There isn't much to really talk about today. In reality, beyond some
and other hearsay, there is not much really going on. It's that
wonderful time of year in which gamers have been treated to some
quality games...especially, for once, this is true for the RPG geeks
who have been treated to imported FFXII, Suikoden V, Grandia 3,
Shadow Hearts 3, Oblivion...the list goes on and on. In fact, it's
like a years worth of great games have all come out at the same
the other end of the news spectrum are the new makers. The
developers and producers are all sitting in quiet contemplation as
the GDC is done and the next big thing, E3, looms a month and a half
away. It's one of the quietest times of the year from developers,
who need to save their A material for E3.
other words, there is just a nice calm sense of serenity that should
be enjoyed for the time being. This is a rare calm that not only
doesn't happen often, but should be enjoyed to it's fullest.
that note, my "enjoy to it's fullest" tool of choice has
been Oblivion. I managed to play for about 12 hours this weekend,
and have loved nearly every minute of it. The only part I didn't
care for was something I honestly expected more of; in about 20
hours of playing, I have now experienced 1 singular crash of the
game. Compared to Morrowind, this is a turly amazing thing. I know I
wasn't alone in Morrowind with my obsession on saving every five
minutes, no matter what, to ensure that when the game DID crash, I'd
be ready. I started Oblivion with this same mindset and now...well,
I feel just fine with a save only when I feel like it'll be needed
most (usually before I do something stupid).
also enjoyed Oblivion for the small details. For example, I broke
into a castle for a thieves guild mission. I managed to get caught
on my way out of the job, and since the guild has a rule of no
killing while on the job, I ran. I ran for a couple of miles. I ran
out of the castle, out of the surrounding town, and into the
wilderness. I had two guards on my ass, and I kept running. I even
ran right up to a bear, who was running at me. I managed to strike
it once, as I jumped a rock past it, and kept running. That's when I
heard the guards swinging their swords, and the bear growling behind
me. It seems I angered the bear enough to get it to strike the
guards, who were forced to defend themselves. It only took them a
minute to kill the bear, but I got some ground. Then, I ran past a
boar, who I decided to swing at, and I left the enraged boar as
guard fodder again. Long story short, I did get away, thanks to all
of natures little helpers.
cannot emphasize enough how awesome this game is compared to
Morrowind (which was a good game on it's own). The missions are
better, the lighting is greatly improved, the world is more
detailed, the visuals don't make you sick, the combat engine is
wonderful, the skill system is great (especially the little perks,
like when you learn to dodge attacks), the regeneration of MP is
perfect (since you can actually afford to play a mage now). It is
all just a wonderful gaming experience for anyone who likes the
sandbox philosophy of The Elder Scrolls games.
best part of the game, in my opinion, is how you have more options
than ever before in how to tackle your goals. This is the first TES
game that allows for true freedom of character choices in almost all
possible ways. With the improved combat engine (especially with
poison and sneak attacks with the marksman skill), regenerating MP,
and the improved dialogue choices, this game can really be handled
with any character type. Also, thanks to the nifty red crosshairs,
you can now tell if an action (like taking a certain item) is going
to require sneakiness, or if it's perfectly legal.
I could go on about this game all day, so I'll end things now.
Things to do, and places to go...and all that.
delivered for all Square Enix fanboys who can't help but love a
sequel to a game they loved involving horrible cameras, a very
limited battle system, a lack of a serious plot, very (for lack of a
better word) sissy themes, and plenty of fanboy moments...Kingdom
Hearts 2 is here!!11111!!!1 Wait. I think I didn't mean the
"!" stuff. In fact, I think I should've said that I
couldn't care less.
The first Kingdom
Hearts was one of the key games in turning me off from Square Enix.
On top of how the theme and plot is nothing short of silly (not in
the good way) and pointless, the original was obviously aimed at
fanboys. Why would Cloud and Sephiroth be in the coliseum from
Hercules? Only to appeal to fanboys. Why would Square and Disney
people chill together? Fanboys. If there ever was a game that was
fan-service, this was it.
To make things
even worse, the original had a camera system that shouldn't be in a
turn based RPG. However, since it was in an action RPG, I know I
felt more than my usual level of headaches in just trying to see
where the hell I was going. In fact, the camera alone was enough to
make me quit playing KH1. When you throw in no reasonably good
semblance of plot, I had no reason to fight the camera's attempt to dissuade
me from playing the game.
So, the sequel is
now in America. Yeah...I wouldn't even talk about this, except for
two important facts; I love to bitch about the more popular and
stupid games, and that there is no other news out there. I would
like to say that at least it will probably end here...but that would
be ignoring this.
I just ask, where can a game of this...ummmm...caliber hope to go in
the future (besides to the clearance shelf)?
This is the type
of stuff that is really sad to me. Why? Because it's when consumers
(that's us) buy into these types of games (fan-service) in large
quantities that sequels are made and originality is put on the back
Anyway, at least I
can play a game like Oblivion to relieve some of my frustrations.
Now this is the type of game that deserves adoration. For example,
every place in this game has a purpose. If you find a dungeon in the
middle of the wilderness, it's safe to say that either a quest
involves this place, or the place will initiate a quest. Either way,
everything has it's own purpose.
Last night, I
found some little shrine in the middle of nowhere. I was only in
that area because I felt like hunting down bandits (who are usually
found in little camps in the middle of nowhere). Next thing I knew,
the shrine had given me a quest that had me tracking down criminals,
delving into a troll infested dungeon, and battling for my life
against mountain lions and bears...all for one hell of an awesome
reward (infinite use lock pick).
Meanwhile, in KH,
you will encounter Cloud and Sephiroth in a battle arena. What
purpose do they serve? Well, if you're a FFVII fanboy, they serve to
help you make a mess in your pants. Beyond that, you get a battle
with no true sense of reward, and no true sense of accomplishment
(unless you've always wondered if Haley Joel Osment could take on
the most fanboy-appreciated FF boss ever), and definitely no true
purpose. In fact, the whole game is this sort of fluff. I even know
people (who I wonder why I even know them) who tell me that the only
reason they played KH was to battle Sephiroth...?! Why not put in
FFVII and beat him for real in a game that gives a bit more back to
the player than a hero who wields a giant key looks like a human
take on Mickey Mouse?
Ok. I'm no good as
a writer today. I just can't get thoughts of people...I mean
fanboys...flocking to stores to buy this game that should be nothing
more than a black mark on the record of the gaming industry. Just
like the fanboys freak out for this shit, I freak out a little too
much when it's time to bash fanboys.
Unless you want to
count how the Revolution will probably not
see a worldwide launch, it's another slow day in the Asylum. Of
course, there's something a little deeper to this. The PS3 will be
facing a worldwide launch at the end of this year (if the launch
month of November holds true), just like how Microsoft did with the
360 last November and December. However, there is an advantage to
trying to go against the worldwide launch idea.
advantage comes down to how Microsoft (and Sony WILL join this
trend) just didn't have enough 360s to go around. Why? Not because
of high demand (well, in part), and not due to manufacturers not
having enough production (well, once again, in part). It came down
to how the demand and the required supply were both effected by the
worldwide launch that made more people want what there was just too
little of to go around. If you think this won't happen with the PS3,
you are either deceiving yourself...or you're a Sony fanboy.
always will have the same effect of limiting production (due to
having so many orders to fulfill) and raising demand (by adding
extra territories to cover). So, while the Revolution launch may be
delayed in some areas, the actual supply situation shouldn't be
anything nearly as bad as the 360 and PS3 scenarios.
Anyway, as long as
Nintendo holds true to their words, I will be just fine. Getting a
Revolution in November, no matter if the US is first or last to get
the system, I will be just fine. Knowing that there won't be as much
of an imbalance in supply and demand even makes me happier, since
I'll be able to secure a Revolution far easier.
Well, there isn't
much else to discuss. I could go off about Oblivion...I could do
that every day for a year and probably not even scratch the surface
of this game. I can say that my initial impressions after about 3
hours have held true after nearly 30 hours; this game rocks. There
are some flaws, mainly with frame rate and loading issues, but they
don't ruin the overall experience. In fact, if I gave this game a
review right now, I would still give it a 10. It may have issues,
but the overall enjoyability of a game should determine it's final
score...and I could not possibly enjoy this game any more than I do
Best of all, each
quest you take in Oblivion, as opposed to Morrowind, no matter how
lame it sounds like at the start of the quest, becomes an epic
event. For example (and for minor spoilers until the end of this
post), for one Mage Guild recommendation quest (you need all the
branches of the Guild to recommend you to the main guild in order to
get real quests from them), you are simply told to get a ring that
is probably at the bottom of a well. However, the well is full of
water, and the ring weighs more than most mages can afford to carry.
This is when you have to try to decide the best solution to this
Do you use alchemy
to make water breathing potions and potions to carry more weight? Do
you have access to water breathing spells and feather spells? Do you
drop all of your shit in the well and try to recover it later? Then,
when you finally solve this issue, you have more. The mage who
requested the ring, while you were out, went off on a possibly
homicidal rampage, and he is the only one who could recommend you to
the headquarters of the Guild. It just gets deeper as you play. In
the end, you are left with a tale of a renegade mage who practices
the forbidden arts of necromancy who is now on the loose...but you
get a substitute recommendation. Will more come from this chain of
events in the future? Quite possibly. No matter how quickly a quest
may end, you are usually left with repercussions of you acts that
may bite you in the ass later, or they may even save your ass. Now
that's a great RPG.
For those with a
360, who don't find Oblivion to be their cup of tea (I don't know
who you are, and I don't want to...), the GRAW and Battlefield 2
demos should be up on the Live Marketplace. After having the 360 for
the last 4+ months, I still have to say that the best feature of
this system is the ability to download demos. While too many demos
are coming weeks, or months, after the launch of the actual game, it
still beats paying for a rental of a game to see if you actually
want to shell out $60 for the real game.
Speaking of $60
games...Satoru Iwata (A.K.A. Mr. Nintendo), has decided to tell the
world that Revolution games will come in under this price. In fact,
while the wording is a bit vague in places, all first party games
should be under $50. Of course, that still leaves room for a
case like the 360 is giving us in which third party games are about
$60 and first party games are $50. However, knowing the Nintendo
theme for the Revolution, that everything should be affordable to
all games, and casual non-gamers, it would only make sense for
Nintendo to pull off some nifty tricks to keep third party games
under this price point as well.
Also, Iwata went
on to talk a bit about storage...which is a good thing to discuss.
With the idea of having downloadable classic Nintendo (and Sega and
NEC) games as well, the concept for 512MB of flash storage seems a
bit...what's that word...limiting. So, while he did not say anything
directly, he did make it obviously known that this will be addressed
at E3. Also, considering the Revolution, as it's currently planned,
as UBS and SD slots, this could be the potential solution.
Personally, I like
the idea of having a 4GB SD card in my system to save my downloaded
content over having a bulky HDD. The reasoning is quite simple. If
we, as a consumer mass, are being aimed at to buy this console
without regard to gamer status, then it would make more sense for
games to be more portable. In other words, if my friend has a
Revolution, and I have one (of course) too, it would be more
friendly and convenient for me to be able to take take the option of
bringing my downloaded multiplayer game to my friend's house.
However, this may
be limited. Considering the pricing scheme for downloads have not
been addressed, there is potential of piracy in this type of plan.
While Nintendo ROMs are some of the most pirated things in the
Internet world, I don't think Nintendo aims to help this problem.
Also, this would mean that an SD card could be put on a PC, copied
to the HDD, and then copied to another SD card...creating an endless
piracy portal. Of course, there are a couple of problems with this
On one hand, a
peripheral only really works for consumers if it's INCLUDED. Look at
the peripherals of the past and tell me which of these really
succeeded. PS2 HDD? Failed and even Sony made the slim PS2 unable to
use it. Sega CD? Failed because no one wanted to pay $200 for an
add-on to just play a few extra games. 32X? Failed due to being
pricey and having a whole half dozen games (not to mention the Sega
CD/32X games that required both and were horrible titles). Jaguar
CD? No one wanted a giant toilet shaped device that was so
over-priced. Eye Toy? Barely hanging on, and that's only due to the
price being really cheap. Gameboy camera and printer?
Hahahahahahahaha...that's a good one. The only good peripheral is an
included or cheap-as-hell peripheral.
On the other hand,
I put up with enough crap in having to buy Memory Duo sticks for the
PSP. I didn't just get rid of the PSP because of how completely
useless it was...or how bad the nub was...or how they games
sucked...or how the system felt cheap and breakable...or how
expensive it was...or how expensive the games were...what was I
talking about again? Oh yeah. The Memory Duo cards were pricey and
otherwise useless. I don't have a memory card reader on my PC (and
don't need one), I don't have a camera or phone that takes Memory
Duo, and I sure don't want to spend $200 for a Memory Duo that is
half the size of a SD card that runs half the price. However, while
the SD is cheaper per size, I still would have no use beyond the
Revolution, and I would rather pay a cheaper proprietary memory card
price than have a universal thing that I don't aim to use in any
I think the most
likely solution to the piracy is simple; have downloading games be
on a monthly access charge (like XBox Live Gold for multiplayer
games), and then a downloaded game will only play on a system if
that system is currently paying said price. Then a game downloaded
by one player would be just as obtainable on another Revolution
owner's system, so it wouldn't matter if games are copied. The only
issue is keeping the non-subscribers out of this with some online
verification. Of course, that would also mean that any download
would actually be a rental, so if you stopped paying for the
service, your downloaded titles would stop working.
No matter what,
Nintendo is going to be in for some unusual solution-making sessions
on this one. While they want to deliver the promise of massive game
libraries, they will still need to control piracy while keeping
gamers happy. However they pull this off, it will be
Revolution hints about E3 and the fact that Sony is going to have to
put it's promises on the center stage, E3 will be freakin' awesome
this year. Plus, since Microsoft is the first out there, they will
need to have some awesome announcements to show the world why we
shouldn't buy the Revolution or PS3. Plus, with the potential
blockbusters from Mistwalker still relatively unknown, there will be
some great news in May. I have not been so excited about E3 in a
Also, on a
completely different note, the NWN2
web site is up. There isn't too much information, but the screen
shots sure make it look pretty. Not as pretty as my precious
Oblivion (sorry, I think I'm nearing the realm of fanboys...and I'm
scared)...but not too bad. It'll probably be, like with the PS3 and
Revolution, sometime around May when we actually start getting some
real info from Obsidian/Atari on this one.
Not much to say
today. It's a slow day, I have a lot of Oblivion to pla....things to
do, and I really need to get back to...those...things...
If you've been
following the stupidity of the last year (Jack Thompson's battle
against GTA/Rockstar), there's
more. An appeal was denied, some legal words were used, and the
story, in short, is that the case against Rockstar and some game
retail outlets is going forward. Yippee. I guess this means that it
will be another several months/years of this crap before it's
eventually overturned as the BS that it is. Let's face it; this is a
bogus lawsuit that wastes the time of the US legal system, it wastes
money that could go towards better things, and it keeps feeding the
PR goliath know as Jack Thompson.
On a more humorous
note to end on, my friend Meat Shield sent me a link
to this. Wow. I don't even know what to say. The idea of a game
crucifying misbehaving players seems like either something really
cool or really...word defying. I think it's probably more on the
cool end, since it actually makes a misbehaving player become a
focal point of ridicule. Afterall, if you will be put on display
like this, it might just be a better deterrent than just a flat out
banning. You will be seen and recognized as an ass, and that might
be a little better than remaining unknown for your discretions.
Plus, it helps
redeem crucifixation in video games after the last really well known
event of it...ChuChu being crucified in Xenogears...that was just a
little too silly looking.
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