Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (10/13/08)

First off, there were some really cool NFL games yesterday. In particular, there were some damned amazing finishes. The Rams came back with only a few seconds left to win on a field goal by Josh Brown (I may be from Seattle, therefore supposed to hate him for treating his job like a job, but he is still a personal favorite for doing what he did and knows so well...last second field goal victories). The Atlanta game was beyond amazing with them losing the lead with only a minute left...and then winning on a last second field goal. The Dolphins saw the same thing, but instead they failed to come ahead when a last second scoring drive shut them down.

With all these improbable finishes, not to mention some upsets that no one could have seen in college games, it felt like the right time for the Seahawks to pull out an unexpected win. Sadly, feeling like it was time and for it to really be the right time are two different things. The Seahawks were slaughtered by the Packers. It started off looking pretty good as half time came with a 10-10 game.

The problem with how the Seahawks played and half time is that this break allows the opponent to see that Holmgren was relying too much on a running game and not enough was being done in the air. So, the Packers focused on stopping the run and therefore they stopped the 'Hawks. Yes, Holmgren was working with a third string QB, but that is not a reason to completely stop using the passing game. Any child could see that the key to stopping the Seahawks was to simply focus on the ground.

This, of course, left Holmgren scrambling to force some variety on the offense...which then failed to perform under the pressure and turned the entire game into an interception plagued circus act.

My big observations...

Engram has lost a few steps. Robinson could step up to some fast and frantic passes by Frye, but Engram simply couldn't. This meant that, no matter how well, or poorly, the traveled, a pass to Engram should be seen as the same as intentional grounding.

Burleson is needed now more than ever. Same goes for Obamanu. Too bad they will not be able to salvage this season. I just hope they recover nicely and come back with a vengeance next year.

Holmgren seems to be focused a bit too much on how he's as good as out the door. He is lacking his usual flair for unexpected play calling. Unless you want to go out with this being your legacy, it's time to act like you're still playing to keep your job for next season.

Hasselbeck and Branch, no matter how much I love seeing them on the field, are both held together with duct tape and crazy glue. It might be time to either look for some protection for Hasselbeck, when he returns, or to count him as permanently destroyed. Unless they can find a real O-line, the early draft pick that is coming the Seahawks way needs to be spent on a new QB and some new receivers to replace Emgran and Branch (well, to replace Burleson and Obamanu when they step up to be the next Engram and Branch tandem).

Koren Robinson has some skills left in him. Let him catch something. In other words, get the ball towards him and let him do what he was brought back to do.

Most of all...this season is done. The Seahawks must win eight of their next eleven games just to pull out a 9-7 season, and with the Cards looking like they are and the 49ers looking sharper than the Seahawks (and the next meeting being on their turf), that would be the three losses right there. Can the Seahawks really beat Washington, the Jets, the Eagles, and the Pats at home? Can they beat Dallas on the road? I don't see it. I see maybe a close game in Miami and that's about it...maybe a win in St Louis. I'd wager on a 3-13 season at best.


Malik (10/14/08)

I have been thinking a bit lately on how to manage this upcoming game season. There are, to be blunt, just too many choices and this means I'm going to skip some potentially good games...and probably grab a few lamer ones and wonder what I did wrong in my life to deserve yet another autumn of too many game choices and not enough time or money.

The few solid decisions I have made are on three important games. I'd be getting Rock Band 2 (already done...I consider this season having started around September...maybe August), Tales of Vesperia (also done), and Fable 2 (two weeks from now). However, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I'll need something else. It's not that Fable 2 and ToV aren't good, or that I think Fable 2 will suck. Far from it. I just know that these three games will not be enough to keep my mind diverted from reality.

I will obviously have beaten ToV before long (I hope...I just can't seem to get back in there to just kill the final boss...which I am at on my current save). RB2 is great fun, but I can only play so much before either I need a rest from the genre or until I physically need a rest to help my wrists and fingers recover. The problem is Fable 2, no matter how much I believe it will be an awesome game, it will only last me so long before I just have to face that I have beaten the game.

My obvious choice for another game to tide me over would be Fallout 3. Afterall, I do like them thar Are-Pee-Gees. Plus, I am a fan of the series (ok, most of the series...Brotherhood of Steel was an abomination). At least I should say I was a fan of the series.

There seems to be two sides on the unreleased Fallout 3. I don't want to sound like a jerk since I know people on both sides, but both sides are wrong and stupid.

One side says the game will be awesome. Why? That's hard to decipher. It looks like more than anything, it's because of a cross between what is being hyped and what the setting will supposedly hold (humor and post-apocalyptic world). The only problem is that this is coming from Bethesda. What's wrong with that?

Well, Bethesda once stood for some awesome things, but with some screwy execution. For example, Morrowind had a great setting, lots of details, and endless possibilities (well, as endless as a game could have). Everything before Morrowind was the same, but less refined. Then came Oblivion. Oblivion was an obvious example of a company turning against what they stood for previously to force out a more market friendly version. There were scaled leveling systems, making one version for both PC and console (which was obviously refined for the console, leaving PC gamers with a half-assed feeling engine), and trying to allow a gamer to do everything without fear of consequences (you could master all guilds, kill anyone, and still finish all quests).

The primary complaint of these "F3 lovers" towards the other side is that the other side is too focused on the game engine being Oblivion style instead of Fallout style. It's a complaint of "games evolve, so you need to evolve too". It's a close-minded argument that ignores some facts/possibilities.

Then there's the haters. These people are almost entirely fans of the original Fallout games. They grew up with isometric views and don't want to see FPS style engines forced onto good old RPGs. There is some truth to these concerns. For example, while you could say the system can work (Deus Ex is a great example), you can also see where it's gone lately...Mass Effect. Mass Effect had a FPS/third person shooter engine in it. While the system could have been good, Bioware took too many short cuts and left us with a system that did feel buggy. It was felt in everything from the clunky MAKO (vehicle) controls to not being able to properly hand team mates. This engine also had some noticeable bugs as it tried to offer a system everyone (RPG and FPS fans) would love. In the end, it was a bad job of compromise on two very unique systems.

The problem with this side is that it's tied too much in tradition. While I do think isometric is a great view mechanism in RPGs, I am willing to give an Oblivion style engine a shot in the new Fallout...and this is from a Fallout fan.

The "F3 haters" complaint is that the lovers are getting too hyped for a game that is just not supposed to be handled in this type of engine. Another flawed argument.

I fall into a third position...hopeful but doubtful. I like to think that this is more of a correct position. Not because I fall into this area, but because it makes some damned sense.

This third position, as I live it, would like another "real" Fallout. That is not just to say I'd like isometric and turn based. Although I see nothing wrong with turn based and not forcing a third-person-first-person experience when done right. I can tolerate seeing a game grow up, so to speak. I, however, don't like the basic ideas that are in this new game. Namely, it will be from an entirely different set of people with a different set of standards. The original Fallout (from Black Isle Studios) was designed in a way that felt like the developer didn't care if they had a mega hit on their hands. It was much like Bethesda felt when Morrowind came along. They needed sales to pay the bills, but they still wanted a game they would be proud of. The humor, the setting, the concepts...they were all designed in a way that may not have been hype-friendly, but still would find its audience in the end.

Bethesda, who once was the perfect example of a developer that wanted to build something they'd be proud of, have turned into a group that is trying to mainstream everything. Reminding me, in the process, of Square and their change after their breakout (in terms of global domination) RPG; FFVII. After that game, nothing would be the same, and that was felt with Morrowind.

Anyway, I'm not saying the game will be bad (I probably will buy it when it launches...but for the PC so I can get some mods to correct some likely issues of this being a cross platform title), nor am I saying it will be good. I want it to be good. I want a lot from this game. I have been waiting for over ten years for this game. However, I'm just not digging the two sides. I would like turn based and isometric, but it's not a requirement. I would like the game to continue. I would like a game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that has humor and cool weapons. However, more than anything, I want a real Fallout game. That means it must have a good sense of humor (something Bethesda is not known for), a solid engine that will allow true RPG fans to enjoy the game (something that a FPS/TPS engine doesn't typically allow), and the focus to be on far more than just hype-able elements (like having a mini-nuke launcher).

More than anything, I think F3 will be a good game. In fact, I'm pretty sure of it. I'm especially sure that the lovers will love the game. I'm also sure that most haters will hate the game just from prejudice. The real question is this; can a Fallout fan (who is not a flat-out the position I'm in) have a good time playing "Fallout 3" or will it be a good time playing "Post-Apocalyptic Bethesda RPG"? In other words, will Bethesda be able to deliver upon the legacy or would they be better off having ditched the name or giving it a subtitle name instead of "Fallout 3"?

Also, will Bethesda deliver a solid game that isn't going to need a dozen patches at launch to make it work correctly...and a dozen mods to make it feel like a refined experience?

Ok...I'm rambling, but I'm just getting sick of the two very polarized sides on this debate over a game that doesn't exist...yet.


Malik (10/16/08)

It's been a crazy week for me. I've had some crap with I need to say more? I mean I've gone down the bitching about Comcast route so many times on this site that it feels like saying how much you dislike Jack Thompson. It's a problem that just keeps coming up over and over and nothing will change that. I mean even with Thompson, he may be disbarred, but we'll see him again in some other form (lobbyist?). Comcast is the same, but the only hope for me is if Verizon buys out Qwest in my area so I can go the FiOS route. Of course, there's alternatives but I feel like DSL and mini-satellite TV are not going to solve anything...especially with satellite involving two year contract deals and forced extra prices from additional boxes (I do run a TV heavy household).

Anyway, this has kept me quieter than normal on this site. If you add in a major deadline for my day job, it only gets worse. The only real thing I can say is that antibiotics are mother f#@$ers when they work too damned well in a science job.

So, to keep to my strict timeline for today, I will make a guess on the DLC announcement for tomorrow for Rock Band. My album. We've had a lot of albums lately and there's three (four with the No Doubt not-an-album album) left for the year that have been announced. I think to make up for a very straightforward week this week (just one band and one solitary album), we'll see a lot of separate tracks covering many genres. Maybe an additional three or five pack to round it all out. As for who it will be, I make no guesses there. I'd wager, however, that we'll see some stuff from this decade and maybe a few random older singles. In other words, I see another case a lot like the Offspring Pack week.

Of course I was 100% wrong with my guess last Thursday, so time will tell.


Malik (10/17/08)

Last night I finally took some time and beat the final boss of Tales of Vesperia. I've been, more or less, ready to do this for a couple weeks. However, I also wanted to beat the cooking side quest before ending the game (which actually doesn't end after you kill the final can still load that game and clear some extra side events), which meant some grinding was in store. Not grinding for levels, but fighting monsters so that I could have Estelle (my master chef) cook after each battle for her training.

Anyway, with as few spoilers as possible, I have to say the final boss was much easier than it's been rumored to be on message boards. I should add, I did fight every form of this boss (you could skip the final form by not fulfilling one special side quest). It's not that the boss was a push over (plenty of life bottles and special healing items were consumed), but it's not that bad if you're prepared and use any strategy. The best strategy, I found, is using a skill found on the Last Fencer sword for Yuri. It allows you to avoid any staggering (meaning you will not stop mid-combo if you are hit by an attack). This same skill is awesome for the 100 Man Battle in the coliseum.

My only complaint is that the ending is a bit low key. Yes, it does fit the theme of past Tales games, which always have subtle endings. However, after so much development of plot and characters, I could have used something a bit more powerful and epic in feel to end the experience.

At least I now have the best weapon in the game unlocked for each character. These are weapons, which their names escape me, that are only unlocked in true potential by beating the final boss's final form. They grant one point of power for each enemy a given person kills. So, with Yuri, having beaten about 7000 enemies, is now a walking ball of fury and doom. It should make things fun if I do fight the final dungeon (bonus dungeon unlocked after beating the game).

Anyway, this clears my schedule for Fable 2 to come out next week. So, that makes me feel a bit happier. It also opens up New Game EX (New Game+) if I play ToV again. With how much grade I obtained (no grade farming for me), I should be able to lay the game to rest in no time if I go back for a second run. Unfortunately, with no diverging paths or true choices in the game, a second play is not in my immediate future. Unlike Fable 2, which may be given several play throughs before I put it to rest (unless Fallout 3 claims me too much).

Speaking of stuff coming out next Tuesday, the DLC announcement for next week for Rock Band is a seven pack of Nirvana. I know a lot of "hardcore" fans will bitch and moan that this is too easy. I really don't care. I grew up (well, I was partially grown already) on this stuff. I just wish Lithium could have been on this set (maybe for the 20 free DLC...I hope).

Anyway, it will cost $2 per song or $11 for the pack (discount of $3). Not a bad discount for something that's a pack and not an album.

Anyway, since I do admit it when it happens...I was wrong. I figured there would be variety with a small-ish pack. I'm happy to be wrong when this is the offering to put me in my place.


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