Malik (7/19/04)

I will start this in a way that is unusual for me to start a week...with good news.  Well, it's not really good news in itself for me, but for my under-aged geek friends it is good news.  So, since I hate to repeat myself, just click the link already.

Well, I finally got to play multiplayer on Tales of Symphonia.  I must say that multiplayer does indeed kick arse.  The controls and the method for the battles makes a great experience for doing the two to four player thing with only one exception; that exception would be that the camera only follows the first player.  This means that unless players 2-4 like to follow the 1st player at all times (which is usually going to lead to some mages off camera pelting you with spells as player one chases down the front line offense), players 2-4 must use semi-auto controls (so the CPU will direct them to their target without the players being forced to walk blindly after an off screen threat).  Anyways, setting up multiplayer is sadly not included in the instructions for ToS, so click that link up above if you're one of the many players who wants to get a friend in on the action and just doesn't know what to do.

As that second link seems to say, you may want to check out the forums (if you haven't already) to see a wide range (well, narrow for now, but it is growing) of topics from current events to game help.  Also, if you don't know the answer to a game issue, feel free to post and you might get the solution you're looking for.

Anyway, back to what I was getting at; I've been playing a good deal of ToS and I have to say that any review you might have read  that calls the game played out (in terms of being unimaginative), like the review in Game Informer a month or so ago, is full of shit.  Supposedly these new RPGs that are not FF games are all played out and have nothing new to offer while a new FF is always unique and innovative.  Well, here's some news for anyone who's lost touch with reality; everything (including things from new FF titles) has been done before, so we no longer can look for anything new as much as we can look for a new combination of old content...and that ToS does well enough to make even some of the classic elements feel like they are new to this title.  The characters are all 100% classic (in other words, the characters are not whiney daddy's boys or stuck up bitches who can't decide between their job as a summoner or their love for a certain daddy's boy...yes, I hate FFX, and for a good reason; it sucked), but they are also a blending of classic concepts that make them all unique in and of themselves.  Ok, enough of my ranting.  What matters is that ToS has a sweet combat system, a colorful world (I like bright colors...maybe I'm alone in this, but living in a gray concrete jungle makes me long for bright greens and blues and all that stuff), a refreshing plot, and a good chance to bring in more than one player.  This all equals one hell of a great journey.  Anyway, expect a review in the next few days...but for now, I need to do some...ummm...research.


Malik (7/20/04)

Not much to say today.  I'm in a rather crappy mood since I seen to have run into all of the stupidest of people today and have also messed up my should rather badly (because of doing too much for any single person to handle at work and yet my supervisor is demanding more...).  Anyway, enough of that bitching...there's a time and a place for my bitching...and that time is Friday and the place is Malik's Bitchings.  

Anyway, Sudeki has shipped for the XBox...sadly...I was looking forward to this multiplayer masterpiece when it was supposed to hit the stores; last year.  However, since that time last year, the game has undergone some rather sad changes.  The main one being that it is now only a single player game.  You still control a party of four people, which is split into two teams of two during combat, but now only one player is in on the action.  Part of this change came about because they made two of the characters (the mage and the gunslinger) first person in combat.  This is rather disappointing since Sudeki, in theory, could have been a great multiplayer game in the style of Secret of Mana.  Also, I don't like to idea of aiming first person style in an RPG if only part of the game is FP.  I mean if the whole game was FP, I could understand, but since only the battle mode for two characters is in first person, this seems like a rather cheap way to remove multiplayer.  Oh well...if you still give a crap about this game, it shipped.  Whoo-pee-doo!  I think I'll skip out on this one.

I also realized the other day the sad truth; Pikmin 2 and Star Ocean 3 are, in theory, hitting the shelves on the same day.  This is sad since as one of the few diehard fans of both series, I'm going to have to work hard to juggle the games.  At least I can get multiplayer out of Pikmin 2, so that will at least help to determine when to play that one.

I'm still playing Tales of Symphonia...and I don't plan to stop anytime soon.  Not only is this one hell of an addictive game, it's also long.  However, I will have my review of ToS up, most likely, tomorrow.  I'm about 75% done, so I don't see why I can't have it posted in the next 24 hours...but I think I need to do some more research, so I'll...ummm...research ToS about now.


Malik (7/21/04)

Well, firstly today I must say that there will probably be no posting tomorrow since it's Velveeta's birthday.  If I can find a way to get off of work incredibly early, then there may be a little something, but in all likeliness I wouldn't count on it.  Also, on the note of nothing being posted; there is once again a drought of news in the field of geekish things, so I have no news for today.  It seems like the only things to be called news lately are the shipping of games (and if there's a set release date, is that even news?  I say no) and new patches for games that I just don't give a crap about.  Worst of all, there is never anything console related anymore...except the shipping of games.

However, since there's no news, I leave it up to myself to feed you all with some good info on something.  Hence, I present my review of Tales of Symphonia.  Not only did I meet my promised delivery date, I even got this review out within a week of the release of ToS.  I'm just that damned good.

On that note, I am normally a bitchy geek who prefers to find fault in things (Malik's Bitchings anyone?), but it seems I just have the good and bad luck of coming across only good games for reviews.  This is good since I only review games I spend time playing, so it means I'm not wasting my time, but the bad part is that it makes me look like I'm way to easy to please, when to the contrary, I'm one hell of a bitchy geek.

Anyway, I'm still playing ToS, and so far I'm not disappointed.  However, I've heard the game is about 80 hours long (which means usually closer to 60 for those who don't give a shit about collecting data on every monster, etc, but would rather just get to the important parts...in other words, the plot) which could mean that the combat system may get a little tired before I finish.  However, I still stand by what's in my review.


Malik (7/23/04)

At long last, it's the weekend, and considering how I get only one day of it a week (at best), I feel a lot better now.  Also, since it's Friday, I have a new issue of Malik's Bitchings for you all the peruse.  Sadly it's shorter and more on the side of rambling than insightful ponderings on the philosophy of geeking than I usually prefer, but it's been one hell of a week.  In order to get my Tales of Symphonia review up and running, I had to make some sacrifices to the Bitchings column.  Plus, it's been hot as hell in Seattle, so I have not been able to sleep or think properly for about a week now.  Anyway, that doesn't matter to you, so I'll shut up about that and get back on track.

Last night was Velveeta's birthday...actually it was all day, but day jobs make holidays feel like they don't exist...so, I was absent, except for one little post on the forums.  At least that was good fun.  However, I'm back and in my usual routine, so it's all good.

I'm still hacking away at ToS when I have the time and it's not too hot to think.  I cannot say how much I love this game.  For those who miss the classic RPGs of the pre-FF7 era, this is the game for you...but, I've said that already...damned heat, frying my brain.  So, I'm going to go and cool off.  However, before I go, I just want to say two things;

For those who feel that Square should keep making actual sequels and related material to their prior FF games, I have good news.  A new game of some sort is being planned that will focus on Vincent, on top of the already planned cell phone spin off FF7 game, and the Advent Children movie.  Check out this thing at Gamespot.com for some more info.

Secondly, a lot of people have been looking for info here about playing Tales of Symphonia multiplayer.  Well, for those who keep doing so, check the forums.  I posted all the required steps to play multiplayer ToS on the forums and I don't like to keep repeating myself.  So, just check it out there.  Of all the things Namco has ever done to anger me (and there have been quite a few), not saying in the instructions for ToS on how to play multiplayer, but only mentioning that it is possible, has got to be one of the worst...it's not that it angers me as much as it just really annoys me since it's such a great and unique feature to such a great and unique game and so few actually learn the joys of multiplayer ToS only because Namco got lazy at the end of the ToS project.

Anyway, now I mean it;  It's hot and I'm no longer able to think, so I'm out of here to find some way to cool off.