the game is nothing short of gleeful and you’ll find yourself dreaming of colorful Katamari stages. Once you collect everything and beat all the stages, it definitely feels like a loss. But no worries, you can buy the more recent “We <3 Katamari” and get your fix. Thank you, Namco.

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P3: Persona 3 for Playstation 2

Persona 3

Happy Wednesday! This week I’ll be covering a game that I consider to be a new gaming classic: Atlus’s Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 for Playstation 2. I’m a big fan of Atlus games in general and have been for years. The first Persona and Suikoden for the original Playstation are actually the reason that I first bought a Playstation back in the 90’s. I’ve never regretted it, and Atlus is still making awesome games.

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