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Malik (5/18/09)

Nothing like being able to play Dragon Quest V for seven hours straight on Saturday to hate playing the game. Well, I should say I was stuck somewhere, in a waiting room, for seven hours with nothing to occupy my time except for my DS or reading some Toyota product literature. So, given that I don't want a new car, my choice was obvious...DQ5.

On the bright side, DQ5 on the DS is a lot more smooth and enjoyable than DQ5 was on the SNES. I mean the SNES version was the first 16-bit era DQ game, and it was only different from the 8-bit DQ games by having more colors in the palette. Beyond that, DQ5 was as much a SNES game and DQ4 was a NES game. I mean DQ4 pushed what the NES could do, and it felt like DQ5 (SNES) pushed what the NES could do, rather than being a whole new generation of DQ games.

Anyway, I'm now in the final generation of the game. This means I'm about 2/3 done with the game and feel qualified to make a few observations. For one, I love DS remakes of old Square Enix titles. FF3 was awesome, FF4 was great, and DQ5 is also great. I haven't tried DQ4 (DS) yet, but it'll probably be next. I sadly can only give a reverse nod to Chrono Trigger since it lacked much in the way of improvements. Beyond having two extra dungeons (one of which is beyond being a chore), a few new items, one new ending (a tacked on tie in to Chrono Cross), and an ending viewer for those you unlock (which is pretty good), CT (DS) was basically the same old SNES game with the same engine and the same graphics.

By far, the best improvement to DQ5 (DS) is the engine. Not only do you have camera control, much like DQ7 introduced on the PSX, but you have a system that doesn't feel like it's constantly in lag. Add in the visual improvements and some extra monsters you can have join your party (the game was always like Pokemon-lite or DQ Monsters-lite) and you get one good remake. Plus, with the game previously being only a Japanese release and I have to recommend this to any J-RPG fans.


Malik (5/21/09)

It's been a week from hell, so posting has been probably the last thing on my mind since Monday. Luckily, it's all slowing down for today.

I have been playing too much Dragon Quest V. I know it's too much when my right wrist is hurting from too much time with the DS. It's only when I play this much that I start to really see how the DS is about one of the least ergonomic game controllers in existence. I mean my wrist doesn't hurt from guitar, fake guitar controllers, PS3 controllers, 360 controllers, or any other. It's only the DS that leaves me in pain.

Anyway, I'm now nearing the end of the game, so it will be nice to have an RPG that I can wrap up. I do have Demon's Souls, but it's one I can only play when I'm in the right mood. It's not a game for casual playing since you have too much twitch response needed for something that also requires extreme logic and thought in such a quick time frame. Speaking of which...

Altus is bringing Demon's Souls to the US. While I love the game, this seems like a horrible idea. In a time when games are making less profit and require more thought to publish in order to evoke any profits, Demon's Souls is the worst game to bring to the US.

On one hand, it's a game for the hardcore RPG crowd. This means casual people should avoid the game since it's a constant attack of death and failure. This is not a game for a casual player to pick up and have fun with. In fact, I would even say Demon's Souls is not fun. It can bring enjoyment, but not in the form of the type of fun associated with a typical video game. It's enjoyable in the same way some people find working out to be enjoyable. You rarely have "fun" on exercise equipment...but you may enjoy the product you receive (getting healthier) or you may just be crazy enough to enjoy the process. Demon's Souls doesn't give any benefit, so this eliminates one type of enjoyment.

On the other hand, having a hardcore audience wouldn't be too bad if the game wasn't already available, for import, in a complete English package. The Asian version (as well as the Korean version) has 100% English text and vocals and can be imported for around the price of a new North American release. So, the main audience is already taken out of the equation. There is just not enough people left to buy this game when it hits American shores sometime in the future.

If you haven't imported and you want this game, I guess this is good. Of course, the backorders seem to be cleared and the game can easily be obtained for import now, in a far shorter time frame than waiting for a localization (which really is already done). Just check out any game importer, make sure you get the Asian or Korean version, and you're set. I won't post links to products, but just check whoever you like (I know play-asia did good for me).

I also just noticed Cross Edge last night while doing some searches for upcoming new titles. I think this may have to be my next purchase. Between the classic RPG style, the fan service quality, and the fact that it's a blending of characters from many awesome titles (like NIS's Disgaea, Capcom's Dark Stalkers, and various characters from companies like Namco Bandai) makes it looks like pure fun for the J-RPG fans of the world. Best of all, the game is due out next week (unless the release gets pushed back again)...which is just the right time with me finishing DQ5 sometime in the next week.

Now I only have to find the money to buy the game...


Malik (5/22/09)

After several awesome weeks of DLC, Rock Band is looking a bit more normal this upcoming week. In other words, there's some stuff that might be slightly interesting, but nothing really worth getting hyped for unless you are a fan of The Zombies, The Cranberries, or Ministry. As for me, not being a real fan of any of these bands, I can take solace in knowing that I can save some money about now since I've taken a few too many monetary hits lately, with more to follow next week.

The only song in this set that really calls out to me in any way is Linger...and that's only because of Velveta being a fan of The Cranberries. Also, I suppose it's a nostalgic blast from my past since it did get a lot of radio play and placement in soundtracks when I was growing up.

...At least this was how I felt when I first read the DLC announcement. I know...I jumped to conclusions too quickly, like too many people do when reading about upcoming RB DLC. In reality, I shouldn't dismiss a band just for not knowing their name. I also should know better with the good oldies. The Zombies are an awesome band that had a name so out of place in the 1960's that it is easy to forget who they are. With these songs, especially "She's Not There", I know this is a must have DLC artist for me. It's just sad since, as I said before, money is not being friendly with me right now. Oh well...$6 on DLC will be worth it, even if it means looking at a meal or two of Top Ramen until my next pay day.

Anyway, I don't have much else to say for today. I need to play some Demon's Souls, but I've been too much in the wrong mindset for this type of gaming. I've barely had the brain power to mindlessly smack the A button to get through Dragon Quest V. Hell, I was even falling asleep last night as I played the game. That type of lack of consciousness equals instant failure in Demon's Souls.

It doesn't help that my three day weekend would be perfect to catch up on sleep and to refocus myself...and it will actually be a one day weekend thanks to my day job.


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