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Malik (2/10/09)

I've been playing Uncharted and I am really confused. I mean I have read a lot of reviews on how this is a nearly perfect game, but I'm stuck wondering if I'm playing the same game. Yes, it is good...but good is not the same as amazing.

I think my big issue is simply that there is too much fighting. I don't mean there is more battling than I'd like. I mean there are rooms in which you fight wave after wave of enemies until you begin to feel sorry for the pirates (bad guys). I mean they own, in a sense, the island that the game primarily takes place on. However, some jerk (the hero) is infiltrating and this intruder is obsessed with killing everyone possible.

Ok. The plot is interesting. I just cannot get over the fact that I was able to get the 30 head shot trophy so damned quickly. I'm not a good aim with the PS3 analogue sticks, but I totally wasted enemy after enemy until I got the head shot award. I'm only on chapter six and I got this award in the fourth chapter. This was due to how in one room/area (like the plane crash you find near the end of chapter four...trying to avoid spoilers) you first kill about twenty people...then you explore the crash and fight another thirty people. Enough is enough. I wanted to play as an adventurer, like how the plot implies you play as, but am instead playing as Rambo.

I'll keep playing, but I'm really finding myself wondering why when it's the same damned thing after another. Also, the fact that a pistol is a better weapon than an AK-47 is a bit of a confusing twist. Since enemies seem to get a moment of invincibility after being shot once, this makes an AK just a quicker weapon to run out of ammo for.

I've been also looking at Star Ocean 4 recently. I was a fan of SO (although not knowing Japanese limited that experience) and SO2 (one of the best PSX era RPGs), even if SO3 was one of the worst games to come out of the once respectable Square Enix (via Tri-Ace), I still am curious. Given the track record of SE and Tri-Ace lately, I should probably just think of how much I'd like to play the next SO game without giving in. However, I cannot help it.

Of course, SO3 was not just bad. It was a train wreck of bad AI (the party members you don't control in battle will die...non-stop as the enemy tears them apart and rapes their corpses. Also, the plot was weak and took more than 15 hours to get into (more time than I could afford to waste on this half-assed title). Most of all, the game was slow as hell as Tri-Ace made giant environments for towns, but with little to justify the size as you ran from one place to another with nothing to fill the void of time.

Everything about SO3 says I should just cut my losses. However, with this generation of consoles being so devoid of J-RPGs, I really have a need for a new one to play. After finishing Valkyria Chronicles, I really do need a good RPG fix, and would like to avoid anything involving too much thought (hence I'll pass on Disgaea 3 for now). Sadly, with SO4 being the only real offering I haven't beaten that isn't too involving, I am intrigued. I mean the game comes out this month.

I hope some reviews come along soon to help me make up my mind. However, if it's anything like with other recent SE crap, most reviews will still call even the worst of SE titles a "gem". I just want a review that compares the game to SO3, even if the reviewer in question loved SO3. As long as I see that it does anything like "builds upon the SO3 battle system", "feels like a true successor to SO3", or anything like that, I can have my answer and walk away happily.

After all, with the economy sucking so much right now, the last thing I want to do is blow another $60 plus tax on a game that will only lead to disappointment. Especially bad would be my money helping a company, like SE, that just doesn't seem to care anymore about what they once stood for.


Malik (2/11/09)

After looking at several different games, I was still pretty much drawing a blank on anything I'd want to actually spend my money on. I need something new, and since Uncharted is not cutting it for me (too much "duck, shoot, grab new gun or more ammo, duck, shoot, blah, blah"), I'm getting desperate. I mean I was even looking at Star Ocean 4...which is like trusting a scammer who stole your money (with SO3) to not take my money again. I just don't think that type of forgiveness can be found in this geek.

That's when I decided on something different. I've had many consoles and have pre-ordered and bought many games for these consoles. I've gone as far as ordering a couple imports for systems that would take them readily (read: handhelds and cartridge based consoles) and have even done the import and mod thing with the GCN, PSX, and PS2. However, I have not been paying attention to the fact that the PS3 is the first console in a long time that will take an import without any issues. No boot disks, mod chips, or any weird tricks (like the spring on a PSX) needed. Best of all, not long after getting the PS3, there is a good game coming out in an English version not in the US.

Having been a fan of the old school Kings Field games, and their insane difficulty that is actually not frustrating (if you die, it's usually your own fault and not some cheapness from the developer). So, seeing that Demon's Souls is out in Japan (mostly English, but no English text) and coming soon to Asia (Chinese and English, in full for either language), I decided to take the jump. The game is beautiful, even if I'll be stuck in 480p hell (due to the PS3 not having a 1080i up-scaler), and is a spiritual successor to the Kings Field series. Now I just need to wait until the end of the month for the game to be released in Asia (not counting Japan).

Best of all, it's an import that will cost only a dollar or two more (after shipping) than if I bought it in the US (taxes), and cheaper than anything I'd order in the US with shipping costs involved.

Of course this is before I realized that Noby Noby Boy is coming next week, as well as The Lost and The Damned DLC for GTA4. Still, I'll happily take another RPG in my collection, so it will be all good when TLaTD is laid to rest about a week after it comes out and NNB is probably long done before Demon's Souls comes to my greedy hands.

I love region free gaming. If only more consoles would do this, the world would be a far happier place for game starved geeks.

On a final note for today...please...please, let this be for real.

Note to Favre; just retire and walk away. No. Run away. No. Jump in a jet and get out of this hemisphere. Just keep your f#@$ing word this time. Enough is enough with your "retirement" bullshit. If this is real, than all the best to you. If this is not real, then go f#@$ yourself and save us all the damned drama and all of the damned media-whore behavior. You outstayed your welcome when you first talked of quitting after the season ended and still came back. Even your beloved Packers got tired of you, and that's saying something when you got them all some nice rings in the 90's. You are not welcome back and you are not needed anymore. Just walk the f@#$ away for good. Don't come back as a commentator, announcer, or any other position involved in the NFL. Just retire and be done with it.


Malik (2/12/09)

I was slightly wrong about Uncharted. I am, sadly, forcing myself to play the game. I would have quit a dozen times over if it wasn't for nothing new coming out until next week (The Lost and The Damned). However, with good things on the horizon, I don't have time for an old stand bye, like Xenogears or Final Fantasy IX (which I've wanted to play recently). So, a shorter burst of time killing is what I need and this falls into the Uncharted realm.

I was wrong by saying that the game is nothing but "take cover, shoot, take cover, shoot, repeat for fifty enemies." In reality, the game is mostly this, which is sad. However, there are some places that the developers at Naughty Dog got it right. The best example is when you find the Jeep around chapter 6 or 7. This is basically a rail shooter, but it's an awesome rail shooter. Then the game leads to some fun exploration with a jet ski (which is usually a way for a game to be unbearable...jet ski and game don't tend to mix nearly this awesomely). Capping this stuff off, you get some good battles with only a few enemies while actively exploring and doing some Prince of Persia style wall climbing.

Unfortunately, this little burst of pure fun isn't enough to fully change my mind on Uncharted. However, it is enough to make me think that I may use the chapter select option a few times to repeat these areas in the future. I don't usually replay anything in this style of game, so that's a major compliment.


Malik (2/13/09)

It is Friday, payday, and a three day weekend is upon me. With that little introduction, I have to say that I'm in a good mood. The only thing that would make this better is up to what Harmonix announces for next week. Although, in a way I hope it's not too good or else my wallet will be quite angry since I'll be buying Noki Noki Boy on Thursday and The Lost and The Damned (for GTA4) on Tuesday. It will be a slightly expensive week next week, and it will only add up more when my pre-order for Demon's Souls comes along the following week.

Speaking of buying random games, last night one of my friends and I were talking about LocoRoco. We were both saying how much fun it would be to play, and then next thing you know I'm buying LocoRoco Cocoreccho (PSN game). I cannot believe this wasn't one of the first things I did when buying the PS3. This is a must have game for anyone who was ever enjoyed any unusual games (like Katamari Damacy).

While it's shorter than I'd like to see and requires numerous play through attempts to unlock the whole experience, the game is awesome beyond words. It's silly, fun, and only lacks one can get damned stressful as you're hoping for the best from the more random elements of the game. However, for $6, it is well worth the price. Now if only LocoRoco could see another PSN release. I'd happily pay $60 for an entire gaming experience of this craziness.

I'm also still playing Uncharted. I'm also starting to enjoy the game more and more with each booting of the disc. It started looking cool right away, especially in 1080i (since my TV cannot handle any 720 games and this makes Uncharted my first HD game on the PS3). However, Naughty Dog decided on one really dumb move. They had chapters 4 and 5 in the game. These two chapters are almost beyond unbearable since they offer nothing beyond non-stop combat. The later chapters offer a good variety of puzzles with the run-and-gun-and-cover action, but these two chapters offer nothing more than a fragfest that really doesn't set a good tone for the overall experience.

I think my opinion is easily changing with each minute I do spend on the game. It gets better, also, with each new weapon you find. When the game starts and you're limited to a 9mm pistol and an AK-47 or a shotgun, you really don't get to see how great the sniper rifle, the grenade launcher, or the more powerful pistols (like the desert eagle) can be at changing up the action. It also takes some time before you understand brutal combos (which require too damned precise of timing to be fun for quite a while), steel fist (killing someone with a punch after weakening them with gun fire), or stealth kills. Once you get the game down and understand it, it really is more than it originally looks like.

Beyond chapters 4 and 5, my only complaint left is the grenade mechanics. The game uses the sixaxis tilt controls to adjust grenade aim. This isn't too bad, as long as you're used to it. For people like myself who never get fully used to tilt controls (beyond LocoRoco, at least), grenades are a very useless tool.

However, in the end, I'm not at chapter 12 or 13. I am also thinking this game is more of a 8 out of 10 instead of the 3 out of 10 I'd give it during chapters 4 or 5.

This shift gears and to see if my weekend is perfect, the new Rock Band DLC for next week is something I know I've wanted. Plus, it's not a big set, so it will not kill my wallet. We're getting Black Sunshine (I think it was on GH3, so it's not as new as I would have hoped for) and More Human Than Human from White Zombie, as well as Wasted Again from Turbonegro. Each track is separate and $2.

I would have loved to have seen a full pack of White Zombie, but just seeing any (especially MHTH) is awesome for me. I grew up on White Zombie, among other rock bands, and I have definitely had a need for Zombie in RB. Now if only we could get some more Zombie (be it Rob or White), I know I'd keep buying.


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