yakuza-4

Yakuza 4′s “For Faith” finally deciphered!

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Thanks to youtube user “jackisarocknroll”, here are the correct lyrics for the theme song of Yakuza 4.  Apparently he got it on a soundtrack CD that came on a preorder of Ryu Ga Gotoku:Ishin! (the samurai spinoff game)

I figured I’d post it here just in case that youtube comment gets lost.

Violence is meaningless.
You have to see that.
So now we’re all so gracious.

But it doesn’t come to actually feel it.
The thought is raised to real world.

If you had the love somewhere
to protect and you can survive.

Selfish deed is not freedom.
Even if it falls down.

Selfish deed is not freedom.
Can’t justify.

Selfish deed is not freedom.
Even if it’s so sad.

Now walking ahead
with pride
to the next stage.

Guess that about covers it.

 

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Destiny Digest #3 : I kicked Atheon’s ass.

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On Friday night, I earned the “Raider” trophy as I finally beat Atheon.  I was in a 6-main raid with an acquaintance of mine met through our own Jonathan.  I was brought in as a ringer, since their slot was open.  How can I sum up my experience running the Vault of Glass?

Intense.  From opening the vault door, and making my way to Atheon, the entire raid didn’t drop in intensity.  It simply changed form.  From defending, attacking, hiding, and even platforming, the entire dungeon blended seamlessly to form one of the best MMO dungeons I’ve played in a long time.  Not to mention I got 2/3 raid gear armor pieces on my first try :).

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Loitering. Because.

With that in mind, I can probably say that Destiny is the standout GOTY for me.  I haven’t had this much fun playing a shooter in a looooooooooooooong time.

In other news, my Extra Live team, “Team Kupo Yo”, reached its fundraising goal!  We raised over $1000 for the Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.  Big shoutout to our very own Abe, who was participating in the actual stream from the get-go, Jennice for being the team captain and getting the whole thing organized, Thanh for running the away operations, and to all the teammates and people that donated money, thank you!

What’s next for SSB?  More Destiny, more humor, and hopefully more comic.  Admittedly, I’m still working on the last part.

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-Francis

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SSB’s Destiny Digest #1 – A New Loot Cave?!

As we all know, Bungie’s hotfix 1.0.1.5 closed off the “Loot Cave”, a hot area for farming drops.  Leave it to the boffins at IGN to discover a new farming area.  But does it work?

Yes…and no.  Yes in the the fact that the loot cave does spawn enemies at a pretty crazy rate.  No..because you’ve gotta get it set up just right.  Here’s a breakdown.

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As pictured above, the loot cave is located in the Rocketyard, in Old Russia.  It’s tucked away in a corner, away from everything.  Moreover, the distance away from the spawn point is quite far.    On top of the spawn point’s position, there are numerous other spawn points near this optimal vantage point and they have to be cleared before the loot cave can spawn monsters.  It’s advantageous to go as a group, so one person can camp the point, and other people can clear the mobs in the Rocketyard.  And there are quite a few of them.

Also, Xur’s location this weekend is in the Tower Hangar, in the back of the bar.  Sounds like where I’m gonna be tonight.

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I’ll be back tomorrow with another Destiny Digest.  See you soon!

-Francis

PSN ID: “lulz1″

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SSB vs. Destiny. (Spoiler: It’s not pretty)

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It’s been a little more than a week since Destiny dropped into our hot little hands here at the SSB-Zaibatsu, and well….sorry.  Ferris and I have been playing this game non-stop.  Big shoutout to Thanh, the Aslaronas, SvN, Fernando, Joseph, and anyone who I’ve rolled with.

Yeah.  Sorry for the lack of updates again, this game has sucked up nearly all my free time.  My life has become a cycle of work -> Destiny -> Sleep -> Destiny -> work.  So is the game worth it?  What do you think?  It’s a shooter X MMO hybrid made by Activision and Bungie.  I can’t really think of how it would suck.  You play as a Guardian, fighting to save earth from aliens and THE DARKNESS.

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Rick James tried to warn us, but we didn’t heed his warning.

I’m a level 27 Human Titan with some pretty sweet gear.  20 is the hard cap, and anything higher than that (for now) is due to equipment EXP and light levels.  Most of that stuff I got was through strike missions, which are 3-man maps where you go from one end to the other, and kill the boss at the end.  It seems generic, but Bungie absolutely kills in the presentation and gameplay departments.

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It’s been a nonstop rush ever since I put the game in my PS4.  Strikes, Raids, Missions, drops, it’s every bit as addicting as WoW was, but since it’s in a FPS form, it feels accessible.  Streamlined.  And most of all…fun.  Playing with your friends only multiplies that effect.

You may remember from my earlier Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance entry my criteria for reviewing games.  Is it fun?  YOU BET YOUR ASS IT IS.

With that in mind, we of SSB hope to see you here, or in Destiny.  Hit me up for a game.  My PSN ID is….on our FB page.  Check it out!

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"Pilot"

Top 5 Most Anticipated New Shows of Fall 2014

1. The Flash (CW, Tuesday October 7, 8 p.m.) – I had the opportunity to catch an early screening of the pilot episode and The Flash definitely lived up to the expectations. Set in the same television universe as Arrow, The Flash certainly feels grounded in that reality while maintaining its own tone and idiosyncrasies. Grant Gustin is admirable as the titular character/Barry Allen but the real casting highlight for me is Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Cavanagh since NBC’s Ed and am looking forward to what he’ll bring in the coming weeks.

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via screenrant.com

 

2. A to Z (NBC, Thursday October 2, 9:30 p.m.) – Seemingly the heir apparent to How I Met Your Mother (even going as far to include narration from another iconic 90’s parent – Katey Sagal), this show stars The Mother herself Cristin Milioti, and Ben Feldman previously of Mad Men. Of all the new rom-com shows debuting this Fall season, A to Z appeared to be the most promising based on preview trailers alone. And luckily after viewing an advanced online stream of the pilot, I was able to confirm those assumptions. Milioti and Feldman have an undeniable charm and chemistry as Andrew and Zelda. My hope is that the writers will be able to sustain a consistent engaging narrative while further developing supporting characters like Stu, Stephanie, Lydia, Lora, and Dinesh into individuals we can invest in as well.

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via tvpromos.eu

 

3. Black-ish (ABC, Wednesday September 24, 9:30 p.m.) – Some of my favorite shows growing up were family comedies primarily starring minority actors. Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and The Cosby Show were all programs that engaged me in a socially-conscious way and as pure entertainment. Over the years, however, there has been a sharp decline in programs predominantly starring diverse lead actors on all networks. Fortunately, ABC has remedied that this coming season and is coming out with 3 new comedies focusing on Mexican-American families (Cristela), Asian-American families (Fresh off the Boat), and African-American families (Black-ish). The story of Black-ish is described as “A family man (Anthony Anderson as Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson) struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood.” And on one of the preview clips we see Andre’s son discussing his desire to convert to Judaism in order to throw a bar mitzvah. Black-ish also stars Tracee Ellis Ross as Andre’s wife Rainbow and Laurence Fishburne as “Pops”. With a great time slot following Modern Family, a loveable cast, and a take on the family comedy looking at the ever-evolving meaning of being a minority in America, here’s hoping Black-ish can connect with all audiences like The Cosby Show did 30 years ago.

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via deadline.com

4. Gotham (FOX, Monday September 22, 8 p.m.) – I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show when it was first announced. Christopher Nolan’s trilogy recently finished and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a short couple of years away. And despite The Dark Knight being one of my favorite super heroes ever, I’m a bit fatigued with Bruce Wayne and his alter ego. Still, serving as an origin not only for how James Gordon would become the Commissioner we know but also for the various villains Batman would one day combat, there is certainly a lot of fascinating material to be covered. Moreover, as a self-professed fan of The O.C., my interest was certainly piqued when Ben McKenzie was announced as Gordon (although Donal Logue signing on to be Harvey Bullock is my favorite casting choice). And as clips were released and reports began coming in about every episode in the first season featuring a character that could potentially become The Joker, Gotham eventually became a must see show.

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via moviepilot.com

5. Star Wars: Rebels – (DISNEY CHANNEL, Friday October 3, 9 p.m.) – It’s a new dawn for the Star Wars universe. With the previous established Star Wars Expanded Universe now no longer canon and new shows/books/films coming, we find ourselves in a period of civil war endless story possibilities. One of the new stories that will be told revolves around a “crew of the starship Ghost — cowboy Jedi Kanan, ace pilot Hera, street-smart teenager Ezra, the muscle Zeb, warrior firebrand Sabine, and cantankerous old astromech droid Chopper” set 14 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and 5 years before A New Hope. Now one of the reasons I’m really excited for this show is that the animation style is inspired by Ralph McQuarrie original Star Wars concept art. That sets the animation apart from the previous (and unjustly canceled) Star Wars: The Clone Wars series that was on Cartoon Network. Nevertheless, the style and tone of Star Wars: Rebels is a welcome one.

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via starwarsreport.com

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Also recommended:

Foo Fighters Sonic Highways (HBO, Friday October 17, 11 p.m.)

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So….how does this work again?

Romeo, that water was cold.

How’s everyone doing?  Between comic con, working with new writers, a promotion at my work, a knee injury, and my new addiction to Manna BBQ, we’ve been busy.  Let me apologize for the lack of updates on SSB, believe me, we’ve all wanted to sit down and write, but we’ve been planning some new things, on top of all the stuff I mentioned earlier.

A new artist

We’ve been working with Jimmy Pham, an artist that doesn’t have his head jammed up his own ass.   He’s got a style that’s quite malleable, and doesn’t make people change their script to fit his art, especially after it’s been drawn.  He’s not socially awkward, not a tool, and he’s pretty swoll.  Seriously.  Swolltaku no michi, for sure.

Videos

Brian, Justin, and myself have been kicking around the idea of videos.  Why the hell not?  I’m always down for something new.  One of our new videos is at the top of the page.

Collaborations

We’ll probably be working with a lot more people to bring more lulz and creativity to your computer screen.  Because reasons.

More of the same, pokey geekery that you know and love

While we are gonna be dropping some new shit, we’re not forgetting what makes SSB…SSB.  A love for all things truly geek.  Anime reviews, Game reviews, MMA stuff, me explaining my love for Ar Tonelico to the Dirty Gentlemen, Justin combing his sweet-ass pompadour, Ericka repurposing the internet for her own purposes, Brian getting us into shenanigans, Jared putting people back together, Abe talkin’ about soccer, Jonathan talkin’ about wrassling….IT’S GONNA BE FUCKIN’ TIGHT.

So buckle up, because we’re gonna bring the noise.  And here’s a preview of what you can expect over the coming weeks.

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Men who look at goat simulators?

SSB vs. Yakuza 4

Men who look at goat simulators?

Men who stare at goat simulators?

It’s been a good, long while since I’ve been throughly addicted to a game.  I first caught a glimpse of Yakuza 4 during a youtube browsing session, when I stumbled onto the madness of the Two Best Friends, and they were starting a playthrough of Yakuza 4.  I started the first episode and before I knew it I ran through the entire playthrough.  I was so impressed with the game that I later sought it out and bought it.  For 12 bucks at the GameStop by my house.

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The Ryu Ga Gotoku series (Yakuza’s original name) is a best-seller in Japan, and it’s not difficult to see why.  The game takes pride in its presentation and storytelling.  The series revolves around sometimes-Yakuza patriarch, sometimes-orphanage caretaker, sometimes-host, sometimes-taxi driver Kazuma Kiryu and his wacky adventures with his friends and foster daughter through the red light district of Kamuro-cho, Tokyo.  Kamurocho is based on the real life district of Kabuki-cho, which from all accounts is pretty damn seedy.  For longevity’s sake I’m not gonna run down the entire series lore, you can go to Wikipedia for it.

You kick people in the head.

You kick people in the head.

In Yakuza 4, you control Kiryu, loan shark Shun Akiyama, death row inmate Taiga Saejima, and dirty cop Masayoshi Tanimura.  The story is told through their perspectives at different times, and it all comes together in an explosive finale that’ll leave you breathless.  Each character has their own fighting style and is an expression of the character’s personality.  Kiryu’s fighting style is a mix of karate and street fighting, so he’s good at most situations (and since he’s the series protagonist, he starts pretty damn strong from the get-go). Akiyama’s fighting style is reminiscent of taekwondo, so he relies on good footwork and speed to string together attack combos.  Saejima’s got strength for days, so he relies on a lot of grappling and throws to do damage.  Tanimura uses a lot of parrying and counters to get the job done.  The game’s combat seems to be a homage to Shenmue and Streets of Rage, and many people consider it to be the spiritual successor of the former.

What the game truly excels in is the presentation.  When you play the game, you’re sucked into Kamurocho, and there’s no end to the things you can do.  You can:

  • eat ramen
  • play pachinko
  • play arcade games
  • eat ice cream
  • go on dates with hostesses
  • get a massage
  • fight in tournaments for money
  • shoot pool
  • throw darts
  • sing Karaoke
  • …..and lots lots more.

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The game somehow blends this all together into a single, cohesive experience that just seems totally immersive.  Everything you do has a purpose, and doesn’t seem like a waste of time, though you could seriously just ditch the main plot and just dick around all day with the side quests (JUST LIKE SHENMUE).

Tanimura with some kids.

Tanimura with some kids.

The story, which is told through a mix of in-game cutscenes and FMV’s, is chock full of twists and turns that it’ll keep you guessing to the bitter end.  And like I said, the finale is explosive.  Almost reminds me of Sleeping Dogs, but for some reason, I really like Yakuza 4 a helluva lot more.  Sleeping dogs did let you do stuff….just not to the extent that Yakuza 4 did.  The presentation’s better.

Soooo, is it worth the buy?  HELL YES.  The game’s pretty old now though, so you’ll probably have to get it used.  And as if to rub salt in the wound, Yakuza 5′s been out in Japan already, and there’s no sign of a localized release ever.

Maybe it’s for the best.

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OtakuFIGHTER: The Meaning

A loooong time ago, back when I was a college student trying to figure out his path in life, I met someone that changed my life.  Her name was Mae.  She urged me to not go down the path of full geekery and forsake a normal social existence in pursuit of the otaku life.  For the most part, I did.  I mean, why should there be one or another?  Just because I’m a huge anime/manga/videogame nerd doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy combat sports.

I did adopt this mask.  I wasn't born into it.  That would be weird.

I did adopt this mask. I wasn’t born into it. That would be weird.

On the contrary, those two seem to go hand in hand.  Combat Sports and the Otaku Life both require huge time commitments.  During training sessions, I usually go for about 3 hours, with a mix of drills, bagwork, cardio workouts, weights, and being kicked in the legs by Coach Caine.  I’ve got the bruises to prove it.  I miss the days of me vegging out and watching anime for hours on end, and then following it up with some Dynasty Warriors gameplay.  (BTW, Dynasty Warriors 8 is pretty hype.)

There are times when I feel that my otaku-soul is fading away from me.  For example, a couple weeks ago, I literally went 2-3 weeks without playing any videogames.  Seriously.  My PS4 lay dormant.  Work and training had left me without the energy to pick up my controller and play.  Didn’t even have the energy to download some anime.  (I’m behind on Mahouka Kokou No Rettousei.)

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Of course you want a slightly yandere imouto that can freeze people.

I can only hope that by writing on our website that I can maintain some semblance of my otaku self.  Just in case you’re wondering, I’m about to put my body through some crazy shit.  This fall, I’m going to be fighting in our gym’s next “Fight Night” event, in an exhibition kickboxing fight.  3 rounds, 3 minutes of kickboxing action.  Of course they’re exhibition rules, but it’s still full contact.  I’ve also got some more runs lined up for later in the year as well.

So to that end, I’ve begun a brutal training regimen at The Boxing Club.  Generally my sessions begin at 4:00 PM, where I do a Power Boxing/Kickboxing class for bagwork and cardio exercises.  The stuff that follows afterward varies, and this is what goes on.

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He’s trained many a fighter. And a few skaters too.

Monday: 3-4 mile circuit run in La Jolla.  I run outside the gym, down Nobel St., down to La Jolla Village Drive, and back to the gym.  With an elevation mask.
Tuesday: 1 hour Spin Class. With an elevation mask.
Wednesday: Muay Thai
Thursday: Spin or Muay Thai
Friday: Muay Thai or Personal Training with Coach Caine (Sparring, Padwork, technique drills)

I’m also taking steps to include classic boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu into my training regimen.  Plus cutting out booze and trying to eat clean is part of it too.  Trying, anyway.  Lord knows that Convoy Street is a cruel, tasty mistress.

You’re probably wondering “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF!?”.  The answer’s simple.  I’m having fun.  When I run down La Jolla Village drive with my training mask on, I’m having fun in my own weird way.  Even with the weird looks.  When it’s all said and done, I want to be the guy that can say, “Yeah, I fought in a ring.  It was pretty cool.”

Maybe then I can put that in my comic.

-Francis