I just want to start
with one thought; If
another rumor appears about the "new" 360 that's on it's way, I
think I'll lose it. Enough already! There may eventually be a new
360 HDD, or maybe an add on something or other. However, I don't see
Microsoft trying anything as big as a complete re-release of the 360
with new features. Afterall, they are trying to win supremacy in the
console wars, and the last way to do it is to alienate their early
Plus, even if one of
these redesigns came along in the fall, then it would means it's
been two whole years since the console launched. That type of thing
would not effect only "early adopters". That would screw over early
and middle adopters, and that would just lose Microsoft too much in
terms of loyalty and customer satisfaction.
I decided this last week
that I really wanted to start another epic adventure or RPG styled
game. The options seemed very clear; Okami or FF3. However, a
strange thing has happened...I cannot find either game in any
physical store. I don't know what to think of this, but it is
confusing that a hyped game like FF3 (DS) would have completely been
discontinued after such a short time on the market (two months).
I did find, in the end,
that Amazon.com has both games in stock. I don't like buying from
Amazon because of personal reasons (about how they treat some of
their employees...I won't go into it, but let's just say that
attempting to humiliate a worker injured on the job is not frowned
upon too readily), but sometimes we have some rather unfortunate
choices. In this case, it was buying from Amazon or possibly not
getting FF3 and Okami until they are selling for outrageous prices
on eBay. In that case, I would then have to go via eBay (another
group I have a personal issue, that's much more direct, with).
Blah...life is full of crap-tacular choices.
Anyway, I'm still
playing DBZ for the Wii. If you want the whole name, look it up
because it's too damned big for me to quote from my memory here.
It's definitely an
impressive fighter, considering how overly used this license is. I
guess even an over-saturated product can eventually be fun. In
particular, this game is great since it lets you fight out the
entire DBZ series, from the (bad spelling is coming :P) Saiyan Saga
to the Maajin Buu battles, without the massive time kill of watching
the anime. Right now, I'm near the start of the Saiyan Saga, since
there's a lot to do on the side.
For example, instead of
just fighting the next story battle, you can find optional side
battles which give you special items that allow you to unlock new
fighters for the non-story modes. Also, you can level up your
fighters in this one, so it's fun to do a little grinding between
battles. Especially with the control scheme of the Wii version, in
which you actually feel like you're more taking the role of a
fighting instead of just pressing buttons blindly.
In the end, this game is
still mainly a button masher, since the controls typically come down
to A for melee and B for ranged attacks. However, with the Wii
functions breaking up the monotony, it definitely becomes mroe
enjoyable. Considering how I need to kill time while I wait for
Okami and FF3, this is the ideal time kill. Also, with a battle
system that's this easy to pick up, but filled with a lot of secret
moves and abilities, it reminds me a lot of Smash Bros. In other
words, while I may be doing pretty good with the game right now, I
think I'll be learning new techniques and skills every time I pick
up this game...even if I keep playing for a few years non-stop.
On a final other note
for the day, the first true
Oblivion expansion is coming to light. The concept behind this
expansion sounds pretty interesting. It's the type of thing I would
have loved to have been able to do when I was enjoying Oblivion. The
whole mystery type of format in which you have a city with clones in
a world of insanity is always a fun, if cliché, experience. However,
like I keep saying, my Oblivion days are behind me. The game did not
offer enough for a player to keep coming back for, since the entire
challenge of the franchise was dumbed down with the scaled levels.
However, if you are an addict of this game (and for some reason you
don't want to just go back for more Morrowind), this Shivering Isles
expansion could be well worth it.
Well, it's one of those
"too much to do and no damned time to think" type of days, so I'll
drop off about here.
This is something I
stumbled upon yesterday that has me floored;
the Dreamcast is getting new games in Japan. Over the next two
and a half months, those of us who like shooters and importing games
will have something to look forward to from across the Pacific.
It's this type of
news that reminds me of a very simple truth; I loved (or should that
be "love" since I still have it hooked up?) the Dreamcast. There was
no other game system really like the DC when it came to a few
basics. The RPGs, fighters, and platformers found on this final
entry from Sega were nothing short of amazing. True, there were not
nearly enough games in total that came to the US, but that's beyond
In the end, the DC
reminds me a lot of the GCN. However, while Nintendo had the money
and the patience to put up with a bad system (or two) from the
marketing perspective, Sega just couldn't continue to compete. The
DC was simply too unsupported in it's final throws...at least
internationally. The Japanese audience loved the DC and still does,
but it's not enough to keep a system afloat.
However, one thing
I hate to hear in the modern sense is how the is the new
a PS3 is not hard to find in stock at major retailers, only two
months after it's launch. However, in the end, this does not qualify
it to bear the title of "another DC". For one thing, that's an
insult to the DC name. I'm talking about the system that game us
some of the most imaginative RPG experiences ever seen...Shenmue,
Grandia 2, the original release of Phantasy Star, and even Skies of
Arcadia. That's not even looking at the fighting games, like Power
Stone 1 and 2, the best version of Dead or Alive 2, some damned good
Street Fighter and Capcom fighters in their final glory days, and
Project Justice (the under looked awesome sequel to Rival Schools).
Then when you
throw in how user friendly the DC was, with it's easy to import
abilities, Bleem, and the Windows CE OS...the DC is just not another
console for the ages. It was an amazing toy that not enough people
realized the power of until Sega had to throw in the towel. Like
Rocky at the end of Rocky 1, it was a great fighter that just needed
more time. However, instead of taking another shot at Apollo, the
Mickey of the DC's world just gave up then and there.
Yes, the PS3 may
be able to improve some aspects of the concepts of what a console
can do (Linux, WiFi, and other new ideas), it comes with a price;
$500-$600. The DC did it all with the standard console price
The other thing to
keep in mind when people throw around "another DC", is that we don't
know the fate of the PS3. It has been out for only two months. In
the end, we don't know if the system will be the last for Sony
(doubtful), if it will be a huge failure in a half decade, or if it
will be widely accepted by the hardcore gaming world long after it's
labeled as "dead". We just cannot say anything this early in it's
life. That, and it seems, with the strong similarities to the PSP,
that maybe it's more appropriate to call the PS3 "another PSP".
Afterall, the PSP is the system that tried a bit too much with new
technology, cost a little more than one would expect, and introduced
a major new media format. That's not the DC spirit...that's the PSP
spirit in the PS3.
Anyway, all I want
to say in the end is this; if you're one to label the PS3 as doomed
or a success...either way, you need to wait. I personally don't like
the thought of a $500-$600 game system (especially since I live in
Washington...the state of sales tax hell), but I will not go one way
or another. All I can speak of is the present, and it's all any of
us can speak of.
Yes, the PS3
launch is nothing short of ass...but what console had a really good
launch of all accounts? Go ahead and think about that. If you name
any, I'd simply counter with "what about the games for the first
year?" How fun is the PS3? Well, it's still crap-tacular, but until
good games come along, there's nothing more to expect. The only
solid truth that can be said at this early point is that Sony needs
to find a way to solve the 1080i/720p scaling issues, and fast, if
they want to come in and play on my 1080i/480p/480i big screen.
Other than saying that, the PS3 is in the same state of purgatory as
the 360 and the Wii...only another few years wi9ll tell us the
Anyway, I say all
of this for one reason; it's always good to think before opening
one's mouths. Be it saying is another DC or saying that the
PS3 will destroy all competition. The geek world is a good place to
be, but it only takes a few too many fanboys to turn our little
slice of paradise into a nasty little geek hell. Speak of the
present, and speak with knowledge...don't let your inner fanboy ruin
things for those around you.
My thanks to Tangwich
for bringing this to my attention; New info is up on the
360 exclusive features on Guitar Hero 2. I've just got three
names that should explain more than well enough. How does "Rancid",
"Toadies", and "Iron Maiden" strike you?
I was ready to
drop money on a pre-order when I heard Possum Kingdom was going to
be representing, but once I knew that Iron-mother-f$#@in'-Maiden was
there...well, let's just say that little metal head in my heart
nearly died from the excitement. Plus, when you consider that
downloadable content is supposed to be ready for the launch...rock
tried to take the approach that I don't want to keep buying the same
product over and over again. However, when it comes to a real
difference, like GH2 is giving 360 owners, versus buying a DS in a
smaller frame or Burnout on HD, no justification is needed. I
finally have a good reason to not only be excited about March
(usually a weak game month), but also a reason to not just wonder
why my 360 is sitting around collecting dust.
Then again, the
soon release of Castlevania: SotN on the 360 Arcade is another
good reason to be excited about this console. Even though I have the
game on the PSX, this one is another I can justify (assuming the
price is reasonable) buying again. I can justify it for one simple
reason; PSX memory cards are hard to find and I think my last one
may have finally given up it's will to live.
Buying the same
over and over again is not my idea of cool. It's the reason why many
people have multiple versions of the exact same Nintendo portables,
but in different colors or shapes. Sometimes we get something nice
added to the mix (like downloads and exclusive songs on GH2) but
usually it's just a different shape or color that does the same
damned job (Gameboy versus Gameboy Pocket versus the colored
Gameboys...not the Gameboy Color). I figure that Nintendo,
Microsoft, Sony, Konami, and whoever else all get enough of my hard
earned money without me going stupid and buying the same shit over
and over again. Afterall, if I bought every damned re-release that
they wanted the consumer to gobble up, then I'd be one broke and
It's only when I'm
given something new, like what Harmonix is doing, that I can
actually part with my money with less than total self-loathing.
However, I can assure you, buying another version of GH2, along with
another wired (damn you Microsoft!) guitar controller will be
painful. It will not feel good, by any means. However, sometimes the
cost of being a geek does require some dedication and some tricky
I sound too down
on this, so let me just re-affirm that I'm stoked. IRON MAIDEN!!!!
Anyway, I don't
have much else to say today. Yesterday was another day blown on
filling out mortgage applications and meeting with loan brokers.
Seriously, I need all of this stuff to come to an end right about
now...however, that's the cost of being a "grown up"...paper work.
I was a bit indisposed
yesterday. Considering how the greater Seattle area had another
round of unusually nasty ice storms, I just didn't feel like doing
much else besides watch the news (and see the sensationalizing
effect of "ICE STORM 2007!") and play FF3 on the DS. So, while I sat
bundled up, I just couldn't find the effort to be constructive or
anything like that.
Before I go into
much else, I just want to say that this is no surprise;
Castlevania: SotN will break the 50MB size limit for Live Arcade
games. Considering this game was originally a PSX game (followed by
the superior and never-released-in-America Saturn version), and thus
was on CD, it should come as no shock. Anyway, with the recent
releases of HD TV shows and HD movies on Live, why should whole
games be limited to a small 50MB?
Hell, not even a
single demo (besides Arcade trial games) has come anywhere near that
small of a size. It's about time that Microsoft shows they are
willing to battle Sony on the right front...and the first step is
showing that these previously "casual" only Arcade games can go
beyond both size and "casual" limits. Afterall, this is a console
war, and Microsoft and Sony both need to use their big guns in this
Anyway, as I said
above, I've started playing FF3 for the DS. I held back on buying it
in November since I was finishing up Tales of the Abyss, so my RPG
fix was being met. Also, with the Wii on it's way, I couldn't afford
to drop extra money without a good reason. Well, little did I know
that FF3 was a great reason to drop money on the DS.
First of all, this
is a classic game with a classic sense of game play mechanics.
However, beyond that, this is a great example of what RPGs used to
be; hard as f#@$. You don't save in dungeons, you don't get warned
of boss fights by the obvious save spot right before the battle
begins, and you don't have anyone holding your hand to explain what
you can and cannot do. This is RPG glory from the days of the NES,
when Dragon Warrior 1-4 all took turns kicking your ass...and when
you would crawl back, in a submissive state, begging for more!
However, more than
the sheer and unadulterated fun of a good hard RPG, this game is
perfect for showing what the DS can do. Just like with New Super
Mario Bros., FF3 uses a brilliant mix of old school 2D mechanics,
but with 3D polygons to make it look fresh and alive in the modern
landscape. This is best seen in FF3 by how you can zoom into the map
screen with a press of the L button to get a better look at the
finer details. In fact, this is needed to help you see which pots,
boxes, and whatever else hold secret switches or treasures.
In fact, after
playing about 7 hours of FF3 since Wednesday night, I can only think
of two things; I need to play more being the obvious first choice.
The other would be that the DS needs more RPGs to showcase this
wonderful style of game play.
Best of all, I
don't think any game on the DS before this has shown how amazing the
visuals can get. All you need to do is start the game and watch the
initial opening movie to see how good it can become. The visuals on
the opening are a nice blend of the best of the PSX age with some of
the better visuals of the PS2 era. If you want eye candy on the go,
then this is it! You don't need the supposedly eye-candy glory
machine of the PSP when the DS can do this type of stuff.
I also picked up
Okami (PS2) at the same time as when I got FF3. I really wish I
could comment on this game. It's supposed to be the last great PS2
game (well, if you count it, then it along with FF12 are the last
great PS2 games). I even told myself on Wednesday night that if I
couldn't get to work (due to ice) then Okami would get a lot of
love. Little did I know that FF3, a game I once beat in it's
original incarnation, would prove me so damned wrong. However,
eventually, I will get to this game. I just hope the hype lives up
to the reality of things.
Anyway, time to
drop off so I can finish up two days worth of work before the
weekend. The one bad side of a snow day is that when you get back to
work (in my line of work, at least) things did not patiently put
themselves on hold...viva the American dream...or some such
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