is being released today. I just thought I'd throw that one out since
there's no way that I'll see it today.
However, the game
that took over 48 hours to ship last week is finally in my hands.
Despite how so many overly vocal geeks rejected and turned their
backs on Fable, I still have love for the game. In fact, I have
enough love for it to have dropped another $17 on the game to get
the Lost Chapters.
Just like the
original Fable, I've been loving every minute of this game so
far...well, every minute I'm actually playing and not just watching
my XBox slowly deteriorate into DRE hell (I hope Microsoft is done
with the DVD drive fiasco for the 360). Anyway, to get back on
topic, I have already, in about 4 hours of playing, seen plenty of
new additions to Fable. While some of the additions are relatively
minor (but still worth finding), a good deal of them are plot
elements and quests.
Also, I'm not sure
if the visuals have been boosted (remember, I got my HD-TV a couple
months back, so I never gave the original a shot with a good TV),
but either way, the visuals are so damned good on 480p.
While much of the
game is old news to me (only, supposedly ~1/4 - ~1/3 is new), it
still is fun to replay this game since there are a few options that
can easily change your game from one play-through to the next. I
figure I should be able to get through this game without any real
problems to find how much was added. The only frustration I've found
in F:TLC so far (besides my DVD drive sucking...sorry...I need to
vent) is that the blank demon door just outside the Hero Guild is
still very blank. While I haven't had much time to explore yet, it
is sad to see that one of the most commonly bitched about parts of
Fable is still here to be bitched about in F:TLC. I don't mean the
door itself (but it is annoying), but rather the feeling that there
were some things left unfinished (not "not added", but
rather "implemented, but not carried to completion") in
the final game.
The following I
say in all honesty, despite how many of the FFX fanboys and the
Fable flamers (many people probably fit in both categories if they
fit into one of them). At least this game is still far more fun and
interesting than anything Square Enix has dumped on us (I may change
my mind after DQ8, but it's still not officially "dumped on
us") this millennia.
a final note before I split for the day, I did see Doom, the movie,
this weekend. Yeah. So, where do I begin? Let's
just say that it is a movie that all geeks need to see. Just
don't pay for it. Wait until this pile of crap is on cable,
and then watch it with a few friends (make sure one friend has a
name like Jack Daniels). It's not that this movie is
completely without charm, but it still goes to show that the next
big potential action star (The Rock) is still without a movie to
really make him an action legend.
Ah-nold has movies like Total Recall, Predator, and Commando, and
while Stallone has Rocky and Rambo, The Rock is still serving up
movies that just won't have lasting power. When The Predator
comes on cable, I always stop what I'm doing to at least watch a few
scenes. If Doom was on TV, I wouldn't even bat an eye.
the movie is essentially a predictable and unimpressive waste of
time. The acting is horrible (at least The Rock can pull off a
few one-liners...but then he had the ultimate lesson in those by
being a wrestling star) and plastic by most of the cast, the visuals
remind me a little too much of Doom (many reused textures), and
there is nothing to give the movie any real merit. Worst of
all, for the Doom fanatics out there, the plot is basically
RE. I think someone wrote a script that they thought would be
an awesome survival horror movie treatment and then realized that RE
had already been done...so, they looked for another franchise to
milk some money from, and Doom was there. This is probably not
what really happened, but it's how it felt to me.
fact, the only use of the word "hell" is to imply that
Mars is a personal hell for one of the main characters. There
is no portal to hell, no demons, no imps, no baron of hell, no
masterminds. There aren't even zombie soldiers (there are
zombie scientists and civilians...but that's not the same, now is
it?). This is just not Doom. If Mars wasn't even
involved (which is wasn't needed), this would have no grounds for
being Doom except for how the BFG is present. So, I guess you
could say it's more of a movie about the BFG than about Doom.
if you have $10 burning a hole in your pocket...well, couple that
with $10 more and get Fable:TLC. If you have more than
that...well, I still wouldn't recommend paying for the pain of
seeing this movie.
Well, it's a week
of pointlessness. While some big things are coming our way this
week, like GTA:LCS and Civ4 (which shouldn't be the same PC
nightmare of Civ3, so I have to say I'm excited), there is also some
really pointless shit being announced or released.
The best example
Gizmondo is here. Well, it's here, but not even as promised.
It's not like any real gamers are caring one way or the other on
either front (being released or coming with the GPS program). In
fact, while Tiger may say the Gizmondo is "receiving an
enthusiastic reception from US consumers," I would be willing
to bet good money that this is the same type of PR that came from
Nokia when they said the N-Gage was doing great in it's first month
(when it sold a whole few thousand in the US). I just wish these
handheld nightmares would end already. While I know enough to not
buy an system with an expiration date somewhat akin to the one on a
carton of milk, some kids may not realize the facts...and while it
may be nice to laugh at them, it still shouldn't happen.
Gizmondo, and it's Sticky Balls (if there was ever a launch title to
make fun of while drinking, this title is it), a new kart style game
is coming out, and it's bound to be another one that fails next to
Mario. Yup. The master of trying to rip-off Mario games is back in Pac-Man
World Rally. It's like Namco just doesn't realize a few things.
First of all, no one remembers Pac-Man as anything beyond that bad
party game. Second off, they need to quit tarnishing the name and
image of a legend like that. Finally, they cannot make a good Mario
rip-off to save their lives (like with the Pac-Man party game that
was an obvious attempt to make a Mario Party clone).
Also, I should
mention that the people who are waiting for a must-have PSP title can
get used to this type of news. So, it shouldn't be a big surprise
that a GT game is being delayed, but at the same time, Sony really
needs to release a good PSP game. While GTA will probably fill this
role, it's about time that Sony stops having to rely on either
Rockstar or Solid Snake (who failed with a card game in this
situation) to define their systems. While Sony may have more games
for their systems than Nintendo or Microsoft could ever dream of,
they shouldn't just be a bunch of forgettable titles and then GTA
and Solid Snake filling the role of headliners. It's like with the
PSP there is only GTA, so far, and with the PS3 it's all about Snake
and pre-rendered videos.
If you are
noticing that I'm pissed off today, you would be quite right. If the
situation was slightly different, I'd probably be very happy, since
I spent a long time playing Fable:TLC yesterday. However, most of
that time was me resetting the XBox. I have been dying to play this
game since I first heard of rumors of it about a year ago, but
instead I'm learning how crappy the Thompson Drive is in the
For those who know
little of the XBox's actual hardware, the DVD drive was made by
three (and a half) different companies through the XB's lifespan.
Most of these drives were sweet. Well, I don't know if I'd say
sweet, but they worked. Meanwhile, one drive, known as the Thompson
Drive, was faulty. Think of the PS2 and it's DRE issues, but only on
some XBoxes instead of all of the consoles. Well, if you can't
guess, I have a Thompson Drive, and my XBox is on it's way out.
However, since there's no easy way to transfer saves from one XB to
another (thanks Microsoft...you memory card that cost me about $40
was definitely worth it...jerks), so I can't just buy a new XB like
I did with the PS2. While some would argue that I could wait until
next month and use my 360 for backwards compatibility, it's just not
that simple. I have a lot of shit unlocked on Burnout 2-Revenge, and
I want to finish my current game of Fable.
I'm surprised that
Microsoft wasn't the subject of a class-action lawsuit about this
drive like how Sony was about their DREs. It's not like this is a
Anyway, I'm bitchy
and should have GTA soon, so I'll probably be more relaxed
tomorrow...unless my PSP decides to explode...which wouldn't
surprise me since it's Sony...
I have to wonder
if there's any logic in this.
So, in less than a month, the 360 is coming out, which is more adept
at handling higher technological requirements than the XBox, yet
Half-Life 2 is coming out on the 15th (1 week before the 360). So, I
can't help but wonder why Valve didn't just push the technology
limits less by making this a 360 game (which would probably show
fewer technological limits than the XBox). It would've been delayed
by only one week and it would look more comparable to the PC version
(which can handle higher resolution than the XBox version ever
Also, before I get
to the obvious, I just have a side-bitch to say. Many companies
offer technical support via email and phone, yet the ones I've dealt
with via email all suffer the same flaw. When Comcast (It's
Comcastic!!!11111!!!!111!!!1) f#$%ed up my cable box by dropping
a channel (yeah, that's smooth...drop a channel while the satellite
services are bragging about having more content than cable) that I
had stored as a favorite, I contacted them via email since the hold
time for a phone call to them is usually in the 15 minute range (it
was actually 18 minutes when I resorted to calling them in the end).
Their solution to my slightly messed up cable box was to make sure
my TV was turned on. I wrote back and explained my problem again,
and their solution was to make sure I understand how to use the
remote control...which is nice, as a reminder, but not all Comcast
customers are idiots...even if they charge outlandish prices for
their service to make us look like idiots. I wrote a third time
explaining the problem and how I'm not an idiot, and the told me of
how they appreciate my criticism and will note it, with no actual
advice. I had to call them in order to simply get them to reset my
cable box, which was the ultimate solution for their failings. Why
did I even have an option of email if they don't actually treat
email customer service requests as actual requests for
Well, with my XBox
starting to have DVD-drive issues, I wrote the Microsoft XBox
customer support group. They told me to clean my DVD. I wrote again
and then told me I'm shit out of luck and that I need to call them.
I actually just asked them what they will tell me if I do call them;
how do I get it repaired and if there a place I can take it as
opposed to sending it via mail? It's the same crap, and I honestly
have more time to email for support than to wait on hold for upwards
of 30 minute just to hear that my hardware is f$%#ed and needs to be
So, for the
record, I just want to say that email customer support for hardware
issues is just PR bullshit. It makes a company look up to date, but
it really serves no further purpose...unless you're dumb enough to
need the wonderful advice of "You will also want to make sure
that your TV is on the proper channel to work with your converter
box" (actual Comcast advice on how to stop my cable box from
going to channel "-53...").
I also want to
add, for the record, that I miss Sega. So far, of all the systems
that have been mainstream and have used optical disks, Sega is the
only company that I never had an unusable system due to DREs with.
True, some Dreamcasts may need to be turned upside-down, but they
will work in the end. I've had 3 DRE plagued Playstations, one DRE
plagued PS2 (I'm still waiting for the PSP to do the same), my XBox
(I'd give the 360 about 2 years...at the most), and my GCN. Out of
all of these, I can only say one nice thing; Nintendo was good about
offering me a location to bring my Nintendo in for service, they let
me play video games while I waited, and it only took about 35
minutes from the moment I stepped in the door to when I sadly put
down the game I was playing to take my GCN home. I guess the moral
of this story, to be quite vulgar, is that when you get f#$%ed by a
console maker, Nintendo is a gentle lover. Meanwhile, Sony, as so
many PS2 owners know, is rough and into some freaky shit. I still
can't say fully on Microsoft, but I bet they are rather unfeeling
when they have their way with you.
bitching and bad sexual overtones.
I did get GTA:LCS
last night, and I did play a little. I didn't play too much since IT
DOES REQUIRE FIRMWARE V. 2.0! So, I spent a long time trying to find
a way to still use my homebrew (and found
it...but it does carry the possibility of frying my flash
memory...don't use unless you are insane, like me).
While the game
looks damned good, and the story is shaping up to be one for a real
GTA (not just some portable rip-off title), there are some issues.
First of all, the PSP nub is not the ideal control from Toni (the
protagonist). A lot of time I've found myself walking at a slight
angle due to the awkwardness of this device. Also, the customer
audio tracks...long story short, they are in the game, but the
instructions won't tell you how to use them. Also, the audio options
menu will say they are "unavailable". It would've been
nice if Rockstar mentioned somewhere (or blanked out that menu
option until it's unlocked) that you
must unlock this feature. It is lame that you must wait to use
them, but at least they are in the game. It's just too bad that the
quality of the music selection is pretty bad (think GTA3...back when
they didn't have the budget for a San Andreas style sound
Overall, the game
is shaping up quite nicely. The controls, beyond the nub, aren't too
bad for a system that's lacking two buttons and a second analogue
stick. It still would be nicer if Sony made the PSP so that it's
easier to use the d-pad while still using the nub, since the d-pad
changes weapons and radio stations. It also would've been nicer to
have a better way to look left and right while driving (for doing a
drive-by) since using the L+nub means you can't steer while
shooting. However, for being on a system that's not really designed
for a GTA game (due to the buttons that are lacking compared to the
PS2), this is still masterly made to use the PSP controls.
Also, while this
game is in the same city as GTA3, it's nice to see that Rockstar did
change some things. After all, this does take place a few years
before GTA3. The hidden packages are placed in unique areas, the
safe houses are moved, some territory is in different gang
Best of all is the
addition of a couple of new mission styles. So far, the most
enjoyable side mission I've found is an optional one that starts
like the old RC bombing runs. You start by getting on a certain
motorcycle. Then you are put on the bitch seat and given some
crosshairs...along with an uzi. It's up to you to shoot out a
certain number of vehicles before time expires, you get hit too many
times, or before you accidentally shoot your driver in the head (you
can actually do that on this mission, which is one hell of a cool
addition to the series).
So, ultimately I'd
say this game offers enough new additions that I'd say the only real
shame is that Rockstar didn't put it on a console that could handle
the buttons. I know it's doubtful, but I hope Rockstar ports this
title to the PS2 or the XBox. It's that good...so far.
With how much I've
bitched about the futility of Tiger trying to enter the handheld
market with the Gizmondo, I can't say I'm not surprised to hear that
they had a
few skeletons in their closets. With such a poorly planned
launch and system, it only makes sense that such weird facts as
their company having ties to organized crime would come to light. I
really don't know how to comment on this beyond saying that Nokia
has true competition now for being the handheld with the least
possibility of survival and the highest possibility of looking bad
to the public.
So, this is when I
was expecting to go off about GTA:LCS. As far as I knew yesterday
morning, I was going to get in a lot of GTA time last night and then
have some updated impressions of this game. Yup. Well, that was
before I made a trip to Best Buy.
So, after I got
off work yesterday and did my post, I played a little Fable. I've
been trying to get in about an hour a day before my XBox fries
itself (the latest update on that has Microsoft saying I have to go
through their phone customer service to tell them that I have a bad
XB and then to find out where I can take it...or if I need to send
it in) completely. So, I did that, and played enough to see a little
new content and a good amount of content I already knew...and
that, I hit Best Buy, and grabbed a copy of Civilization 4. I mainly
got this game since my friend Bastich and I both are avid fans of
this series. Our plan was to join forces to force Taoism on a bunch
of unsuspecting nations. However, I couldn't just buy the game last
night and then wait until a night when I could manage a good old
mini-LAN party with Bastich. I had to make sure the game was working
on my PC.
Well, long story
short, the game works. In fact, more than working, the game is as
addictive as any past Civ game has ever been. I started a game with
the intention of making sure my system could handle it (and to make
sure there were no bugs), but I instead played until about 1200 ACE
(which is no small feat of time). I just couldn't stop playing long
enough to play any GTA.
I do have to say
that I'm happy with the direction Civ4 has taken the series. The
controls are a little awkward at first, since the town management
system has completely changes and there are no solid forms of
government as much as there are five fields of government (with five
choices each) that you can select to make your own hybrid government
method. This actually works quite well since you will continually
unlock new minor methods of governing as you play and you can keep
installing them (at the cost of a revolution) until you have the
form that fits you the most.
On top of these
changes, you have far more control on negotiations with your
neighbors, on your individual units (you can upgrade them as they
gain experience to be more specific to a task, like attacking from
jungles or city defense), and especially on what religion you have.
Plus, the game will create special units from time to time (they
just will be born in your city at random during a population
increase)...like how Moses showed up in Kyoto (I'm playing as Japan
right now) one day in 1000 BC.
Also, the visuals
are awesome. I never really cared about what visuals looked like in
a turn based strategy game, but it's nice to see that they can be
this pretty. It's not really needed for the game to function, but it
also doesn't get in the way. On top of the visuals, the game lets
you run a folder of MP3s from your HDD so you can either use their
built-in orchestral music, or you can use something more
appropriate...like Black Eyed Peas.
Anyway, I really
want to go off about GTA, and I'll see what I can manage tonight.
Sadly, this neglect of GTA is bound to happen when I go against my
word. I said before that I never should have more than 1 or 2 new
games at a time, and I just hit three within a week. However, at
least I can say that it is a good sign for the other two games when
a GTA game (which is always good...as long as it's a 3D one) is left
to collect dust out of these three.
It looks like
closure is heading our way on the battle between Penny-Arcade
and Jack Thompson. Well, the whole thing isn't ending, but the part
involving the Seattle Police is ending how any sane person with any
understanding of criminal vs. civil law would
understand it to end. In other words, the SPD has seen no sign
of criminal issues, and have pretty much sent this little matter on
it's merry way.
I personally find
it unnerving that a lawyer would try to press charges over this to
begin with, but even more so that my long standing belief has been
confirmed...that, if anything, this is a civil matter. To see a
lawyer try to turn this into a criminal matter makes as much sense,
to me, as someone saying a video game can train someone to kill and
then make them commit a crime. In other words, it is flat out
There are other
people who Thompson complained to about this matter, and I expect
them to end up either ignoring the issue (not a bad decision) or to
say his complaints are only valid in a civil court and that in a
civil court it would be thrown out.
In fact, the law
is pretty clear. There was no slander or libel matters to deal with
since PA never said something flat out false about Thompson. Plus,
since Thompson has made himself a public figure, anyone has the full
right of the 1st amendment to comment and discuss what Thompson is
doing...as long as they do so in a public forum or media format and
the truth is maintained.
On the note of
more complaining, it looks like the custom soundtrack option on
GTA:LCS is still eluding people. This includes those who finished
the game. So, I just have to wonder if Rockstar may have f#$%ed up
by having that option in their menu but actually had no coding to
implement it. I think it's about time that Rockstar explains what
the deal is with this "feature". Considering the
soundtrack has many aspects to be desired and that the PSP is
perfectly suited for custom soundtracks, and that Rockstar did
include what appears to be a broken menu option, it's about time
they either discuss it or release a patch to implement it.
I wish that was
all I could complain about in regards to this game, but I'm starting
to feel like GTA:LCS is seriously lacking. While you could not
expect a GTA:SA on the PSP, this thing is lacking compared to GTA3,
which is a game that the PSP would be able to handle.
For example, the
biggest let down so far, for me, is that the missions seem to only
go half way. For example, one early mission finds Toni needing to
rescue some Mafia guys from a failed robbery. So, you have to get to
the gas station they are holding up before the cops kill them with a
classic slowly dropping life bar for the goons. Well, you arrive,
pick them up (pretty easily), and drive away. You have three stars
and need to hit a Pay'n'Spray. You end the mission by returning to
the point where you got the mission. That's it. No drama. No extra
side story. No sudden plot twist. Most of all, no time needed to
play this mission.
GTA:LCS may be
portable, but the early missions are not even near the length of the
early missions on the PS2 GTA games. In fact, the missions pass in
the blink of an eye. The only downside is that the place you first receive
missions is so damned far from your save point, and since the
loading makes one not want to have to repeat a mission, I find
myself saving often. After that, I usually am lacking the drive to
go back to the mission giver...since it's just another long car ride
to go and have a short mission.
Hell, the PSP is
designed for longer missions. If you fail to have the time to
complete one, you can hit start (pause) and then put the PSP to
sleep. Next time you wake it, you will be right where you left it,
with no time passing in the game.
At least I can say
that it still is the best PSP game to date. However, when you
consider that the other PSP games round up to either be a bunch of
the same extreme racing genre or a bunch of ports of sport games
that rock on the PS2/XBox and bomb on the PSP...well, it doesn't say
much when a game is called great. It's like how usually someone who
swears a lot in public is not considered a good role
model...however, if everyone else present is drunk, packing
firearms, and using kittens are targets...well, the loudmouth
definitely wins as the more respectable role model. GTA:LCS is that
cursing fiend. He's not a good person to have influence a child, but
he's better than the rest.
At least GTA:LCS
does offer a few new side missions. In fact, these side missions may
be the most enjoyable aspect of the game so far. In one, you ride
bitch on a motorcycle (I mentioned this earlier this week) while
shooting at targets. Another fun one has you trying to sell cars. To
do so, you have to drive a certain vehicle how the customer would
want to drive it themselves. If you're selling a Cheetah, then the
customer will have a need...a need for speed. If it's a station wagon,
the customer will want you to drive slowly and show how it's a safe
family car. It's all simply, but still pretty fun since it give the
play a good chance to hone their driving skills and to make extra
Well, I aim to
have a Civ4 filled weekend. If things work out, I'll probably have
some good war stories on Monday.
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