Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (2/25/08)

Peter Molyneaux did some showcasing of Fable 2 at the GDC. While most of the information he presented sounds like more of the same (vague hints of things and talk of good and evil and the whole family thing), there was some interesting stuff present.

For one, Molyneaux is more focused on making evil the easy path while good is going to require sacrifice and harsh realities. That's a cool idea that I can get behind. Afterall, when you're a super powered fighter/mage/whatever, it should be pretty easy to do down a path of moral decline.

My question, however, is "what about the grey area?" I mean good and evil are the absolutes and they are easy to define, but what about a person who wants to play a bit more realistically. For example, in the first Fable, I liked to go the thieving route (made things more fun when it was shopping time) and also to force higher rewards from people for any situation. I was greedy. However, I avoided most murder since that tended to leave things in a bad place (especially if you get caught or kill a shopkeeper). So, is there going to be something laid out for people who are greedy, but still have mainly good intentions? Also, is theft going to still be worth too many damned evil points when compared to murder's value?

If Molyneaux really wants to see more people play the evil side, there's one other point that must be considered; how people will react to you. I played as evil a couple of times and good once...I liked good more. Was it because I didn't like being morally f$#@ed up? No. It was because no one liked me as an evil bastard. That included all potential mates (wouldn't some be attracted to the "bad boy" type that I was?). I just couldn't make friends, so I didn't want to skip that entire side of the game. So, I want to see this evened out some. Maybe some people in town could naturally be evil or at least less good. These people should be more disgusted with good avatars than evil. It would at least even out this one edge to the game.

There are a lot of minor things mentioned by Molyneaux that could be overly analyzed in this presentation, but I think it's better to skip that and only look at what we really know. Molyneaux took a major beating in the PR world for the promises that failed to materialize with Fable...I don't see him making the same mistake (even if I thought Fable was still an amazing, even if it was short, game).

So, I'll just say I love and fully agree with his quote; "It's you Americans, you've got something against nipples." That is sadly too damned true. Afterall, if the game is rated M, why not include some fake nipples, nudity, or whatnot. If a movie is supposed to have the equivalent rating as a M rated game with an R rating, then why does the M not allow anything present in an R? It's because too many people still see movies as a medium for all while games are a kids-only medium...which is bull shit. Just ask Lost Odyssey players.

Speaking of things that broke the sex in game barrier, EA has been trying to take over Take Two. At the same time, Take Two's executives have called the offer insulting...or that should properly be "undervalued". Despite the semantics or whatever, it looks like EA has set their sights on Take Two and that this will most likely end the same way that things always end when EA has it's mind made up;

Take Two will most likely be part of the EA family inside this year. I hate to see it when EA has been known to neuter companies once they are brought under the EA umbrella. However, at least the latest version of EA (which is to say the latest CEO's reign) has included some good changes from the past. There is some additional creativity and freedom being granted to the teams on the inside. However, it's still a crap shoot for how long this trend will last before it's back to EA being a soulless corporation.

At least Activision has taken the lead of being the next real successor to EA's past ideals (look at Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero, and any other recent Activision properties). So, as long as Take Two is not crammed into the Activision brand, some hope can remain. I just hate to see GTA being turned into a cash cow franchise any more than it has already become.

Also, I see this as true doom for sports fans. Afterall, EA is the number one maker of sports titles (Madden, NBA 0X, NHL 0X, MLB 0X, Tiger Woods, etc.) and Take Two has the 2K label, which is the only true competition for sports titles. If this whole deal goes through, the two games per sport rule that we known would dry up in a hurry. It would be like what happened to football after EA got the NFL exclusive license...but with all sports. The competition would be over and there would be no option beyond buying the same damned game each year, only with another feature cut out from the previous incarnation. Makes me glad that I'd rather watch sports on TV or go outside and play something than pop in Madden.


Malik (2/26/08)

My posts this week will probably be erratic at best. I missed out on posting yesterday and will maybe miss a couple of other days this week as my day job becomes a nice little nightmare. I will not go into details, since that's not the point of this web site (otherwise I'd have to call this a "blog" and I like to avoid that realm), but I'll just say that moving a scientific lab is not anyone's idea of simple fun.

The Nine Inch Nails pack came out yesterday and I will be skipping it. On one hand, I like to play guitar more than anything else, and these are not guitar songs. If anything, these are songs for anyone except the guitarist. There's some steady bass lines, a constant level and flow of vocals, and some insane drumming (including a tier 9 drum song). As for the guitar...well, looking at the expert guitar youtube videos of these tracks one thing becomes clear; Harmonix has pulled a Neversoft.

My largest complaint with Guitar Hero 3 was how Neversoft forced a false level of challenge on the expert difficulty, and even to some extent they did it with lower levels of difficulty. I want to play each note that's presented by the original artist, but Neversoft forced in some false notes (you strum when there is no new guitar sound being made). I always took Harmonix to be above such pseudo-rocking. Afterall, Harmonix kept three note chords for where they would be appropriate, they have you play only the real guitar notes on songs, and they tried to make the best representation of a guitar track as possible with only five frets.

That's why the NIN pack fails horribly in both guitar and in keeping my solid respect in Harmonix. I'll spoil things by saying two of these songs include piano. That's fine, since there's keyboard in some songs like Won't Get Fooled Again. However, on the classic The Who song, you don't have the guitarist playing these keyboard notes. On two of the NIN songs, the guitar line/track is so empty (these really are poor guitar songs) that Harmonix tried to make up for it by having the guitarist play the piano line. That's a big "WTF?" in my eyes.

I hope this is not going to be repeated any since I like to pride myself on respecting Harmonix for doing their job correctly. Until a piano pedal is made for a guitar (which just will not happen in the world of rock), the guitar is not going to sound like the end of The Collector. It just will not happen.

Harmonix, I implore you...I ask beg you; knock it off with trying to be Neversoft. You are above that level of shit. You can and have done better that to fake the challenge of the guitar. Please, keep up the good work with constant DLC, but don't soil such a good thing with this false bullshit. If you want piano in this type of game, then make a keyboard controller. However, until that happens, I expect to not see anymore piano being charted on some other instrument.


Malik (2/27/08)

I guess a new day is starting to dawn on Rock Band DLC. That is, there are now patched versions of some DLC songs. In particular, the Police Pack 01 (and all of it's songs), Brass in Pocket (Pretenders), and Limelight (Rush) are all now patched. To get them updated, if you previously downloaded the songs, you need to delete your DLC of these songs from you HDD (or MU), and then download again. Of course, like with any downloads on Live, the second time (and all times beyond the first) is at no cost. So, there' no harm in downloading them again.

Well, there's almost no harm. I've heard some people have been unable to find the songs on Live (especially the Police Pack 01 songs and whole pack) after deleting them. It sounds like this problem has been fixed, but it's still good to check their availability before deleting the old version. It only takes an extra minute, and this investigating can be worth it if you need to play the songs right now.

As for what the patched songs have that the originals didn''s a little less than clear. Supposedly there were some sound issues and they have been fixed in the patched versions. I'm not sure if all of them have the same issue, but I know one or more of these tracks would not turn off the vocal track when the singer selected to turn the vocal track down to zero volume. So, if you like to sing, or play with a vocalist, then this can make things more fun for you.

Also, the songs don't effect anything with online play or leader boards. That is, there is no difference in score, timing, note scales, drum beats, vocal paths, or anything important. All that's different is the aesthetics/sound quality and controls of the song. So, there's no harm in keeping the old versions if you're just too damned lazy to download the new patched version.

Anyway, on a different note, I'm now on disk 4 (of 4) on Lost Odyssey. I'm also now taking my time to re-explore all of the old places (mainly cities) that I have access to at the start of disk 4. Each citie has at least a few bonus things to check out (be it treasure locations, items, or dreams). In particular, Uhra is well worth a second full investigation after you finish disk 4 and have the freedom to check it out. New dungeon (with enemies who love to give your fresh out of disk 3 party a lot of levels in a hurry), new plot, new items (including what I'd call the second best accessory in the least for your immortals), and new access to the Cubic Music Score game.

I've explored all of the major cities again, so I think I'm now ready to resume the game in the intended path. However, I can easily spend another 10 hours just hitting the old places for more free shit. Afterall, I actually got to disk 4 about (on the in game clock) 7 hours ago and I have not even gone to any new locations yet.


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