I was saying last week, I actually have little emotion towards most
game systems. If the PS3 does great, I'll be happy. However, that
same sentiment goes for nearly everything. I want the 360 to do far
better this generation than the XBox did in the last 5 years. I also
want the Revolution to kick some major ass. I can say the same about
the DS...which may have started slowly, but is now an impressive
little thing with some true must-have games (like Mario Kart DS,
Animal Crossing DS, not to mention future games like the next Super
like I said last week, the PSP is my one exception. Or I should say,
it's my one current exception, since Gizmondo, Zodiak, and N-Gage
all were special exceptions. I guess one could say, I just want to
see those who know what they are doing doing what they know how to
do. I like Sony on my TV, but not on my handheld. I like to see
Tiger when I look back at my childhood, but not with a new handheld.
I like to see Nokia written only on my phone (and not even there
anymore, thanks to Motorola). I like my PDAs, if I ever got one, to
be a PDA and not a game system.
with so much bad feeling towards these certain companies, I decided
to no longer speak out of both sides of my mouth. The PSP has no
good games, no must-have titles, no future/planned titles that look
impressive enough to justify having this $250 abomination, and it
just doesn't live up to the GP2X in other areas. So, I have done
what I have never previously done before...I sold off a game system.
My PSP is now nothing more to me than a good way to get store credit
for all of the March games I've been wanting.
now can say my PSP did only one good thing for me...it secured me a
copy of Burnout Revenge (360), Oblivion, and Shadow Hearts 3, along
with getting me an actual copy of Grandia 3. So long PSP...and
hopefully our paths may never cross again.
more news/word of Sony and their failures and potential failures,
there is some new
estimates on the PS3 via the "gurus" at Merrill Lynch.
According to their report, the PS3 may be delayed until mid-end 2006
in Japan, with a potential late start of Spring 2007 for the States.
However, the problems won't end there. In theory, according to
Merrill Lynch, the cost of a PS3 should level out around $900.
Assuming Sony takes the usual console launch loss of $100-$200 per
console sold, this could still equal a good $700+ price point.
a doubt, the word for all of this would be "wow". While
it's interesting to see Sony trying to give so much stuff in such a
small (if you consider the estimated size of a small desktop PC to
be "small") package, this may be a sign of why Nintendo
could be considered smart in their approach of making a "game
system" instead of the "entertainment supercomputer"
it goes without saying that Sony will sell PS3s, no matter the
launch date or price, the actual market share could face some
serious setbacks with a much prolonged release and a steep price.
Also, all of this is purely speculation by industry analysts...which
means it has as much credibility as if any other non-Sony person
said the same shit. However, considering the lack of news from Sony,
the fact is pretty strong that a Spring 2006 launch would be very
unlikely. If Sony cannot even show off working game demos by now,
then history would say they are a good half year from full scale
I did just say I got Grandia 3, I haven't tried it out yet. Last
night I was determined to finish Ape Escape 3. Well, after playing
for about 4 hours last night, I'm probably as finished as I'll ever
be since the game contained one final problem before I quit. I was
able to get all of the required monkeys to capture Specter (the
final boss) twice...which is as many time as the game requires you
to capture him. Unfortunately, I missed a monkey on the final normal
level on my first time through, and it's an area that will not
re-open for my second (or any future) attempts. Considering this
game is all about re-entering levels to capture missed monkeys, I
think this is a good testament to the game as a whole...
Escape 3 is a fun game. It is a blast to play through, assuming you
can put up with a bad camera. It looks great (except when the camera
is stuck in a monkey's head or a wall), and the audio is fun and
light hearted. The plot is a blast to play through, despite how thin
and shallow it is (some, including myself, would actual say this is
a selling point for a game that's this laid-back). However, each
element just feels a slight bit rushed. Instead of "catching
all the monkeys", the programmers forgot one or two, so to
speak, and left the world a fun, but still not quite completed
try to punch up a review of this game later this week, and get it
posted before the 7th (when Burnout Revenge and Shadow Hearts 3 both
another bit of news about something being delayed, canceled, or
another company suffering. This time it's Zelda:
Twilight Princess getting the bad news. The game that was
supposed to, originally, be out in time for the 2005 holiday season
is now looking more like it'll be available in time to compete with
Revolution sales. Awesome. This brings Nintendo's list of the most
hyped games for a single console to be delayed horribly to 2 of
their three systems. While the GBA doesn't have any massively hyped
and delayed games, the GCN and DS (Metroid Prime: Hunters) now both
have the same plague.
It almost feels to
me more like the olden days of the NES with how many hyped titles
are being delayed to the point that no one gives a shit anymore when
the game is finally released. True, Zelda will always be hot, but
the overly delayed MP: Hunters is now generating the same level of
buzz as the Robin Hood NES game did when it was finally released (a
few years too late) versus the hype it generated when it was
supposedly ready for release.
I did finally get
to playing Grandia 3 last night. There's a lot I could say about
this game. There's some bad things, and some good thing. In the end,
however, the clearest and most definite thing I could say is this;
it is a new Grandia title. It's heart pumps out Grandia style blood,
it's brain things of Grandia thoughts, and it's body still has the
same sleek Grandia shape. It is Grandia.
The other thing I
could say easily is that it's obvious that Square Enix did publish
this game. Besides the obvious fact that their name pops up a few
dozen times more than the developer's name (Game Arts), the music in
the beginning of the game speaks volumes about the publisher. Any of
the English sung music (which would be all music so far that
features singing) is so obviously a Square Enix song. Some would say
this isn't a bad thing, but I can say that a song more fitting of
Kingdom Hearts doesn't set the mood too well in a Grandia game. It's
like how Death Cab for Cutie and Less Than Jake both can be placed
in the same musical genre...however, there is a definite time and
place for each (unless you're like me and feel that Death Cab is
like an auditory castration of my musical senses).
certain recent sequels (Wild Arms, I'm looking your way), the most
important fact is that Grandia 3 has the same wonderful combat
system that Grandia 1 and 2 had. There is no unexplainable changes
for the sake of "being innovative". The combat initiative
wheel is still here, the ability to select a "cancel move"
(in which you stop a prepared enemy attack by hitting with a strong
blow as they prepare to attack) is back, and the blending of special
moves and magic is back. The battles, in the end, are still one of
the best features of the game.
That's not to say
that the rest of the game is not great. While some would say that
the plot gets bad half way through the game, I wouldn't know. I'm
only about 2.5 hours in. However, the entire game definitely has a
very polished feel to it. Combat is simply the icing on top of this
The game even has
some things for those who like to pick apart any RPG that's not
their precious FF. In other words, if you're one who likes to say,
"there aren't enough cut-scenes," then you're in for a
treat. So far, in less than 3 hours, I've encountered a good half
dozen cut-scenes. Even better, if you a fan of beating RPGs without
giving a shit about the plot (I don't even understand how you can
exist as such a paradox), there's an option to allow you to skip any
cut-scene. However, for those, like me, who crave a good plot in an
RPG, they make a brief warning that the plot may become confusing if
such a feature is used.
This game is also
the only RPG I can think of that has a somewhat serious tone to it
and includes the protagonist's mother as one of the party members. I
don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. It simply is. However,
it is a nice random fact.
Hearts 3 hits the market (around a week into March), I know this
game will give me plenty of good times. While many people would
disagree, I hope this game is as short as it's rumored to be so I
won't have to have two great franchises (Grandia and Shadow Hearts)
fighting for my love at the same time. It's just not fair to the
games, or my RPG loving heart.
Also, as a last
bit of random subject changing for the day, I have some advice. If
you, or someone you know, is in the market for an MP3 player, you
may want to be careful of the enTempo Spirit 20. If you remember,
this is the MP3 player I picked up about a year ago. Well, after
using it for a couple hours each day, about 5 days a week, for about
a year, the thing is officially dead. Not only that, but it didn't
die without warning. First off, the voice record feature was no end
to my frustrations (if you had normal headphones attached, and you
jiggled the connection, it would take it as a sign to randomly
record dead air until you rapidly removed and re-attached the
headphones...then it would have to take about a minute to save the
dead air time, with no option to cancel), but then the thing would
randomly crash. If it did so, then it would usually re-catalogue
every song on the HDD...at a rate of about 2-3 songs a second. 20 GB
can hold a lot of songs, and these crashes can lead to a lot of
crashes became more frequent. On top of that, with the voice record
problems, you could not use a car adapter for it without every bump
on the road setting off the voice record mode. Then, yesterday, it
decided to make clicking noises (which any person who's had HDD
problems would recognize as a very bad thing) and display a big
frowning face instead of starting up. That's when I finally gave it
a proper burial...in a dumpster. On the bright side, I can now be
everything I hate...trendy. iPod here I come.
So, there's been
this nice trend lately. News seems to focus on companies trying to
do everything they can do to look foolish. Sony is not looking clean
with their lack of PSP games and the complete mystery of the PS3.
Nintendo is looking less than brilliant with lack of support for
anything not DS. Microsoft is still failing to even deliver a
promised thing that should be simple, like the King Kong Marketplace
demo. When you throw in the antics of Take Two, the layoffs of EA,
and the other random shit, things are looking rather...weak.
Why not call in
the masters of foolishness? Yes. The Phantom maker. Infinium
Labs opened their books to the public, at long last, and the
results are less than surprising (and less than stellar). On one
hand, they have lost over $60 million in the last three years. On
the other hand, only about $3.5 million of that was on actual
developmental costs. Most of the money lost has been to consultants,
administrative expenses, salaries, and advertising. In fact, the
largest chunk of money lost was on ads.
question arises; how do you spend so much on ads when you have
NOTHING to advertise? If this could even begin to make sense, I
think it would be a sign that the end is near...not the end of their
development, but rather the end of days. There is no justification
for this, and if you know anyone stupid enough to have invested in
this monstrosity, I ask that you kick then in the junk once for
At least some
(good?) news is coming out of this. Infinium is putting the Phantom
vaporware on hold. The amazing part of this is that similar
products, without their lapboard design, are on the market already.
These are not projects that have been in development for even nearly
the same about of time. Gametap is out there.
So, maybe the real
solution is quite simple for them. Instead of trying to negotiate a
way out of their lease, and instead of finding a new location to do
business from, maybe they should lay off everyone and realize what
the rest of us saw long ago; the end of Infinium. If you have no
products, no developmental budget, and a huge overhead of
advertising and consultants, it is a sign that your top heavy
business plan is wrong. However, if you do this type of antics for
over 3 years, it's a sign of another thing; you're doomed.
At least, on the
bright side, I can have more fun talking about the silly state of
Infinium than I can joking about the PSP and the PS3. I say this
since they both are doing all the wrong moves, but Infinium has no
fanboys to make me feel pity for the average gamer.
On the same sort
of theme, the
Euro Booster $10 download for Battlefield 2 is being delayed.
There's a good reason, or two, for this. Mainly those reasons all
relate to the number 1.20. The version 1.20 patch for Battlefield 2
is f@#%ed. When EA released this patch, they didn't count on the
extra..."goodies". Nothing like a major problem in a major
patch. Well, nothing except for a
shit-ton of bugs (scroll near the bottom of the link). These
bugs do everything from crashing a server when the Jeep TOW is used
in certain maps (I guess if your team is losing, this is a good way
to wuss out of a defeat), oil towers may shoot AA missiles (the
video is awesome), and best of all is how some PCs will load a
server up to about 58% or 59% before the PC will dump back to the
desktop. I know this is just what I liked seeing when I has in a LAN
party last Saturday and my friend's PC had to reinstall BF2 and then
upgrade to 1.12 in order to play the game...only against PCs with
Anyway, I'm still
getting my feet wet with Grandia 3. So far, so damned good. This is
what the geek world needs more of; classic style RPGs. There is,
simply put, little innovation coming from Game Arts, and it's the
way it should be. The combat is the same Grandia 1, 2, blah, blah
engine. The visuals are the same blend of simple looking characters
with complex worlds. The audio...ok, the Square Enix inspired music
in the American version sucks, but in game music is typically good.
The plot is even reminiscent of a good old RPG.
The only thing
that could've used an update was the dialogue system. There is
nothing like a classic RPG for lines like;
"He rides a
"I am a captain"
"Yes. I am a
captain with a ship"
It's a little
funny for the first couple of times, but this technique sucks.
Seriously, in what normal conversation would someone repeatedly ask
the statement that was just said and not get his ass handed to him
after the second time? I know if my friends said something
"I was going
to get some food."
If I replied
getting some food?"
I would be in a
world of hurt. Maybe for a deeper statement that involves unknown
terms, but not for something as freakin' simple as a dragon (which
was in front of the character when he asked about the dragon), or
being a ship's captain.
Anyway, other than
the main character having the sparkling wit of a toddler who can't
get over asking "why?", this game is great so far. Anyone
who felt let down by the recent drought of RPGs, this is the fix you
so dearly need.
Leave it to the
British to tackle a problem that just seems to get worse every year.
I don't know why I said "leave it to the British", beyond
them being the ones who tackled this problem when no one else
The problem would
be the state of game advertisements. Namely, the United Kingdom's
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has decided enough is enough
with the Call of Duty ads that show some epic scene from a battle
actually show in game footage. In itself, I don't think the
parts of the problem the ASA tackled are that important and required
to be fixed. Seriously, if you thought the PS2 version of CoD: Big
Red One would look like those ads while you're actually playing the
game, you are just ignorant of what your consoles can do.
In fact, the
scenes shown in the CoD:BRO and CoD2 ads would simply not be
possible on any platform...at least not for a few more years. In
some ways, I guess one could call these ads deceptive. In reality,
it's just a great marketing ploy. I've played and enjoyed a few CoD
games, and I can tell you that there is no way to justify the game
based on a short 30 second clip of actual game play. It just doesn't
convey the epic feel of the game like these CGI scenes do.
However, this may
lead to a change in game ads, assuming people want to take the cheap
and lazy route of making one ads for all English speaking countries,
rather than create unique ads for the UK to match their deceptive ad
standards. If this is so, then it means there's a good chance this
may influence some publishers to actual send out ads that show game
I have been gaming
for the better part of my 26 years, and I can say without a doubt
that game ads were better in the "good old days". They may
have been far more pathetic in production values, but ads from the
days of the NES and SNES would actually show about 100 times more in
game footage than most current ads do. Especially bad is any
Nintendo ad. While I may find a small chuckle from seeing a ninja
getting schooled by another ninja and then the winner suggesting the
loser play against "someone his own speed" (flashing an
image of an out of shape ninja in the background), it still doesn't
give me any real info on what an online game of Mario Kart DS looks
like. When Nintendo throws in those quick 0.5 second clips that fill
a whole 2 seconds of the ad, it still doesn't do anything for
offenders would have to be anyone who makes an ad that has any aim
towards children. When you have something like the Kameo ad, with
some random woman telling me how she's an Elvin princess, and then some
short flashes of the game appear...I'm left wondering why I should
give a f$#@. That, and I'm left wondering how the game could be
advertised in such a lame manner (keeping in mind that I had played
and finished Kameo long before I ever saw a TV ad for it).
Personally, if I'm
expected to buy some of the crap I see on TV, then at least humor me
by showing me some of what I'm expected to buy and not just some out
of proportion production piece. I don't think it's asking too much
for some hint of how the actual games play out.
Not much else
going on today. I'm still trying to get as much play time with
Grandia 3 as possible. I'm hoping to get this game knocked out
before Shadow Hearts 3 arrives. So far, my impressions haven't
changed much from my initial impressions. Combat is G3's strong
point, plot is not the best, but it's tolerable, and the rest of the
production values (audio and video) are great as long as someone
If you own a 360,
you probably are waiting for Oblivion. It's not a given, but a good
number of 360 owners (and those who still have one pre-ordered with
nothing to show for their deposit) have seen this game as the must
have launch title...too bad the launch period is over. Hopefully
it's a sign of good things, since Bethesda still hasn't given an
actual street date for the game, that there is some content on the Live
Marketplace for Oblivion.
While it's mainly
fluff, like the themes and gamer icons, the trailer is always good
fun. Yes...if you are wondering, it is the same trailer shown at E3
2005. However, since most of us never had the chance to see the
trailer on the TV we'd game on (in other words, in HD on a
non-monitor situation), it's worth another fun look. I just hope
this means that the suspected release of about a month from now is
solid. While Bethesda has been cranking out the PR for Oblivion
recently through the Marketplace and via interviews, this is the one
piece of info that is still greatly needed.
Also, on the note
of things lacking release dates, here's a nice little overview
of the PS3, if you still care about the non-launch-date info.
It's safe to say that Sony is definitely trying too hard when you
see all the components in one list together. When you toss in XDR
memory, the Cell processor, Blu-ray drives, support for seven
controllers (still don't get this number...I would love an
explanation for seven...why not eight? Why not four?), and all the
other minor amenities, it's clear to see that Sony might be trying a
little too hard to push the envelope on a device that will primarily
be seen as a game machine.
This is why I'm
expecting some minor parts to be removed prior to the actual launch.
I would not be surprised to see the dual HD display outputs to be
removed. Hell, if you know someone who plans to take advantage of
this feature, laugh at them once for me. The seven controllers? I
see it being downgraded just for the simple fact that seven is a
pointless number, but seven sets of internal receivers will be
needed in the box. If Sony is going to have a final cost per unit
around $800, either they will take a beating in the profits, or they
will risk alienating anyone with enough common sense to say there's
a line between a good value and just paying too much for it.
One other question
I am left with regards (not the release date...I already have given
up on this data) the Blu-ray. With the introduction of HDCP
technology, how will the Blu-ray function? Is this drive, like
all other proposed High Def DVD players (be them Blu-ray or HD-DVD),
going to require HDCP on the display unit (TV) in order to run a
video in full 1080? I mean this is Sony's selling point, in theory;
the Blu-ray. How will people feel if they blast $700 (estimate) away
on the PS3 and they learn that their 2 year old HD-TV just won't
display Blu-ray movies to their fullest since their set is not HDCP
even get started on HDCP. Personally, I find HDCP to be a huge scam,
of sorts. Any TV without HDCP compliant connections will be forced
to run high def movies in a lower resolution, and HDCP compliant TVs
only started to really proliferate on store shelves a little over a
year ago. Anyone who bought a great HD-TV a year or more ago may
find themselves with a $2000 (or more) paper-weight when it comes to
high definition videos.
To put it in a
simple way, pretend you bought a toaster. Now pretend there is
standard white bread (analogue broadcast). You like to toast it, and
it is pretty good. Now pretend you want a new type of bread
(HD-signals) that is extra tasty. It will toast up nicely. However,
it will only get warmed up, and not actually toasted, in your
toaster because your toaster is not quite nice enough. So, you go
out and buy a new toaster (HD-TV). That bread that you couldn't
toast before is now toastable. It cost you a little extra for that
new toaster, and you don't want to go through that big of a payment
for something as simple as a toaster again. However, no someone has
an ultra-bagel (Blu-ray/HD-DVD). With your new toaster, it will
toast pretty well, but it will come out burnt on the edges. The only
way to get around it is to buy another toaster that is in compliance
(HDCP) with the ultra-bagel. Do you actually want to spend the money
on another toaster, when the one you have is state of the art in all
regard except for ultra-bagel compliance? Plus, what will you do
with your other toasters? The oldest one is probably crap, but your
other one is damned nice...but not many people need a second
I personally am
glad that my toaster is ultra-bagel compliant, but I feel especially
sorry for (let's drop the metaphor now) those who don't keep up on
technology. TV used to be really simple. It came down to two
questions; color vs. black and white, and screen size. However, now
you need to consider way too many factors; How many composite,
component, DVI, HDMI, RF, and S-video inputs? Do you want a VGA
input? Is it ok to be only 720p? What about a TV that's only 1080i,
but doesn't handle 720i/p? What resolution does that TV have (not
always as easy as looking up info online, since I know my 52"
beast is listed with different schematics on every site I've been
to, and it's a freakin' Mitsubishi)? Do you need a HD-tuner?
Cable-card? How much TV do you watch each day? Is CRT, LDC, DLP,
Plasma, or projection right for you? HDCP compliance? Do you trust,
when you accept your ignorance, the advice of an electronics store
sales person (never)?
Somehow, in the
last decade, TV went from something that was open for everyone, to
being some sort of geeks-only club. This just isn't right. My
coworkers are not the most tech-savvy of people. They know that when
I say I have a 52" HD-TV, they should do the required
"sweet!". However, when I toss out that it's DLP, that I
have my PC hooked up via a DVI-I cable, that there's three types of
DVI cables, or that I personally could use more than my 10 input
channels, I get confused looks. It's not to say I'm being elitist in
knowing this shit...it's rather that this is not the type of thing
that everyone knows, yet TV should be simple enough for everyone to
know. Any device that comes down to pushing a button, and that's all
it takes to use, should not be a difficult to purchase item. You
should have some freedom for the uber-geeks with better quality and
all of that, but there should be some basic line of HD-TVs that have
all that a non-geek would need. A liquor store has hooch for all,
and a nice selection of quality alcohol (like Makers Mark versus
most other bourbons) for the initiated. They all will do everything
you expect of them (get you f@#$ed up), but there's more variety if
you know what to look for. The same should be true of
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