Hopefully only good things will come from
Nintendo's acquisition of Monolith. I hope we see more of what
it's founders once had (great ideas that included Xenogears) and
less of the Baiten Kratos and Xenosaga crap they brought us in
Unfortunately, Nintendo usually saw Baiten Kratos and other crap
along those lines when RPGs were brought to their little purple box
I call the GCN. I hope that they can get Monolith, now as an in
house developer, to ensure that some real and quality RPGs come
along to the Wii. I hope that's not asking for too much.
I'm keeping this short today since I'm beyond hung-over. I feel like
crap and I doubt I'll trust Velveeta again when she has a brilliant
idea like, "we should get buzzed tonight" on a Sunday. That just
leads to a bad feeling all around.
I'm glad to see that
some of my favorites have made it to the Virtual Console (Wii).
Sadly, it's the American translation of Legend of the Mystical
Ninja, and not a re-worked proper translation, since the original
Japanese was so much more...ummm...well...less refined. The strip
tease side show that turned into a big fart, for example. It's hard
to explain, but the Japanese humor was just so much more enjoyable.
However, if you've
never given Mystical Ninja a shot, this is a definite game for
anyone looking for a fun and addictive VC game. It's made up of a
nice blend of side view platforming with Zelda-esque 3D town
segments. Toss in magic, summoning mounts, arcade games (including
Gradius), silly humor, and gambling. This is a great game, and with
the VC containing the save state function (by hitting the home
button and exiting a game) it is so much better than the original
and it's long and frustrating password system.
I just hope, with
how we've seen one Japanese only game come to the US, that more
Japanese only games get translated. Supposedly, at one time, Seiken
Dentetsu 3 was partially translated to English. Maybe we could see
the final job accomplished. Maybe we could get a real translation of
Dragon Quest 5 and 6 which only graced the Japanese SNES. Maybe we
could see Bahumut Lagoon. Maybe we could see some more Square games
from when they still knew how to please their fans and not just
their potential mass appeal audiences that they now aim so
desperately to please.
Anyway, I've been
too busy with being a "grown up" to play many games lately. I spent
most of Sunday at my work and doing yard work. Last night I spent
the bulk of the evening at a reservation only wine dinner of the
highest caliber (which included Velveeta and I being the youngest
people present by a good 15 years). It's not that I'm shunning my
geek ways, but there are some things that are just eating my time
that I can't go without (yard work and eating the highest class of
food are both in this class).
I'm hoping to play
some more games. I have downloaded Castlevania: SotN on the 360, and
I have Oblivion on the PC. I have not touched Oblivion yet, but I've
played through about 5% of C:SotN. On that note, I do have to say
that the 360 controller may be an awesome FPS controller and it may
be solid for 3D games and racing. However, for a classic 2D game,
this is the worst excuse of a controller possible. We saw it with
Street Fighter 2, and I'm now seeing it again with C:SotN. Trying to
successfully pull off a spell is nothing short of a chore that
requires more luck than skill.
Anyway, I think
I'm stuck playing games I've already played before until a month or
two passes, at the very least. The summer game drought has
officially begun, and this is a time to do some spring cleaning and
play those old gems that would normally be overwhelmed by the newest
flavor of the week.
It now looks like
Puzzle Quest is making the right move. That is, it's moving on
to the XBox Live Arcade. That is the perfect venue for this type of
game, since we've already seen how well casual puzzle games do on
the Arcade. When you toss in how the PC version (still not released)
was able to tempt so many people, including myself, with a free
demo, this works ideally with the Arcade.
Once this game
hits the Arcade, I have to recommend a free trial download to anyone
who didn't take up the free PC demo of this game (or had the PC demo
crash their computer...as it did to my pre-upgrade desktop). I
should have written a review of Puzzle Quest, since it's been my
favorite DS game of 2007. However, I failed in that task due to just
having too much going on (like moving to my house during the time
that I was a PQ addict), but I would easily give this game, or the
DS version at least, a 9+ out of 10. If the Arcade version is a port
of the DS or PSP version, but without the bugs of the PSP version,
then this would easily be worth the price of admission.
I'm now trying to
juggle two interests. I have on the 360 Arcade my frustrating time
of enjoying Castlevania: SotN and how the 360 controller doesn't fit
any side scrolling games (nor does it fit games with Street Fighter
2 inspired special move execution...just try the classic down>down+forward.forward
movement...you'll see what I mean...try it on either SF2 or start it
with up prior to the down to forward roll on the demo of C:SotN and
see if you pull off anything more times than you fail). It's still
great fun to play C:SotN on a system that doesn't require me to try
to find my old Playstation memory cards...but I could use a good
controller to help even things out a bit.
replacing the original start and select button schemes onto the 360
forward and back buttons. For some reason, the menu is now back and
the map screen is now on the left trigger. This opens forward
(start) for some XBox Arcade menu, that does nothing for the game
and only serves as a quick way to access the help menu to check the
controller layout...which is unneeded in a game like this.
My other new
obsession is trying out Oblivion on the PC with full mod access. I
hated that Bethesda made many promises that they would treat the PC
and 360 owners of Oblivion the same and, ultimately, the PC players
got all of the love. You can get all of the pay content for a lower
price on the PC and without internet access (which shouldn't be
needed for a completely offline RPG) via the Knights of the Nine
expansion pack, but you need Live access for this same content on
the 360. I wouldn't take any of this pay-for-play crap, but it's
obvious that the PC players got a little more love. Also, the mod
community is active on the PC version, but Bethesda never attempted
to even this field for the 360 Oblivion owners.
I also am becoming
addicted thanks to the mods. When you add in things like the BT Mod
(you have smaller text on the menus so you don't have only 8 spells
or items as the maximum on the inventory screen), enhanced
environments (damned nice with a powerful video card), and some
other mods that just make the game more enjoyable, it's obvious who
Bethesda cares about the most. hey didn't make most of these mods,
but they did allow user mod access, while failing to deliver their
vague promises of trying user PC mods on the 360 version, as they
claimed to attempt a year and a half ago.
The only advantage
of the 360 version is how HDR lighting and anti aliasing are present
on the 360, while you can only chose one or the other on the PC
version (without an ATI video card and an update). I so wish I could
use both on my 8800 GTS and really see what this game could offer
something more on the cutting edge.
Well, there's not
much else to say tonight. It's a slow day in the news side of
things, and a chaotic day in my shoes. The perfect mix to keep me
exhausted or fatigued and bored at the same time.
and incompetence. But enough about my work day...
On the 5th of
June, Bethesda will be unveiling their
trailer for Fallout 3. I wish I could be excited about this
project. Afterall, Fallout and Fallout 2 were some of the best PC
RPGs to ever come along. They offered an amazing world, an awesome
game engine, a great sense of openness and freedom, and a wonderful
Mad Max and 1950's inspired sense of humor that has not been touched
by any other project. By all accounts, Fallout 3 should continue the
tradition of giving us the best of PC RPG experiences...
has not exactly been on the top of their game in the last few years.
Yes, Morrowind was an amazing game, and Oblivion did give us quite a
project to behold. However, with how Oblivion was nerfed and
bastardized into a "user friendly" experience, instead of a hardcore
RPG that would frighten all but the most avid of RPG enthusiasts,
there is something wrong in the big B. If Bethesda takes the
Oblivion route with Fallout, then things might turn very ugly very
For one thing, if
the game takes away any of the skills and abilities that first gave
Fallout 1 & 2 their charm to enthusiasts, then there will be a loss
of excitement from the core audience. This game should be friendly
on the outside, but hardcore and cold on the inside. It should not
be a game for everyone. It should be a game that only continues to
push the boundaries, and doesn't go the Oblivion way of replacing
the boundaries with fuzzy feelings.
Also, I've yet to
see Bethesda pull off anything that was not a first person RPG. To
come in with the purchase and continuation of a third person party
based RPG is not something one would expect Bethesda to handle with
the same finesse. Parties and third person are both uncharted and
unfamiliar territories for them, and of all projects to start with,
Fallout 3 will not be one they could afford to mess with.
My other fear is
that Fallout 1 and 2 were both friendly to technology. In other
words, you did not need the best system on the street in order to
enjoy them. However, Morrowind and especially Oblivion are
technology whores. If you don't have the best PC right now, you will
not fully appreciate Oblivion...a game that's over a year old. I
even find my brand new machine struggling to keep up with 40+ frames
per second, despite having an overclocked Core 2 Duo (E6300 at 3.06
GHz), GeForce 8800 GTS (with 640 MB RAM), 3 GB of DDR2 RAM, SATA HDD,
and running the disk straight from an ISO on a virtual drive on that
same SATA HDD (since my DVD drive only slowed the system when I ran
the game from it). Oblivion is a technology whore 15 months later.
This better not be the case for Fallout 3.
The only part of
Bethesda continuing Fallout that I can be excited about is how they
treat the mod community. Maybe Fallout 3 will be given the same easy
to use tools to make custom mods. If that's the case, this could be
a fun experience in one aspect. Imagine something like
OOO being brought over to the Fallout 3 world, if Bethesda does
enough things to nerf the world. That would be freakin' amazing!
Speaking of all of
this, I just started my new game of Oblivion. I've downloaded most
of the mods I wanted (especially the visual enhancements, like
Natural Water, etc.) and have them running seamlessly. Now that it's
all working, I'm thinking of adding OOO to my arsenal and giving one
last fresh start to give me a far better game experience than my 360
I may have been
wrong with something I said before. I said that Oblivion lacked
replay because of the scaled loot and enemies. Well, I think it's
more that Oblivion on the 360 lacked replayability, while the PC,
with OOO and other mods, more than makes up for all of this.
Sony finally made the
smart and obvious choice of making
Playstation downloads over the PS3 to be playable on the PS3.
Considering the PS3 is supposed to be backwards compatible enough to
handle PSX and PS2 games, it would only make sense for them to get
the PSP out of the "required" list.
However, that, on
it's own, makes this move into one quite unlike Sony. They are not
requiring excessive money/investment (in the form of needing a PSP).
That's like Sony offering a new console at the lowest price of all
competitors. That's like Sony making quality electronics with a long
proven track record of reliability. That's like Sony not lying or
deceiving in any way. Of course, with Ken Kutaragi out of the
picture, maybe this will be the direction Sony heads.
If so...all I can
say is this; It's about damned time.
Now we just need
Microsoft to become smart about one subject; the 360 HDD. The lack
of HDDs being on all 360s is hurting their progress and potential.
As (vaguely) said by Dan Houser, of GTA fame, the HDD not being
required is only limiting the 360. It's about time for Microsoft to
at least, if not make HDDs required hardware, to allow some
developers to make games that require them. Microsoft said all games
would be limited to 1000 points for achievements, and Oblivion
(thanks to it's expansion) broke that. Arcade games were limited to
50MB...but Castlevania: SotN broke that one. This whole deal of not
requiring the HDD needs to be changed before GTA IV makes it to
I downloaded and
installed OOO for Oblivion last night. I seriously have to say that
it's amazing to see what some people will do for free. OOO 1.31
clocks in at nearly 500MB, it's free, and it completely removes so
many problems with the original Oblivion. All the while, it adds so
much new content that I cannot believe that I'm playing the same
game at times. Toss in BT Mod, and I am fully aware that this is why
I should only buy Bethesda games on the PC now on. The 360 may offer
ease of use, but it's nothing compared to a dedicated army of
homebrew mod makers.
With all of the
changes, however, I have to say that it's one of the smallest ones
that the most amazing. The messages about "you cannot do this", "you
are short on magica", "you are over encumbered" have all been
changed to the first person. It's minor, it's small, and it really
ups the role playing value since it's no longer like you have the
eyes of some random dude on you at all times to remind you of the
That's not to say
that adding new dungeons, new NPS, new factions, and new creatures
is not amazing. It is. It's also amazing to see the scaling of
leveled items and mobs being corrected from the original crap
Bethesda planned. It now pays to level up. No longer do you feel
like you need to finish the game at a low level (so the random
monsters never become strong). It now is not about finishing the
game early and wondering why you're on this quest when the town
guards are always more powerful. Now it's an epic quest about you
being the only one who can be strong enough to save the world.
Well, I need to
play some Oblivion. I need to play my new evil avatar to get out
some of the frustrations of working a day job that makes me feel
like I'm in a cross between Enron, Office Space, and Outbreak.
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