There is a good reason
why I usually keep my bitchiness in check (believe me, I could go a
lot more in that direction) when I talk about a lot of things that
seem flat out stupid. That reason would be Europe (and Australia)
gets it a lot worse than we in the US do.
On one hand, even with
nearly simultaneous launches on systems or games, Europe gets it
later than the other two big regions, like they had with the 360 and
the planned PS3 launch, and they have to
pay through the nose for the privilege to be last. Yes, Europe
is going to be paying about $799, when converted into American
dollars, for the PS3 that Americans will "only" be paying $599 for.
However, to make things
worse, Sony of Europe is now saying that Europe may not even have
the option of the ghetto (cheaper) PS3 setup. On one hand, that's
kinda weak to not only charge Europe more, but to lock them in at
the highest possible price. On the other hand, it makes you
Sony was pimping the
ghetto PS3 as a fully enjoyable system. In fact, the whole concept
between the two prices is that the 20GB ghetto version would be for
casual gamers (whatever...$499 is not a casual gamer price by any
means), while the 60GB version existed for the hardcore elite games.
However, despite the audience differences, the systems would both be
equally useful. If that was true, then why would they remove the
ghetto version from the European market?
On one hand, it's due to
greed, but I think there's more. Maybe they figure that Americans
would be more likely to buy something they probably think of as an
inferior system. Maybe they even think Europeans are stupid enough
to buy whatever is thrown at them. Either way, there's something
fishy about this whole situation.
I know I'll end up with
a PS3 something in the next couple of years, but I do have to say
that this will be one of the few consoles I will not even make the
slightest effort of obtaining during it's launch window. I won't
even consider dropping a single cent on this thing until three
I will need some good
games. I have not seen a sign of anything I'd really want around the
system's launch. I'm not a MGS fan (I like to series...but only with
a passing interest), and most of the other early games seem too
focused on the elements I don't care about. The only announced year
one game I want is GTA4, which I can get (with episodic content) for
I will want to know how
reliable the system is. I know launch systems are more faulty, but
the main issue I have is the number of Sony products I have seen die
on me. Playstation...I'm on number 4. PS2...I'm on number 2. I don't
want to see a $600 (pre-tax) system die on me...and I'll avoid it
until I see better.
Most of all, I just
can't justify a $600 payment for a games system. I still have minor
regrets on spending $400 on the 360, and I have major regrets of
dropping $250 on the PSP. I need my money to be justified, and it's
very hard to justify the extra price for the PS3...hell, that's the
cost of all of my student loans, my car payment, and my cell phone
payment...and then some...for an entire month.
Well, I got Rise of
Legends this weekend (thanks to two friends). I didn't get much of a
chance to play yet, but I'm enjoying it so far. I've gone through
the first two single player missions.
I do have a couple of
comments, however. First of all, this is not Rise of Nations. The
mechanics have been changed a fair amount. In fact, this game
reminds me more of how RoN could be if it was turned into a
Starcraft style of play. Not a bad thing, but it's something that
one has to keep in mind when they play...this is not RoN2.
The best example of this
is how there are three types of races/nations in this game. They
don't have perfectly matched up armies. It's like the three sides in
Starcraft. They all have rather unique units and the true strength
comes more from knowing how to use an army and less with how big
your army is.
Another difference is
that peons/builders/civilians/whatever no longer flat out exist. You
don't build farms, you don't control if a worker is a miner or a
farmer or a builder. In fact, mines let you build dedicated miners,
and otherwise you will never deal with the peasants. If you build a
new structure, it is just placed and the map and then it is slowly
build by invisible workers. This means, more than anything, that
your population cap is not longer based on peasants plus your army
(it's army only).
Military units are not
necessarily single units anymore. If you build smaller things, like
a platoon of marksmen, then they will actually be built as a small
battalion. However, bigger objects, like tanks and cannons, are
individual units when represented on the playfield.
Overall, I am enjoying
RoL. I only have one real complaint with the game...ok, two
complaints. First off, the camera is way to zoomed in. You can never
get quite far enough out to feel like you have solid control over an
army of people. I have constantly found myself scrolling back on my
mouse scroll wheel, to no avail. Secondly, I have not seen any signs
of nukes yet (which were always my favorite thing of RoN).
I am starting my New
Super Mario Bros review, and it should be up this week...assuming I
don't get too distracted by RoL.
To start things off on
the right foot, I do have my New Super Mario
Bros review up and running. Wow...I actually promised a review
and then delivered. Maybe this is a sign of things to come, or maybe
it's because of other factors...
The main thing
giving me some extra time is simple and is covered in that review.
NSMB was too short and had too little replay value (I cannot get
into playing the mini-games to kill time, since I already did that
over a year ago when I finished Mario 64 DS). Beyond that, there is
not really anything worthy of more than a passing glance. In fact, I
think it's safe to say that the usual summer drought is once again
I may be able to
find a break from the boredom depending on how Heroes of Might and
Magic V turns out to be. It's officially out today, but I'm giving
the game a little more time to be fully reviewed before I jump in.
I am going to be cautious when bugs are already being spotted at
a swift pace.
the HoMM5 beta and demo were both so glitched out, and how they had
other non-glitch issues, I really hope this is not a sign of how the
game actually is. I think it's safe to say that I'm a diehard Heroes
fan (I spent about 4 hours playing Heroes 3 last night, not to
mention how much I play it on any normal average week), but I still
cannot easily jump into the new games when the series has been going
downhill since Heroes 4.
Most of all, I
want to wait for word (if you know, send me an email...) on if the
multiplayer has the ability to generate random maps. This, more than
the stupid design of towns, is what kept me from playing Heroes 4 to
it's fullest. I honestly could not give a damn about the single
player campaign mode. I love Heroes games just from Hot Seat
multiplayer, and if there's no random map maker, then it will just
be a shortly lived experience (like Heroes 4 was), instead of being
a time killer for the better part of a decade (like Heroes 3 still
is for me).
Most of all, with
the bugs that are being seen, I think it's safe to say that this was
another rushed PC title...as in, the developers will probably
release a patch soon to fix the problems that they knew existed,
rather than how they could have simply delayed the game for a week
or two to tackle these issues ahead of time. Nothing like the PC way
of releasing games prematurely since a patch is always an option.
Well, if you want me to
say anything nice and intellectual today, it's not gonna happen. I
got no sleep (due to my new neighbor not understanding that they
have people trying to sleep around them at the magical time when PM
goes to AM), had the fun of racing a school bus driver who had no
desire to let me into the legal lane of traffic when my merging lane
ended (would've possibly been funny if there weren't a bunch of kids
on the bus...f#@%er!), and a strong sense of my hype and
anticipation being popped by stupidity.
First up...Rise of
Legends. I do enjoy this game, and I am planning to have some fun
when my friend Bastich hosts another fun LAN party this weekend.
However, some of the changes are just pointless. For one thing, the
idea of building generic city parts instead of building an actual
city is frustrating. I have solid plans in any RTS on how to build
things to fit my exact style and the requirements for the current
game. I cannot do this when I don't build market and trading posts,
but rather build merchant sectors of the city. The same applies to
farms, etc. I like to cover my ass in a RTS, and part of that
requires me to not keep my entire city condensed in a very small
area (making it easy to raze).
Secondly, with RoL,
the plot sucks. I have nothing to hold on to. While plot doesn't
mean too much to me, I still want a compelling reason to keep
playing the single player (between LANs), and these three random and
almost generic races don't give me anything to give a shit about. If
you plan to invent a whole new set of races and technologies, take a
look at the masters before you do it...namely, it's amazing how the
races of RoL are so similar to those of Starcraft, but in the end,
while I like the Starcraft races from day one, I still find the RoL
races to be pointless and hollow.
I haven't played
it, and I probably won't because of what I've read, but how could
the once amazing franchise of Heroes of Might and Magic be reduced
to the steaming pile of shit that it Heroes 5? What the hell
First off, look at
the f#@^ing visuals. I remember a while back,
went off about how the visuals of Everquest 2 looked like something
that a robot made. They complained about how the visuals looked
soulless and devoid of any creative spark. Well, I think, in
comparison to Heroes 5, EQ2 looks f#%$ing brilliant. Just check out
some Heroes 5 screenshots (Gamespot
has some nice ones). What part of this lifeless trash is one the
same vein as the wonderfully designed art of some of the better
Heroes games (namely, Heroes 1-3)? Heroes 5 visuals just look like
fancy CGI attempts at promo art so that Nival could find a publisher
and some money...not the visuals of a finished game.
Secondly, I looked
it up last night...there is no map maker, no random map generator,
and they won't come along for a while. Why did this happen? Because
the developers couldn't see why anyone would want this type of stuff
on their wonderful (/sarcasm) single player game. Well, you know
what Heroes has meant to thousands (hell, we can bump that number to
hundreds of thousands or even millions easily) of fans long after
the shine of a new game has worn thin? The series was always a
multiplayer game. To make it even worse, in Heroes 5, as of now, you
cannot make a multiplayer game that has actual alliances...you can
just promise your friends that you won't attack each other.
civilizations of Heroes have been raped, killed, and then skull-f@#%ed!
Use this link and scroll down to the "Creatures" sections to see
for yourself. Many of the old favorites that have been around since
Heroes 2 (and even the original) are gone. The Evil Eyes? Gone.
Manticores? Gone. Red Dragons? Gone. Master Archers? Not gone, but
no longer fire twice per round. Efreets? Gone. Nomads? Gone.
Bandits? Gone. Harpies? Gone. Gogs? You don't even want to
know...they were booted for weaker demons (demons that are literally
as weak as imps).
This is not the
end of the list of missing creatures, and it's not the end of how
the races have been raped of their soul. One one hand, you now have
archers that carry a mere 5 arrows. What type of archer would enter
combat with less than a full quiver of arrows? The Death Knight is
now homeless (there is a necromancy town...). What? Did this
proclaimed "vampire" and master of death feel like he was being
stifled living at home? I know for f#@%ing sure that no necromancer
would've told the dude to split.
Most of all, what
the f#@& is this shit about Dark Elves? I sure as hell know that my
Dungeon towns have Evil Eyes, Manticores, and Obsidian
Gargoyles...not these lame attempts to catch the eye of the emo
crowd. If I want dark elves, I can play some Warcraft 3/WoW, or I
can call up some friends for some D&D, or I can...you know what?
They have plenty of homes already and they have no place in the
world of Heroes.
More than that,
the whole world of M&M, along with all of the conventions and plots
that have built up over a good couple of dozens of games has been
put to sleep in favor of some attempt to make the game generic.
Last of all, just
check how many (or few) artifacts are in the game. What about
spells? Skills? There is simply not enough stuff to customize your
heroes with. It wasn't always the army that made the difference, but
rather the artifacts, the spells, and the skills. When you plunder
those vast riches and leave skeletal remains, things will not turn
I will say that I
think it's great that Ubi/Nival tried to bring back Heroes for it's
loyal fans. However, as I learned many times as a kid, good
intentions only get you so far. You can intend to do some good, but
when your final result is this shit...maybe it's a sign that you
should've stuck with what you know, and not what you think would be
fun to play around with.
Now, all loyal
fans of Heroes, I ask for you to spend some time with Heroes 3 (and
his friend, the expansion). Love it, caress it, and speak gently to
it. It may be getting on in years, but let the old guy know what
he's meant to you, and how there may be attempts, but no one will
ever replace him. Now when you've let the old guy know this, load
him up (and if you must install again, Heroes 3 will understand and
will not judge), and conquer the world with 8 glorious races,
randomly generated worlds, possible real alliances with friends,
countless artifacts and spells, and enough skill slots to truly live
the life of a hero.
Also, if you
wonder why I'd call to you, a loyal fans of the series, and I didn't
say to load of Heroes 4...I don't try to be elitist too often, but
you sir/madam, can go and f#@% yourself with your Heroes 4 CD...you
I had another night of
too little sleep (this time it was my own fault...well, the fault of
a really fine local restaurant offering free all-you-can-eat of high
quality sea food when you buy a single beer...who could turn that
down?). So, I think I'll do what I know best...so, to get back into
it, I present another day of some well overdue Bitchings.
I was reading in
the paper, yesterday, about the major Windows conference in Seattle.
This is the all important conference on helping various companies
take advantage of the new abilities in Windows Vista, prior to the
OS's launch. It's a good thing, blah, blah...
However, at one
point, Bill Gates was heard to say something along the lines of of
it's been a slow process to make the PC a fundamental part of the
living rooms of America. Really? I wonder why people are not just
jumping into the Windows XP MCE 2005 generation...no, I don't. It's
pretty f#@&ing obvious, and if Bill cannot figure this one out, I
think he's either in denial or is a complete idiot.
I have my PC as
part of my living room. I would hate the thought of watching anime,
listening to music, or whatever else on my tiny 17" monitor when I
have a 52" 1080i display sitting there, waiting for a chance to be
shown off in all it's glory. However, I sure as hell don't do things
the way that Bill would want me to (using MCE 2005). I, on the other
hand, do things in my own special way, and hate it. I simply run my
audio out of my sound card (onto a surround sound system that is not
optimized for surround sound) and watch the video on the TV using a
DVI connection. I would love to use the proper audio hook-ups (using
the main surround sound system of my living room), but Bill has
actually stopped me from doing so.
In other words, I
don't use Windows MCE 2005 because I literally can't. Well, I could,
but I hate the thought of ordering the OEM disks off of a place as
"respectable" (/sarcasm) as eBay. However, Microsoft only offers MCE,
in the fully legal and safe methods to obtain it, by buying a PC
that is fully assembled and "designed for" MCE.
Like many people
with some knowledge of computer prices and knowledge of how to run,
maintain, and upgrade their own PCs, I am a do-it-yourself-er. I
don't like the thought of ordering a MCE containing computer from
Dell, HP, Gateway, or any other company when I could easily build
the same equivalent PC for hundreds less, and actually have a better
understanding of where my parts come from and a full working
knowledge of why each component and adapter is present. No waste and
no extra hassle if I need to upgrade something down the road.
I can also assure
Bill that my PC is more than MCE complaint, with only a few minor
exceptions (mainly being that I don't currently have an IR port
hooked up for receiving remote control input...which I would do if I
had MCE). However, I am stuck with Windows XP because of their tight
firm hold on keeping MCE under lock-n-key.
The largest shame
in this is that the 360 is actually being effected, in small ways,
by this draconian control. As it stands, the 360 can be used to
stream data "from a MCE compliant and installed PC". However, if MCE
was open to all the DIY crowd, then it could be said that 360 will
stream video from "a PC". Big difference. I definitely know I would
love to stream video from my PC to my 360 and then watch it without
having to resize my video playback windows on my DLP's desktop. I
would also love to listen to the proper audio sources, since my 360
is hooked up to my properly configured surround sound system, with
the best of hook ups (digital optical).
Microsoft would make some major gains in taking over the living room
just by releasing an add-on (for a price...of course) for Windows XP
to allow the streaming of video from a PC to a 360. It wouldn't have
to be an expensive upgrade/update, and it would be well received by
the majority of 360 owners (who don't have MCE). It would be a
win-win situation for Microsoft.
I guess, if Bill
really wants an answer for why the adoption of Windows based PCs in
the living has been so slow, maybe he should...oh, what's that term?
I know! OPEN HIS F#@^ING EYES!
Ok. I'm really
sleep deprived, so I'm afraid that's all you get from me today.
Also, if you haven't heard, Nintendo officially announced (too lazy
to put in a link to one of the 1000 articles on this) the Wii will
go for under $250 (which is pretty much the same as them saying it
will be $249.99...because that somehow counts as "under $250").
It's good to know that
Microsoft doesn't always ignore the voices of their customers.
Namely, the 360 is supposed to be getting
a dashboard update sometime in the not too distant future. The
exact date seems to be up for some speculation, but the basic
details make it sound like it could be anything from now until the
end of the summer. In the end, Microsoft is currently saying it will
be about a week from now, but then again they've said some other
dates, and they have no always been the most prompt of businesses.
The update will
finally be one worthy of being a real update, and it will be one
that will definitely be enjoyed by all. It will allow, most
importantly, the ability to set up a download list and then to
download items in the background while still using the system for
it's normal purposes. In other words, there will no longer be a
time, in theory, when you have to let the 360 sit, without really
using it, so you can download a huge demo. You can now just let the
download carry on while you use the 360 for better uses. Also, if
you finish said download, you would then be able to still use the
system normally as it sets up your next desired download.
The smartest part
of this new feature is that Microsoft will allow the system to
automatically halt a download when the player starts an online game.
It's almost like Microsoft is actually wanting to make the
Marketplace something more than a giant pain in the ass.
On top of this,
Microsoft will also initialize the ability to fast forward and
rewind trailers and videos downloaded from Live. Plus, on that note,
the 360 will now have a bookmark feature for playing DVDs, so that
you can turn off the system and then when you turn it back on, it
will remember where any DVD movie you were watching previously is
In basic terms,
Microsoft has finally decided to give people both what they want,
and they are giving what is expected...as opposed to how they have
previously had more of an attitude of "WE will let you know what you
want". They are even now reorganizing the Marketplace, so that it's
not confusing as all hell. The subjects and categories should now
make some sense.
The only things
not mentioned that I would like to see should hopefully be coming
soon. That is to say, if Microsoft is smart, they will show up
within the next two updates. Namely, I would like to see my
downloads not marked off as completed in the Marketplace when I am
only partially done with downloading something. Secondly, I'd like
to see things better classified by category and not just this
lumping of all non-game things into some general "game" of
"Entertainment". Lastly, I'd like for the fonts to be rearranged on
the Marketplace, so I don't have to select an item to see what it
really is (try downloading a trailer for something, and then notice
how you have to select two identical looking trailers before you
know what resolution they are coded in).
On a final note
for the week, it looks like there's a chance that another secret may
be in store for the Wii...at least
according to Gamespot. While there isn't exactly the most
compelling data for this, it looks like the Wiimote may have a
microphone inside of it. The main purpose looks like it will let the
Wii be a Karaoke machine. However, this would allow for some
Mainly, the ideas
I am thinking of would be for insane/unusual games, like Wario Ware.
Just think, for a second, of all of the Wario Ware Touched (DS)
games that used the mic...now think of them in conjunction with
being able to move the Wiimote at the same time. I honestly would
enjoy that...or at least a lot more than the DS mic features (which
can be pretty embarrassing in public places). Plus, if Nintendo
keeps things simple enough, the mic could have some really
innovative uses in future games. It may even allow for more of a
speaker phone style chat system for online games (as opposed to the
360 and it's closed circuit system of conversing).
Well, I'm out of
here for a nice 3-day weekend (no post Monday). "Happy birthday" to
my bro-in-law. Later.
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