Malik (9/27/04)  

Well, some news to start of the week is a good thing, so here goes. First off, Hotmail and Microsoft (the owners of Hotmail) have finally, after many months of delaying it, upgraded account sizes, or at least started upgrading free account sizes. However, in the typical quality level of Hotmail, they have decided against actually sending out some sort of email telling free subscribers of any upgrade. Wow. If I ran a business the way Microsoft runs Hotmail, I think I would fold and go under in about 2 seconds flat. I just wonder how the hell Microsoft can get away with this...no, I don't. Sadly, people like to jump on the Hotmail service for two things; Everyone knows Hotmail and Microsoft is a name that people hate, yet they strangely cannot get away from it. 

On to some news that is a little less stupid (have you noticed yet? I hate Hotmail and Microsoft...too bad they make such a good console...makes me feel dirty to enjoy Fable and BO3 so much); I finally took care of my Fable obsession, and downgraded it to merely a diversion. After pouring over 30 hours into Fable (my game clock said 26 hours, but anyone who doesn't count time they lost while failing missions and messing around without saving are asses who only exist to troll and flame the Fable name), I finally took down the final boss. While the game was great and the plot became pretty interesting near the last 4 or so quest missions, I have to complain about one part of Fable's ending...well, besides the lack of closure and the lack of some explanations (like why the hell your final boss is the final boss and what the depth of his/her back story is)...the final boss is the biggest pushover in RPG history. Think of the easiest final boss you ever faced in an RPG...no...think of the easiest normal enemy you've ever faced in an RPG; that's probably about right. The normal enemies in Fable gave me more of a challenge than the final boss. After I started the final boss, I killed a few underlings that he summoned (that took about 15 swings of my massive great mace of holy doom...I didn't even have the best weapon you could have at this point in the game), then I hit the boss about 2 times (using multi-hit to amplify the damage), then I shot the boss three times with my bow (using multi-shot to up the number of arrows I fired at a time), and then waited for the final form of the boss...my wait would never end because that was it. I used three will potions and three spells and the game was over. At least I could take the evil ending with no problem (I opted to remain to my most recent alignment shift...to be good) when I feel up to it. I loved this game, but I don't understand why the final boss is the easiest boss in the game...oh well...despite how many people have taken to flaming this game, I will simply say what I told Velveeta as I beat the game; "Some people bitch if a game is not 50 or 60 hours or more, but they forget two important things; It was long enough for me to be entertained and to feel like I got my money's worth," after all, if I spent $50 on a fighting game or a platformer, I may have only got 15 hours or less out of it, "and it was both long enough, and short enough at the same time, for me to be able to say, 'I want more'". You can't say that you want more of the same if you spend so much time in a game that you are sick of it at the end. So, I'll just end this thought with a final after-thought...I WILL BUY a new Fable if they release Fable 1.5 (check out some message boards on Fable and you'll see about the rumors of Fable 1.5) or a Fable 2. 

So, after delaying for over a week since purchasing it, I have began my insanity in Burnout 3. When I first popped in the disc, my first impressions were less than favorable. You see, the previous BO titles had a completely different feel to the driving. So, at first, it felt like I was playing a game that used the same concepts as BO1&2, but had a different engine to it. However, once I was halfway through my first race, the controls started to feel more appropriate, my nostalgia of BO2 started to kick in, then I caused my first takedown (when you crash one of the other racers and keep on driving), and then I shouted "OH F@#$!" as the carnage ensued. Long story short, this game is as good as everyone says it is...no...it might be better than what people are saying. The crashes are more insane, the tracks are as good (or better) than BO2, there are about 5 times as many cars as BO2, the sound quality is 100X better...so much...sensory overload...plus, if you hit a vehicle and cause a crash, your victim will act less like all other vehicles and be more unique (in BO2, for example, the only difference between a lumber truck and a bus was one, the truck, had a little more mass to it); I first saw this in a crash mode course (objective: make a massive accident and cause as much damage as possible) when I struck a tanker truck, the truck exploded, then my burning car smacked into a flatbed truck carrying a bunch of large boxes, which went flying off of the truck and into on coming traffic, which cause a series of cars to smack into each other...damn! Also, the crash mode has been retooled a little to make the scores more realistic. In BO2, if you caused an accident with 15 cars involved, you would score damages in the millions because for every car involved, your final score would be multiplied by that number (the number of cars, that is). In BO3, the number of cars only mean you will have more chance to score off of the growing number of wrecks...no multiplying the final damage score unless you find a rare icon on the track that will boost the final score (and they are rare and usually only around 2 to 4 times to your final score). Anyway, I still have some more playing to do before I can make too much of a judgment call of BO3...my only complaint (to show I'm thinking impartially, I'll bitch for a second) is that there is no music in crash mode. Not a single track will be played. This pisses me off since I have a few good, and short, songs on my hard drive that would be perfect for one of the 30 second crash runs. 

Also, with Fable pwned, I will probably play Star Ocean 3 again. I figure that I need an RPG at all times (when possible), so it looks like it'll be time for me to continue my hellish journey into RPG crap-dom. This will probably be extra hard to do after finishing such a great game like Fable...I mean Fable probably felt extra good to me after my warming up with SO3, so the opposite will probably hold to be true...sigh... 

I did go through with the LAN party night on Saturday. Not too much to speak of since we had a bunch of modern PCs trying to run some games that are nearly a decade old (like Diablo, Quake 2, and Baldur's Gate). The key word would be "trying". Baldur's Gate wouldn't work...the game itself would work, and we all spent a long and annoying 15-20 minutes rolling characters, and then 2 of the 5 PCs couldn't connect to the network. Sadly, that was the game I was most wanting to play. Also, we learned the hard way (we should have known this before hand...but, I guess we were all too caught up in the LAN party idea to think some things through) that Quake 2 co-op (the other game I really wanted to play) is only up to 4 players and Diablo has the same limitation (which is stupid). So, after about 5 hours on Quake 2 DM, which was the game I wanted to play the least (I suck at DM on that game since I never did learn the level layouts and the other four guys knew them inside and out), one of the guys had to call it quits. So, we tried to move on to Diablo...that's when we saw the same two PCs that couldn't connect for BG couldn't connect for Diablo. So, while the expert spent about 45 minutes getting one machine to work correctly, time just slipped by. In the end we got the 4-player Diablo up and running, and then quit after a few hours when we realized how much we had forgotten and how buggy the game was being (we would be running up the stairs, to avoid a boss that we remembered as being much easier, and the last person to get to the stairs would be blocked the the next to last person...for some reason, a ghost image of the third person up would be stuck on the previous floor even though he would be on the higher floor, and thus the last person would be blocked from the stairs as the boss chased him, endlessly, around the floor). So, I think some more effort will be put into things ahead of time for the next LAN party with this group...at least I really hope so. 


Malik (9/28/04)  

So, after taking out Fable, for the most part (I still have some free-play sandbox mode to do...I can't fully stop until I own every town in the game, hehe), I've taken to Burnout 3 like it was a second coming of Fable. I cannot believe how high the quality of games is this year...but, like I've said, it's complete and total bullshit for every good game, for the entire year, to come out in a 3 month period. Anyway...you could probably expect some of my posting this week to be part of the Burnout 3 review I would like to get up in the next few days... 

Burnout 3 is insanely fun with some of the new game modes that have been thrown into the game. In the 2nd Burnout title (the one I was previously most familiar with), you were given two main options for one player games (not counting practice); crash and race. In the race mode, you were given a series of races...usually a single race followed by a single race followed by a grand prix...then you might have a challenge (you versus one other car and if you win, you will unlock the opponents car). It was pretty standard. In Burnout 3, however, the options are insane. There are the standard single races, grand prix races (without the save cheat of BO2. You can no longer save after a race and then reload if you start to lose the next leg of the GP), and the challenges. However, you are now given modes like Eliminator, Road Rage (the best mode for those of us who like to drive offensively), and fastest lap time trial. All of these modes come up in the standard world tour single player game...of which, crash mode is also a type of event in the single player world tour, so all of the races, crashes, etc, all tie together into one single player experience (called "World Tour") instead of being split into two single player modes. 

However, first, something I love about this game; the mood of the computer. As you drive and smack around a computer controlled car, they will start to lose any love they had for you. As you hit the CPU, the little flag over the car (that let's you know which place said car is in) will change colors. It starts off a cream/yellow type of color that changes to a orange and then a red as you you it. If you manage to cause a takedown (cause an opponent to crash), you should expect for that driver to go instantly to red...red meaning they want you dead. This will really play out in a race since a CPU controlled car that is red will often times risk itself just to try for some revenge (I've had a red opponent cause massive pile-ups just trying to weave through traffic to take me down). 

In Eliminator mode, you have 5 opponents (you usually have 6 cars, counting yourself, in any race short of a fastest lap, road rage, and a challenge) and yourself in a 5 lap race. After each lap, the last place car is eliminated. So, by the time you hit the final lap, it becomes a one on one race that usually consists of a very pissed off (red) opponent. This is a pretty standard race in most respects, but it gives an extra sense of urgency...usually, if you fall to last place and have at least a lap remaining, you can make a come back if you drive hella good...however, if your last place when you finish a lap on eliminator...well, you're gone. So, with this extra sense of pressure on your driving skills, you can expect to be far more aggressive and to feel a far stronger adrenaline rush. Also, these tend to be the longest races, since a standard race or a race in a GP tend to be three laps or less. 

The fastest lap mode is a pretty dull experience overall. Basically, it's like a normal race, but one lap, and there are no opponents. It's just you, traffic, and a single lap of track. The main challenge of this mode comes from the fact that, in order to get a gold, you will usually have to do the lap perfectly. You will not only have to do the lap without crashing, but you will also have to remain reckless to keep your boost bar full (for those who never played a Burnout game; you have to drive recklessly, like nearly hitting cars as you drift around a turn on the wrong side of the road to fill your turbo/boost bar), since you cannot rely on taking down an opponent to fill your boost (a takedown scores you a full and increased capacity boost bar), and you need perfect speed and control for that gold. Overall, however, this is a rather bland and unexciting race experience...but... 

...not everything can be as fun as the Road Rage events. In Road Rage, you are given a time limit to takedown as many opponents as possible. What medal you are awarded depends on the number of opponents you destroy. Luckily, the number of opponents is infinite (if you pass one by, you don't need to worry since another will always be a couple seconds ahead of you). In this mode you can take out a good deal of aggression and hone your offensive skills for the real races. Plus, there is nothing like the wonderful feeling of demolishing as many cars as possible with the awe inspiring visual effects of Burnout 3. This mode will end one you've been taken down too many times or after a time limit has passed (usually about 2-3 minutes). 

This is on top of all of the old modes from Burnout 2. The variety of tracks, race types, and cars (there are so many cars...so many...) is insane. Usually, with a race game, any sequel will be on par with the previous titles in the series, except with a new soundtrack (the punk music selection of BO3 is a giant step up from BO2's generic music) and slightly better visuals...in BO3, everything has been pumped up from BO2...everything. The level of work that went into this game is nothing short of professional...and to think, I was planning on playing Star Ocean 3 until GTA:SA came out, now that Fable is finished...not gonna happen with BO3 in my XBox. Why play the crappiest of this season's RPGs (I hate you, Square Enix...HATE...YOU...I want my nostalgia back...and my time and money) when I play something that Square Enix has not horribly twisted and corrupted? Like Burnout 3? At least some people know how to make a third entry in a series without turning the entire experience to crap. 


Malik (9/29/04)  

Today is a special day for me...I finally snapped and decided that playing hooky is the best answer to my overworked and under appreciated day job.  So, I'm taking some much needed Burnout 3 and website time out of my usually hectic and boring as shit schedule.  I must say that throwing out my usually dedicated work ethic feels so damned nice.  Anyway, I'm using some of this time to get more of my Malik's Bitchings column ready for this week and to catch up, at the same time, on my pursuit of geek news.  Speaking of which...

Donkey Konga is now available at most game stores for $50 (which is better than paying $50 for a DDR game and then still having to give another $30 for a dance pad).  Additionally, extra Donkey Konga drums can be purchased separately for $30.  Normally I would dismiss this game as yet another rhythm game, but after playing the demo at EB, I have to say I'm nothing short of amazed at the addictive nature of this title.  I'm just hoping that Velveeta (our geek household's resident rhythm game expert and addict) goes forward and buys this game before I have to admit to breaking down and getting it myself.  This game uses a simple control mechanism of having two Congo drums on the control and the ability to detect clapping by a built in microphone.  The basic premise, no matter how simple it sounds, is to beat out the drum beat shown on the screen in front of you, along with throwing out a clap or two every once in a while.  I can't say if this game would entertain me for more than a few days, but the 25 minutes or so that I've played were nothing short of addictive (if I wasn't just killing time at EB before a movie started next door, I probably would've played until the EB clerk kicked me out).  So, for those of you who love those rhythm games, this is the GCN title for you.  Plus, with it's 4-player mode, it's bound to be a great party game.  Also, there are more Donkey Konga drum games in the works, so the controls probably wont go to waste too quickly.

Also, according to Gamespot.com, former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi is wanting to get Nintendo into the anime business.  Not too many details have come from this, nor have many turns of events happened, but Yamauchi would like Nintendo to "make movies, and to have them run in conjunction with game releases,".  What does this mean?  I will leave you to ponder that for the next couple of days...my answer will come soon enough in Friday's Malik's Bitchings.

Anyway, on the Burnout 3 front; I finally got some co-op crash mode in last night and I can't believe how fun this is.  Both players start at the same time, and at a similar point on the course, and have to create the most damaging pile up imaginable.  However, to make things more difficult, if a point multiplier is picked up by one player, it is canceled out.  The only way to get a multiplier is for both players to pick up the same multiplier (if one person gets a 2X and another gets a 4X...then it equals a big nothing).  However, if one person finds a heart-breaker (cuts your score in half), and the other doesn't, the point total will still be cut in half for both players.  This is the ultimate arcade racing strategy session...except maybe the competitive simultaneous crash mode (which I haven't gotten around to yet...the World Tour single player mode is too addictive to stop playing long enough for more than a few multiplayer games).  Still, I have the same complaint of no music in crash mode...which is only intensified when you are playing co-op (it gets your energy pumping when you have a good, fast, and angry song blasting in the background).  Ok, I have two complaints...the second being the burning lap mode; in which you try, in single player, to set a time record on a single lap of a track.  This mode requires you to make no errors, at all, in order to get that precious gold medal.  Not only does this mean crashing is out of the question, but it also means that you have to use your boost perfectly and constantly.  Most of all, it means you have to memorize the traffic patterns for the track, and you should all know how I feel about memorization in racing games if you've read my F-Zero GX review, from my days at lazy.GEEKS.  If you haven't read it, check it out.  I never ported it over to Geek_Asylum.com, but it's definitely worth a read for anyone who may consider buying this ancient title.  Anyway, memorization and racing games should never have to cross.  Period.

Anyway, since I'm playing hooky, I should take advantage of it.  Time for more Burnout 3.


Malik (9/30/04)  

I came to a decision last night about my non-stop bitching about how crappy (see, the bitching never stops about this) Star Ocean 3 is and how I need something to break up the eye-strain that the amazing Burnout 3 causes. I decided that I will give SO3 another shot (not from the beginning...hell no! It was bad enough playing 13 hours already to not have to face those same 13 hours again) and see how long I can last. I'll do this test this evening and see how long I can take it...remember, a lot of people say either the first 3 hours are crap (which they are), the first 15 hours are crap (so far the first 13.5 of those 15 do suck ass), or the first DVD is crap (which is probably true since it looks like the entire game teh suxors). I won't even go into, yet again, how much I hate Square Enix for making a good series into something this horrible. I also won't go into, for the hundredth time, how I think that any game that sucks for the first whole disk (especially on those games that have only 2 of these disks) and then, supposedly, gets a lot better and even becomes fun is a horrible waste of the consumers money. I don't buy a game to work through hour upon hour of hell and then play a good game. I don't want my money to be wasted like that. For my entertainment dollar, I want to be entertained for every buck I spend...not just for half of them. I mean, what's the point of a game that is so unbearable that the first half is not worth ever playing? There's no point to it. And to think, there's a new difficulty unlocked after you beat the game that can be used for a second playing. Considering that in battles you have 3 party members and you cannot keep them all alive (you pretty much control one player at a time, and this is the only one who will survive an easy battle in normal difficulty), why the f*&$ would I want to play on a harder difficulty? I hate Square Enix...they cannot keep any of their good old franchises fun, so they can go and fornicate themselves with a thick, splintery wooden rod. Wow. Only Square Enix has the ability to get me to pseudo-drop the F bomb on the Geek-Asylum community. 

Anyway, when I end up hating my existence because of how tortured I feel playing SO3 again, I have a great plan of action. Basically, SO3 is only meant to get me through one more night of playing. I just need to break the 15 hours point, and then I can say that those who say it gets fun after 15 hours are full of shit, and then I'll write a review (here's a prediction...expect something in the 3-4 range for the final score...also, a piece of advice: DON'T BUY THIS PILE OF SHIT! Get Shadow Hearts: Covenant, and get the first Shadow Hearts while you're at it, if you want a PS2 RPG...or try out Phantom Brave). Then, if I need to rinse my mouth, so to speak, of this horrible experience (but I'll be past 15 hours, so the game will be great, right? BLAH!), I'll wrap up my night with some Burnout 3 (too bad SO3 messes up your eyes pretty badly for an RPG and Burnout 3 is no picnic for your eyes...but at least BO3 has a reason...because it's that damned good!). That should at least remind me that geek-life is worth living. Then, I'll be set for tomorrow; when I get Katamari Damacy, which I ordered last night. 

For those who haven't heard of Katamari Damacy, I'll tell the truth...I have no idea what this game really is beyond a very addictive puzzle game that is so insane and unique that I had to give it a shot. KD has been getting some really good reviews and has been almost impossible to find due to it's high demand from geeks and the low supply found at retailers (who thought this game wouldn't sell, so they under-stocked it). However, with the great reviews and the $20 price (that's right, and for a new game), plus an addictive (I'm informed that it's addictive) 2-player mode, I know this should be fun. The basic concept of this game (and I'll keep it basic because it makes no sense, at all) is along these lines; you're an alien who has a little ball that you roll around and as it touches things, they stick to it. You're supposed to make a planet or a moon or some other celestial body with this newly formed ball of junk, so you must make it big. Also, if someone gets in your way, like the 2nd player, you can run them over and make them part of your junk-ball. That, and the random picture of a cow in a field on the cover have me convinced that this may be a great time consumer for the next couple of weeks...along with BO3, of course. Then I'll be set with GTA:SA (which, I'm hoping, will not suck as badly as it looks like it will suck). On top of all that, I may try to talk Velveeta into getting Donkey Konga (I'll even offer to buy the 2nd controller...I cannot bring myself to buy a rhythm game, but I can buy accessories after the game has been bought...I live with a unique sense of principles that include me not owning any rhythm games). 

Anyway, as you can tell, I've got a lot of plans and ideas on my mind, and I must admit that I don't think half of them will be accomplished (the SO3 review may turn into something similar to a Malik's Bitchings since there is no "game" to review, by definition of a game being a form of entertainment...and SO3 is a lot of different things, but none of them would be entertaining), but it's always good to have some idea of what one is doing. The only thing I can count on is getting GTA:SA when it comes out (I pre-ordered about 6 months ago, so I better get it on day one), waiting for Shadow Hearts: Covenant until I'm free from RPGs for a while so I can give it my full attention (such a good series), getting Phantom Brave at the next RPG break after SH:C, and having Halo 2 sometime within a week of launch...and maybe picking up a DS in November. Beyond that, I can make plans, but I probably won't keep to those goals. 

Anyway, it's time for the hell of SO3...pray to the geek gods for me...I'll need it...also, look for a bonus tomorrow...reviews are a good thing...


Malik (9/30/04)  

Ok, I came up with this idea as I played Star Ocean 3; a log of how the game is going for me.  The times are approximates of the game clock.

15:00>YES!  The game finally...F$@% YOU SQUARE ENIX!  PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY!!!

15:10>I'm now supposed to go on a quest that has nothing to do with me to save a girl who was hella cryptic and only met me for a few minutes because she got sick while picking flowers!?!  Why does Square feel that they need to once again add a flower selling girl who's an orphan with long brown hair, a slim build, and is in every other way another Aeris?

15:15>I forgot how much I hated this battle engine...but, now it all comes back to me.  Fayt says, after a battle, "That was fun!"...did I say F&% SQUARE?!  I mean F&*$ SQUARE AND FAYT!!

16:05>What the hell is with Square and wacky little kids who join your party?  I don't care how they try to rationalize it, this little punk, Roger, is definitely not going to be able to realistically hold his own...oh, and he has an "in your face" attitude.  Yipeee...and he has to say a gay line like "My tail's the softest around, I'll have you know" when Cliff spots that he has a tail...what the hell did I get into?  Shit, these story segments are loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong...I don't have to take Roger with me?  Cool...kid, don't let the door hit you on the...forget it...F^$& you Roger!


(I did not stop the game, so the time gets skewed here)

17:00>After playing SO3, even McD burgers taste gourmet...now that's a sign of one shitty game.  Time to work up the strength to play again...sigh...

17:07>Well, I'm as ready as I'll ever be...

17:11>Only in SO3 can boss battles always (and I mean ALWAYS) be easier than any normal battle...

17:20>Wow...a 9 minute story scene that felt like an hour...if it wasn't for the one good feature of SO3 (the ability to skip the voice acting and hurry dialogue) I would've jumped out my window...12 floors down...and smiled the entire way.

17:22>I'm really sick of this crap!  You go to town, then you go through a way too long of a stretch of overworld then a town then an overworld stretch then a dungeon then town again then overworld...shit!  Let's try to not be quite so damned formulaic Square...I hate you Square...

17:36>I tried to fill in the map of that overworld area 100%...I know I did, but it claims I'm 2% short...whatever...I don't even give a f^&% anymore.  I'm so trading this game in before other people catch on and the trade-in value drops.  At least I'm at my supposed goal of Aquios or whatever the hell it's called...this should be cool...should, being the key word.

17:37>Quote of the game, "To tell you the truth, things have been rather dull around here lately.  Nothing but drudgery everywhere you look, day, after day, after day...".  Preach on sister!  Then she says, "Don't they ever get sick of talking about the same thing all the time?".  Wow, that is SO3 in a nut shell and it's from the game itself!  Finally, something to appreciate about this crap-fest.

17:47>Two questions; How can an RPG have so many invisible walls?  What is this, a platformer?  Secondly, is it even worth my time to explore the towns with how Square decided to super-size them?  I say no...too bad I don't know where to go...

17:48>They hide treasures around the town in obvious places that can only be found by constantly rotating the camera because on this planet people cannot see from their eyes...rather they see by a magical floating eye that is like the game camera...so, a treasure is hidden best in plain sight for a normal person but hidden to those with the DAMNED GAME CAMERA!!!!!!!!  I would try to rotate the camera more if it wasn't for the boring feeling that the towns (or anything else in SO3) cause me to feel, and if there was damned color to this game (everything is a gray shade of whatever it should actually be...it's like looking at downtown Seattle and marveling at the bright and vivid colors).  Also, the in game map is so bad that if you rotate the camera, you will get lost just standing still.

17:54>The castle is bigger than any town in the game...do you know why towns are so small in most RPGs?  It's because a game developer usually will know that the time spent wandering around aimlessly in a town is time that the gamer is not spending enjoying the actual game...especially when the towns are so bland and lifeless, and the dialogue of NPCs is so pointlessly dull.  It's like SO3 had all sense of thrill and excitement removed in development...maybe they couldn't budget in excitement...or maybe they just figured the old adage was true...who needs a fun and fulfilling game when you have eye-candy?  I know who needs fun; ME!  I wanted to play and give SO3 a chance...but right now I can only give it a few more minutes...I swear, I honestly wanted to worship this game and adore it and appreciate a new entry in one of my all time favorite franchises (I LOVE SO2!!!  And the little I played of SO1 was pretty damned amazing)...I wanted to so badly...how could such a good game series get treated this way?  It should be a crime.  As I type this, I'm so distracted that I'm even flipping to gamefaqs.com to look at user reviews of this game and I have to say that there are so many good reviews for only three reasons;

1) This is a Square Enix game and people will give them higher ratings.  I'm not trying to sound like an ass, but it's true.  There are too many Square fanboys.  I'm not afraid to admit it...while I once was a giant Square fanboy, I'm the first to see that Square has lost it.

2) This is a perfect eye-candy experience...especially for those of us in the geek community who say they are sick of bright colors, big heads, and all that other fantasy stuff...the thing is, I don't play a game to appreciate what reality could be like.  I play to have fun!  Is there any other reason to play a game?

3) People look at all the features of; no random battles; inventing items and placing patents on them; a unique (rhythm based) combat engine; a unique story (ummm...it may be in space, but this is so far just another bland medieval setting with no imagination).  When all of this is put together, the people who normally hate PRGs will rejoice...the thing is; RPGs should be played and enjoyed by people who like RPGs.  To each their own...and I mean fans of one genre should be the main target audience for games of that genre.

I think the best review of this game was summed up in a comic at Penny-Arcade.  Or, there's also this section from the review at GameSpy;

"Some of the game's cutscenes are longer than gamers should be expected to sit through, however. If you were bored with the cinemas in Xenosaga, you haven't seen anything yet. Imagine the same length, but with less-exciting backdrops and dialogue. Still, the camera angles make some nice cinematic shifts, and what voiceovers there are did the job. You're also given choices of what to say/do every so often. I like these instances, and would've enjoyed seeing more.

For still more monotony, you'll often have to talk to everyone in your proximity in order to trigger the next cutscene. It could be going into a certain room on the resort planet, or speaking with a key villager in a massive town. I must give props to the localization team for giving most commoners two different lines of text dialogue. I hate speaking to one person twice and seeing them repeat themselves."

I would say that sums up most of the problems with this game, outside of the combat engine.  Put both of those together and what do you get?  One really boring and frustrating experience.  My only question is how can Gamespy give SO3 a 3.5/5 when they admit that a large part of the game is boring, tedious, and very annoying to trigger.  That's like saying, considering an RPG is all about plot and interaction (believe it or not, the combat engine shouldn't matter nearly as much in an RPG as the other stuff...the town stuff, the cut scenes, the...PLOT!), and while the plot and interactions suck, at least it's a good RPG?!?!

Anyway, after looking at a few more reviews, I've come to a conclusion.  Almost every review I read is either mindless worship of all things Square, or they all say; the cut-scenes are boring as hell (including lines about how the characters are lifeless and will, I shit you not, stare blindly at the screen for seconds at a time between lines) and are way too long, the battle controls are nothing short of frustrating as the issue mentioned in the above Penny-Arcade comic keep occurring, the visuals are still nothing to really get excited about, the plot takes way too long to take off, the characters are bland and rather one-dimensional, the controls are horrible (it is hard to talk to an NPC at times because your character will jump at the slightest press of the analogue stick one second and refuse to move any the next), the invention system is a confusing waste of time, and the towns are way too big and cut-scenes are too tedious to trigger in such giant towns...yet, in the end, people will blindly give this game 8 or 9 out of 10 without issue!?!?  I F*$#ING HATE SQUARE AND THEIR DAMNED PIECE OF SHIT FANBOYS!

18:54>Ok, that's it.  I'm done for the night...I would say forever, but I will try to give it one more shot.  Maybe I was in too bitchy of a mood tonight...although I'm doubting that.  This game is really about the worst RPG I've ever played (and I finished Beyond the Beyond and played for hours on end on Summoner just to have an RPG experience).  Thankfully, Velveeta is here, so I can at least have a conversation with someone who doesn't get their voice drowned out by background music or stare blankly into space after every line that is said.


Malik (10/1/04)  

Ok, I tried as hard as I could last night to love Star Ocean 3. I tried so hard that my head hurt (well, maybe it just hurt from the frustration of endlessly slow cut-scenes and so un-vivid of visuals). I may give it another shot tonight, since I think I'm nearing the end of the first disk and that would be the final place that people have said that the game gets good. Anyway, if you doubt my view and think that other people, who give high reviews of 8 or 9 out of 10, are right, just read some of these reviews and read my SO3 log I made while playing last night (it's right above this post). This game is so thoroughly bad that there is nothing nice I can say about it at all with any sincerity. Anyway, unless one of my friends wants to do something tonight, I will try to play some more...however, regardless of if the game gets better or not, there is only one fair thing to say about this game; if you have to play for over 18 hours (which, from my game log, you'll notice that I am) to get to the part that is not mind-numbingly dull, then there is something really wrong with the game. You cannot, ever, justify a game as good if it take almost 20 hours (or more than 20 hours...who knows? Not me) to become the least bit entertaining. I will go ahead and also say that unless the game gets good in the next play session I go through, I will trade-in this game. Not only that, but this game is so bad that I don't know if I honestly want to even deal with it long enough to write a review. I like to make a bitchy review more than a nice and happy review, but this game is such a head-ache, and not in a fun to bitch about way, that I just want to put it behind me...sadly, my pride as an RPG uber-geek is telling me to give it one more shot in case I was just really bitchy last night and this skewed my opinion...of course I was bitchy last night, but I think that came about from playing this horrible excuse for a game. A game should be fun. Unless my opinions change from another SO3 session, I will skip the formal review and just say this...1/10 (it gets 1 for an entertaining opening CGI sequence and that's all there is to it...I'd give it a 0 if it was any less a game and more a boring artsy movie with even more clichés). I may get around to a real review...but it's doubtful. If the game does pick up, I may write a review, but I can promise one thing; with such a horribly boring introduction and boring first 18.5 hours of playing, the best this can do, even if it becomes the best game ever for the last half of the game, is a 3 or a 4. I cannot give something that tortures it's players with such a bad beginning anything higher. I don't care what the Square fanboys say (actually, I do care...write me, so I can tell you that your opinions are wrong), it is not a good game and it is barely even a game. 

On the note of reviews, and the opposite note of good games; I present you all with a review of what will probably be the best racing title of the year; Burnout 3. If you've been reading the posts for the last few days, you should know that this game is nothing short of amazing and awe inspiring...so, read the review and see that I can be just as nice to a third game in a franchise as I can be bitchy about a third game in a franchise. 

I also have for all of you a new issue of Malik's Bitchings. I'm just that damned good. Two full length columns (although Malik's Bitchings is a little shorter today, it is still full length) and one long post in one day. See? I care. 

I also should have, by the time this is posted, my copy of Katamari Damacy for the PS2. At least that should give me a reason to love my PS2 again...right now it just taunts me with SO3 and dreams of playing SO2 on it...but with KD, my PS2 will once again be held in high regard and respect. I still don't fully know what the hell this random game is about, but it looks silly and is supposed to be addictive and is a puzzle game. All of those together usually equal a good investment of $20. Most importantly, this game is, as I said, $20, so I don't stand to lose as much as I did with my $50 SO3 (which will probably be traded in before the end of the weekend for Shadow Hearts: Covenant...at least that's a game that I know is supposed to hold true to the last one in the series...speaking of which, anyone who says SO3 is similar to SO2 has their head up their ass...I had to add that bit of insight). Also, I like the idea of a fun 2-player puzzle game, and that's what KD is. 

So, without further ado, I plan to play some SO3 until someone stops me with an invite to do anything (and I mean anything) else, or until Velveeta is around to play some KD. Once I have gotten my final attempt at SO3 out of the way, then I won't feel too bad about throwing it back to EB for some lame Square fanboy to pick up and be amazed...I just hope that the clerk says something along the lines of, "Wow! Did you finish Star Ocean 3? Isn't it such an amazing game!?" when I trade it in (since EB clerks usually say that sort of bullshit when I trade in the most over hyped of games)...ohhhh...if you think I've been bitchy about SO3 already, you only know the lighter bits of what the EB clerk will hear...at least SO3 is now giving me something to look forward to, hehehe.