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Malik (12/19/05)  

At least, despite how much mine is collecting dust and making me regret spending over $300 (memory is not cheap), the PSP at least has some potential next year. True, the system will have then seen three years (it came out in Japan over a year ago), but I guess it's better late than never when Me and My Katamari comes along. I just have some potential fears of how this game will run. On one hand, we will have only one "analogue" nub to control the game with. On the other hand, it's not really a good example of analogue. On the third hand (we're dealing with a freakish three handed guy for this analogy), the analogue nub on the PSP is about as precise as the old Intellivision disc's wrong. I apologize to the Intellivision for comparing it to something so crapily made. 

At least, in the end, it should be one of the best PSP games. It also may finally be the first game to really make the PSP standout as something more than a fancy portable media player. I just need something to make me feel like this giant investment was actually worth it. 

Speaking of investments, I am now done with all the stuff I plan to finish on Dragon Quest 8. I am not going to do the special "Trials", but I have done both endings. It's really lame to see that I had a chance to play for several extra hours to unlock the good ending, and then I find the "good" ending is actually only about 20-30% new material. It's like the good ending is also supposed to be good for the environment...considering it's most recycled material. In fact, some parts of the ending show how recycled it was when the new material ends and flows, with a major bump in it from where the material doesn't mesh, into the bad ending. Was it worth playing the extra stuff to get the good ending? Not unless you're a DQ fan. If you barely managed to play through the 80 hours game, then you're better off ending with the required bad ending (you can't get the good ending until you see the bad one...which, with the recycled nature of the good ending, may have not been Square Enix's best idea in this otherwise amazing game). 

So, now that my investment of time is fulfilled, I can now get to the matter of my massive monetary investment in the 360. I started my new appreciation for the 360 by seeing the light. Don't expect a review or anything of Perfect Dark Zero. I had to kick PDZ to the curb. Like I told the guy at EB when I traded it in; it's not a bad's just not a good game either. It's sloppy, unforgiving, and either way too easy or way too insanely frustrating. Online wasn't too bad, since everyone has the same limitations, but the single player (which is what I was most wanting to stand out) was just a giant pain in the ass. For example, much of the game is based on stealth. What this means is that if you're in a dark area (dark enough that you couldn't see an enemy in the same lighting conditions), you will be seen from a quarter mile away and then a stealth mission becomes a pointless shoot-out. 

So, with having played such a plot intensive game, like DQ8, I needed something brainless. So, I traded PDZ, Burnout Revenge, and GTA:LCS (the last two being perhaps the most disappointing sequels of the year) for some credit and Ridge Racer 6 (for the 360). Now this is just what I needed for a game that would rest my brain and creativity. The visuals are amazing (despite how some reviews claim that it doesn't look "that nice") so the game appeals to my "oooohhhhh...SHINY!!" part of the brain. Plus, with a lot of techno, it appeals to the part of my brain that loves filler stuff. More than that, there's lots of speed and action, awesome tight action, and no real sense of plot. Ok, there is a lame attempt at a plot; you are racing on the "X" universe, or something like that, to achieve glory...or something like that. Luckily, this stuff goes away shortly after you begin a new game. 

I still aim to get some time with Kameo. However, I need this brainless diversion as I get working on my DQ8 review. I've spent over 80 gaming hours thinking and strategizing; it's time to give my brain a rest with good old arcade racing action. Expect the full DQ8 review sometime later this week. 

Also, I just want to say that it's awesome to see the Colts finally lose before they face the Seahawks. Perhaps this might mean that they'll rest some of their better players and the 'hawks may have a chance to win this weekend. 


Malik (12/20/05)  

Awesome news for RPG fans. There's a good deal of info on what Square Enix and Mystwalker had in store for gamers at Jump Fest 2005. Namely, there's some more, albeit light, info on the two Valkyrie Profile games (PSP and PS2). Also, there's a tiny bit of info on Seiken Densetsu 4 (Secret of Mana 4 to us Americans), which is definitely still in the works. Throw in a little bit about a new Dragon Quest spin-off about Yangus, the bandit of DQ8, and some small bits of info on Blue Dragon and it looks like it would have been a nice event to have been at. 

Unfortunately there was not much real information on these games, but I guess you could say at least it's nice to see that they are really all in the works. Now if only we could have some firmer promises on which ones will hit our shores and around when we'll see that would be nice. I for one appreciate knowing that the original VP will come to the PSP, but it means nothing if I can't necessarily play it in the language I know and (sorta) love so much. I guess, for the most part, it's at least good to see that Square Enix has not given up on some of their truly great classic RPG franchises (or solo games that are becoming franchises) and with how much more J-RPG friendly the US has become...well, there's always a chance. 

I played a shit ton of Ridge Racer 6 last night. I really enjoy this game. I think RR6 makes up for the arcade-racing affection I missed out on this year when Burnout 4 turned out to be franchised cookie-cutter crap. I even got in some online races. I'm not much of a fan for online racing games, mainly because people are either too good (nothing like being in a game of up to 14 people and seeing one guy smoke all our sorry asses) or they are too bad and can't accept it. In fact, the second one caused me some heartache last night... 

So, I joined a random quick game. I sat around as they finished their current race. I was patient and kind. Then it was time to race, and naturally, I lost my first race (and quite badly...last place and about 25 seconds behind 1st). Then I started to get in the groove and actually won the second race (mainly because the guy who was first got sideswiped on a sharp turn and both of those two drivers were pushed too far back to get back in it). So, how does the game's host (who was also the one who won the last round) react to someone else winning? He kicked me out of the game. F#@%er! So, I connect to a quick game and I'm put back in the same game. I don't think the host realized it was me who rejoined. So, we race again, and I come in third. It's all good. We race a fourth game and once again I win (this time the other players just excuses can justify my smoking of their sorry asses). So, care to guess what the host did? The same thing he did to the first place racer on the previous game (and the game before that, might I add). Teh kixored! 

My point in all of this...? Simply put, the online is hella fun, but I hate people when given the power of anonymity. If you're online with nothing more than a screen-name to go by, some people get the feeling like they don't have to worry about being good or moral. In fact, this sense that no one will ever know you, and the rest of the people are merely false images of real individuals simply makes the worst come through in certain people. The best examples are either when a poor loser has the power to kick people and exercises it to easily when he/she loses, or how people will just use the XBox Live headset to swear like a 5 years old who just learned that saying f#@% is a no-no. This is why I don't even use a headset when playing on Live...I just can't stand the asses and the pointlessness of hearing people swear constantly. 

Anyway, I just played enough online to unlock a new vehicle (you get one ever 10 online races) so I could start to get some of the faxes (bonus objectives in the game that serve no purpose beyond boosting your profile's gamer score). After that, I just played offline for the rest of the night...and loved every lag-free, non-swearing, not-being-kicked-for-smoking-someone's-lame-ass minute of it. 


Malik (12/21/05)  

A couple days later, and Ridge Racer is still keeping me entertained (unlike how Burnout 4 did this year). I honestly cannot see the complaints I keep hearing about this awesome game. The online is great (except when you're dealing with bastards who kick you if you win and crush their puny egos...f#@%ers...), the offline is nothing short of fun, and the different vehicles are definitely more impressive in selection than Burnout Revenge. I will keep comparing these titles, by the way, since they are both some of the best examples of what should have been and what was in arcade racers for this year. 

I also have news of the Dragon Quest 8 review. The actual review is written and edited, but I still need to go through some image dumps. I aim to finish this tonight since I have an annual performance review tomorrow with my day job, which may keep me from being productive (excessive anger is not a good tool of the writer). So, expect to see the final product later tonight. 

As for news not centered around me...well, you don't care about that stuff...j/k. It seems that Sakaguchi is going loco for the 360. On top of Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon (which looks like nothing short of RPG nirvana), he is also working on a new Action-RPG called Cry On. Since the Japanese support of the 360 has been a little lackluster, and since Microsoft is publishing a couple of his games, I expect anything that comes from his most talented of minds should end up here in the states, sooner or later. 

As for Cry On, it sounds like an interesting game premise. It focuses on a world that deals with giant monsters of the Earth. It sounds a bit like Shadows of the Colossus, but with more of an RPG twist (instead of being mostly genre-less...not an insult to SoC, since it just created a brand new genre all it's own). It also focuses strongly on using games to elicit emotional responses from the gamer. As Sakaguchi stated (not a quote...but paraphrasing, in a way), tears will be the focus, and tears don't always represent sadness. I think this means that the game will try it's best to be something more than your typical romp through a game world, and be more of something that you can actually feel worthwhile in accomplishing. Interesting... 

Speaking of Sakaguchi and his works, there's a nice thread at GameFAQS that any potential fans of the game may enjoy. Long story short, there's a nice hidden camera capture of the game's trailer. It looks hella sweet. I suggest checking this one out if you like the old school RPGs of the Dreamcast era. 

Also, if you're one of the people who has been going ape shit over the delays of DoA4...there's news...and you may not like it. I think Tecmo is going to keep pushing this back with each new week. It sounds like the game is nearly done, but I think they are aiming their sights a little too high to be giving solid release dates...yet. Since the game will have to be given the status of "gold" before it's launched, they should just face the facts and admit to all that the game is probably at least a couple weeks out until otherwise stated. 

Anyway, I need to get working on that DQ8 review (and it's many images). 



The Dragon Quest 8 review is up!!!1111!!11  Sadly, my video capture card is only half there.  In other words, the visuals are less than desirable in my screen captures on this review.  I aim to replace this damned thing soon (and hopefully before it bursts into flames), but until then, my reviews may have to have a less than quality feel to the screen shots.


Malik (12/22/05)  

I'm in a very annoyed mood today. It didn't help that my video capture card is on it's last legs (as best seen by the screen shots of my Dragon Quest 8 review). Now I learn that my current apartment is forcing us all to change our addresses and where our mail is sent, with no reason beyond what I call "change for the sake of change". It was even better to see how the memo we got last night about it was dated from two weeks ago. 

Sorry, but I just felt like saying this would explain why this will be a short post and one with a little more attitude to it. 

First off, it's now being announced that Unreal Tournement 2007 is going to be a PS3 launch game. What does this mean? Does this mean the game is poorly titled, or does it hint that the launch window for the PS3 will include 2007? Who knows. No one also knows if the PS3 analogue sticks will actually work well enough to host a FPS with such high anticipation behind it. I do know that the PS2 analogue sticks could not handle FPS titles with any semblance of quality (which is why I avoided getting and FPS titles for the PS2). The sticks on the PS2 are just too sloppy for the fine tuned movements required for any sniping, rail gun action, or anything beyond just spraying cover fire with a SMG or AK. 

To continue my rant about was bad enough that they had to use graffiti to advertise their waste of money, the PSP. That was bad enough when you see the people who had their property defaced by such a low act of self indulgence. I guess I should add that Sony claimed no responsibility for these acts, and thus you could say it's not really them behind it. I personally couldn't see who else would organize a coast to coast ad campaign like this that wasn't orchestrated by the big S, but I guess we should all give them the benefit of the doubt while we talk behind their back about who we really think/know is responsible. 

That ad campaign was just low and pathetic, and rather cold and uncaring towards the people who saw their neighborhoods defaced with this type of PR bullshit. Now, we have these new PSP commercials that actually make me regret buying the damned thing. I'm talking about the ads with phrases along the lines of (not direct quotes...I don't think), "It's like carpet you can play outside" and "It's like a nut you can play outside". I have never felt so stupid for buying a product before. I used to just think it was a poorly designed system with no good games, yet. Now I feel like Sony is actually trying to lower my intelligence with this type of bullshit (and I won't say how I feel like the dust-balls on the "carpet" ad remind me a lot of a certain ethnic group and I won't ask if they are comparing said group to something as annoying as clumps of flaked off skin, random fuzz, and dirt that make up a ball of carpet fuzz). felt good to vent. I have been holding that in for a little too long. 

To sound like I'm not just full of Bitchings today, there is good news. Serenity is on DVD and it's freakin' fantastic. I already saw it in the theaters, but it's great to have this title in my collection. Not to sound like I'm trying to pimp this movie, I feel like this is one of the few movies that I just have to cheer for and hope it does well in DVD sales (especially since it didn't do as well in theaters). If you haven't seen it, which is probable, and you are able to come to a site with a name like "", then you owe it to yourself to rent/buy this thing. Even if you failed to see the series (for shame...Firefly is also on DVD, and has been for quite some time now...), the movie still does a great job standing on it's own feet. 

Anyway, I am just a little too annoyed to write much today. Sadly, by the time this is posted, things will have probably gone from bad to worse, but whatever. Vacation, for me, is on, and the only thing I will need to worry about for the next 11 days is making sure I get away from Ridge Racer 6 and Kameo (and soon to be whatever games I get for Christmas and birthday) long enough to get a post, and maybe a review, up while I'm relaxing and forgetting about the hustle and bustle of everyday blue-collar life. 


Malik (12/23/05)  

I know she probably never has been to my site, but...Happy birthday, mom!

Well, last night I had no idea that I'd be in store for the single most confusing movie I had ever seen (and probably ever will see).  This is not a recommendation, since I still don't know if I moderately enjoyed the movie or absolutely hated it.  Anyway, I'm talking about Izo.  This was a much anticipated movie since it was a joining of two of the greatest artists in Japanese cinema; Beat Takeshi and Takeshi Miike.  If you don't know who these two are...I would like to say I forgive you, but I am a bit of an elitist in regards to these two geniuses.

Long story short, Takeshi Miike is the madman/genius responsible for Audition, Ichi The Killer, and The Happiness of the Katakuris.  All of these fall into being either some of the most f#@$ed up movies ever made, or Happiness falls into either that or being one of the most heartwarming musicals ever envisioned (confused...well, watch it and you'll understand).

On the other hand, Beat Takeshi is nothing short of being a true master of almost all forms of entertainment.  Most Americans may know him from Takeshi's Castle (MXC on Spike...he's the host who's usually "dubbed" to be more sane and less fetish obsessed).  However, he also was the guy who brought Zatoichi (the blind samurai) back to the masses and starred in one of my personal favorite movies; Brother (along side Omar Epps in one of the most unusual and brilliant movie partnerships in history).

However, despite all the hype and potential in a movie pairing the two Takeshis, this turned out to be so disappointing on some many levels.  For one, as my friend Meat Shield hinted to us, it looked a lot like a Calvin Klein ad for the first half of the movie.  Beyond that, Beat Takeshi had a measly couple of minutes of screen time.  Beyond all of that, however, was the fact that the whole movie made no sense, and seemed to be nothing more than an excuse to blend violence (cool), blood (cool), sex (cool), and artsiness (usually not too bad, but it turned this movie into a steaming pile of shit...or confused about if this movie was good or really bad). 

Anyway, I have little else to, happy holidays to all.


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