Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (1/22/07)  

Dusty Welch of Red Octane has an interesting interview up on the Gamespot site. By interesting, I mean it sounds like there's some definite good news that may soon be coming along in regards to the Guitar Hero franchise. I also mean that some bad news may be showing soon, assuming I'm reading between the right lines.

On one hand, I do like the fact that Welch is sounding pretty adamant about trying to get the original Guitar Hero set list up as content (downloadable, of course) for GH2 on the 360. This would be awesome, since I have wanted to play co-op on the original GH soundtrack ever since co-op was first announced for GH2. It will probably cost some major cash to get these tracks (I wouldn't be surprised to see the total GH library going for upwards of $30 over several download packs), but it would be worth it to play them I feel they were meant to be played.

However, I can't help but feel the overall direction of the GH franchise could be in some major trouble. For one thing, the move to Neversoft is not a good thing. While Welch says they have a good track record with such hits as the THPS (and THUG and THAW) license, that's not really the truth. THPS used to stand for a game that HAD to be purchased each year. THPS2 was better than 1, and 3 was better than 2. It went that way until THUG came along...then it just kept getting worse and more twisted. Project 8 may have redeemed the series, but it's not like the that makes up for THUG 1&2 and THAW.

That's not even mentioning the simple fact; wasn't Harmonix a larger part of the success than Welch is trying to pass them off as. They added some "creative" input? That's it? I seriously doubt the developer of GH1 and GH2 was actually nothing more than creative input. That's like saying that EA was behind FFIX because they published it for the US. A publisher has some importance in some fields on getting a game to the market, but the true skills of making a game will always lie in the job description of the developer. To say otherwise only shows the big gap between publishers and developers and explains why companies like Valve have gone through they battles to eliminate the publisher from the equation with services like Steam.

Also, the fact that so many other potential GH spin-off titles have been trademarked leaves me a bit frightened. With names like Guitar Villain, Band Hero, Keyboard Villain, and all of the others, I have to wonder if this franchise is going to be whored out as badly as Tony Hawk was and is. The important fact in making a good game, as Nintendo has known for a long time and Square Enix is starting to learn (with their spin-off failures...Dierge of Cerberus anyone?) is not to become your own competition. If you make ten games with the same world with a similar launch date, you cannot expect all fans to buy all of them, and you cannot put pure quality in all of them. Before long, each will have to suffer a bit, and then you're left with a sad truth; you have turned a sweet franchise into a stagnant conglomeration of crap. Some quality will be in there, but the total quality between all of the game would only make one good game...not a half dozen.

I may just be in a pessimistic mindset with this, but I have seen it happen too many times before. Neversoft is the master of whoring out an idea until no one is willing to touch the damned product. Let's just hope Guitar Hero is not their next cheap trick.

Anyway, I'm still playing Okami. I cannot begin to say how freakin' sweet this game is. I can't believe that I passed it by when it first came out. I also can't believe that it's probably another instance of Beyond Good and Evil; a great game that will be critically loved and ignored by the masses. You owe it to yourself to buy this game if you own a PS2 and like the Zelda style of game play. This isn't Zelda, by any means, but it falls into the same general genre.

I'm not about 12 hours into Okami, and I think I still have a vast majority of the game to go. It's just too addictive to start a battle, to explore the world, and to look for people or animals who need my help. I just don't have the drive to progress the plot until I know that I've taken care of's just that much fun to be a completionist in this game. No game before has made me desire such perfection (except maybe Dark Cloud...until I got tired of it near the end of the game) before, and I don't know if any will come along this good again.


Malik (1/23/07)  

Nintendo released Zelda: Link to the Past on the virtual console yesterday. Nothing else, as far as I saw when I hit the Wii Store looked new. So, I'm left with a question; since there is a relative drought in physical (retail) games for the Wii, where the f#@$ are the VC games to get us through? I don't mean the games that have been ported several times in recent years (like Sonic, LttP, and the original NES Zelda), but rather the ones that need a new release but are not seeing any love. Where is Majora's Mask, for example?

If Nintendo wants to wow some gamers while the initial launch drought continues (as it does for all new systems in the first 6-12 months), they need to bring about some new games. Since new retail games won't be coming along, new VC games should be simple. I can think of a dozen (without any real thinking) games that need some love. Why have Baseball (NES) when Tecmo is already onboard and thus we could see Baseball Stars (best damned NES baseball game, ever!)? Why have only one freakin' N64 game (Majora's, Ocarina, Jet Force Gemini, Smash, and Mario Kart 64 all come to mind as candidates)? Why have so many obscure titles when some of the greatest are ignored? Why not suck up a little to Square Enix and bring us some NES Dragon Warrior or some SNES FF love? Why give us so little to obsess over?

I think if Nintendo wants to show that they are ready to take the gamers from the "multimedia" console makers, they need to give us games. Each VC game could count, but the VC is definitely getting a slow start. I even have 2000 VC points (Christmas gift from my brother in law...Thanks, Dibmonkey!) but there is simply nothing I would want to spend it on.

I that note, I also have one classic controller, and I have another good question; Nintendo, what the hell are the little slots on the back of this controller for? There's some sort of eject button to help something go in and be removed from these slots, but there's nothing to use it for. It seems like a good way to further hype the machine if they simple would say what it's for.

Anyway, I'm still playing Okami, and I am still obsessed with this game. I am also still in the hell of finding a mortgage broker, and that's why I'm going to keep this short today. I simply have nothing to talk about since I spent all of last night talking about loan options (and how close I am to finding a lawyer to sue a special someone's work place for harassment...but that's not the subject at hand).


Malik (1/25/07)  

Civil rights, lawyers, and home mortgage options...oh my! Sorry, but I have been less than good in terms of posting and my mood because of these types of things. It has also kept me limited on my ability to even play a single damned half hour of gaming in a night. Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes the bear gets you (as said by the stranger in The Big Lebowski).

Recently some new information is always coming along about some favorite RPGs for the more dedicated of RPG fanatics. I'm talking about the fact that Fallout 3 is actually still in development, with Bethesda (and using the Oblivion engine), and that Shadowrun is nearing completion. I know Shadowrun is no longer an RPG, but I'm getting to that.

My complaint (or Bitching) is about the simple fact that these staple game franchises are being ass raped in every possible sense of the word (except the literal sense, since they lack excretory systems). For example, with how the Oblivion engine is being used with Fallout 3, are we even going to see Fallout in this game, when and if it is released? Fallout was all about the Special system and about tactical combat on an isometric view. However, the most likely continuation of the series, since Oblivion's engine is on board, will be the game being warped into some sick first person RPG.

On top of that, Bethesda, via Oblivion, has shown that they now like the thought of streamlining RPGs to appeal to a wider audience. Fallout was never a mainstream game, and that's why it had such an awesome following. It was a niche game, and it was great to see the unusual sense of humor, the overly developed character growth systems, and the wide variety of combat options (such as weapons having different rates of fire). You didn't even have to fight many battles in the game if you chose for a diplomatic approach. Well, a first person RPG that is probably going to be streamlined for more casual of RPG gamers will have to do away with almost all of this beautiful set of game mechanics. I think it's safe to say that, when it's finally released, Fallout 3 will not be Fallout as us Fallout fanatics know will probably be Oblivion with a different setting and guns instead of bows and magic.

On the other end of the spectrum, Shadowrun is getting closer to launch. It looks like a solid FPS for a multiplayer audience. However, this is not what the complex rule set of Shadowrun is all about. Shadowrun is about the wonderfully nuanced blending of cyber-punk and shamanistic fantasy. It's about developing a complex character and being able to have freedom in a world unlike any other. To put it in a multiplayer only FPS setting is like turning D&D into a FPS. It makes no sense. Actually, D&D would be more right to be a FPS just because the rule set of D&D is more streamlined than Shadowrun ever could be.

I think the Shadowrun 360 game should come out, but it just should not walk around with this title. It could be named anything else and it would be a much more offensive of game. It's just in bad taste to the fans and the legacy of the classic pencil and paper RPG system.

I would normally be really happy, especially with the lack of quality RPGs in the works right now, to have both of these games coming back for the modern console/PC gaming era. However, to turn them into what they are becoming to like taking a shit on the graves of Shadowrun (I know, Shadowrun is not dead...but you hopefully see what I mean) and Fallout 1&2. A name doesn't make a game, but a name should not be used on the wrong type of game. If Bethesda somehow obtained the Zelda license and put Link in the Oblivion engine, and they called it "Zelda", it just wouldn't be right. Shadowrun and Fallout 3 are only seeing this happen because their licenses are both so much smaller in popular opinion (most people who will buy Shadowrun don't even know what Shadowrun is and the history of this awesome game system).

Blah! I just hope, in some way, that Fallout 3 turns out as good as the first two and is a strategy based RPG with a good level of non-first person elements. I also hope, but know it will never happen, that Shadowrun is later revisited for the RPG experience it deserves. It was once attempted with the SNES and Genesis (and Sega CD in Japan) and it wasn't all bad. Imagine it happening with the modern consoles and with modern programming abilities. Anyway, I imagine I'll feel the same when it's released in the next few months, but for now I'd like to say I wouldn't touch Shadowrun (360) if I was given the game for free.


Malik (1/26/07)  

I remember when the horrible Wing Commander movie came out. This movie only was able to gain any substantial ticket sales because of one lame factor; the first ever trailer for Star Wars Episode 1 (and the first big screen glance of new Star Wars in nearly two decades). If it wasn't for that preview, the horrible Wing Commander would've probably been one of the biggest box office flops of all time.

I mention all of that because the same thing is happening, but with video games. From all that I've seen, Crackdown looks like a big steaming pile of shit on almost all accounts. Every game trailer I've seen makes the game look like it'll be as fulfilling as playing for all eternity on the worst crime/police game stereotypes and with no substantial mechanics to keep the player interested. However, the potential to join the Halo 3 beta is what will sell this game.

It's great marketing, since it helps an otherwise worthless waste of DVD become a potential big seller. However, it just seems wrong for the more weak minded of gamers to fall for this obvious load of shit. A game cannot sell off of a demo and still be considered a good game in the end. It just doesn't happen. It's like when Tobal No. 1 came with the FFVII demo on the PSX. That was all well and good, but the majority of FFVII fans would not enjoy Tobal (and the sequel, which never came to the US, was the only game that was worth mentioning in that short lives franchise).

The same is true of Crackdown. It's not the right type of game for many Halo 3 fans, and it's not a good looking game on any account. I just hope this type of forced hype doesn't make the game into a large seller. Afterall, this is only a chance for a beta, and it's not like a person cannot wait, no matter how much of a Halo fanboy they are, for the real game. This is like paying twice, for the Halo elitists, for Halo 3; once for the beta and once for the game when it comes out later this year.

Anyway, on a different note, I've just started to see this type of stuff; hacked Guitar Hero 2. I wish I had the time and interest to get into this type of thing...well, more than watching videos of it. I think it's awesome that the geek world is obsessed with this game enough to show me my fantasies ("What would Metallica look like on Guitar Hero?") coming slightly true.

It's about the weekend, and I want to keep things pretty short today. I have not had much time this week to relax and I've only scored about 3 hours of gaming this entire week. So, I'll end by saying Okami still rocks at about 33% done, and I want to play some more...after cleaning my entire apartment, hanging with my in-laws tonight, looking at more legal resources, and...well, I just want to kick real life in the nuts and get back to the joy of being a white wolf statue brought to life with a little perverted sprite thing as my sidekick. Sigh...back when times (as in a week ago) were so much simpler.


For Those Who Don't Have Flash Plug-Ins...

Rested XP    News    Reviews    Videos    Features    Forums    Archives    Search This Site    Links    Contact Us    Disclaimer

Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page