Last week I was mentioning how my lack of trust in Square Enix was
always rewarded with crappy games. Quite frankly, Square Enix does
not make any new games that are worthy of attention of worthy of the
$50-$60 price of admission. The only exceptions have been the ports
and remakes of old Final Fantasy games from the SNES and NES era.
Well, the group that brought us the remake of FF3 for the DS is now
remaking FF4 for the DS. It's a nice idea, but this one may also
be another pointless game. While FF4 has a really fun plot that was
kept a little too simplistic because of the technology of the day,
and this would be it an ideal candidate for being remade, it also
has been ported more times that one should see.
FF4 has now graced the SNES, PSX, WonderSwan, and GBA. With a new
remake, it will come to the DS. No single game should have this many
incarnations unless it's a puzzle game like Tetris. Even a puzzle
game would be pushing it's luck with so many releases over such a
large time frame.
Of course, by complaining about too many releases of the game, I'm
probably setting myself up to be a hypocrite, once again. Once FF4
is remade on the DS and it's released, I wouldn't be surprised to
see me in a frantic mood trying to hunt it down at the local
electronics retailers. I have spent too much money on FF4 as it is,
but I feel compelled...if it's as good of a remake as FF3 was on the
DS...I will need to buy this game.
I just wish Square Enix could bring this type of attention and hype
to it's old school fans over some new material. Afterall, I don't
think I'm the only fan of their games from the SNES and NES era who
is not all that excited about another emo-centric romp through a
bland but colorful world that will be known as FFXIII.
Anyway, it's a short post today because my time is quite short.
One of my favorite
puzzle games of all time was Mario's Picross on the GB. This game
came along, with very little publicity, back in the mid 1990's. It's
also one of the few puzzle games I constantly find myself coming
back to, despite having finished it a dozen times over. So,
if the listing on Gamestop is correct, then the new Picross game
for the DS may be in the future for America.
I have not heard
anything about this game up until now. It's no surprise since the
original was given so little attention. However, there have been
various and numerous Picross games on Nintendo systems in Japan over
the years since the original (the only one we Americans got) came
along. Of course, the times have changed. The DS is being marketed
for more casual of gamers, which implies more puzzle games and less
action titles. So, it's prime time for a new US release for a
Also, the DS
should make the ideal play field for a game that involves breaking
single tiles on 5x5, 10x10, and 15x15 grids of squares. I hope this
is not some confusion from a retailer, as we've seen many times in
the past, and is the truth...the wonderful truth that Picross will
return to America in the middle of the summer (around the end of
July). For once, this could mean there will be a summer game
released that makes me want to spend money for the first time since
the old SNES days.
If it does come
along, and if you're a puzzle fan, this is a game that you owe it to
yourself to buy...and hopefully good sales will entice Nintendo to
keep showing America the Picross love.
I won't go into
too much detail on this subject change, since some people probably
have it TiVo'ed and have not seen it yet...but Heroes was f#@$ing
amazing last night. For all of the time that I've spent the last 9
months wondering what is wrong with this season of Lost, I'm glad to
see that Heroes is doing it all correctly.
When Lost was
hyped a few weeks ago about how
numerous people would die before the season was over, Lost said
nothing. So when people started to die on Lost, I thought it was
both unsurprising and also the people who've died so far (Locke's
father, for example) just didn't matter. Meanwhile, Heroes said
nothing in advance while important people were finished off in the
most brutal of ways.
spoilers follow, so you can end today's post now if you don't want
them to ruin any recorded Heroes.
First off, when
the Isaac/Peter love triangle was ended by their love interest,
Simone, being killed by Isaac's stupidity and rage, it was amazing
to see. Then, when Isaac finally met his end, it was even more
amazing and unexpected. However, that was nothing compared to the
triple kill of last night's episode. Between Malcolm McDowell's
character (I know his name, but he's always Malcolm McDowell...the
crazy and surprising "British guy") having his brain smashed apart
by a phased out fist to the skull, the boss of the paper mill (I
actually never did know his name...Bennet's boss) being shot
repeated Soprano style by his former pupil, and Ted having his brain
removed by Sylar...damn! I figured Ted was a goner, since Sylar
needed the radioactive power of his to conclude the story arc of
this season, but the other two blew me away.
While Lost gives
an expected death (since they announce, each week, that one the next
weeks Lost, "one of these characters will not survive") and of minor
characters, Heroes goes the other route. Nothing is announced
(well...almost nothing...there was one death announced prior to the
winter hiatus), nothing is planned out for the viewer, and there is
no way of guessing what would come. When Sylar was coming back to
reality last week, only to go completely insane after accidentally
killing his insane mother...expected, that was not.
Most of all, I
don't know of any show I've seen in which I want all the characters
to live, but I also want them to die because I know the writing will
make it worthwhile. It's not like Lost, which is poorly limited in
potential numbers of people due to the island. Heroes has 6 billion
people to pull from as a potential cast, and they seem to be ready
to use anyone and everyone needed...as long as it makes for an
amazing plot. I just hope that the next season of Heroes keeps up
the pace and excitement of the first season. Since this is more like
reading a moving comic series than watching a TV series, I think
they can keep it up.
I just hope Ando,
Hiro, and Mr. Nakamura remain in the series for a long time to come.
Especially, it's nice seeing Geroge Tekai playing a part that's bad
ass and not just him saying "oh my!" repeatedly.
It looks more and more
Starcraft 2 may become a reality...or not. It's always hard to
say with any certainty what Blizzard is up to until they do it.
However, given how Blizzard has been so forthcoming with sequels and
spin-offs of the major franchise (Warcraft), it seems more than
likely that they would want to cash in on the obsession for Korea
that Starcraft is. Plus, it's not like Starcraft is completely
forgotten by the rest of the world.
It would be nice
to see a more modern take on the ultra-futuristic RTS that was
Starcraft. At the same time, I really can't find too much excitement
for this possible news (come Saturday, we should see for certain
what Blizzard's next announcement really is). The RTS world has both
changed and stagnated over the last few years. While Warcraft 3 was
pretty cutting edge for it's time, we've seen a lot of changes in
the last couple of years.
Rise of Nations
helped to change what we all expect from the RTS genre. It gave a
deeper sense of wonder by adding more defined of technology,
wonders, and other nice touches that helped to better blend RTS and
turn based strategy. Then games like Savage helped to further change
things by giving an RTS/FPS hybrid that changed some more
perceptions of the genre. The list could go on.
I just hope, if
Blizzard is working on a new game in an RTS series, that they give
it some reason to really be important in this clouded and overly
stuffed marketplace. We have new entries in Command and Conquer, the
"Rise of" series, and a few separate independent RTS titles. There
is a lot out there, and there is little to really bring about
distinction to any of the newer titles. It's merely becoming the
same game with different visuals.
The other change
I'd like to see, and I imagine a majority of the players of
Starcraft in Korea would like as well, is for Starcraft 2, if it
does materialize, to not be a technology whore. C&C3, AoE3, Rise of
Legends, and many other new RTS games have been pushing technology
and system requirements a bit too hard lately. It's one thing for a
very immersive game, like Oblivion or Half-Life 2, to push what our
boxes need to run a game...it's another thing when the same basic
game play as what we had many years (or even decades) ago had but
the visuals are killing what we can play. RTS is not immersive
enough to justify any major system requirements, but it does not
In fact, besides
the games that serve to be the flagship for DX10 (like Crysis), I
think it's time for more developers to use what's readily available
and not to force what is cutting edge. For example, I just spent a
large chunk of cash (well over $1000) on upgrades to an existing
box. I would like to think that by having what was the 2nd best
video card at the time, and a CPU that's overclocked beyond what the
best basic clock speed CPU on the market would allow me to skip any
required upgrades for the next couple of years. I know this won't
happen, but it would be nice to see the developers appreciate my
cash for what it will bring them...not for what it will bring Intel,
Nvidia, and Corsair.
It's good to see that
Bomberman is finally coming to the 360. I don't mean that lame
excuse for Bomberman that was Bomberman Zero. In fact, I will
pretend that Hudson never did anything that lame while passing it
off as part of their awe inspiring multiplayer party frag fest. Zero
was a perfect reason and explanation of why I have given up on
Square Enix (with the exception of remakes of old FF games on the
DS, and anything in the main line of Dragon Quest titles).
When an old
franchise is returned to the present gaming world, it should never
break so far away from the original that it alienates it's fans. For
example, I mentioned Starcraft 2 yesterday. If it comes along with
system killing requirements, it will not be a good option for the
major fanbase...Korea. The original game is so damned popular in
Korea because it doesn't push PCs to the limits. It's nice and
gentle on the hardware side of things, which allows for large
numbers of people to enjoy it without having to sacrifice time and
money in major upgrades. Even when the original Starcraft came
along, it didn't push too many systems over the edge.
example is Final Fantasy Tactics. The original PSX game was probably
one of the last Square games that didn't invoke a sense of
frustration and rage in me...with me being an old school Square fan
from the second game of the American Square catalogue (King's Knight
was weak...). However, when the second supposed FF Tactics game came
along on the GBA (that would be FFT Advance), it took all of the
amazing plot, classes, abilities, and fun and threw them out the
window. Instead, we were introduced to Ivalice (which became the
hellish setting for another lame Square Enix title...FFXII), given
the worst excuse for innovation to ever come from Square Enix (the
judge and law system), and the game just felt weak and unfulfilling
Well, a new FFT
game is in the works for the DS. It would be FFTA 2. While it could
have gone back the way of the more critically and casually acclaimed
FFT game (the PSX one), it is instead continuing Square Enix's money
hungry and creativity deprived ways. Yes, it will be in Ivalice.
Yes, it will feature judges. Yes, it will feature laws. Yes, Square
Enix claims that they will be improved in this new game, but I
really can't hold out anymore hope. The first FFT game claimed my
life for about three play through, around 180 total hours, and for
many great and amazing moments. FFTA held my attention for a whole 2
minutes (boy with teddy bear being the heir to the throne of a
mystical world made up of ridiculous laws is not a good way to grab
anyone's attention). I was able to play for about 5 hours before I
had to quit. Once I hit a battle with a law of "no swords" and half
my party wielded swords, I knew this game was not the FFT I knew and
I guess what I'm
saying could be summarized like this;
coming back and he's no longer some half-assed version. Sweet!
Starcraft 2, if it
does come along, needs to be lighter on system requirements. To keep
it's large fan base, the system reqs need to be carefully balanced.
All PC games need
to focus a bit more on pushing existing hardware and not forcing
upgrades. When a game is of a genre that is not visually intense (RTS,
strategy, most RPGs) or if it's an OS (Windows Vista's Aero...I'm
looking at you), hardware needs to be balanced with abilities and
needs of the game. That, and mod friendly games, like Oblivion, are
the way to go when some developer is going to be so damned
overzealous (like how Oblivion has
with requirements. Imagine how sweet of effects we could see with
older hardware if PC games were forced to use an existing set of
hardware for larger time frames, like we see with consoles.
Enix needs to take a step back to look at the big picture. I know of
several old school Square fans and several old school Enix fans. I
know of only one person who actually likes the direction Square Enix
has been going...while I know of many other who simply like to sigh
and say that at least Namco can give us that old school RPG feeling
with Tales games. Square Enix may have hit the mainstream rather
nicely, but some love and some balance should be shown for the fans
who made both of these sides of the company into what it is
today...and DQ is not enough of a compromise with a new game every
Square Enix needs to bring about a new FFT game that updates and
brings new material to the original Zodiac story (maybe without the
broken mathematician class...most broken RPG class ever). That, and
if Square Enix is going to keep going for the easy money route, may
I suggest the overly obvious; FFVII: The Remake.
I spent most of last
night in severe pain. Nothing like a migraine to make one hate the
act of...well...any act of any sort except for finally falling
asleep. I had a lot of plans for Oblivion last night (mods to add
and quests to do), but those all had to come to an end. The only
thing I had the ability to do was prove an old saying wrong.
I have been told
more than a dozen times in my life that if a HDD fails, then it's
f$#@ed without hope. In particular, if you head one of the heads
physically sticking or "clunking" inside the box, then your pretty
much shit out of luck. Well, when my iPod did that, I simply took
matters into my own hands...my violent hands. A few smacks against
my palm as I manually reset the thing got it back up and running. I
was told that this was a fluke and that it would not be a long term
solution. That was a year ago, and I am right now using that same
iPod to listen to some good old Social Distortion. Looks like some
conventional wisdom fails when violence is involved.
So, as Velveeta
set up some of the computer equipment in our house, I was told that
the backup desktop was making a weird noise and failing to boot up.
I struggled to leave the dark comfort of my bed and walked to the
computer room. I turned on the PC and heard the familiar noise of a
HDD physically destroying itself. That's when I unscrewed the side
panel and decided to smack the HDD (what's the hard when it's f#@$ed
as it stands) with the handle of my screwdriver a few times. I
reboot the machine, and saw that comforting (and annoying) Windows
logo pop up.
So far, my record
is this. Two physically crashing HDDs, two acts of violence, and two
now working HDDs. I love proving that violence does solve problems.
On a different
note, it looks like
Eidos may be resurrecting Deus Ex in the near future. If the
conditions were different, I would be excited. While Deus Ex: IW was
not exactly the best of games in a lot of ways, I still loved the
plot and the direction. I think that Warren Spector, despite what
some may say, is a genius when it comes to directing PC game
development. He has a knack for blending great storytelling with a
fun and immersive game environment.
I also think that
continuing this franchise after Warren Spector departed Ion Storm to
do other things is a huge mistake. I feel that certain franchises
need to end when their masterminds leave. The next Katamari game has
me concerned without it's founding mind behind it, but at least it's
a simple enough of concepts to be pulled off correctly. However,
Deus Ex is anything but simple and lighthearted. Without Spector,
Deus Ex will not have a head on it's shoulders, and there is too
much potential for bad things to come about from this.
I will give the
new game a shot, if it really does materialize. However, I will also
not expect too much from it, and I will be beyond cautious with my
enthusiasm. If it's done right, the next game can be amazing...even
if the plot seemed to be fully resolved after how Deus Ex: IW showed
the fate of Denton and tied it all together with the start of the
franchise. Of course, I am more expecting some sort of game that
just fails to compel the gamer.
My ultimate hope
would be for the game to be rebooted, so to speak. Take the same
world, but move away from Denton (since that was all wrapped up
nicely). Also, revert back to the skill system of the first Deus Ex,
but maybe with some tweaks to make it more accessible (but without
removing it like was done in Invisible War). In fact, for a game
like this, I think that the system should be a blend between
Oblivion's skill progression (easy to use) and the original Deus
Ex's system (one that can offer a lot of customization and change
the way the game is played for each player).
Well, it's time to
wrap this up for tonight. I have some chores and other boring
"adult" things to do. At least this weekend promises to bring me a
lot of drinking and LAN party goodness.
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