There are so many
things one can do in life. It's not to say that many things
are out of the limits of ability if enough time and effort is
taken. Anyway, I I guess I am just trying to say in the way
that I have the time and ability to do right now...in loving memory
of my aunt.
In the words of
Monty Python; "and now for something completely
different". I've been going off about games non-stop, but I've
been neglecting something else that was big last week. Movies.
First off, I have
had something on my mind for a couple months now that I will share.
The new Lords of Dogtown movie. This looks so very poorly done. I
mean this is a wonderful story/history that has gone through the
usual crap that a movie for this release time frame goes through.
It's been turned into a dreaded "summer-blockbuster".
True, I haven't seen it. Not many people have seen much of it since
it isn't due out for a while yet. However, I have seen the previews
and I have seen one of the best documentaries ever made; Dogtown and
Dogtown and Z-Boys
is the documentary, and closest to the real story, of the event
portrayed in Lords of Dogtown. Well, while the documentary shows the
highs and lows in a real way (documentaries tend to focus a lot on
that "real" aspect), the previews of LoD make it look like
it's as over acted and over the top as the acting in Episode 3 was
under acted. Plus, I have to say that, at least from the previews, I
find the use of any modern music to be a true shame in a movie
that's entirely set several decades in the past. Blah.
I just needed to
get that off my chest. Well, that and to say; if you're interested
in LoD at all, watch Dogtown and Z-Boys (awesome movie).
On to the other
bit of movie stuff that was more relevant to this last weekend. Star
Wars. Yeah, I saw Episode 3. Yeah...ummm...I really wish I could go
fanboy-insane on seeing the final planned new SW movie, but I
I won't have any
spoilers, but I will say some facts. First off, George Lucas is one
of the best minds I've known for creating a world (right up there
with Tolkien in my opinion), making special effects, and touching
all of us geeks in a special way. That said, I also think Lucas is
about the worst person in the film world for a few things, as well.
He is the worst person at writing a script, including compelling
characters (well, he kicked ass in Episodes 4-6, and Obi Wan is
cool, but otherwise...), he is a retarded director (is this
something like how he directs; "that was nice, Hayden, but I
need you to tone down those emotions...you're acting, and I'm
looking for more of a Keanu performance on this"?), and he
needs to learn that special effects should be just that;
As I watched
Episode 3, I kept thinking a few things. The first was that in the
days of FMV video game cut-scenes, we never saw as bad of acting as
Lucas tried to achieve in this movie. Seriously, I know all of these
people can act (I've seen them do so under other directors), but
they seemed to mail in their performances in this entire trilogy
(McGregor would be the sole exception...it looked like he tried to
sneak some real acting under Lucas's radar).
Secondly, I kept
thinking that these visual effects could possibly be called
"special" effects if they, both, weren't upstaging the
action (the backgrounds did so a few too many times), and if they
were used a little too often. When I say "a little too
often", I mean this along the same lines that there are "a
few too many Starbucks" in Seattle. In other words, just tone
it down. Seriously, the visuals would be very awesome if there
wasn't just too much to take in at any one moment. It's nice that
there were many ships in the space battles, but let's keep things
focused on the stars of the current scene. For example (no
spoilers...don't worry), while we are watching a couple ships fly
through tight squeezes, we are also seeing, in the background, about
thirty different unrelated ships doing the same sorta stuff. It's
hard to focus on the two that matter when there are so many others
that are also doing cool shit at the same time. It's like the old
saying; too much of a good thing.
should've just made the driods (as in the Federtion droids) mute.
I'm sorry, but the battle droids are lame as hella with their nasal
geekish voices and lame one liners...and General Greivous...why the
f$#@ does a droid have a back cough?! Is this Lucas's lame take on a
computer virus? I don't even want to know.
Most of all, the
love scenes should've either been left out (leave in a hint and let
us image what happened...subtle-style), or Lucas needed to find a
second writer to handle the dialogue (and a second director to do
the directing in these scenes). I mean seeing Anakin and Padme (no
spoilers...just lameness) pretty much go through the whole "I
love you more", "no, I love you more" bullshit made
me want to punch someone. Maybe the video game industry should take
note; here's an example of a movie that could evoke violence and
take the heat off of the game industry.
I would be lying
if I didn't say I liked the movie. I did. It was a horrible movie,
but it still entertained me. However, while I spent good money to
see Episode 1 about 4 times in the theaters, I will leave episode 3
closer in my wallet to episode 2, which I saw but one time in the
theaters. This is a bad movie, but it will entertain a Star Wars
geek. I guess that's all it really needed...but I still would want
more (well, more of the good scenes, and less of the love scenes,
droid speak, abused special effects, and the horrible scream at the
end of the movie...you'll see, if you haven't already...I almost
choked when it happened since I was trying to suppress a laugh
before the fanboys killed me). However, I think the biggest liars
would be those who gave Episode 3 such great reviews as to say
"better than" anything in the original trilogy. The Ewok
party at the end of Episode 6 was better than episode 3.
Also, I just have
to say that while many fanboys will want me dead for saying this;
the big Yoda scene near the end was about the most pointless of crap
I've seen in a Lucas movie.
Well, fanboys, go
to the forums,
if you want, and to quote another thing that will be butchered in
theaters this summer; Flame on!
I'm still not in
much of a mood to be upbeat, so I'll take advantage of this with
some more Bitchings.
First off, I just
feel like I have to comment on Tiger's Gizmondo. This little
handheld is due out in the US later this Summer. I'm not too sure
how it's done in Europe (where it's been for a while now), but I
think I know how it will do in the states. Basically, Tiger has
created another all-in-one type of handheld. Or, to be more precise,
Tiger has created what would be seen as either another pwN-Gage or a
PSP. I personally think it's more of a pwN-Gage. I mean with the
current state of handheld-do-it-all systems, can anything honestly
compete with the PSP.
Where Tiger is
offering a system from a company that we have not really heard much
from since the days of their single game portable units (way back in
the 80's...yes, I know they had a little something, that I refuse to
recognize, in the meantime), Sony offers their do-it-all PSP with a
name and the support of names that we all know and love as what
While they got the
jump on Sony in Europe, they won't have such a luxury in the US, and
this will bite them in the ass. In the US, Sony has proliferated
itself like a professional with the PSP, and Nintendo is reigning
champs with the GBA and are doing quite well with the gameless
wonder (the DS). It is too late, in my opinion, for Tiger to try to
be the third wheel in this relationship with the American geek.
Because of this, I see another N-Gage on our hands in August...it
will fail, and it will try to linger beyond it's welcome, and it
will just be ugly for both Tiger and the poor fools who buy one of
On to more
bitching, there are some Episode 3 (the movie) spoilers
coming. Leave now if you haven't seen the film and don't want
So, I basically
covered why I thought, despite being somewhat entertained, Episode 3
was pretty sad and pathetic yesterday. However, I kept that spoiler
free to avoid pissing off anyone. However, today I'll say the main
reason I felt so pissed about this movie.
Anakin lived his
life believing that he had a higher moral authority. He wasn't evil,
in his mind at least. He was always looking out for the little guys
(usually the Republic). When Palpatine tried to tell him the Jedi
council was trying to destroy the Republic senate, Anakin was
understandably upset. He wanted to use his power to help people, and
to stop such oppression. He, quite frankly, may have been misguided,
but he did try in his heart to help those in need.
When he was first
told of the "Jedis' plot", he didn't want to believe it,
but he felt it must be true. However, he hoped that Obi Wan would be
wise enough, along with other Jedi, to turn against the
"corrupt" council. That all made sense. He had faith in
the people around him, even if bad things were going on.
So, when he saw
Mace holding a lightsaber to Palpatine's throat, and with how he
missed seeing the fight that led to this instance, it was only
natural for him to feel like Mace was harassing a wise leader of the
people. So, in desperation, he cut off Mace's hand, and this led to
Mace being killed. Anakin not only saw that he probably acted
wrongly, he felt true remorse. His fall to the dark side had begun
(well, supposedly it started with his desire to keep Padme alive,
but this was the first actual "action", and not just a
"thought" or "emotion", towards the dark
So, how the hell
did he go from thinking, "Oh shit! I killed Mace!" one
second, to saying that he'll kill a bunch of little kids the next
second?!? Seriously. His fall to the dark side, instead of being
gradual, was about as sudden as two bullet trains colliding head-on.
We saw hints of it coming. However, when it happened, it only took a
fraction of a second to go from thinking that he could help people
to thinking that the only solution for the youngest of Jedi students
was to meet his lightsaber.
Anakin was not an
idiot. He was portrayed as a whiney little bitch-monkey, but he was
smart. So, why did he not think something, in his style of thinking,
along the lines of, "I was once a child being taught by the
Jedi and I saw the truth, so maybe I can rescue these kids from this
As for those
children...ok...he did have far more skill than them, but I know
kids and gang mentality in children. If a dude who was once trusted
by me, when I was a child, showed up in my class with a sword and
was going to kill us all, and if my friends all had their own
swords, we would have gone down fighting. Believe me, a child with a
weapon is a wild-card, and over a dozen children with weapons is
about the most frightening thing one could encounter. Even if they
were taught to not give in to their emotions, they would have. Jedi
student of not, a child will give in to their emotions when face
with a serious threat. Anakin may have killed some of those kids
(many would've died from their classmates going ape-shit with their
own lightsabers in a poorly executed plan to take down Anakin), but
they would have f-#-@-%-e-d h-i-m u-p. Plain and simple. I have seen
kids threatened, and if you think Yoda moved at insane speeds when
he faught with Dooku or Palpatine, that ain't shit on the speed of a
threatened kid with a weapon. Don't ask me how I know, but I know.
Now imagine a gang of this little things going ape-shit on Anakin.
He could stop them, but he would've lost a few limbs or digits in
the process. Plus, kids are low to the ground, so I imagine that Obi
Wan would've not been the one to take Anakin's legs.
taken the adults and older children one at a time. This would've
given him a good chance of not being hurt (the dude was good at
combat), but taking on so many kids at once is not going to be easy.
Plus, he was beaten by Obi Wan in such a lame way (that was the
lamest way to conclude that fight..."I can jump over Obi
Wan!"...idiot!) that Anakin would've not stood a chance against
those 20 kids. I know that we're supposed to suspend our disbelief
since Anakin is the chosen and a Jedi...but, these kids were also
Jedi (they may be students, but they still are just lower on the
same ladder that Anakin got his training from), and any dude who
falls to Obi Wan in such a lame way is not going to take on any real
fight and live.
So, that's the
biggest complaints for me. Anakin's fall from the light side was
hinted at in a nice and subtle way, but his fall was as quick and as
blunt as David Spade's career after Chris Farley passed on...and
THAT is quick and blunt. Plus, he lost both his sense of morals and
his fight to Obi Wan with as little gusto as his fall from the light
side. I don't buy it. I refuse to buy it. I accept that the script
and the acting was horrible (I think Ewan McGregor must've waited
until Lucas wasn't looking to get in some semblance of real acting),
but I don't accept the plot was this blunt.
After taking a
couple days to look at another side of geek things, I'm pulled back
in to games. It's for the better, since I know my geek passion of
choice is gaming, but it is nice to get in a little break time when
I can. However, it looks like my Bitching for the week is far from
over. Nothing like E3 style announcements to make me bitchy.
So, in Gamespot
they have an interesting (to say the least) article about Sony's
view on the PS3 (and the PSX and PS2, while they're at it). That
game machine that we've all known and loved...ok, we loved the games
and hated the glitchy hardware that made "DRE" into a
household term...but this "game machine" series is
actually not in any way supposed to be seen as "game
machines". Nope. I know I was surprised when I heard this. It
seems that the Playstation line has been an evolving experiment to
make an "entertainment supercomputer".
I know this is way
too obvious, since the PSX could...ummm...play games. Oh, wait! It
could also play CDs (so, the Sega-CD was one of the first attempt at
an "entertainment supercomputer"?)! Wow! I see it all now.
Then the PS2 could do the same, but it could also play DVDs...well,
it could play most DVDs, and a majority of the ones it played
wouldn't be glitchy. Yeah. So, that's an "entertainment
supercomputer"! Give me a f#$%ing break. The Playstation line
has, is, and forever will be seen as a "gaming machine",
or console, from the day the Playstation first hit stores in
In the end, all of
the bullshit that Sony is spewing forth leads to a few simple
conclusions. The bonus features that push a simple "gaming
machine" into a "entertainment supercomputer" will be
ignored. The average target consumer for Sony is going to want a new
console, not a "supercomputer". Secondly, the PS2 was as
much a "supercomputer" as the XBox, the GCN, and the
Dreamcast. It was nothing special. In the end, the PS3 will also be
just that; nothing special. Let's face it, all consoles have their
good and bad parts. Each company will do quite well when their next
consoles launch (well, Nintendo may be facing a bad fall, but they
set themselves up for it), because people will want next-gen game
consoles. I don't give a shit if the 360 and the PS3 can record
video. I have a f$%#ing computer that can do all of that for far
cheaper than a $300-$400 console; it cost $50 for my PC to be fully
integrated into my home entertainment system and to do all the lame
shit that 360 and PS3 are trying to push on us as "bonus
There is one
reason people want to buy the next-gen consoles from Microsoft and
Sony. People like playing games, and the old systems will only be
supported for so long before we NEED the next-gen for new games.
That's it. These extra non-gaming features will be as ignored as the
PS2 DVD player (well, it was ignored for me when I realized that
there were no common DVD player features, and that American Beauty
and Princess Mononoke both have issues with the PS2 DVD player
software...that took only a month after my buying of a PS2).
If Sony wants to
do something revolutionary, I have a great idea. Microsoft will
probably beat them to the punch, but when they make the PS#
backwards compatible with all older Playstation line games, they
should finish the job. When the PS2 came out, we still needed a
Playstation memory card if we wanted to play with the backwards
compatibility. The only problem is that PSX memory cards vanished
about the same time that the PS2 was released. After that, the only
real option was to either have an old PSX memory card (and they, at
least for me, have only had a limited lifespan...Sony quality tends
to mean that hardware breaks down, including memory cards) that
still worked, or to buy one that has a sketchy history from eBay.
Both options were bad. Maybe the PS3 could be designed to allow what
the PS2 should've done. Let us allocate a certain space on the HDD
or memory card, or whatever the PS3 will ultimately use (since the
HDD is still up in the air about if it's actually included with the
"entertainment supercomputer"...I love abusing that lame
term), for PSX and PS2 virtual memory cards. It's so damned
Ok, I'll leave
Sony and their "entertainment supercomputer" alone for
now. I mean they still haven't even announced anything important. I
went off today only on their philosophy and not about any real news
on the PS3.
I am still playing
Phantom Brave. I'm determined to finish this game. I think, at
least, I did discover why I can't get into this game. The story is a
rip-off of the Legend of Mana style of plot. In other words, there
is only a vague hint of a real plot, but there are many characters
that have interesting, and subtle, back-stories. As you finish
quests, you will see small hints of these story elements.
When Square did
this with LoM, it was a brilliant idea. It was so revolutionary that
many didn't know the genius they were seeing at work until the game
was done. However, with PB, this revolutionary style of story
telling is nothing short of lame and pointless. The main difference
in LoM and PB is the linear game play of PB. PB is so linear that
you cannot actually focus on just one plot line at a time, if you
chose, like you could in LoM. Instead it is very linear, so you will
keep getting only a small piece of each back-story every several
That's the other
difference in these games, and the cause of the other problem; the
game play style. Since PB uses tactical combat, each battle will
last for anywhere from 5 minutes (if you're over-powered and some
some major power leveling) to an hour. You have 3-5 battles per
episode (the game is made of 20 episodes). So, you may have to play
for almost 5 hours in order to see a small snippet of story that has
not been mentioned for about 3 or 4 chapters...so, you'll have
forgotten this little blurb you already knew, and the new piece of
this sub-plot will only confuse and bore you.
To further add to
the aggravation of the LoM rip-off, PB even has some of the same
general storylines. For example, there's a brooding evil seeming NPC
with a deep desire for revenge, a small group of fighters that start
off bitter towards the world but they soon start to seem more human.
It's all stuff we've seen in LoM, but it just takes longer for these
LoM imitations to get off the ground due to the slower combat style.
Plus, all of this is done in the background of a really vague and
shallow plot of the world being threatened by the return of a great
Hell, you can even
customize your weapons with the help of your blacksmith. You can
customize your magics via a piece of equipment (including at least
one type of music maker). This game is the most blatant LoM rip-off
I've ever seen that doesn't use the same combat style.
Anyway, I will
finish this game. I am too determined and too close (on episode 17
out of 20) to fail now. Then I will write a nicely honest review.
Then I will be done with this game and can move on to something
Too many people
skipped Arc the Lad: TotS (click for my review of the game), but for
those of us who did find this slightly hidden classic would find
this to be good news; Gamespot
has some information on the latest sequel to the AtL series. Sadly,
AtL: End of Darkness will not be the good old Arc we've come to know
and love. Instead of the classic turn based strategy combat, the
action will be in real time. I'm not 100% on the details, but it
sounds like another game being butchered in the name of online. Yes,
this game will let you play online. So, naturally the turn based
elements had to go in favor of a more friendly to multiplayer
format. The same developer who made AtL:TotS is behind this game,
and this change. I'd like to hope for the best since Cattle Call
(said developer) did bring about a good deal of GOOD innovation with
their last Arc game. I mean it was Cattle Call that broke the grid
system of movement. At least on the bright side, the game is due in
June. So, for better or worse, we'll see this game quite soon.
Speaking of things
hopefully coming soon, I've finished the real quest of Phantom Brave
last night. I'm actually trying some of the extra material, found in
the form of 10 bonus dungeons of insane difficulty, and special
cameo appearances from the cast of Disgaea.
Sadly, while these
extra battles are slightly interesting, beating PB was not. The plot
was abrupt, vague, and didn't give any sense of accomplishment.
After I finished the final battles, I was left with more clichés
than a single person should be able to handle. It was like watching
a Disney movie with how many of these damned clichés showed their
faces. I actually saw everything coming about 10 dialogue scenes
ahead of time...he's going to sacrifice himself...no he'll be saved
when the other dude sacrifices himself...yup, there it is. I'm not
giving any spoilers by mentioning that someone sacrifices himself.
If you can't see it back in episode 6 (out of 20) you are blind.
That's how cliché this plot is. Plus, since the plot is so vague,
and so quick to follow conventions, what you guess will happen will
probably not only be right, but you're thoughts will have been more
developed in that matter. Play the game and you'd see what I
I'll try to start
writing a review of PB quite soon. I'm not 100% on how soon, but I'm
aiming for a week from today to be the publish time. I just need to
find the time to keep caring about the main quest of this game, and
not to get obsessed with the bonus dungeons (which may be limited to
10 in number, but are far more interesting to a longtime NIS fan
than the 20 episodes of the main plot (which consist of about a
total of around 100 battles). Maybe it's because each extra level
has a bit of extra story, and it involves the Disgaea characters,
who are far more interesting than the PB cast. Anyway, don't get me
wrong. PB is not a horrible game...it's just not a good game. Just
wait for the review and I'll explain.
Speaking of things
that are coming; the XBox 360 is actually being sold-out at some
stores this early in the pre-order cycle. I couldn't believe it when
I first heard about it, but for being officially
"announced" only a couple weeks ago, the 360 is actually becoming
hard to track down (depending on where you live). I was hoping to
wait on pre-ordering, but I decided it was better to actually
pre-order now than to be raped by the bundles this fall.
Anyway, I really
don't have too much to say today. It's a slow day for news and I've
lost my mind playing through the dull ending of PB.
Well, it looks
like it's going to be a pretty slow day, today, for news and such.
This suits me just fine since it's a damned heat wave in Seattle,
and I am the type of person who'd rather be out in a blizzard than
sitting on a sun soaked beach any day. In other words, as things
stand, I plan to be very lazy and incoherent as the sun melts my
However, there is
a little something I found interesting at Gamespot.
It's a bit of a three-fold deal on Bioware.
First off, it
looks like they are already working on two 360 games. No details
have really been stated, but it's safe to say that they should be
good, and they will be RPGs. Also, they will probably be 2006
releases. Not much else can be said on this matter...however,
knowing Bioware, the hype machine will probably start pumping out
massive details quite soon.
Next off, it looks
like Bioware may not be contained to Microsoft this generation.
Bioware is actually looking at all consoles. I don't really know
what to say about this. On one hand, I think this will be great for
Bioware, but on the other hand I really want to see Sony face a
stiff wake up call, and more support will not help in this matter.
Sony is just trying to hard to distance itself from what
matters...geeks. Once a console maker announces that it's console is
not a "game machine" but rather an "entertainment
supercomputer" (whatever the f%#@ that is supposed to mean),
and when they are cramming a little too much into a system in order
to simply one-up the competition, I don't think they are worthy of
Bioware's attention...or anyone else for that matter. Anyway, that
was a bit off topic.
The third part of
this news is most interesting to me. I figured that Bioware would
make some next-gen titles, that they may look to further their
prospects with more consoles, blah, blah. The part I didn't think
of, but it could be really cool, is that they may look into putting
some of their RPGs on handhelds. The thought of a Bioware RPG on the
PSP (or DS...but I doubt it) would be freakin' sweet with how few
RPGs are slated for the American PSP market right now. This is the
type of news that can really matter. Plus, since PSP offers the
ability to download extra content...well, that's a perfect match for
On to other
things, I've been working on the Phantom Brave review. I'm trying to
be nice, but it's hard to be nice about such a bad attempt at
tactical RPGs from such a good company. I mean with how NIS raised
the bar with La Pucelle Tactics and then with Disgaea, PB failed to
deliver the previously set expectation. It's like how Arc the Lad:
TotS delivered such a solid tactical experience and the next Arc
game will be real time...it's obvious that Cattle Call has made a
major miscalculation with Arc, and NIS did the same with PB.
I expect the
review to be up shortly after the weekend...assuming I do some work
while I'm on vacation. I'm off from my normal job on Monday through
Wednesday, so this may mean the same for my postings...we'll have to
wait and see.
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