Archive for March, 2012

One thing that PSVita one-ups the 3DS is its ability to take screenshots. In 3DS, you can have a snapshot of a game, put it on the notes, but then you don’t actually have an image saved. It’s only accessible on the Notes app, which is pretty useless.

But in Vita, Sony’s provided this feature, and it even lets you grab snapshots in-game! The image is added to your photos and you can use it however you like, including making it a wallpaper!

To take screenshots on your PSVita system, press the PS and Start buttons at the same time. Then, go look in Photos for the captured image. Be aware, though, that some apps may not allow this functionality, either entirely or on some parts.

Life Outside The House

Posted: March 31, 2012 in Blurbs, Nature
Tags: ,

IMG_0080

Craving for Kamote?

IMG_0085

Ants being ants… on a bamboo’s tip.

IMG_0083

Commercially bred chickens don’t even come close!

IMG_0092

Can you find the butterfly?

IMG_0096

Stars aren’t always that high above.

IMG_0101

Ma’s prized orchids.

IMG_0105

A lone kalamansi fruit just ripe for the picking.

IMG_0107

IMG_0110

Symmetry at work.

IMG_0111

Those are no small ants!

We spent a couple of days at one of the prime destinations during summer in the Philippines. Traveling up north all the way to Baguio, it took us five hours of nonstop bus ride from Cubao to Baguio City proper. The travel back is even longer at six hours, owing to traffic along Rosales in Pangasinan and parts of Tarlac.

These are some of the shots we took while enjoying our vacation. Another reason why it’s more fun in the Philippines!

IMG_0260

The Philippines is known by its deep religious roots, after all! This is the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral, or simply, Baguio Cathedral, located at the heart of Baguio City.

IMG_0266

IMG_0275

Sunset as viewed atop the SM Mall.

IMG_0313

IMG_0277

This is Mines View Park. The houses below kind of ruin the scenery, but still a grand vision to behold!

IMG_0283

IMG_0285

IMG_0296

IMG_0293

A horse that looks like a cow enjoying the sun’s warmth! A picture of a simple, happy fleeting moment!

IMG_0339

Traversing the rows of pine trees at Camp John Hay.

IMG_0324

IMG_0318

These are taken from the vantage point inside Little John’s! Try their Baby Back Ribs if you’re ever there, thank me later!

IMG_0319

IMG_0323

More pictures at Camp John Hay.

IMG_0322

IMG_0325

And finally, the Manor!

PSVita… What I Don’t Like

Posted: March 27, 2012 in Games, Hobbies, Technoloy
Tags: ,

There’s so much to like about the new PS Vita system. But, like most shiny new things, you’re bound to find some things not exactly how you’d expect them  to be. Here’s some things I find make my Vita experience far from gaming heaven.

A High Price to Pay

The unit itself is priced just right at $250 give or take. What makes it expensive is the price you have to pay for memory. The console doesn’t come with its built-in storage memory, instead relying on a separate new proprietary card developed by Sony for the PS Vita. And of course, Sony being the d-bag that they are, put a high margin on the new memory modules, knowing people will have to buy them since they’re necessary to play games on the new console. At nearly a hundred US dollars for a 32-Gigabyte PSVita Memory Card, that would set the unit for a high price of $350 dollars, and that’s only for the Wi-fi version. At almost $50 a title, games aren’t exactly affordable, either.

Buttons Out, Touch In

The novelty of a touch screen wears off quickly, especially when during gameplay, you find yourself constantly wiping smudges off your screen just to enjoy the game. Gestures can help gameplay, I admit. But accessing the menu on the home screen need not be done exclusively through touch. Put those buttons to good use and let users get back in control of their controls!

Touch should complement the console’s built-in controls, not take over them entirely.

Clingy Much?

Imagine my surprise when after creating a collection of my favorite tunes to be transferred to my new gadget, not only do I find out that you can’t just drag and drop files just like you do on a PSP, but that it requires a freaking “Content Manager Assistant” program installed on your PC.

If that’s not absurd enough, it requires that your PC be connected to the Internet if you want to transfer files. You can transfer music, photos, and videos through their respective apps without needing internet connection but not many people may realize that initially. Still needs the CMA, though. So, I say, “What the hell, Sony?”

Here’s the thing, I’m a big fan of the RE franchise. And I mean a BIG fan! I watched all the craptastic movies and actually enjoyed them. I still play Resident Evil 3 when I’m feeling Nostalgic. I have the PC and PS3 Gold Edition of Resident Evil 5. I bought a Nintendo 3DS handheld just so I can play Resident Evil Revelations.

But for all the novelty of playing a 3D game on handheld, when the initial excitement wears off, you’re faced with just the game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty good game which actually managed to recapture the essence of the Resident Evil world, that is survival horror.

But there are things I wish the game developers did differently, things like:

1. A Partner Who’s Actually Useful

In Resident Evil 5, you have Sheva. Although she’s a bit of annoying – getting in the way of perfect shots, getting killed sometimes (Rocket Launcher) in the process, and being too trigger-happy with not a care on your precious limited ammo supply – at least she’s good for something. Put her on attack mode, and she’s perfect bait. She’s there to bail you out when you’re knee-deep in sh*t, and she does manage to kill her share of the baddies.

In Revelations, your partner is anything that Sheva isn’t. They don’t get in the way. They don’t waste your ammo because they have their own seemingly infinite supply, and they appear to be immortal.

Good traits for a partner. Except… they’re too disconnected, ineffectual, useless. They can’t kill any but the most pathetically weak enemies. They won’t help out when a monster is sucking your life dry. They can’t even serve purposely as bait.

2. No Chapter Selection for Campaign Mode

The beauty of RE5 is you can drop in to any chapter if you so choose. You can visit the swamp to pick up a rocket launcher for use in other chapters. You can go back and kill those nasty’s that gave you a hard time the first time around. You can farm and stock up on ammo to prepare for future fights.

Not so with Revelations. While Raid Mode holds a lot of replay value, where you are able to select the stage to fight in, solo or with a partner via the Internet, the Campaign mode can only be played forward until you reach the end. It does save your current progress (automatically, by default), but if you wanted to replay the last chapter (or episode, as they’re called in the game), you’re out of luck. You have to go back to the beginning to do that.

3. No infinite ammo for any weapon except Rocket Launcher

In RE5, you can save up points and money points to buy yourself a nice ticket to trigger-happy land where ammo  is no issue. Every weapon save for the grenade launcher has the potential to be upgraded to an infinite killing machine.

But for revelations, all you have are loadable customization items that you pick up while running around in the game or otherwise defeating enemies. While they add value to your weapons, there’s a caveat. Some weapons can only have so many custom parts  attached. And the really good ones don’t appear ‘til you get to the harder parts.

You do have the Rocket Launcher, which have the unlockable infinite ammo capacity. That is, until you manage to get through HELL mode. And believe me, you’ll have one hell of a time trying to do that! So good luck, you’ll need it!

4. Random Weapon Drops and Random Items in Store

In Raid Mode, you can pick up new weapons if you snag the weapons cases lying around in stages, or if you kill some enemies (bosses mostly). Problem is, you can’t choose what weapons you get. Not even in the store. Oh by the way, the store is only for Raid Mode. You don’t have that option during Campaign.

The randomness in the weapons dropped I get. But for you to have to get in and out of the store repeatedly just ‘til you find something useful is absolutely a bad idea. Not to mention, you have to examine items carefully, as weapons of the same level (yeah, there are levels) are not created equal. Some have plenty of custom part slots, some have few, and others don’t even have them at all.

The levels of weapons you can buy from the store depends on your current player level, which max out at 50. But weapons from the store are limited to level 48. There are rare weapons, but you’d be extremely lucky to find high-level Pale Riders, Drakes or Muramasas in there.

So you’re left to farm on the advanced stages on Abyss (Hardest) Raid Mode. What’s annoying is you can play through those stages a whole day and still come out empty-handed or at best with low-level (read: weak) weapons and custom parts.

Something about leaving it all out to luck to get the right weapon and custom parts you want or need just rubs me the wrong way!

5. Turning off the Background Music Kills the Dialogue

Background music, creepy and antagonizing as they may be for games of this genre, serve a purpose. I respect that. It adds to the atmosphere of the game. But I find it hard to concentrate so I usually just turn them off.

Imagine my surprise when I realized the dialogue spoken by the characters is part of that background music! Seriously?! I had to put the volume for BGM down to the lowest level just so I can play at ease. But now I have to compromise with straining my ears during cutscenes just to hear what the characters are saying.