Tag Archives: Reviews

Budget Men’s Care Double Feature: Dove Men+Care and Axe Hair product lines.

Face it, even as male geeks… We do desire to look good and be presentable to the female side of the human species. Sadly… Even some geeks fear using nice, but girly products to keep themselves in top form. Sadly for a long while… Top echelon men’s care has been a sector dominated by brands like Men’s Science, Anthony, and Billy Jealousy. As with top echelon goods, they cost a pretty penny. While I have used those brands and appreciate them, I also empathize with my geeky male brethren. Some of us are students working to degrees and bumming around with no cash. There are also those who are saving up for that one piece of equipment  be it a bolt-on turbo kit for their car, Radeon 5970, or Street Fighter Tournament Edition Arcade Stick  and skimming out on “frivolous” expenses… To those geeks, otaku, etc, I salute their enthusiasm for their obsessions of choice. However I will say that hygiene and grooming are not only important on the ideal of finding a woman but also for the sake of your fellow human being.
Continue reading Budget Men’s Care Double Feature: Dove Men+Care and Axe Hair product lines.

Need for Speed World Beta Thoughts

These aren’t final thoughts… but it’s more my current evaluation and hopes for later on.

So… today I got my invitation to play in the Need for Speed World beta. I will say, it’s a little interesting seeing MMO aspects in a racing game. The selection of cars is quite sparse but it is a beta… However, balance is an issue that I hope they address as I hated ending up dead last in the first few races. Controls really need work… The awkward scheme of driving with the arrow keys, hand brake to be operated with space-bar, and power ups to be managed by the 1 – 4 keys on the number row… It just doesn’t work. The inability to configure a controller properly really irks me… As the 360 controller works, but the only buttons that work are the left analog stick to steer, A for your throttle, B for your hand-brake, and X for your brake pedal. The directional pad sadly doesn’t work, as it would be nice for managing the power-ups…

Multiplayer is a little broken… That being said from me trying to join a few races and it can’t reconcile the users together. The single player races need some work on matching up the level of opponents… I mention this as the Lotus Elise later on and I am somehow matched up to 2 Nissan GT-R (Tier 3), 2 Lamborghini LP640 (Tier 3), and a few cars around my tier (Tier 2). The gameplay is a little frantic, but well thought out… The power ups are pretty balanced out. I would rather they work like the question boxes a la Mario Kart, but that could change. Graphically, the races feel pretty cinematic at some points.

Kudos to the Need for Speed folks for venturing into the multiplayer realm. The leveling system will definitely have to be cleaned up, as leveling up for more car access and a few skill points is rather weak. Hopefully a tuning system will be in place, cause I’d love to hop-up cars with better engine parts, turbochargers, superchargers, etc… On top of that, adding in things like adjustable suspension, being able to custom tailor out the attack-angles or racing wings would be nice too. I look forward to the development to the Need for Speed World off-shoot and leave you with a screenshot of me taking on my computer opponents.

Driving my starter Mazdaspeed 3 in a race

Gyromancer – A Puzzle Game Remix

By the grace of Jamie, I was presented with Gyromancer a few weeks ago. To her, I thank her for it, because without her… I’d probably still have a bit of a hard time getting the game. =D

Gyromancer as many blogs like Kotaku and Joystiq have posted that the idea of the game started off basically as a joke, but somehow got taken seriously. The polish of the game is something very unique… The combination of both Square-Enix and Pop Cap Games is quite a fusion. The game has simple Pop Cap game mechanics of Bejeweled Twist but the story line of a strong Japanese fantasy RPG as you’d expect from Square-Enix. It’s truly a game that is easy to start, but hard to master.

The basic game play mechanic is to rotate sets of 4 gems clockwise and when you match 3 or more gems vertically or horizontally, you generate power for your monster to cast spells. Once your monsters fill a spell bar with energy, then the monster is able to cast its spells. The caveat is that to empower your beast’s spells, you have to match the gems that are aligned with your beast. If you match gems of the enemy monster, you risk empowering them much more.  In addition to this, there are also different monsters you can collect, but if you want to switch monsters… Your old one is considered “erased” in favor of the new monster. Thankfully,  monster levels are based off of your character levels. Early in the game, they do not penalize you for “Idle Rotations” where you don’t break gems… However, later on, it becomes much harder as an one poorly thought move can completely botch your game. You do have items that can help turn the tides of war to your favor, but these come by so few and far between.

I’ll spare the details and cut to the chase… If you like puzzle games, Gyromancer may be for you as long as you’re fully aware that there is a challenge element to it. Knowing that the challenge element could enrage you, know you may have to take breather breaks from knowing parts of the game are all purely based on luck. If you’re fine with that, then by all means do get this game! However, if you’re expecting a deep RPG just because you saw the hallowed Square-Enix logo, this is not what you’re looking for…

Gyromancer is currently available on Steam and Microsoft’s XBOX Live Arcade for $14.99 and 1200 Microsoft Points respectively. However… For the 360 version, the challenge maps are an extra 240 Microsoft Points (about $3 – $5) and healing items in-game are purchased for 20 Microsoft Points (about $0.50). I would recommend the PC to avoid being nickle-and-dimed as the challenge maps are included.

Oni-Con 2009 Report!

Before I begin, I apologize for not posting this the day of because of the Marriott hotel did not have wifi for free… $13 per day was rather a steep rip off in my opinion. To spare your eyes, I have enclosed the photo gallery at the end and I am debating on uploading the first song Echostream performed at the concert on Friday. If you would like for me to, please comment and request it!

Pre-Registration – 10/29/09
Pre-registration seemed to be a little disorganized… 2 laptops and 2 piles of lanyards. The badges weren’t really pre-prepared as the name slot has no name filled in (i.e. My nickname on the form was “ZeroXR” and it was not on my badge). Jamie had asked the pre-registration worker if there was a schedule, unfortunately we were told “There’s no schedule until tomorrow morning.” Which in my opinion, that’s a disorganized for a convention a been around for quite some time! I am glad to have gotten my badge early before the swarms of the crowds that will be at Ground Zero at 8am tomorrow… I also managed to run into Tomo from Echostream with Jamie and that was a fun little session, especially as he was very humble. For now, I drink and toast to the fact that Jamie and I survived the watery storms from our drive to Houston… Especially from some of the typical Texas panic-at-rain type folks having “OH SHIT!!!” moments putting us and other motorists at risks!

Day 1 – 10/30/09
I sadly had slept in a little more than I wanted to and didn’t get up and hit the convention until almost 1pm. The dealer’s rooms were divided into 2 zones and pretty cramped quarters for walking. Another sad travesty was the matter that the dealers in both rooms really sold the same stuff as the booths next to them. Some of the more unique items were the hat vendors who sold some really funny and/or cute hats with a focus on game/anime creatures such as the Cactuar hat. On our run through both dealers rooms, Jamie nabbed 2 wall scrolls for her best friend. Worse off was the matter that the game arcade and artist alley rooms were not set-up… The art gallery had some unique commissioned works, but some of the not so great ones were a little over eager for money (i.e. poorly proportioned sketch in pencil demanding a $45 minimum bid and a $100 buy out).

Trying to find anything close to an itinerary was a fruitless exercise in failure as no one has much of a clue of what events are going on. The vague idea that there would be musical performances around 7pm is the most I knew of, but that was from Tomo of Echostream talking to me and Jamie last night. (CJ and Tomo would also confirm the same detail this morning as well.) Around 5pm, most of the convention was set-up and itineraries were finally posted on what was happening and when. Also 5pm was when opening ceremonies were in action. The only thing that was still not quite 100% was the game arcade, yet they had a Japanese snack vendor in that same arcade room too. As far as the spoils go, we have gotten 2 wall-scrolls for Jamie’s best friend and that’s really about it. As far as cos-play goes, there’s a whole lot of Final Fantasy (Cloud and Sephiroth mostly) and Bleach characters here. So not too many cos-players really going for unique sadly… hence lacking pictures today. Tomorrow is the cos-play contest, so maybe we’ll see all the creative talent at work and I may be able to furnish pictures. However, around 6pm, a whole lot of lolita cos-play folks came in to check in…

The concert performance was pretty fun, though Satsuki and Echostream probably provided the best show of all that performed tonight. During Satsuki’s performance, he did a solo song with an acoustic guitar and in goofy fashion… He asked the crowd in broken English “Where’s my pick?” and Tomo from Echostream hands him one. After Satsuki’s guitar and piano solo was the Satsuki & Tomo set. The best quotable was before the set when Satsuki had to ask Tomo (of Echostream) for an English phrase to get the crowd wild. When you could quietly hear “Ah… I understand” in Japanese from Satsuki, he then relayed to the crowd in shy and broken English “Go… fucking… crazy!” Other than that, I think that concludes Day 1’s adventures. I do admit that I went wandering a little after midnight out of insomnia and boredom. As far as midnight lobby lounging, it’s been quite fun! I made some friends and also later wandered to the “completed” Arcade room which was not as big as they had planned. There were some games that weren’t even set-up still… A few of the “Panel Rooms” had been converted in the late evening to “Video Rooms” showing fan-subbed animes and one showing hentai. I sadly didn’t have much strength or interest for these video rooms. With fatigue quickly setting in, I had to call it a night and sleep. Saturday was gonna be a long day…

“Phat Lewtz” of the Day
2 Bleach Wall Scrolls

Day 2 – 10/31/09
The start of this day was one that was both interesting in a good way and bad. We’ll begin with the bad part… I woke up with a great deal of muscle spasms and I quickly lost muscle control at an alarming pace. This was scary, because from all the partying and lounging I did last night… I didn’t realize I dehydrated myself. Jamie and I ran down so I could get a bottle of Gatorade to re-up my electrolytes in hopes of keeping me from passing out. The good part of things was after that scare, Jamie and I would sort of cos-play for a bit to fit-in with the convention goers. I’d be dressed like a slacker Shinra Turk field operative (from the Final Fantasy VII realm) and she would be dressed up as Misa of Death Note.

After that, we set out to wander the vendor rooms as well as the Artist Alley. The cos-players came out to play, especially around 12pm was the cos-play contest. The line for people coming to watch the contest also was in the same vicinity of the line for “Dealer’s Room 1”. Result, you had one “CF” of a line just to get inside the first dealer’s room… Lucky for us, we got in before that stretched outside of the hotel. Vendors were now at the midway point of battling out the selling of their wares. I managed to pick up a Cactuar hat from Grapevine Fires and Jamie got a Macross trading figure. We’d wander around the Artist Alley and run into R. K. Millholland from Something*Positive who was a great going guy! Jamie would get a free sketch from him and also picked up a neutered cat-girl public service announcement comic poster from him too. After that, we would wander into “Dealer’s Room 2” to peruse and gawk around… Jamie would then find a cute set of cat ears and picked up those for a good price. After exiting the dealer’s room, Cure magazine, Satsuki, and Echostream had apparently gotten their booth in Artist Alley set-up. We’d pick up an Echostream poster and got it signed by the entire band in the same stroke for my sister. Funny enough, Echostream was also selling “Tomo guitar picks” with sketches by Tomo on the pick in light of last nights concert. Jamie would get quite the deal at Satsuki’s booth… She initially picked up the “Crystal” CD by Satsuki, but she came back a little later when Satsuki’s booth wasn’t swarmed. Satsuki’s agent and/or interpreter (I assume) had told Jamie that she just had 1 remaining signed idol photo of Satsuki left. So she picked that up as well as a Satsuki phone strap which netted her a free poster!

After that… We both finally had a shopping vibe and decided to give “Dealer’s Room 1” another run through. Jamie’s idea was to pick up what seemed like a good deal as well scour around things to consider sniping again on Sunday. We had to wait in the line to get in, because it seemed the dealer’s room had become swarmed with people. Once we were in, we scoured around for deals, items we just wanted, or potential things to snipe for on Sunday. I picked up a Japanese Disney Princess bento box set for my sister cause she loves hard to find Disney items. We’d wander around for a good while and finally vendors were pulling their big guns in inventory… Things like fresher inventory of new items, rare goods, and even some price discounts. The deals were typically stuff like “20% off of currently in-print domestic versions of anime DVD’s & American market printed manga (import and out of print items not valid for deal)”, “buy item 1 at $XX.xx and get item 2 at half-price (or free)”, and etc… We finally made our move on this round as we got quite a bit… An X/1999 plastic poster, a blind-packed Bleach lanyard, Cactus Pup blind-pack figure, a large-pack “Grab Bag” from Anime Pop, a Lucky Star festival series trading figure, a second Macross trading figure. The Grab Bag was actually quite good! The contents were 4 capsule toys, (2 Ultraman, 1 Trigun mini-bust, 1 End of Evangelion mini-figure), a Zeruel-XX figure from Neon Genesis Evangelion, a Linebarrels of Iron trading figure from the “One Coin Figure Series” collection, some random figures with no boxes, Final Fantasy XII trading pin, an Ishida Bleach trading figure.

After dividing up the spoils of the Grab Bag, we would head on down to the Autograph Room for the session with Satsuki. Thankfully, Satsuki’s staff was offering free posters and I nabbed one for Satsuki to sign on for my sister. Jamie got her “Crystal” CD signed as well. On meeting Satsuki, he was very humble and kind in addition to being very thankful for any fans grateful for his time. After that was the wait for the dance party which was a little crazy, but I did try to stay for a bit… I didn’t last too long and eventually had to step out for a bit… I would end up having an interesting conversation with a guy by the name of Miles about the hentai video room last night on Day 1… The best part of that discussion is quoted below:

Miles:Goko hentai is like… 2 girls, 1 cup just animated…

So you can imagine how funny that must have been for someone who was expecting “normal” straight hentai to run into some of the “goko” stuff… Hilarious irony at its finest! After that discussion, I remembered turning in for the night in preparation for Sunday’s final battle with the vendors… Sadly, I didn’t see anything I wanted to snipe for, but I was planning on doing a final scan anyhow.

“Spoils of War”
Disney Princess bento box set
Cactuar hat
Sketch and “Catgirl PSA” from R. K. Millholland
Cat ears
Autographed Echostream poster
Satsuki’s “Crystal” album (also signed)
Satsuki signed idol photo
Satsuki phone strap lanyard
X/1999 TV Series plastic poster featuring Dragons of Heaven characters
2 Macross trading figures
Bleach blind-pack lanyard/phone charm
Cactus Pup blind-pack figure
Lucky Star festival series trading figure: Hiiragi, Kagami (aka “Kagamin”)
Linebarrels of Iron trading figure: Hayase, Kouichi
Trigun capsule toy mini-bust: Nicholas D Wolfwood, transparent
End of Evangelion capsule toy figure: EVA-05/MASS
Neon Genesis Evangelion, Chromosome-XX figure by Wave: Zeruel-XX
2x Random unidentifiable figures from grab bag
Final Fantasy XII trading pin
2x Ultraman capsule toys
Bleach trading figure: Ishida, Uryu
Signed Satsuki poster

Day 3 – 11/01/09
I had slept rather well and didn’t party too hard at the “rave” hosted by the Oni-Con staff… Being well rested, I had to keep open eyes for any last shots in the dealer’s rooms. Probably by far the shortest day… Jamie had prior engagements and would send me on a solo mission as far as shopping went. I would avoid “Dealer’s Room 2” because after running there 5-6 times total this weekend, there wasn’t really anything too good there. I would be waiting in the vast line unfortunately to get into “Dealer’s Room 1”. At one point, the line was quickly speeding through! Reason: Some people thought they could be clever enough to get in without a convention pass… When they got to the door and the Oni-Con security staff didn’t see a badge or bracelet, they would tell the person to purchase a con pass and take them out of the line. Once I was in, there were some Oni-Con volunteers and security staff shouting to make sure people who were loafing on the floor of “Dealer’s Room 1” would not be tolerated due to potential fire code violations and asked those just not interested in buying to leave as well. I would scour to the best of my abilities… Most of the interesting vendors I had intentions on sniping stuff for cheap had sadly left last night. I just settled with a small grab bag and a second Lucky Star figure. After that, I’d rendezvous with Jamie and try to kill some time before the Echostream “How we make music” panel would start. Once the time burned off, I’d sit in for the 1 hour panel session and just watch Tony talk about their method of creating some aspects of their music with just Tomo on guitar and Ryoko on vocals. Jen and CJ couldn’t be fitted into this panel due to size constraints of the panel room and technical details (drum sets and recording gear wouldn’t fit). After the panel, the dealer’s rooms were slowly beginning to empty out as well as the Artist Alley and Arcade rooms. With that… The hotel was also beginning to quickly empty out with kids having to check out of their hotels by 12pm noon and even some to wait for their rides home. Overall… I had a great time and lots of fun. Definitely a very short event, but well worth the time spent.

“Treasure Items”
Bleach trading figure: Kuchiki, Rukia
Sentimental Graffiti trading figure (“Part – I” collection)
Random unidentified figure from grab bag
Mamotte Syugogetten post card
Lucky Star festival series trading figure: Hiiragi, Tsukasa
Dragon Ball Z – Real Works figure: Super Sayajin Son Goku

Final Loot Distribution for Myself
Disney Princess bento box set – Sister has dibs on it
Autographed Echostream poster – Sister requested
Signed Satsuki poster – Surprise item for my sister
Cactuar hat
X/1999 TV Series plastic poster featuring Dragons of Heaven characters
Lucky Star festival series trading figure: Hiiragi, Kagami (aka “Kagamin”)
Lucky Star festival series trading figure: Hiiragi, Tsukasa
Linebarrels of Iron trading figure: Hayase, Kouichi
Trigun capsule toy mini-bust: Nicholas D Wolfwood, transparent
End of Evangelion capsule toy figure: EVA-05/MASS
Neon Genesis Evangelion, Chromosome-XX figure by Wave: Zeruel-XX
Dragon Ball Z – Real Works figure: Super Sayajin Son Goku

Final Thoughts
I would like to extend a very humble thanks to Jamie for inviting me to journey with her to the convention as it was fun! Without her, I’d have never been able to go at all!

I personally regret I didn’t find any great cos-play folks to take pictures of… Due to the lack of interesting cos-play I didn’t have much desire to snap pictures on Saturday.

However, I was surprised to see some Team Fortress 2 cos-play going on! I saw a total of 3 RED scouts, 2 BLU scouts, 2 RED medics, 1 RED demo man, 2 RED spies, 1 RED female sniper (with a Jarate jar), 1 BLU soldier, and a guy/girlfriend couple dressed up as RED engineers. (For casual readers who are not gamers, the “RED” and “BLU” are acronyms for the factions in Team Fortress 2)

My only pet peeve of the convention is people mispronouncing Satsuki’s name as “sat-sue-key” when the technically correct pronunciation is “sats-key”. A minor detail but from studying a little conversational Japanese as well as having a fluently speaking sister, it’s one I have learned to be more critical to that small detail. Sometimes the “u” syllable is to be omitted in pronunciation of some names and words.

I would like to personally extend a “Thank You” to Echostream for being very sincere and modest! In particular, I would like to thank Tomo and CJ as I got to personally speak to them on a person-to-person basis. I want to really give them recognition for being kind enough to sign my sister’s poster early rather than have me wait in line to get the poster signed during the chaotic autograph session on Saturday night.

I also want to thank Satsuki for being very kind for signing my sister’s poster. He’s a paragon of what a good and popular music star should be about: talented, yet modest and polite.

I would also like to thank Iris, Elaine, Alyssa, and Amanda for trading names and conversation. Some of those discussions helped to pass the time very well!

Lastly, this weekend also has reminded me my roots in anime and games… Particularly, my fandom to anime. I personally love Neon Genesis Evangelion, X/1999, and Lucky Star with lucking out to have gotten items from those respective series! However, I also now own reminders of mainstream animes I did watch in my past, such as Dragon Ball Z and Trigun. The Cactuar hat is a tribute of how much I have loved the Final Fantasy series from its roots as well as the Cactuar creature himself.

Week’s Agenda… I think?

This week will probably be rather crunchy… or fall to mush… I have not a clue. I know my brain has been crunching chemistry to exhaustion. I think I am going to have to submit to my weak mortal whims to procure food. Damn mortality… well, sometimes anyhow. Chemistry will battle wits with me in nearly 17 hours so I have to crunch hard and make sure I completely absorb the materials like it is infused in the blood.

Depending on how finances look… I may or may not be getting World of WarCraft: Wrath of the Lich King. I have been through some pretty rough financial times, but I should be no stranger to them anyhow. I would love to get it mainly so I can evaluate it and post a review right away! Although, Miss Wyno said it may not be any good to me anyways as I won’t be able to utilize most of the content in Northrend until I have a character at Level 80. So maybe it is for the best..?

In good news..! I may have found a niche as a male fashion blogger! Alfred from Barney’s New York out in Northpark Center is sending me some sample goods which I should be recieving sometime this week! Many thanks goes to him and I definitely look forward to writing another enthusiastic review over everything I recieve. Hopefully I can get some pictures and provide another good review for any guys who want another perspective on male grooming and care.

I hope to get another good piece written this week… maybe I can get the long overdue “Day in the Life of Zero” post up and online? LOL! 😀 We’ll see as that’s semi dependent on how my mind can take a mental beating of savage proportions with chemistry. Ough…

Ugh… my stomach is now uncontrollably asking me to feed it. I think that’s my cue to vamoose and feed me before the low glucose levels make me cranky as hell. Keep watching here! It should get especially fun especially ’round Thanksgiving holiday!

PS – Ivy had a bit of a hard transition happen as well as the fact that she sorta hurt her knee! Please wish her well and hopefully she’ll get an article on there soon!

Much love,

The World of Online/Offline Gaming… [Editorial]

So many of you have probably read the few posts I have of me taking a small hobby of playing World of Warcraft on the intarwebs… Sole blame rests on Cousin Sol for dragging me into the mess as I have burned down many a day when friends have bailed on me to real world meetings. I kid about blaming Sol… LOL! I like many other gamers thought “Pay to play gaming… get serious… that’s crap!” but once I got my character to level 10, my opinion quickly changed. The chat channels are pretty clean of gold spammers advertising their “services” as it is harder to make a spamming account if you have to shell $30 just to take a risky venture in then an additional $15/month there after. If anything, there may be a little bit too much swearing and pre-pubescent children dropping the F-bomb because they wanted to win a certain battleground instance… though that’s not too big a deal to me.

It’s a bit of a change from Guild Wars and being sent random whispers from gold farmers promising me mythical riches for the ability of being able to finance my “dreams” of a guild hall… or just seeing my chat box full of spammers going “Go to my site here and for $9.95 our pro players will load you up with whatever you want!” or bratty kids begging you for some rare gear you have because it’s not locked down to you. Then again, the entry fee of World of Warcraft does exclude out a lot of others who would otherwise try to exploit a gaming environment for the sake of real world material wealth. I digress…

World of Warcraft is quite an expansive game as the realm spans over 3 realms with hundreds of quest and so many variations depending on whatever race or class you choose. There is some realism to the game as time is totally designated by the server affecting the in-game time. In addition to that, travel is somewhat realistic… as using a mounted animal will let you fly or ride past certain locales and rapidly improving the speed of travel. The only case that a person is beaming in and out of realms is if they are being summoned to a location or if they use warping/portal spells. The world expands supposedly this November with the release of [The Wraith of the Lich King] due to open up a Necropolis for the legendary Death Knight class and the city of Dalaran. My only gripe about the realms are that some of the “hub” cities or towns are not quite as equipped as say an Alliance or Horde fortress/castle town… That can be a drag when you need to buy something, but come to find that you took the wrong boat, flew to the wrong town, or teleported to the wrong capital city that lacked the vendor you needed. I do hold hopes that with the new expansion that change could definitely happen with balancing some of those sparse towns.

The game’s realm concept almost has a realistic element to it with the fact that if you’re too late to something… then you miss out. Looking for that one elusive beast that drops a body part you need? Well if someone got to the proving grounds before you and slayed all iterations of that monster… You may have to wait your turn when the monster comes back into the realm. No, you can’t hit the magic “reset” button and magically watch the monsters come back… because the realm is much like the real world. You can’t “zone-out” of a place just to force a monster to reappear either or to spawn exclusively in your own private zone. The only exception is dungeons and instances where you can reset the zone for say a friend who may have missed out on the first boss of a dungeon.

Socially, the game ends up being one of those “It’s a Small World” sort of game. This applies even more so when you join a pretty decent sized guild that’s made of members who were former members of ones that had petty drama. I have also found that should you keep a good reputation… it will follow you as you progress in the game. I have gotten a whisper or two from a friendly player who remembered me inviting me to partake in something fun every now and then. Sometime from just one’s own guild tag can be the firestarter of a conversation, just because your leader may have built their reputation with such a positive note.

Communication is rather dynamic in World of Warcraft to say the least. The in-game voice chat is a nice addition, though with the lack of adjustments like you would find in TeamSpeak or Ventrillo… It’s just not adequate for things like Raid coordination for a 25+ character battle. The chat system is a little clunky as you can only add the character’s name, but not a friend… However, this makes sense as Horde characters cannot communicate to Alliance characters in chat or via in-game postal service. So, if your friend chooses to make a Horde-side orc character to try meeting your Alliance character… They could be typing something like “You know Zero, by chance? I hear he’s a good frost mage!”, but to your chat window it would show up as “[Orcish] Gral gug grrr gra ralg.” Vice versa would apply as well. In addition, when you make additional characters, they aren’t bound to the guild your first character joined and same if you’re on a character with a different faction.

The game is also separated by different servers as well, as not to overload one central realm with millions of players all with different intents. By intents, I mean things like those who want to play the game for the game (Normal servers), constantly duel and fight for kill/honor points (PvP), and recreational acting of a part (RP/role-play servers). The governing rules on each server are a little different… One can only surmise that PvP servers are a no-holds barred killing spree of an orgy when you meet that poor bastard on the opposing faction (I would assume the Illidan server would be the pinnicle). Role-play servers, I have rather enjoyed as the community is a little more sympathetic and really get into their character roles. That has lead to some fun experiences (campfire stories in the wee hours of night) and as well as some disturbing ones (gnomes randomly having sex in a bedroom at an inn). Normal would be just what you would expect, players just focused on the game and just wanting to fight gloriously.

Skills and professions are all things meant to suppliment your character and even help flesh their details out. The combinations are almost endless… Supplimental skills like fishing, cooking, and first aid are all essentials that anyone can have. Once you get into the primary professions, that’s where everything goes deep… You have mining, blacksmithing, herbalism, alchemy, engineering, skinning, leatherworking, enchanting, tailoring, jewelcrafting to start… then depending on what you really want to specialize into inside those professions gets even deeper as well. As far as charater talents, each character has 3 path “talent tree” which determines which your characters battle skills and abilities. You can “re-spec” your character… but beware that initially it is cheap, but the cost rises as you decide to re-spec more and more. A “disadvantage” to some as games like Guild Wars allow for re-specing your character at will as long as you’re in a town. So re-specing your character could be a costly thing if you can’t decide what build you want or if you’re in a rather competitive PvP (player versus player, for the non-gamer folks) guild that requires you to be flexible.

As far as things offline that do somewhat affect the realm in-game… Blizzard has promotional conventions where attendees can get redeemable codes for promotional in-game items. A great example of this is to coincide with the release announcement of Diablo III, any attendees of Blizzard’s Worldwide Invitational got an item code for a special in-game pet of Archangel Tyrael that is permanently bound to the character you redeem the code for. Blizzard also has teamed up with Upper Deck Entertainment to create a World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, which also does link with the game as certain cards reveal codes to allow a character to obtain rare items. These rare items are typically novelty, however… there are promotional mounted creatures/devices that can be unlocked such as the Spectral Tiger or the X-51 Rocket.

I think the majority of what has made a positive experience with World of Warcraft is that the community is very strong. It’s interesting when you have a cousin (Sol) who’s in a lax guild and in turn you just run into others in the community who, being excellent gamers also turn out to be unique people outside of game. Funny enough is… My new staff editor, Miss Wyno, is one of those unique users. Funny how it happens, eh? With all fairness… with every gaming community, they have their share of good and bad users… I have enjoyed meeting the good users in World of Warcraft, even if I did have to suffer through some of the more childish users like Sol did who are apparently parents, but don’t mind screaming “Fucking shamen!”

Fashion Headset Shoot-Out! Aliph Jawbone vs. BlueAnt Z9

Let’s reflect on this… Bluetooth headsets have come a LONG way from their origins. I remember the days when Motorola was king in this sector because they helped a big part in the Bluetooth consortium with research and development. Their early headsets were also big and bulky and expensive to boot. When the standard was in it’s early days, it was a bit of a pain on the respect of distance as going just a wee bit too far could disconnect your calls. When the standard got better, so did the devices… But this also opened up the playing field to manufacturers who wanted a piece of the land for Bluetooth accessories.

Nowadays, you have many manufacturers like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG, et al who make headsets as well as phones for direct compatibility with their devices. However, you have your “generic” manufacturers such as Jabra, Plantronics, and a few others who make your general consumer models and then barely stepping into the high end of the spectrum. Lastly, you have the big contenders on the “high end”: Callpod Dragon, Aliph Jawbone, and BlueAnt Z9. The Callpod Dragon just doesn’t look fashionable, so it is omitted for this review… However, the other two are quite possibly the more “chic” in the high end.

Click the images to expand them!

In this corner…



The Aliph Jawbone is a rather “futuristic” looking headset. It has a wicked sick looking mesh grating design with a rather simple red or white LED flash from the status bar. The design is from Yves Behar who has a large vested interest in the headset. It’s rather large but the design is functional to the means of the headset’s calculation of vocal activity. To secure it to your ear, you do have a few ear loops and “gel” inserts to change the headset to accommodate your ear size and shape of your ear canal. The Jawbone keeps function simple with just 2 buttons, one on the mesh and the other on the “Jawbone” embellishment close to the charger port.

Aliph Jawbone MSRP: $120 (from the official site)

The challenger…



The Australian company BlueAnt has been a minor player with budget models and other unique niche headsets (like their motorcycle helmet communicator system). The BlueAnt Z9 comes as a contender to the Jawbone in the vectors of style and size. This headset isn’t designed with a legendary designer, but it certainly looks quite sleek or even covert. The mounting system is a fixed rubber ear cushion and an adjustable plastic ear hook that can rotate and fit to the ear. There is also a clip on the headset for times that you may not feel the need to wear it constantly, definitely a nice touch!

BlueAnt Z9 MSRP: $90 – $100

Acknowledgment and “Props”
In this review, I have a guest reviewer as well to give the female side of her input on the comfort of the headsets as well as her thoughts. Stephanie’s input will be included for posterity of the review. This will help females consider which may be best in terms of their comfort. Also, please give a hand to Stephanie for taking the images of me “modeling” the headsets. I would also like to thank my cousin Sol for being my test caller and allowing me the privilege to subject him to calls and use his feedback for call quality. Also, I’d like to thank Yamcha of Wolf’s Hurricane for his insight on my contest that will be posted online after this post!

Preface
Bluetooth is becoming more popular now with how some countries and even some states in America are cracking down on irresponsible drivers who choose to pinch a phone to their head while not putting full attention to the road. In the UK, if you kill someone in an accident and you were on your mobile phone… The justice system over there can impose severe penalties for such an infraction. At the same time, no one wants to look unfashionable for having a headset almost looking like some “ugly” device growing off the side of our ear or looking like a “bluetool” (vernacular). I would like to begin with the Jawbone first, but let’s go over the logistics of the things I used for the review.

Tools of the Review
Mazda MX-5 Miata, closed and open soft-top modes
Various locales of Dallas with plenty of ambient noise
The offices of ZeroXR 13mg
HTC Kaiser Windows Mobile Pocket PC phone

Round 1: The Aliph Jawbone
The Jawbone has won many awards for being both fashionable and revolutionary from a technological standpoint. In Dallas, I have seen many people adorn their ears with the Jawbone so after seeing the rave reviews, I picked one up just to give it a test drive and play with it. The Jawbone’s sizing solution is kind of unique. Aliph gives you 4 ear loops in 2 sizes and for the left and right ears. You get a pair “regular” size and a pair “large” size ear loops. In addition, There are 4 contour ear bud gels that are included in the package to go with the shape of your ear canal. two of them are a variation of a “teardrop” shape and curve right to the ear canal, while the other two are large and small versions of a circular ear bud gel. I personally have small ears so I honestly had trouble with both the “regular” and “large” ear loops and the ear gels of all types didn’t help the unit stick to my ear. However, when the unit is not moving from my ear, it fits rather nicely and comfortably. I will comment that the build quality is EXCELLENT!

The principle behind the Jawbone is a rather simple one. The device has a rubber nub that detects movement from your jaw (hence the name) and translates that as actual activity. This lets the headset know you are actively conversing. On top of that, the headset also has active noise canceling to assist with making clear communications. The unit has two buttons as aforementioned earlier on the embossing of the word “Jawbone” and another on the mesh part of the headset. The “Jawbone” button functions as the “pairing mode” button and during calls it acts as a “volume” button of sorts. The primary button on the mesh is your main power/call answer/end call/etc button. There’s also a very subtle LED on the unit that blinks white when the unit is in use (rather than the typical blue), red when the unit is low on power, solid red on charging, and solid white on a full charge. The tactile feedback from the unit is pretty good but it does take a little effort.

On bonding with the unit, it would bind to my HTC Kaiser rather quickly. I would do some random test calls with the Jawbone just to see how well the noise cancel and fit would work with me. I took my MX-5 for a drive with the top up and tried to use Voice Command to ask it to dial out and then proceed with a phone call. On idle, the headset could properly connect and accept my commands properly. The call quality was pretty good with minimal interference. Throwing town the top however would change the dynamics of the test… Voice Command had serious trouble reading my speech as the headset had some issues trying to determine whether I was talking or not with the the rubber nub breaking contact from my jaw line every other second from the aerodynamic forces of wind. That was the big issue that makes the device fit for people with small ears like me… The headset almost fell off my ear a few times during this test. I would be running speeds of 40 – 70mph in my car with the top down to be fair. Most of the past week has been windy, so I also tried to see if gusty 10 – 15 mph winds were also a problem with walking around Dallas… and sadly, the headset also had a bit of a problem reading my speech due to the headset not fitting flush to my face.

Some of the test calls with my cousin Sol and he would report that there were some sound issues with noise when I had the Jawbone during my wind tests. However, during my tests in the office of ZeroXR 13mg there were some troubles from the noise cancel due to the fit of the headset. That leads us to the only gripe I have with the headset… The fit is not friendly to those with small ears… I tried to contact Aliph about this, but so far they have not responded to me. Though some folks on line have reported that buying some Jabra branded ear gels help, but that’s a bit of a shame that Aliph has forgotten the fact that a generic fit solution does end up “discriminating” a part of a demographic.

I did ask for Stephanie’s opinion on the Jawbone and she had no problem with the headset’s fit. She had commented it was really comfortable for her. Though she did make a comment she like big devices as it give her a tactile feel that is a little more reassuring. She was wearing the standard ear bud gel with a regular sized ear loop. She’s fortunate that it fit perfectly for her.

I will comment that the headset is really comfortable that you almost forget that you’re wearing it. Sadly for owning small ears, the fit isn’t perfect for such a wonderful headset. Due to that, the noise detecting rubber nub on the headset couldn’t accurately read my vocal speech. The volume is also semi-dependent on the background noise.

Round 2: BlueAnt Z9
The BlueAnt Z9 is a small name headset that has been making some circles as a rather great alternative for those who do want an alternative because the Jawbone was simply not their cup of tea. The Z9 is a tiny piece of hardware equipped with a proprietary port that’s used for charging the unit and also upgrading the firmware. (I’ll talk about the upgrading part later) The design is tiny with a few “bling” spots of chrome on the device for style accents. The device is equipped with 2 microphones to analyze sound waves and process vocal data and noise data to effectively neutralize noise and improve the call quality. The Z9 has 3 buttons, the MFB (multi-function button) and a volume + and – button. If you want to go “stealth” and not have the bluetooth blink, you can hold the volume + and – buttons for 3 seconds when the headset is idle to turn the blink off. Something nice to not draw attention to yourself in dark places. They all have a great tactile click when you press them. BlueAnt does give you a tiny business card sized reference sheet for you to get oriented, so it’s rather nice if you need a pocket reference.

Unlike the Jawbone, the BlueAnt Z9 takes a different approach to fitting to the user. The headset has a plastic ear loop that looks like a plastic scythe mounted to a rubber rotating nub. The plastic hook does have some resistance to the plastic nub, so you can adjust the fit of the headset by moving the hook higher or lower from the nub to make the headset fit more snug. This combined with the rubbery ear cushion, the BlueAnt Z9 feels like it’s securely locked to your ear. While this gives the BlueAnt Z9 a definite plus for people with small ears, the fact that it is not made of a flexible yet sturdy plastic is also somewhat of a concern. It is great that BlueAnt included 2 more ear hooks, but I’d rather they were made of a more sturdy material like the metal with rubber padding like the Jawbone.

Pairing and linking the BlueAnt Z9 was rather painless and quick. The best part was that you’re not subjected to a long and annoying beep while the headset pairs up. Just a quick beep that tells you “I’m bonded!” The manual mentions that the Z9 can bond to 3 devices, sadly, I couldn’t test that so I cannot offer any insight there. The multi-function button (MFB for short) serves many of the primary uses of the headset from powering it on to essential functions like changing the noise cancellation modes. However… it makes ending calls a bit awkward. Most headsets answer and end calls with one click… The BlueAnt Z9 picks up calls with a click, however when you’re on the call and click on the MFB… You hear an auditory voice saying “Voice Isolation MAX” or “Voice Isolation Standard” indicating the level of voice isolation. To end a call, you have to hold the MFB for 3 seconds and you then hear a beep indicating the call has been severed. For many Bluetooth veteran users, it sort-of causes a mix up. It does take some getting used to, but it does make you wonder why the voice isolation was not remapped in another way.

Testing the headset was quite possibly the best part… I called Sol up this past Friday night with my headset and had the top up while going down noisy city streets with the windows down and he had said I came in quite clearly and he was rather impressed. Now, voice command still had some trouble at speed and minor problems on idle… so both headsets are stalemated there. The ultimate test would be to take the headset with me on city streets… But I realized that the headset may not be pushing at full potential! “Why?” The BlueAnt I bought had firmware 3.0 and the official BlueAnt Z9 site had a banner on top saying “New Firmware v3.4 out! Click here to upgrade!”

I naturally downloaded the firmware update and proceeded to follow the simple steps to get the drivers installed for the headset and then the update was just a simple drop and go process. After the update, I was really anxious to see if the improved voice isolation algorithms would enhance things even more… as the firmware notes from v3.0 to v3.4 were rather significant.

That would lead to Saturday and walking around town while trying to find the ideal noisy environment to make my test call to Sol… and I found the best moment. I was down in West End walking around down… a Hummer limo with a bunch of boys in white t-shirts saw some ghetto girls and told the driver to pump up the tunes while they would pop their heads out to give a shout to the girls. I happened to place a call to Sol at that moment… and the call was remarkably clear! The headset also adjusted the volume automatically adjusted to the environment helping clarity by a good degree. I had the voice isolation on the MAX setting and it really made things great! The volume buttons do actually work on top of the volume adjustment from the dual microphones automatically working, just in case if that’s not enough to break through the noise. I was simply impressed that I didn’t have to mess around with the headsets fit just to make sure that my speech was coming in clearly from motion detection. The headset’s tight fit and dual microphones helped make that “extreme” test call work just perfectly!

On asking Stephanie’s opinion of the fit of the BlueAnt Z9, she said it was a rather tight and rigid fit. Her opinion was based on the hard plastic ear hook and the difficult system on adjusting the size without breaking the delicate ear hook. She did comment that the tiny size was interesting, however not her forte.

The comfort of the headset does take some experimenting to get good with, but once you get it perfect… the headset is almost weightless! It’s not as “perfect” like the Jawbone, but at least it sticks to my head… I will remind readers I do have small ears, be warned.

From this… I think I have my winner.

Final Verdict
From the whole experience with needing a headset that wasn’t about to fall off my ear from a short sprint… Also the need for vocal recognition that does not rely on fit had a huge impact, ’cause what good is a headset if it doesn’t properly fit? The style elements are important, as size does matter. Let me be clear that the race was very close…

The Winner: BlueAnt Z9

The BlueAnt Z9 does win from a good snug fit, great noise isolation, and most of all it has a small foot print. The headset is almost weightless and provides great and clear calls! It is stylish, but however from using a rigid plastic ear hook… it is a minor sacrifice in comfort  to have the headset be planted on your head. If the Jawbone had a small ear loop that provided a proper fit for the small folks, it would have been even harder to choose a winner. The ability to upgrade the BlueAnt Z9 gives it more points as the headset still has chances to become better rather than a “Version 2” to hit retail and you to be stuck with an obsolete headset. For people who have small ears, but want a headset that looks great and performs beautifully… I highly recommend the BlueAnt Z9.

[Review] Two Years of Faithful Service – 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata (NB8C)

November 5th… I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I was doing the morning shift and I’d receive a call at home from a dealer saying “We’ve drop shipped your car to our lot! Come on over to take a look at it before we close… It is first come first serve even if you did pay the deposit to get it brought over.” I would get to the dealer at about 6:00pm and take a peek. The gauges reminded me of the days I toyed with FD3S RX-7’s but most of the car stood out like a British roadster. The sales rep would end up teaching me refined manual on the fly… so that yielding to be an interesting experience. After signing off the papers and having my car polished up, I’d roll home to Dallas in my first set of wheels that I paid with my own hands for. It was a tiring day, but it would be the beginning of even more exhaustive training for me to remember my “fancy footwork”.

It wouldn’t be until I hit the 6th month of ownership that I would come to realize the true merits of my MX-5. Sure, it’s not the prettiest one. It has bare nothing as far as features go. No premium leather seats, no power windows, no power locks, no tricked out sound system, no sport suspension pack, no aerodynamics pack, no ABS, no power steering. However… it’s been one of my more forgiving experiences with a driving machine. Before the MX-5, I was plunking around town in a Honda Integra sedan which had more heft to toss around and simply not enough power to back it. The MX-5 however feels like a zippy go-kart that could push endlessly. However… the car is not without it’s caveats. The stock steel 14″ tires are far from adequate compared to the later models getting a wider 15″ wheels or even the 17″ wheels on the later Mazdaspeed turbo versions. The gears are short so those addicted to high speeds may feel a bit “cheated” on this vector.

From the 2 years I have become attuned to the MX-5, I have been rather impressed it’s been a forgiving teacher to me. The maintenance is a bit easier than the rat’s nest that I had to deal with in the Integra. The best part being the ability to break the top down when the day is looking great! The community of folks who drive MX-5’s is staggering! So help, tips and advice are almost always readily available no matter where you live.

For a worthy car to really learn the roots of essential and proper rear-wheel shenanigans, the MX-5 is one hell of a car to do it all in. The cost of one from the 1999 – 2005 era is much lower than the newer ones, so they are plenty cheap. Truly one of the best cars to learn about spirited driving and the essential techniques to hone it properly.

A Boring but Possibly Productive Weekend

Well… with most of my plans in shambles, it gives me time to try to get some important things done for the site and as well as generate fresh new content. Here’s a run-down of what all is to come possibly with the following days and even into next month:

  • My book review of Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson
  • My evaluation of Puppy Linux 3.01 – Seamonkey
  • (Possible) Evaluation of Damn Small Linux
  • Introspective on the semantics of “best friends”
  • Notes and “diary” of doing a charity laptop project (Negotiations in the works)
  • Devil’s Physical: The 60,000 Mile Maintenance Event
  • Picking up a Callpod Dragon Extreme Bluetooth headset to evaluate and review
  • Funny adventures with my cousin Sol’s return to Dallas for Spring Break
  • Tips for the poor college student avoiding debt
  • The return of my retuned workout logs

It looks like a lot, but that should be my next set of things to post, rant, vent, and discuss until I get my hands on the consumer release of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 communicator. Apparently some sources strewn about the web from XDA Developers’ forums have made claim that the processor for the XPERIA X1 is a Qualcomm MSM7200a with a smaller die print and powered at 525mhz. The small footprint means potentially a power efficient processor, but higher power means it’ll be able to really show off. There are rumors about Windows Mobile 6.5 being debuted when the X1 hits retail shelves and possibly HTC releasing their ODM version of the X1 branded with their own name… It’s a damn shame that the device won’t come out sooner, because I’d love to really have some fun with a new phone.

Memories of Yesteryear – Guilty Gear Judgment (US/PSP)

Take a trip back in time with me. The era is the early to mid 1990’s. An era where the most advanced popular systems were 16-bit and you finally had stereo soundtracks or multiprocessor audio synthesizers. A time when games were challenging, fun, and (most importantly) 2D. This was an era that games like Contra 3, Streets of Rage, and Final Fight reigned as kings in their prime. These games still continue to be cult classics with gaming enthusiasts and fans alike! As history has shown… there are always competitors that tried to steal the thunder away from the original product. The market would eventually just see titles trying to saturate the market, such as the Splatterhouse series et al. I remember as a child that these games were almost as good as the arcade versions. One of the offshoots from the “beat ’em up” genre that I am sure many of the 1980’s born children remember is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game that supported up to 4 players on the arcade edition. When the late 1990’s finally set in, these games would slowly fade from the lime light and the focus became “3D is the in thing! 2D is so lame!” with many developers. There would be some companies like Capcom who to merge 3D with a beat ’em up flavor, but that didn’t pan out so well (ps2.IGN.com – Final Fight: Streetwise – PS2). I have always had a place in my heart for the classic beat ’em up games, but with most of them disappearing I just left them as a memory. Fighting games still have a vestige of a place in the world in 2D form, but with pretty 3D effect work for things like special fighting moves. The new Street Fighter games and the Guilty Gear series are (in my mind) canonical definitions of the new era of fighting games

Do not take this above preface as an attack on 3D games, let me make this clear. I don’t mean to offend those who love 3D games, but I will say that there are quite good 3D games out there.

I love the Guilty Gear series as it blends a fresh fighting experience to the scene of games with characters that aren’t just composed of a color change and minor pixel art changes. I have played the original Guilty Gear for PlayStation and even up to the last recent title, Guilty Gear Isuka. (For those readers of my blog who wonder about my endearing nickname for my cousin is Sol, it’s a “throwback” to Sol Badguy from the Guilty Gear games as that is his favorite character.) From the series, I have much love for Ky Kiske, Millia Rage, Chipp Zanuff as my “picks” of characters. From the series, I loved Guilty Gear XX #reload the most. When the Japanese market was getting a Guilty Gear beat ’em up game titled “Guilty Gear Judgment” for PSP. I remember lamenting that it may not make it to the American market. I had contemplated getting it, but at the price of $45 for the UMD… I was not too keen on it. About a week later, the Japanese market got another announcement that they were getting Guilty Gear XX #reload for PSP with wireless play for roughly the same price ($45). Again, I was a bit angered that the American market was going to miss out again. My disappointment would just eventually come to pass when Majesco would announce that they would be publishing “Guilty Gear Judgment” for the US that my interest would pique.

The American release of Guilty Gear Judgment is a little unique to the Japanese/Asian release, as it merges both Guilty Gear Judgment and the Guilty Gear XX #reload discs into one. This is one of the few titles that the American gamers got a break on versus those who paid for the import copies. I personally could never fathom paying $90 and shipping for 2 standard edition Guilty Gear games when this American release goes for $19.99. (Note: I understand paying $90+ for limited edition games, that’s something for the die-hard fan.) The only thing about this game is that most normal retailers won’t have it in stock, which leads me to believe that this game may be a limited print. The going price is about that range, so don’t fret about the price skyrocketing any time soon.

Guilty Gear Judgment plays pretty well for a beat ’em up game. The story is a bit varied from the original plot of the War of the Gears, but it does give more flavor to the Guilty Gear story. The game play looks just as great as Guilty Gear XX #reload with the anime style animations with a hint of 3D effects for things like special projectiles or dust being kicked up from dashes. These are things that make the most discriminating Guilty Gear fan will be at home in. The characters do have their “handicaps” just like they do in the fighting game that are applied to Judgment. Things like Chipp’s triple jump, Ky’s 1.2 damage ratio, or Potemkin’s 0.8 damage ratio are all here which make the game an additional challenge. The characters are unlocked through story modes to give more background story to them with access to most of the cast.

The characters do still have their trademark moves and overdrive attacks, but some of them are performed differently due to the button map change to allow for a jump button. The maneuvers are not easy to perform for a casual gamer and take heed not to blister your thumbs from it. The control scheme works alright and serves for a tolerable Final Fight/Streets of Rage experience, but you will find that relying on special moves will become a staple later in the game. In my opinion, I feel this takes a little away from the experience. However, I understand why… It is to go hand-in-hand with the combo counter system in the game which rewards you for racking up hits together. The issue with relying on the special maneuvers is that the game quickly becomes a tiring experience, almost to the point that the game becomes a chore. The other side of the combo counter and special moves are things like the Tension Gauge and the Burst Gauge are integrated to the game to make things a little fair. The Tension Gauge doing the same thing as in the original games and the Burst Gauge functions as a corner trap escape with HP regeneration equal to the amount of damage outputted from a Burst attack. The jumps can be a bit of a sensitive topic as being just a simple pixel off will have you plummeting to a penalty of life loss. The character differences can have a definite bearing on how hard some fights can be sometimes. I have had times where there’s a stage where Ky just simply cannot dish out the pain, while Sol or Chipp are just slaying anything and everything. This can be a bit of an issue to some, as the frustration may inspire you to throw your console around from sheer rage. Other than this game being a blister busting, rage inducing beat ’em up game, it can be great for getting your fix for classical style gaming. I have not been able to try the wireless co-op mode, but I’d imagine that could be a little more of a fair experience.

As far as the Guilty Gear XX #reload game on the disc, it’s nothing new to write home about. The good part is all of the “unlockable” characters from the game are already accessible from the get-go, instead of having to unlock them through normal means. The main difference is wireless play and I don’t have another friend to try that one out to test out latency or lag for the game. Unfortunately, no internet play is available on the game.

Kudos to Arc System Works for releasing these two games for the PSP. There could have been some minor improvements, but at the price of $19.99 it isn’t too steep. Majesco did a great job on combining the two games into one disc, making this a great buy! However, they could have given better documentation and presentation of the game’s instructions and details about the wireless game play.

Zero’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Zero’s Verdict:
For the Guilty Gear fan who would like to do battle on the go either in story or competitive modes. It would definitely not hurt the casual buyer.