Diablo III

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I'm enjoying playing the game, but I'm glad I got it free with my WoW subscription. The online requirement is just as bad as I thought it would be. Lagging and rubberbanding in my single player experience is ballocks.

Xbox Live Gold

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Well, I finally let my Xbox Live Gold subscription run out. Four years of barely using my Xbox, a little Halo Reach with my friends made Gold worthwile for some time, but we eventually burnt out on the game.


So, I let my sub slide. When I found out that Netflix doesn't work with a Silver subscription, I yanked my 360 out of my entertainment center and stuffed it in a closet. Microsoft charging extra for a service that every other game console and Blu-ray player under the sun offers for free hit a nerve in me.

It's just another nail in the coffin after the RRoD experience I had almost four years ago. Nothing Microsoft does endears me to their system. I dumped yet another load of 360 games, keeping only a handful of exclusive titles I would regret losing, my Halo games, Lost Odyssey, and Vesperia.


I've always been one to horde my games, never getting rid of old titles in case I ever have a desire to play them again (I do once in a while, I get kicks off nostalgia), however, with the 360, I have viciously abandoned that habit of mine... and truth be told, I don't really regret it.

Microsoft's marketing strategy seems to be working, they've shown some great sales this holiday season, but it's not selling me. I don't know what Microsoft is going to need to do to put me on board for the "720," but it will have to be something astounding and riveting.

Xbox 360 and ~ WoW (A mild rant about WoW and life).

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Two years later. I have logged not more than a hundred hours in my Xbox since its two red rings in 08. When the system red ringed the second time, I sold half my gaming collection - every multi-console game I owned - reasoning that if I played them again, I would get them for my especially reliable PS3.

I no longer trust my 360. I can't pick up the controller without wondering if it will die once again. Since most games are released on other systems, I can't find a reason to invest in buying them for the 360.


It's not only my lack of trust in the system that has led to so few hours spent using it; MMORPG's have dominated my gaming experience for the past eight years. Much more in the past two years, most certainly partially as an effect of the RRoD, and partially to my addiction to World of Warcraft.

It's not so much that WoW is a fantastic game, it's that it does most everthing it offers right. I don't know if I could quit WoW if I would return to my consoles, I assume I would, but it's a convenient way to keep in touch with all my friends who've gone off to their seperate colleges and lives during the colder months.

A conundrum. World of Warcraft was supposed to bring us together during the months when we're all spread out over the state... it has, in a way, done this, however it's something that seperates us during the summer break. We would hang out one or two nights a week and play WoW the rest. Previous summers, before we decided to use WoW as a social network, we would get together four or five days a week and go out. We would go on bike rides, play tennis, go bowling, see movies, go on road trips. All this worked in around summer jobs. This summer, I and just one other friend went out and did these things.

This summer, we would get back from playing tennis, log in and say "Hi" to all our other friends who were "Too tired," or "Unterested," or just addicted to WoW. So many excuses to not actually go and hang out, do something in the summer sun.

WoW, which was supposed to be a bridge during the school year, has turned into a barrier.

Now, you may wonder why a topic on my once broken 360 not being used turned into a topic about WoW; playing WoW has replaced the days when we would get together and take turns blasting through an RPG, or lan together a shooter or Starcraft. Replaced the days we would make fools of ourselves taking turns at Rock Band or Guitar Hero.

Now, I understand those who say "That's just what happens when you grow up." "You get new friends, you seperate," etc. etc. The thing is, we were all here, we were all home.. and we all got on our seperate computers in our seperate places and spent hours running dungeons, raiding, questing.

Not hanging out, laughing at each other's stupid antics on Rock Band or immense failure during a level in Call of Duty, getting drunk, talking about life, girls (and boys), not living... but playing World of Warcraft as if it were a second life for 16$ a month.

RRoD. :(

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My 360 died a couple weeks ago. RROD.  Wasn't an overheating problem either.  My 360 had been running fine the day before in the dashboard as I downloaded a few demos and then shut it off.  The next day I went to try out those demos I had downloaded and found the RROD.

It just had to happen right at the three year mark.  Luckily, MS agreed to repair it.

I only got around to sending it in today... so hopefully in two or three weeks I'll have my console back or a new one.

I was waiting excitedly for Last Remnant, and then this happens right before its release... :/

Gamespot Wide

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I was surprised, I hadn't heard even a rumor about the forums getting an update... but I like it.

The only problem is, the forums haven't changed. Maybe they're just prepping it up to roll out a forum change later - I know things get dicy when it comes to modifying forums. We'll see.

Final Fantasy IV

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I've dived head on into the remake of Final Fantasy IV for the DS, after extensively replaying the PSX version in order to have a better reference to all the changes that have been made to the game.

I now feel I have played a significant portion of this masterful remake in order to give it my initial score (as I usually make sure not to review a game until I complete it).

So what do I give Final Fantasy IV for the DS?

Perfect 10.0.

I have never rated a game with a perfect ten before. The whole idea of ever giving a video game a PERFECT rating boggled my mind. However, I now understand. You don't rate games in comparison to their general genre, you rate them as to what they fullfil in their class of game. There is nothing this game could have done to be any better than it is, it is the definitive version of one of the best RPG's of all time and it changes it around so much even those who have played the original a dozen times will find something new to love with this version.

A modern remake that is more difficult than its original? A game so bold as to cast aside the modern idea of casual gamers to create one of the most challenging RPG's on the DS system? That is what Final Fantasy IV is, and that is why it is so amazing.

Biggest WOW! of E3 on Tuesday.

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Been watching E3 footage on and off today as it comes in.

Resistance 2, Fallout 3, Fable 2, Final Fantasy XIII, all big names with big information today, however, the game that really stood out for me today was Prince of Persia.

The combat is so very dramatic, it is almost like watching a movie play out before you. Acrobatics have always been challanging and entertaining elements of the series, and they are returning in full force. I am also absolutely amazed, fascinated really, with the giant leap the team is taking to remove death from the game. Certainly, hardcore players would say it makes the game too easy, but we've all been frustrated in at least one game where we die, and die, and die... having to repeat the same steps over and over until we finally cross that hurtle.

The advantage of having save points, and maybe occasional checkpoints is that such a system makes a game longer. We've all played games that take say 15 hours to beat our first run through. Then, when we are masters of the game, when we can defeat the most difficult of challanges with relative ease and bragging rights... we can blaze through a second playthrough in a handful of hours.

What makes Prince of Persia so interesting, is that according to the interviewee, the game will take a player roughly 15 hours to run through once - just running through, not doing everything there is to do. How amazing if this is true? An action game such as this, without death, without having to restart and redo the same ten, twenty minutes because you couldn't handle a boss or enemies swarmed in too quickly, coming in at roughly 15 hours?

Most games these days take 5 to 10 hours to complete once - even with death and having to go back and redo sections.

Prince of Persia is my game to watch for this holiday season.

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Moving on, quick notes on other franchises.

Fallout 3. I watched the demo, expecting to be amazed by Bethesda's brilliance (Which unfortunately I consider dulled after the gem that was Elder Scrolls III.), however, I found myself immensly dissapointed. It was Elder Scrolls IV with guns and a fancy "stop time and aim for me" combat system. I'm certain it will be infinately more entertaining to actually use the system, but watching it was underwhelming. My experience of this demo was not helped by the constant thought "This guy sucks at FPS." that I could not get out of my head.

--

Resistance 2. Not having played the first game, Resistance: Fall of Man, I'm not too familiar with the series. When the giant alien first appeared, my jaw dropped and I couldn't help but wish this E3 were highlighting a Shadow of the Colossus remake, or sequel, or whatever. Anyways, it was pretty amazing... until the giant alien picked up your character king kong style and allowed you to shoot two rockets down his throat. I thought, "Erm, what?" Then of course, to further add to the stupidity of the whole thing, the moster tosses you through a crossway with glass walls, which you fly through, and continue to fly until you smash through another window and fatially splatter on concrete in a pulpy mess of blood.

Ok, that last part is what should have happened. Instead, your character stands back up, unfased, to continue to attack this giant beast who suddenly doesn't care about any of the other marines who are attacking him. I guess the rockets down the throat provoked him... and he noticed that you didn't splatter into a bloody pulp, so he wants you really dead. Anyways, as with all giant monsters, he can't aim worth a damn, and therefore misses you by twenty feet with his first swing. By shere force of luck he manages to grab you a second time - where he damn well should have smashed you into that bloody pulp you should have been minutes before. Instead, he just waves you around Kong like and roars, prompting another salvo of missles up his dumb throat.

As unrealistic as fighting a 500 foot monster is, surviving a toss like that is unbeleivable. It makes one wonder why the pathetic things called bullets can kill such an immortal main character.

--

Fable 2. I've only watched one E3 demo, the one about co-op being available online, and about how your pals are glowy orbs in your world that you only have to click on to invite. Let me say, that's a pretty neat idea. That was a WOW moment, but not so much as Prince of Persia. I'm not so keen on my friends being able to change my world though, I have quite a few friends who would laugh their heads off while causing mayhem and chaos. I'm certain I'll have to secret my spouse and children from them.

Not all that fond of the art direction, however, I wasn't all that fond of Fable 1's, and I enjoyed that game just fine - so I'll get over it.

--

Final Fantasy XIII. Who would have thought, in their right mind, that Final Fantasy XIII would be announced for the Xbox 360? I'm still shocked. The number one reason I bought my PS3 was "Final Fantasy XIII is going to be released on this system". Now, don't get me wrong, I love my PS3 for a good number of other reasons, but Final Fantasy XIII was the one and only exclusive I was looking forward to. (Not hat I haven't found a good number already in Folklore, Grand Tourismo, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Metal Gear Solid 4)

PS. The Xbox 360 trailer gave me goosbumps, recycled footage or not.

--

On that note, the trend is even more clear than ever. The Xbox 360 is the undisputed king of this generation RPGs. Where the PS2 held the title last generation, and the PSX before it, Microsoft has stolen the show. Still, there is a pathetic number of RPG's in this FPS flooded generation. Hopefully, the goodly number of titles in the next few years are each ace.

-------

There were a number of other fascinating titles today, and I won't begin to name all of them, but a few to keep an eye on:

Mirror's Edge, Dead Space, GEARS 2, Star Ocean 4, a Portal sequel, and many more.

Finished MGS4

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It's actually been a whole week since I finished playing this amazing game. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it. MGS4 was so good, I just couldn't put the controller down. It only took me three days of playing to finish the game, though I ended up setting the epologue off until a fourth day. It was indeed nearly an hour long, and quite good, actually.

There were a number of people on the forums who didn't realize that the story wasn't over after the credits... after either set of credits. One guy turned his game off when the first black screen with scrolling names popped up. Unfortunately for him, there's another 15 minutes of cutscenes past that 15 second scroll. Then, there's a short audio clip after the final credits.

I just thought I would warn the very few people who read my blog here, be sure not to forget to watch until you get back to the start screen.

Anyways, after beating MGS4, I realized that my summer of games was already over. Most of the big releases I was looking forward to playing during my summer break have been pushed back to this Fall... MGS4 was the last big new game on my list until August.

That there were no more games I wanted to buy this summer, ended up feeling as a big relief. I am now kicking back and enjoying the myriad games I pushed aside for the big blockbuster titles. Tales of the World, Disgaea, Jeane D'Arc, Blue Dragon, Enchanted Arms, Eternal Sonata...

I've collected all these great games that I pushed aside in light of bigger, more blockbuster titles like, Halo 3, Mass Effect, CoD4, and MGS4... and now I've finally given myself time to really get into them and enjoy these lesser known titles.

It'll be an entertaining summer. I've yet to start this year's Final Fantasy IX playthrough (I've played it every summer since it was released), so I have that to look forward to.

Anyways, cheers.

Metal Gear Solid 4

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I purchased it today, and I played it until my controller ran out of juice. This game is absolutely amazing. So far, it has been the perfect blend of story and gameplay. Certainly it has many cutscenes, in fact, it puts Xenosaga games to shame (and that's saying something), but this movie like atmosphere really drags you into the story and makes you care what's going on.

I've noticed that MGS4 is a great deal more accessable than previous installments have been. The stealth factor is still all here, but so far, at least in the first Act, there is an enormous amount of leeway as to how you want to proceed. You can rush forward, gunning PMC's as you go... though that's very dangerous to do... or you can slowly move forward taking out each PMC you come across using a wide variety of weapons... or you can sneak past them, taking your foes down with hand to hand combat when necessary.

The Octo-Camo suit is awesome. Amazing. Astounding. You can blend into the environment with ease, and if you want to play around with it, you can actually use the octo camo system as a way of changing Snake's outfit to a color of your preference. Like the color of that wall over there? Go lean up against it, wait for the suit to change color, and then you can go into the options menu and save that color in the system's memory. Snake will wear whatever color you set until you either reset the system, change color manually, or blend into a different surface. It even stays whatever color/camo you set during cutscenes. The scene where Snake is held up by the rookie? My Snake was wearing a pure white Octo Camo suit... pretty sweet if you ask me.

I could go on and on about how amazing this game is, but I'll leave that until later...

Cheers.

Slicing and dicing, bashing and smashing...

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That's what Ninja Gaiden is all about. I was contemplating on passing up Ninja Gaiden II this month and getting it at a future date, but after picking Ninja Gaiden Sigma back up and taking turns with some friends slicing and dicing our way to each bloody encounter... I'm psyced for Ninja Gaiden II.

Only a few more days until it is released, and so far it has recieved some great scores. An average of 8.3 as of this post.

I honestly don't pay attention to scores all that much, what I do pay attention to is the section of reviews that cover technical flaws, bugs, and glitches within a game.

So far Ninja Gaiden II seems to have some light framerate issues, and loading lag when it comes to changing weapons. Which is relatively understandable, since the game is not just switching over the weapon in Ryu's hands, it is also loading up a completely seperate combat style complete with a hoard of beautifully expressive animations that need to interact realistically with every single enemy on the screen.

While that's understandable, it also probably should have been a key focus on TN's list of priorities to minimalize that and make it streamlined.

Oh well, occassional loading screens I am used to... just hopefully no more that occur in the middle of combat like Ninja Gaiden Sigma.

The game is beautiful, considering the number of limbs, heads, and enemies that go flying around the screen at speeds that put Devil May Cry to shame.

Cheers,

I'll probably be posting my first game review in a good long while after I've played this one.

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