Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas costumes


I had this elaborate idea to try to find every instance where you can unlock a Santa outfit. Mulled it over for a good 10 seconds before I realized there is no way I have time for such antics. It’s three days till Christmas and I still have a bunch of work to finish.

Still, here are a few pics to tide you over for the holidays. We start up top with the obligatory Kasumi Santa outfit from Dead or Alive Ultimate.

Next up is the Christmas themed bonus disc to the wonderful Sega game Nights.
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Last, but not least is our good buddy Sonic. I never thought he would be included in Costume Get! since he usually doesn’t wear anything except for red shoes and gloves. Congrats Sonic.
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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bullet Chanbara update


Yet another costume screen has been uncovered for Onechanbara vorteX, this time a cheerleader outfit. Or should I say, cheerleader top as the skirt seems to be missing.

The fate of domestic release for vorteX still remains slim, which sucks since the chances of me buying a Japanese 360 are virtually nil.

In brighter news, the US developer’s blog for Bullet Witch revealed some pretty interesting info. The game is indeed receiving a healthy does of game play improvements. The important bit for costume fans is that five additional outfits along with some revamped levels will be made available for download for free. It sounds like they will be spread out similar to the Japanese schedule, but more info on that is promised in future updates.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ill-gotten achievements ftw


Despite my doubts, I’m closing in on the 40 hour mark on DOAX2. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll play, but I definitely would have stopped at the 25 hour mark if it weren’t for the casino save exploit.

Thanks to the money that generated, I’ve been able to really appreciate many outfits that would had been previously dismissed. Bikinis that, at first glance, look sorta blah, and are overshadowed by the flashier, skimpier thongs numbers. So despite the fact that it’s basically cheating, it has greatly added to my enjoyment of everything the game has to offer. Of course it helped net me 9 achievements (one for each girl) that I would never have got on my own. I feel guilty about that actually.

Even though I’ve spent a good amount of time on the game, I still have mixed feelings. Is DOAX2 better than the first? Worse? Time will tell.

On the merchandise front, the 10th anniversary calendar has been put up for order on Tecmo’s Japanese site (they don’t ship outside of Japan). It’s nice, but I can live without it.

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What I do want is the new sets of playing cards. I have the two sets released for the first DOAXVB and they are quite nice. Having seen these cards for hours playing poker in the game, I would love to actually have them for reals.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fourth/Fifth costume emerge


Slowly, but surely new costumes are being released for Bullet Witch in Japan. I haven’t found any new info regarding what will be included for the US release, but it’s encouraging that the developers are keeping things going. This newest outfit ramps up the sexy and adds a new hair color and glasses too.

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It’s quite nice actually. A bit on the wild side, but that’s fine.

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The next costume that looks to make it into the game is this bizarre mummy motif. Seems it went through some revisions to tone it down a bit and thus we have a jacket and jean shorts added on top of things. I’m not a huge fan of the whole bandage look, which seemingly became “a hot thing” during the Evangelion heydays.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

DOAX2 Get


The game has been getting hammered by reviews, but of course there’s no way that would deter me from picking up the game. Despite the poor scores for Rumble Roses XX, I still greatly enjoyed the game. That said, my expectations have been greatly lowered.

Impressions soon.

Update part 1
Played through one full vacation last night. I heard the first time through, you are forced to partner with Lisa, so decided Tina would be the best choice. I’m liking the new bikinis I’ve seen. Volleyball seems much tougher, but thankfully you can make a lot of money with the jet skis. The revamped poker is much better too.

I spent way too much time spamming the slot machines. In the last game, most of the machines that didn’t take away money would eventually triple (or more) your money if you did it long enough. This was achieved by using a rubber band or similar item to keep the A button pressed down. Walk away for an hour and check your total. You definitely want to check every now and then to make sure you didn’t accidentally go broke.

It looks like it still works sorta, but I didn’t do it for an hour. Only two, half-hour stretches, which is actually not nearly long enough for real gains. I got impatient and wanted to get back to actually playing the game and will try this out much later when I embark on more ambitious bikini buying sprees.

I only have the basic camera and it works pretty good. The advanced camera is very expensive, so it wouldn’t really interest me until I got a good collection of outfits anyway.

I can totally see the faults the reviews point out. Had I not come into the game prepared, the disappointment could have overwhelmed me too. At this point, I’m still quite happy with the game. To be continued.

Update Part 2
Started my next vacation with Kasumi. I didn’t choose a guide, so the game gave me the option to start off with Tina. I forgot to mention during my first time through as Tina that Lisa abandoned me. It started with a random gift she didn’t like and it probably didn’t help that I stopped playing volleyball and stuck to the jet skis.

Anyway, I’m at day 6 and the Kasumi/Tina team is still going strong. Kasumi’s outfits tend towards the demure, although there are some naughty lingerie items. She also has a few school girl outfits as well. I gave Tina a bikini she didn’t like (a white lacey number) and only won her back by giving her a prototype Xbox and cherry pie. Tina ended up giving Kasumi back the bikini, which is a ton better than throwing it away outright.

Update 3
(I’m posting update 3 and 4 at the same time because I didn’t have internet access this weeked) Finished off my vacation with Kasumi. Overall, I really liked her outfit selection. Started my next game with Christie. Ayane was the character available for initial partnership, I declined. Figured it would take a lot of time to make these two like each other, so it was going to be about solo jet skis and gambling.

Christie has the famous “pearl-like” bikini and it comes in three colors; black, white, and gold. I went with gold. Her other bikinis are kind of blah actually. She also has the bunny outfits, but they are just ok. I experimented with the Christie slot machine with mixed results. High risk, but also high pay out. I busted more than I earned over the vacation though.

The stores change inventory three times a day now, so I checked-in to buy gifts for Christie’s next vacation. There were a ton of Kasumi items in stock, which means I’ll try to partner with her the next time I play with Christie. It’s going to be hard to get Kasumi to wear the pearl one probably. I may try to play as Kasumi first and get friendly with Christie to hopefully keep the good vibes going between them.

Update 4
My fourth vacation featured Helena. Kokoro was the default partner and they seem to get along ok. Helena’s premiere bikini is the sea shell one. I’ve seen two color variations so far although I’m sure there is probably at least one more. She also has some nice skirt outfits. A better overall selection than Christie. I’m only at day three, but already decided to play only enough to buy maybe two or three bikinis for Helena then move on to another character.

I’m wondering if there are costumes that don’t appear in a girl’s first vacation.

After I play at least a few days with every girl, I’ll start concentrating on one single collection. I’m not sure who that will be yet though. I'll also try to unlock pole dancing. It's crazy how long the scene is compared to other gravure, like 5 times as long.

Update 5 (Final one for this post)
After finishing Helena’s vacation, I did really quick 2-day runs with Hitomi, Kokoro, and Leifang just to check out their outfit selection. These three have the most tame wardrobea so far, but that’s not a bad thing. There are some really adorable outfits to choose from, although it’s a bit weird that Leifang’s full China dress costs a million zacks. I mean, it’s very nice looking, but just oddly priced. After I finish Kokoro at day two, I’ll move on to Ayane and finally Lisa. I expect to spend a lot more time with these two to set up later gift exchanges.

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Hitomi is the only character that automatically comes with the super fancy camera, so I need to go check that out to see if it’s really worth 2 million zacks.

The next update will probably not be about DOAX2, but expect a fuller report after that or the next.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

November costume update


These two outfits were revealed in the “girls” trailer released on Xbox Live a week or so back, but now we have some actual pics, courtesy of Famitsu, that aren’t grainy footage caps. I like that there are a variety of outfits aside from bikinis. The white lingerie number on Christie looks a little comical considering the beach surroundings, but you won’t hear me complaining about it.

On the other hand, I’m not too wild about Kasumi’s school girl outfit. I like a good school girl outfit as much as anyone, but DOA fans see this costume a lot. It’s played out. They really need to retire it for a while, put it in the Disney vaults or something. I’m sure the Kasumi/school girl fans would be outraged though, so who am I to deny their pleasure?
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Untold Legends
PS3 test units have made their way to various editorial offices. You’ve probably read most of the impressions out there. I haven’t spent a bunch of time with one, but I did notice how much heat the thing emits. It’s a lot of hot air blowing out of there. One of the games I’ve been going back and forth on is Untold Legends. One on hand, I love Diablo-style games and I enjoyed the first two games (Champions of Norrath) in the series.
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On the other hand, I loath the “Legends” art direction the series has adopted. This PS3 installment is less stylized than the PSP versions, which is encouraging. I’ve seen videos where you’re obtaining new armor and seeing it immediately on the characters. Up close, they look quite nice. I’ll figure out if I still want it by the time I get a PS3.

Killer 7
I finally got around to beating Killer 7 for the GameCube the night before I brought home Gears of War. I’ll talk about Gears in a later post. There aren’t really many costume variations, this one just has a graphic look I really like. My favorite is Kaede who wears a simple white dress with no shoes and highly disturbing blood stains on her stomach. Such a simple yet bold outfit.
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The same development house, Grasshopper, made a game based off the Blood anime/manga. It’s doubtful to see a US release, but there is a new game called Heroes for the Wii that has a chance to see the light of day here. It also involves assassins and some sort of light sabers.
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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Onechanbara Dress-Up Mode


Or as the screen says “dressesup” mode. Found this screen randomly in some Japanese message boards, but haven’t found any official screens that would shed more light on the situation.

Looks like there are some base edits (which are on the other page so who knows what they are), and options for the Head, Arm, Tops, Bottoms, and Leg.

I haven’t set up a Japanese 360 account, but I definitely would if a demo of the game ever popped up there. I still have to figure out how to do that exactly.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Paying for unlocks


There’s been lots of discussion about what game companies are charging for additional content on Xbox Live and future plans for the PS3 and Wii networks. Up until a few weeks ago, the most outrageous content was several bucks for some horse armor. It has since escalated to odd items like a new stadium and video tutorials. I say odd because these are traditionally things included in the game for free.

I think there’s going to be a very ugly period where we see some ridiculous attempts at gouging gamers, but it’ll all settle into something that works. Remember the early days of UMD movies? Those damn things were flying off the shelves at the same price of DVDs, but with far fewer features and crap picture quality. Well, the novelty wore off and now the format is just about dead. Unlike UMDs, digital purchases, micro-transactions or whatever you want to call it are here to stay. It’s a solid concept that gamers have embraced up to a point and would continue to do so with the right pricing and products.

EA recently announced plans to allow people to buy items in Tiger Woods that would take a long time to obtain in-game. Now I’ve spent more than a fair amount of time unlocking extra costumes and such items are rarely given out through normal cheat codes. You almost always have to earn them. In these specific cases, I might be tempted to purchase an unlock. It really depends on the game, amount of unlocks, amount of work required to obtain items for free, and how much is being charged.

Let’s take the original DOAXVB for example. After a while, it became very tedious to earn enough money to buy items and swimsuits. It was an endless repeat of volleyball, pool hopping, and gambling. That’s definitely a situation where I might have caved. Rumble Roses XX is another good example. There is a ton of match grinding you have to do for each character and it’s way too much. I only completely had access to one wrestlers outfit selection (you have to meet requirements to make certain costumes purchasable), and even then it wasn’t worth the trouble of collecting enough money to buy everything.

DOAX2 seems like it will be a different story though. The variety of money earning activities is much greater and gambling looks like it’ll be a lot more interesting. Plus, the frustrating system where the girls would throw away expensive bikinis has been altered to make things a bit easier. Although there are a ton of outfits and items, I usually buy only the stuff I like anyway. A recent interview in Famitsu supposedly confirmed that some Gravure scenes will be purchasable on Live, but they can be obtained through the game. Hmmmm…..

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

School Girls and Elves


The newest Bullet Witch costume is (surprise) a school girl outfit. Pretty unoriginal. You can’t really tell from the screenshot, but her shirt is somewhat transparent and you can easily see her bra. Um…okay. I guess if you want to satisfy the school girl fetish folks out there, you have to really deliver something extra.
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The developer’s weblog shows off some other costume possibilities although none are very exciting. Even though they aren’t blowing me away, I’ll be fairly satisfied if the US release can ship with a good handful of costumes. These one-at-a-time costume downloads for the Japanese release are way too spread apart for my taste.
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As a Kingdoms Under Fire fan, I’ve been keeping an eye on the upcoming Circle of Doom action RPG. One interesting discrepancy that has popped up is what the elf character is wearing. Everything from the armlets to the boots is very different from each other. Is it just old concept art? It would be nice if she had both in the game, but we’ll have to wait and see.
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If you have a 360, then you MUST download the new DOAX2 trailer on Xbox Live. It’s a whopper (I didn’t time it, but I swear it’s over 5 minutes) with tons of in-game footage. Watching it on your home HDTV gives you a much clearer idea of what the final game will look like.

I’ve heard some folks griping that the graphics don’t seem much improved from DOAXVB, but do a quick comparison. Watch the 360 trailer, then fire up your Xbox and pop in Beach Volleyball. It’s quite a big difference when you really compare the two.

The footage doesn’t contain what the camera mode looks like, but the screen below shows that it’s fairly similar to the system used in DOA4. Again you can adjust the shutter speed and how much light you allow in to the lense. Basically that means you can eliminate blurry pictures or keep the motion blur, and you can make photos look darker or brightly blown out to achieve some crazier looks. There are two cameras, one is manual as shown below and the other is a super fancy automatic.
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I’m sure the game will force you to take pics in real time as well. That means you can’t pause and perfectly frame a pose like you could in Rumble Roses XX. Both methods have their fans I’m sure.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Armor, water color peaches, golf, and expansions.


I keep telling myself there’s no way I have time to play lengthy RPGs like Final Fantasy XII, then I see something cool like the above art from the official soundtrack and I start to waffle. Wow, such an interesting mix of Samurai and European armor. I bet they’re some bad ass enemies…or are they friends? Oh the mystery! Then again, I’m not too excited about the costumes of the regular characters, at least not yet.

Something I definitely had to make time for was some Okami. I’m about 2 hours in and loving it. It’s pretty much a dead-on Zelda action adventure clone, but there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you do it right. The art style is amazing, but I had to do a double take at the back of the Tree Spirit Sakuya’s outfit. It’s breezy back there (didn't have time to take a pic of it myself so that rear shot was lifted off Kotaku).
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I was wondering what the first Wii game to get some costume action would be… and it looks like Tecmo’s Super Swing Golf is the winner! I’m not sure if that character is actually Kasumi or just someone wearing her outfit (Update: pretty sure it's Kasumi), but the pig-tails gal definitely has at least two changes of clothes.
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Who knows if there will be any downloadable new bikinis for DOA Xtreme 2 down the road, but its naughty counterpart, Sexy Beach 3, has already announced an expansion disc! You get at least two new characters (maybe more), new outfits, and new “scenes”. It’s set for release Nov 24th, which is just two months after the main game’s release. Fans are shelling out some dough since SB3 costs around $90 and the expansion is about $40.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Blu-ray = more costume texture storage?


I mentioned in my other blog that I was most likely passing on a PlayStation 3 till the price comes down or there are enough “I can’t live without” games out.

It amazes me that a good number of the launch PS3 games already come close to using up all 25GBs on single-sided Blu-ray discs, and yes claim the developers, that is with compression in effect. That means it’s supposedly all additional data, especially for texture and effects.

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For clothes, does that mean we will see a level of detail impossible on other systems? Not exactly. That sort of thing depends more on the guts of the console more than the storage capacity of the discs, but the point is moot since the PS3 does feature some fancier abilities in that regard anyway.

More developer interviews are popping up as we get closer to launch, so I’ll be looking for any details in that area.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The parade of embarrassing bikinis


The majority of Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 screens shown up to this point featured relatively demure bathing suits. Even the “official” ones released during the recent Tokyo Game Show and X06 in Spain continued that trend.

However, the demo on the show floor apparently had much more risqué items for display. The educated guess would be that there was a very strict embargo on showing this footage on mainstream web sites, which explains why the only photos capturing the skimpy bikinis are of the amateur digital camera variety. I won’t go as far to call these latest bikinis tasteless, but they certainly are quite out there. I mean…pearls? Holy moley.
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Last time, the most skimpy and sought after outfit was the jeweled Venus, but it appears there are at least TWO new jeweled bikinis now. The tear drop bikini Kasumi is wearing also falls into the “whoa mama” category. In many ways these are far more outrageous than if they were outright naked. Still, as a man I can’t be too mad at Team Ninja. Well not for the DOAX2 shots, but maybe for the new unnamed game they unveiled.
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There’s only concept art for this mystery Team Ninja game. Even so, I’m not too wild on them. The pants bug me the most, but the patterns all along the outfit aren’t giving me the good vibes either. It could end up meshing quite well with the aesthetic in-game. We’ll see.

One more game I’m looking forward too, but also earns some thumbs down is the upcoming 360 version of Oneechambara. The main character is okay and has a decent style. These enemies on the other hand are just tacky. You can tell the costume is trying very hard to be cutting-edge sexy with daring slits held together by rings and other patches of cloth. Ummm, sorry it looks terrible.
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A reader pointed out to me, that the just released (in Japan) Sexy Beach 3 by Illusion also features tan line technology. The difference here is that you actually rub the lotion on the girls in a very interactive manner, among other embarrassing things you’d except in an adult game.
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Monday, September 18, 2006

King of costumes, sort of


The King of Fighters 2006 hits stores this week and I’m totally going to be all about it. On the downside, each character seems to only have two outfits. In better news, there is something like 40 characters and multiple color variations for their costumes.

The previous incarnation, which went under the Maniax(acs) brand before switching to the yearly moniker, was good fun. The fighting system was flawed, but it kept your interest if you just stuck to single player.

The one game that may force open my wallet and succumb to PS3 is Virtua Fighter 5. Part 4 introduced an accessory system that offered limited costume variations, but recent screens show that characters appear to have more than the standard two.

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When I played the game in Japanese arcades a few weeks ago, Vanessa sported an unbuttoned camo shirt and sports bra with matching camo pants.

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These two screens above show her in a one-piece blue jumpsuit and also an armored vest with military pants combo.

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Here’s a shot with newcomer Eileen in a pink top/martial arts pants number I haven’t seen before. It’s all quite encouraging.

Hopefully the PS3 Tekken will also step up its costume offerings.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tan lines, witches, Roses, and more!


Started playing Dead Rising over the weekend. It has its share of flaws, but I’m having a great time with it. Costume wise, it’s one of the first 360 games that has offered free downloadable outfits. I haven’t tried on all the available types in the game yet, but there are lots of fun options.
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This dose of horror got me in the mood to revisit Silent Hill 3. Part 2 is my all-time favorite, but I have a soft spot for the third one. The choice of a female lead character was refreshing, especially since Heather wasn’t your clichéd bodacious gaming babe. Plus she had quite a selection of shirts to sport and one space age thingy. The pic below is from this site.
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I don’t have anything new regarding Bullet Witch except for this new pic below. Same outfit as before, but still striking.
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More Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 pics, info, and import magazine scans continue to surface at a steady rate now. The only controversy of note so far seems to focus on the inclusion of tan lines. The previous game had minor tanning (the girls got somewhat darker), but it was not very pronounced. Some folks are griping and hoping for an option not to have tan lines. Anyone who has play the last game can tell you both sun tan lotion and sun block were readily available for cheap in the shop. If you don’t like tan lines, slather on the sun block. End of story. Tan lines do mix up the look and effect of particular bikinis though. I think it’s great.
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It’s nice that they are not bringing back every bikini for the first game and mixing it up with plenty of brand new looks. Better texturing will make all the old ones look far better, so looking forward to that too. One of the “lost” features from DOAXBV was variable bikini sizes (it was in early previews of Famitsu and Famitsu Xbox). You could buy smaller sizes and have the more ample ladies squeeze into them for an “overflowing” effect. Rumble Roses XX offered this by way of adjusting body part sizes. It’s doubtful it will find its way to DOAX2, but I guess you never know. It’s kinda crass, kinda sexy, um, I dunno. I could live without it.
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One thing I would love to see are non-bikini outfits for the night time. I’m not sure how different the gambling portions will be, but it sure would be great to see the ladies in formal evening wear or more casual tropical night clothes sauntering around the casino. In DOAXBV, you played against the other girls and could hear their voices and view their icons. Other than that, the casino looked like a ghost town.

I haven’t played Rumble Roses XX for a while, but decided to pop it back in to gather some final thoughts. Before I knew it, I had logged in another 8 hours. I haven’t played many tag team matches and fully explored the create-a-wrestler mode. Using the team of Rowdy Reiko and Sgt Clements, I unlocked all of the Rowdy Reiko’s possible outfits. The most costly two are the Marine Gift Flower and Scallop bikinis. Sure, they're sexy, but they're also kind of ugly and gaudy.
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Those Marine bikinis and some string-like ones appear to be the most risqué in the game, although the point of purchase banners would have you believe there are far sexier non-outfits and situations. There was also this previous piece of sales material posted earlier.
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This flight attendant number wins my award for most ridiculous in the game, which also means it’s the most awesome.
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There may be a few more hours left in me to unlock some items for Sgt. Clements. Other than that, RRXX may finally see retirement. I’m not sure how the game did in Japan, but it didn’t do so hot over here. Looking into my CostumeGet! crystal ball, I predict a true follow-up to the PS2 version for the PlayStation 3 is still possible. If it were to come to fruition, there is no doubt the PlayStation 3 release would be the make or break it for the franchise. I mean, it’s shocking RRXX came out at all for the 360. The only reason I could think of was to lay the next-gen asset ground work for PS3.

Freaks like myself somehow found ways to still enjoy the flawed game, but there needs to be a ton of improvements if they hope to post any decent sales numbers to the masses.

Unfortunately, or should I say predictabley, the updates on the official Rumble Roses sites have now ground to a halt. However, the flow of Rumble Roses figures continues. There are three new larger scale figures due later this year. Out of these, I would kinda consider Dixie because she is one of my favorite characters. Her face and body molding don’t look quite right though. Maybe the final production model will be a bit more improved. The final Reiko figure looks much better than the first prototypes shown.
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Speaking of figures, the 2006 Wonder Festival in Japan ended recently. Brand new figures keep on coming for Witch Blade. I think all of the ones below are of the “you have to build it and paint it resin kit” variety, which sucks. Most of the popular ones get made into pre-painted figures though. This set includes our gal in street clothes and then transformed by the Witch Blade.
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This one below by the group/artist Orchid Seed is my favorite.
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There were tons of other figures shown, but another of the ones I’m keeping an eye out for is the Masamune Shirow police gal.
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