Tuesday, October 31, 2006
"The strange and colorful world of Ivalice might also be an acquired taste, and there's also what feels like a rather strong Star Wars influence (both trilogies) that could add to the worlds richness or just seem a little weird, depending on your personal take." [Emphasis my own]
Oh come on, a game that I was already looking forward to now apparently has a strong Star Wars influence...you had me at "Star Wars." See you in Ivalice.
Monday, October 30, 2006
It was the summer of 1997, I was knee high to an elephant's eye, and thoroughly excited about two things: my senior year in high school, and a little game by the name of FFVII. I was to excited for this later item, as a matter of fact, that I carried around my pre-order slip for the game in my wallet throughout the summer. By the time I handed that tiny slip of paper to the cashier in September, it had been torn, taped together, thrown into a pool, and blow-dried. Needless to say, that preorder slip and me saw a lot. Fortunately, it turned out to be well worth it, and the game went on to be known as one of the best RPGs of all time. Still, that was more luck than anything else. I have also been burned by the untamed beast that is the hype machine.
Anyone else in the Den have any stories like mine?
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
The reason this system infuriates me however, is because of the new Titan mode. In Titan mode your team is (eventually) tasked with blowing up 4 reactor consoles and finally the reactor aboard the enemy titan. The best way to do this is for the recon class to put explosives on the console and then remote detonate them. The problem is your teammates have a tendency to stand next to the consoles and try to blow them up with their pistols/rifles/machine guns. This leaves the recon with the unenviable choice of blowing it up and taking a massive point penalty, or waiting for his teammates to move so he can detonate the explosives (which often takes a VERY long time). Even if all the people realize their mistake and forgive you, you are likely to lose 2-10 points at each console, and the problem escalates as your team surrounds the reactor.
To the devs: lower the point penalties on teamkills that are forgiven. They really shouldn't have any effect and it doesn't make any sense to me why they do.
To other players: If you see a teammate sticking things to a console or reactor, get the F$#K out of the way!
On a last note, it has recently come to my attention that teams have started defending their titan hallways by positioning themselves near an ammo crate and just tossing frag grenades down the hallway continuously. I'm not sure what the counter to this is (if someone knows please tell me), but this tactic is exceedingly lame and it makes titan assualts boring and aggravating. I don't know what needs to be done (by the players or the devs), but this tactic has shifted the titan assaults from being exciting hallway shootouts to a significantly less enjoyable charges into almost certain death. Something needs to be done to shift the gameplay back where it was intended.
Saint's Row is super tight, and the reticle makes the action much more fun. You hear that Rockstar?! People don't like locking on, and GTA's lock-on system is one of the worst. If that's what you have in store for GTA IV you better rethink it.
Now I think I'm gonna go get me a fun-bag from Freckle Bitch's...
1. The main character (almost) never speaks. This was my favorite thing about GTA 3, and the reason why I could never get into Vice City or San Andreas. In a game like this, it's much easier for me to become immersed when the main character doesn't speak for himself, so I can sort of develop my own dialogue in my head. If that makes me crazy, so be it. It also make these games crazy awesome.
2. This may be the funniest game I've ever played. The four lines your character has in the game are all hilarious. The things pedestrians say when you hit them are hilarious. The ragdoll animations as people fly ever your hood are hilarious. But most of all, the radio commercials are hilarious. Freckle Bitch's has officially replaced Wendy's in my vocabulary.
3. Customization. The isn't a car in may garage that doesn't have iridescent paint, or hydraulics, or a huge-ass spoiler, or SPINNERS!!! I can have a mustache and a soul patch, or mutton chops, or ALL THREE! I can dress in an all black suit with a fedora, or in my purple pimp's clothes. I can have a mullet, or corn rows, or any one of dozens of absolutely ridiculous hairstyles.
4. The reticle makes it a much better action game that GTA ever was. You will never lock-on to the wrong guy, because there is no lock-on. It plays like a typical third-person shooter, and this makes the on-foot missions a lot more fun to play the the GTA on-foot mission ever were.
I don't want to say that Saint's Row is better than GTA, but I will say that it is very close. Closer than I ever expected.
I do know that many people have been encountering technical problems and I could understand frustration in that department, but since I haven't witnessed it myself, I can't really comment on it. All I can say is the core action is really fun, and it feels like a new take on the first person shooter genre. By the way, keep in mind it is a first person shooter with RPG elements, not the other way around. I think if you go into the game expecting something like Oblivion you will be disappointed, if you go in expecting something like Half-Life with swords and sorcery, I think you will be very pleased.
Splinter Cell on the other hand is really polished, I really only have one gripe. Why on earth would you penalize the player for incapacitating guards?! Most of the fun of Splinter Cell comes from getting the drop on your enemies like some kind of techno ninja. I understand encouraging the player not to kill anyone, but just knocking them out? Even Solid Snake is allowed to do that without repercussions. I intend to play the game the way it is meant to be played, not just sneaking around trying to avoid everyone, my stealth score be damned! As a note to the devs: we like taking out guards, don't punish us for that, it's what makes the game fun.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Splinter Cell: Double Agent
Phantasy Star Universe
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
Star Wars Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
I will more than likely buy one of these, but I can really only afford to buy one, and insights/comments/criticisms?
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Fighting games are excellent. And there are a few good ones out there. But there are a few things I'd like out of next-gen fighting games. First, I want to create moves. Totally sweet moves. Maybe I should be able to create a fighter. And not the "WWE" create-a-fighter. I mean really create a bizarre, Voldo like fighter. That would be amazing. And it would take hours. And it would be great.
Second, I want there to be balance. That's a common request, but what I mean is that there should be a better feeling of being the fighter and reactions. Maybe you don't need the greatest move to counter, you just have to counter in the perfect place. I just want more vulnerability and more skill. That would lead itself to better balance. Not just a fight between who knows the moves the best.
And I'd like there to be a dance off. I'm not kidding. There's going to be a ballroom dancing game. Why not put it in as a bizarre dancing mini-game?
I am tired of going to EB and Gamestop looking for a game, having them ask me if I preordered it, then when I say no, looking it me like I am some sort of crazy person. The last time I checked, these stores do in fact exist in order to sell videogames right? I mean this is like a grocery clerk asking if you faxed in your grocery list a few days ahead of schedule so they could be sure to buy eggs. It's just ridiculous.
These stores exist so you can walk in and buy games, not as some sort of pickup point. I mean, if I know I am going to want a game before it ships I'll buy it online and then they can ship it right to me (and back when you could avoid taxes it was a sweet deal too). I know that the stores are just trying to cut costs but I think that as a business decision this is a bad one. I know plenty of gamers that just stop by a store on their way home from work looking for something they know came out and with the EB/Gamestop stocking less and Best Buy stocking more I think its clear where the gamers are tending to go (and if they go to Best Buy they can also pick up the newest season of Scrubs or an HDTV or something).
If EB/Gamestop continues along this route of barely stocking more than their preorders it's not long until they do away with the stores entirely and just sell directly from the internet. And I'm not saying that's a bad idea, get rid of the overhead from stores and avoid taxes for your customers, then pass them some of the savings in sweet deals on shipping and you might make a killing, it worked for Egghead! Anyway, preorders suck and getting hassled about them sucks double, if I'm gonna preorder something I don't need you to ask me everytime I call, visit the website, enter the store, etc.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Now that that's done with...Saint's Row and Dead Rising are really good, I don't think you'll be disappointed there (I feel that Dead Rising especially up your alley), and it sounds like you got a great deal. I think several of us own 360's so you'll have to let us know your Gamertag so we can battle it out online.
In other news: They closed Clover studios?! Okami is one of the best games this year! It supremely combines the fun and adventure of the Zelda games in an innovative, new IP. Notice to the execs at the big game companies: pick these guys up, they know what they're doing!
Speaking of companies that know what they are doing, anyone who has a PS2 and at least a passing interest in Star Trek should give a shot to Star Trek: Encounters. It's retails for $15 and it is actually really fun. The ships move around a little too fast (more Starfleet Academy than Starfleet Command), but the core gameplay is solid and it has missions covering all the different Star Trek eras. It's easily a 7.5 or an 8.0 for only $15, that's a great deal!
Friday, October 13, 2006
Hammerhead which you can find at www.shockwave.com. It's basically whack-a-mole, except with gnomes (that's right...gnomes) and it's intoxicatingly fun. Is it complex and involved? No. Is it perfect for playing between work and dinner? Yes.
Luck Charm Deluxe, which is also at www.shockwave.com. It's a great twist on the "connect three" puzzle games. Instead of connecting three you can connect as many as possible of the same kind of shape. It's a great puzzle game. I find it more mentally challenging than Bejewelled. So ditch Bejewelled and go try out Luck Charm Deluxe.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Any time now...
OK. So, I missed that awesome Fry's deal last week with the 360, Saints Row, Dead Rising, and Test Drive: Unlimited for something like $360, which is approximately a $200 discount. However, what do I find today as I'm cruising Evil Avatar between classes? I find that Fry's is now offering the same bundle for $450. Not quite as awesome, but $100+ discount is nothing to sneeze at. So I bought it, unfortunately with tax (damn you Fry's for having a store in Ohio!). Still, a premium 360 with 3 games (pretty good games from what I hear) for under $500 including shipping is fantastic.
For some reason, though, I feel really dirty.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
If you are familiar with the Total War series (Shogun: Total War, Medieval: Total War, Rome: Total War, and soon Medieval II) then you probably know that they are wildly successful and critically acclaimed by more than just strategy gamers. The Creative Assembly (the makers of the Total War games) attributes a lot of their success to their cycle of evolution, revolution. Shogun was a revolution as it was the first entry in the series and really a unique experience. Medieval was an evolution that improved that gameplay, but kept most of the core engine and mechanics the same. Rome was another revolution that completely redesigned the engine and the mechanics of how the overall game functioned.
This kind of cycle allows the developer to come up with innovative new ideas while at the same time refining previous innovations to be more functional, more balanced, and above all more fun. It is my opinion that this is what EA is trying to achieve with the BF series. BF1942 wasn't the first game of its type, but it took innovative ideas from a number of other games and managed to meld them together into something that was truly unique. BF: Vietnam evolved the gameplay somewhat (mostly with vehicles) but remained mostly the same. BF2 was a clear reinvention of the franchise, and BF2142 is the natural evolution of that game.
Does that mean BF2142 is worth your hard earned $49.99? Well that depends on your own feelings, most of all do you like BF2 (which I do) and do you like the new semi-futuristic setting (which I do)? Additional changes which may be important include: a more fully-featured squad mechanism, a new gameplay mode (Titan mode), and supposedly a much better frontend network (if you've played BF2 you know what a pain it can be to connect to a game sometimes). As for me, my inclination is to believe I will buy BF2142 and enjoy BF2142 (I love BF2 and I love mechs), but you can be sure I will be downloading the demo to be sure of myself.
Yesterday morning I found myself in line with 5 other people at 9 a.m. waiting outside an E.B. to preorder the PS3. I think it’s because I have the word “SUCKER” written on my forehead. I was awakened by a request from my fiancé to please go preorder this for him because he had to go to work. When I got there I found 5 people already in line, some who arrived at an undisclosed time to be sure they were first in line. They were all paying in cash so there were no credit card problems with their preorder!
Why I did it:
Some people would say I’m crazy. In fact, the first guy in line said, “Please tell me your boyfriend didn’t send you over here to preorder this for him.” They couldn’t believe that I would do such a thing (and by 10 a.m. when my toes were very cold, I couldn’t either).
I did it not because I swapped my line standing for 3 days of shopping or because I needed to make up for missing a birthday. I did it only a little to prevent standing in line in front of a Best Buy for 12 hours on November 17th. I really did it because I understand the nature of hobbies. They can be obsessive, time-consuming, and therapeutic. I don’t question his and he doesn’t question mine.
I’m glad I did because I learned a lot in that 45 minutes where we bonded over video games and the dedicated, hard core gamers swapped stories, information, and the anticipation they felt for the coming PS3.
What I learned in line (all purely anecdotal):
Not everyone buys every system. In my house we own one of everything. It’s a hobby, so I understand the need to have the newest, best, coolest, systems ever. So hearing from these guys that they only wanted one system was a little surprising. Only one of the 5 planned on purchasing the Wii.
The Wii is met with skepticism. Most of the guys were interested in the Wii’s new controller technology, but didn’t know enough to trust it yet. After it comes out and they’ll be able to play it they might get one, but don’t count on it. They simply aren’t sure and haven’t heard enough good things about the system to make it worth their while.People do actually trade in games. Like I said, we have one of everything at my house. I’m pretty sure there’s still a dreamcast and N64 floating around. “Trade In” is a no no at my house. I thought for sure that these hard core gamers who stood in the cold just to preorder a system would never part with games or systems. Apparently it’s more popular than I thought. The 5 guys in line in front of me were more than willing to give up games and even whole systems for the latest greatest technology. They all said they have traded in and will trade in games.
The most popular preorder games in our little group were Resistance and Rainbow Six: Vegas.
Show up early! Do I really need to tell you this? Showing up at 10am for a store that opens at 10am to preorder a system at 10am is not smart planning. It was too bad for the 3 people in line after me. And more importantly, too bad for the person who came at 9:15 and then left because he didn't think he would get one...but he would have.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Secondly, I think that Storyline and Gameplay are factors that can both affect the game equally. For example, Skies of Arcadia, that game has a sweet story, but probably one of the most boring battle systems known to man (though the ship-to-ship fighting is kinda of fun). That battle system is slow, clumsy, and ugly, but it didn't detract too much from what ended up being a pretty good game because the story was solid. Now, on the other hand look at the Grandia series. Those stories suck...all of them. However, that battle system is sweet, and can often carry the game to its usually anticlimactic conclusion because your characters and their enemies keep getting new abilities that make the battles fun and dynamic and usually pretty fun to watch.
I think this rule ends up being true for pretty much all genres and it's the rare game that gets them both right that is truly memorable: Star Control II, Chrono Trigger, Starcraft, etc. At the end of the day I think most RPGs are carried by their stories, but they don't have to be and there are plenty of examples to prove it.
Short Answer? You'd probably die.
Which begs the question...if you could control games with your mind by letting game companies put an implant in your brain, would you let them???
And, while I'm musing....how come Sims get tired, hungry, and depressed, but not sick? Interesting. That would be a great new game. Sims 911!!!
I'm going to stop taking benadryl before my posts get any weirder.
Most importantly, let's talk about the gambit system, which the .hack and Star Ocean series can't make any claim to. The gambit system allows you to specifically tailor the AI scripts for your characters, so you can make them do exactly what you want, and they can be changed on the fly to fit the situation. There's no more complaining about the bad AI and limited scripts available in games like .hack, Star Ocean, or even the blessed Kingdom Hearts. You write the scripts yourself and can constantly adjust them to suit your needs. Combine that with the newly designed license system for leveling up and tailoring characters to your party and you have perhaps the most customizable characters ever to appear in a Final Fantasy game. These two innovations in and of themselves should be enough to warrant a favorable comparison to the other games previously mentioned.
Add in the fact that this could also be one of the best Final Fantasy storylines ever written (by the same guy who wrote Final Fantasy Tactics), and I don't think I'm exaggerating to say I couldn't be more excited about FF XII's imminent release.