Malik (9/20/04)  

A new week is upon us, and I feel like it's the same week as the one that just ended. For one thing, I'm once again reporting on the state of the "PStwo" that I reported on last Friday. It seems that MSNBC.com might have messed up nicely with this one, according to a more reliable geek-news source. Also, I'm still 100% obsessed with Fable. 

I poured more of my life, that I will never get back, into Fable this weekend. In the end, I didn't get much accomplished beyond what I could do in The Sims...I made some people love me, I showed off my cool stuff to the NPCs, I flirted, I insulted, and I got divorced...twice. Not to mention the upgrading of my houses, the blowing of tons of hard earned money, eating some food, and killing countless hours that will never return. Yet, for some reason, I don't mind losing my precious time to this addiction. Just like with The Sims, the more time I pour into Fable, the happier I am (but I do look back and wonder how I could blow 6 hours without even blinking). 

I decided that my character needed a grander purpose in life, so he made a shift towards a good alignment after donating a massive chunk of gold at the Temple of Avo (the church of good people). However, the game decided, with no reason behind it, to eliminate some of my good points (about half of them), so he decided that Avo had abandoned him. At this point, my nameless avatar got pissed at the world, changed into some evil clothes (Dark Plate suit), neglected and abused one of his wives, got divorced, got married, divorced again, and then started to gather some sacrifices for Skorm (the evil god of Fable). Now he's about 1/7 of the way from being 100% messed up and evil. 

I also learned that some people in the game will follow you in a teleport and some wont. This was learned through a lot of wasted time, and now I can name everyone who you can teleport...which sadly doesn't include the grandmother from the Hobbe Cave mission...I was wanting to marry her, to see what the game would do, but I can't keep her alive to get through the woods and to a house (which is required for a marriage). However, I'm now working on getting an apprentice from the hero guild to be one of my character's wives. What can I say...I want to see what the game does for unique marriages (and most townswomen you can marry are all cookie cutter types that have at least a dozen twins around the world). 

I also took the time away from Fable this weekend to see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow...I won't comment, since some of my friends would probably kill me if I said that I was bored out of my mind during the movie...ummmm...but, while I was seeing the movie, I stopped off at EB and picked up Burnout 3. I know I have Fable and Star Ocean 3 (BLAH!) to get through, but I figure it doesn't hurt to have a good action packed game (and not the action of the rhythm battles of SO3...I'm dreading finishing Fable and picking up that pile of shit again) to break things up and keep up my reflexes. Sadly, that's all in theory...I say that because I have not been able to tear myself away from Fable long enough to do anything more than open the package of BO3. Although, I'm sure that once I start playing, I'll become addicted in no time (I mean BO2 claimed my geek soul for a few weeks, and 3 is supposed to be a hell of a lot more entertaining). However, for now, Fable is calling. 


Malik  (9/21/04)

Another day wasted on Fable...sigh...It felt like I had spent only an hour, at the most, on Fable last night. Then I looked at my watch, saw that I lost about 5 hours to the beast. All so I could try to get hitched to one of the hero guild apprentices (which is not easy when you're uber-evil). I could easily get with one of the apprentice dudes, but that is very much not my intention. The women would have no problem getting engaged, but I could not get them to follow me out of town anymore, and thus I could not lead one to my house in Bowerstone (you need an open house and no current spouse on the same map screen to get married). At least I did knock out a quest related mission and and minor bonus mission. I'm still trying to dance down the evil path, but it's pretty hard when your scariness meter is off the scale when you're wearing your least threatening clothes. Tonight, I'm giving up on the apprentice "quest", and will start playing another bonus real mission and another quest mission, or two. At least my money supply problems have been fixed in Fable due to the Arena combat (nice money in that one) and my current Bowerstone wife giving me a master axe (sells for about 15k) every time I enter town. 

I still have not gotten around to Burnout 3. I have taken the initial step, however, of copying some songs to my XB hard drive that will fit in with the theme of the game. I wish more games would allow one to use custom soundtracks...such a good feature since it save me from having to play music on a secondary device as I play the game. 

I also, finally, got around to watching Shaun of the Dead...on DVD (region free DVD players are hella sweet). I cannot begin to say how awesome this movie is; assuming you like cheesy horror movies and British comedy. Plus, the extras on the UK DVD are great. This is one of the few horror movies this year that I think is actually worth seeing in the theaters. 

While I'm jumping around subjects blindly, I'll throw out a couple of news worthy things in regards to new consoles.  The Sony "PStwo" subject just became clearer...with, once again, some new news. Sony will release a slimmer (25% the original size of a PS2) PS2 on November 1st. I don't give a shit anymore. I have a PS2, I don't care about space that much, and Sony consoles breakdown all the time. I'm sick of all this, and I've been dancing with the news for a good half week now, and this will be the last I hope to speak of this convoluted news nightmare...ever again. Done!  Also, Nintendo will be releasing the GBA-DS on November 21st, according to Gamespot, which is siting Reuters, which is the source that led to the PStwo rumors about October 26th. This seems a bit doubtful to me, since the 21st of November is a Sunday after all, and new game related goods usually come on a Tuesday, if not a weekday in general. However, I think this is at least a very good approximation. Also, the DS will be released with a demo of the new DS exclusive Metroid title (I remember when game companies gave us enough respect to include an actual game when we shelled out hundreds of dollars for a new console...I guess we're just not worthy of that respect anymore) for the price of $150 (they claim $149, but this will turn into $149.99, which is the same damned thing as $150, since a penny doesn't mean crap to anyone anymore). 

Ok, I'm now sick of new consoles thanks for Nintendo giving us a damned demo of a game when we shell out for their system and Sony just messing with us for the last week or so. So, I'm going to play Fable since Microsoft has not messed with me in this regard...what, the new XBox 2 will have a Mac processor?! Ok, I'm out! All three console companies have messed with me now! Nokia is making a new pwN-Gage (not that I'm saying I support the pwN-Gage...just that even the crappy systems have gone to more crap)? Maybe I should just swap over to the Zodiac and blow my brains out. Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed...at least I can look forward to a LAN party of Baldur's Gate, Quake 2, and Diablo with my geek friends this weekend...ahhh, the old school titles that knew how to play fair and not mess with you...I miss them. 


Malik  (9/22/04)

Ok, I'm giving up on trying to play anything besides Fable until I've beaten the beast. Last night, I was intending to finally play some Burnout 3. Well, first, after my post yesterday, I got ready to play some Burnout 3...then, I realized that Fable was in the drive already, so what would a little Fable hurt? Well, I played non-stop until about 4:30 or 5, and then some friends called about watching some of the new Star Wars Trilogy DVDs...so, I saved my Fable game, and took off. After watching Episodes 4 and 5 and the teaser thing for Episode 3 (which was pretty lame overall...mainly just showing clips of Anakin and Darth from episodes 1-2, 4-6), I headed home with the intention of playing BO3. Well, I realized that I left a side quest unfinished on Fable and was determined to take care of it before hitting BO3...2 and a half hours later, I needed to get some sleep, and the day concluded...with Burnout 3 still sitting in it's case. I hate it when too many good games come out at once and I make an effort to satisfy too many of my geek urges at once. It just never leads to a winning situation. At least I now have 4 wives on Fable (including good old Lady Grey), some more armor, another couple of levels on my skills (which also means a couple of more years to my age...I'm reaching the age cap of 65 at an alarming rate), and my love for Fable is still strong...speaking of which, with all the bad reviews of Fable that are out there (well, not bad, but below what it deserves in the name of "Fable is too short"), I was happy to see the latest issue of Game Informer, which game Fable top honors as Game of the Month and some nice scores that went above 9's. Finally, someone in the professional geek reporting world pulled their heads out of their asses to appreciate a true work of art. 

Anyway, as I said, I watched some Star Wars Trilogy on DVD, and I have to say something on that note; While the visuals and audio have been nicely redone, and a few scenes have really been cleaned up, I'm left with a small complaint...besides the pointless changes (like re-recording all of the Boba Fett parts with the guy who played Jango Fett, and replacing the original Anakin ghost in Episode 6 with Hayden Christensen), there is one horrible oversight. In some of the ship battles, when Ties are flying around and being capped my the Falcon, you can see a little more than the action at hand...you can see magical red boxes around the Tie Fighters. These boxes are obviously present from when they superimposed the images of the Ties onto the scene, but with the graphical editing available, and the editing work that went into smoothing out a lot of the old effects, there is no reason for anyone to see these magical red boxes of doom. Maybe Lucas kept those in just so he can redo those scenes, maybe throw in a hot of Jar Jar's ghost along side Yoda, Obi Wan, and Anakin at the edn of Episode 6, and then he can release this new thing on DVD and rake in even more cash...maybe...knowing Lucas's greed, I wouldn't be surprised. 

Anyway, I would say I want to get in some Burnout 3 tonight, but I've accepted my fate of being Fable's bitch-monkey (speaking of which, the review is on the way)...so, I'm off to Albion to be pwned by Fable some more. 


Malik  (9/23/04)

I'll start with the good news...which is something I'm running pretty short on right now...I got the Fable review done and it's up. I was hoping to have some screen shots, but right now I'm having a bit of a hassle trying to get my XBox to the video capture device (I have about 14 different things hooked up to my TV and surround sound system right now, so you could imagine the jungle of cables I have to sort through). However, once I get things working right (in other words, when I get through the jungle alive), I'll put some screen shots up...I mean, for now, just getting the review up and running is the main thing for me. The visuals are merely a desert thrown on to the main course of the review. 

Also, as I said last night (how I didn't want to say that I'd play Burnout 3 because I knew it wouldn't happen), I didn't play BO3 again. I'm sure it's a great game, but when you have a choice between a great game and Fable, Fable will usually win (I'm not joking around in my review with how sweet I say it is). So, I'll continue to say the same thing over and over again until Fable has been slain. 

Speaking of which; I got tired of everyone running from me, like I had the plague or something, so my Fable dude underwent another random alignment shift. This time I started with a visit to the Church of Avo with a nice fat wallet. I donated about 45k and changed out of my dark plate and into my light plate...now I'm almost fully good. However, that only lasted until I decided it would be nice to be a little younger and have a cooler long range attack...so, then I grabbed a mercenary and set off for the Temple of Skorm. At about midnight, I gave my companion to Skorm's torment and received a nift rejuvenation of about 7 years. However, this wasn't enough for me, so I went to Avo again, raised my good all the way to full, grabbed the mercenary that hangs out at the Church, and back to Skorm I went. This time, at 6 AM I gve his soul to Skorm and was rewarded with Skorm's Longbow. All I can say is wow. The bow has a boost of about 100 over my old bow, and comes with sharpness and electricity built in. So, now in combat, I start off with my uber evil bow of Skorm to start the action, then when the enemies are face to face, I pull out the great club of goodness (I can never remember the name of it) that I got from the Church of Avo. It's like having to best of both worlds...until I buy the great sword Solaris (or whatever it's called) in North Bowerstone. 

Anyway, editing that review and spending my entire day working in sub zero temperatures (as in about -80 to -160 Celsius) has me worn out. So, read the review already


Malik  (9/24/04)

As I like to say every week at this time, I have a new issue of Malik's Bitchings up and running. I know, I keep saying it, and I will continue to do so. Also, if you missed it yesterday, the Fable review is up (sadly, without pictures, for now). 

However, to get onto other matters, I'm still thinking that anyone who called Fable a short 10-15 hour game has a serious problem...or a few problems. I mean, first of all, if a game is "only" 15 hours and it's really fun the entire time, then who are we to complain. Sometimes a short game is needed for realism (like Metal Gear Solid being about 8 hours...if it was an entire 30 hours like some would have liked, then the question of when and where Snake would sleep is an issue or there's the effects of sleep deprivation), and sometime a game is short simply because it is a little quicker to completion. I know that I would rather have a short and to the point game than a long and drawn out experience like Star Ocean 3 (which takes forever to get anything done...sadly, I do expect myself returning to that titles in a couple of weeks since I like to try to finish all RPGs I play...no matter how thoroughly crappy they are). However, the other problem these Fable bashers have is not being able to appreciate the non-linear aspects. If an RPG is linear, then everyone complains, yet when non-linear features are applied in a good way (Fable is one of the first I can think of that did it good, besides Legend of Mana for the PS) people will then complain that the linear portions are too short. We can't have it both ways, people...if you want non-linear, then don't bash a game that makes perfect use of non-linear elements. Anyway, I'll shut up about this since I see a future Malik's Bitchings feature appearing, and I'd like to fully explore it in the right context.

Anyway, I'm over 25 hours into Fable and I don't think I'm 3/4 of the way through yet. How can I play a 10-15 hour game for so long? Because this game is only that short with the main quest. Considering my lack of a real attention span, I'd just like to say that there must be something right about the non-quest parts of Fable to keep me going for more than twice the game play time.

I'm still trying to force myself away from Fable to try out Burnout 3...which I'll at least try this weekend to make sure the game works before it's to late to exchange (in case it's defective). However, my time this weekend will be quite sparse...even for Fable. Tomorrow night I'm taking part in a LAN party to appreciate the classics; Diablo, Baldur's Gate, BG2, Quake 2, and who knows what else may appear. I think this is something more people need to do. How can you truly appreciate the best games of today if you never look back and enjoy the classics? You simply can't. Anyway, with that type of plan for this weekend, I need to get in my Fable addiction while I can...and thus I go.