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Author Topic: LOTR: Third Age Review!!  (Read 4299 times)
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Calvin
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« on: November 02, 2004, 05:07:47 AM »

Woot, I am all over finding first reviews of new games smile

Check this out: http://ps2.ign.com/articles/562/562643p1.html
scores 8.5, although from the text of the review that seems generous.

They say its fun, good combat, nice graphics, but plays like an rpg-lite and is very easy.

Rental!!
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2004, 06:12:25 AM »

Finally!

Hmmh, an FFX-like game set in Tolkien's world would've been excellent, but to water the experience down even more so, that you're left with nothing but the bare bones (and then some)... I suppose I'd be one of the hardcore RPGs grumbling about that, then. smile

I just think it's a shame and a wasted opportunity for them to try and cater to everyone and those in-between, when clearly the gameplay lends itself to being an RPG. And I'm also puzzled why they chose to copy FFX instead of KOTOR, when they didn't want to "alienate the action gamers".

Guess we'll see whether the choice ultimately will cost or earn them extra dough.
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olaf
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2004, 06:18:27 AM »

Like almost all IGN reviews I found this one to be poorly written.  Not only that, but the tone of the review was negative, whereas an 8.5 is a good score, even factoring in IGN review inflation.

My pre-order shipped today so hopefully I will be able to play some tomorrow.

olaf
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2004, 01:47:40 PM »

Quote
You can also play co-op with a friend. By selecting co-op in the game menu, and by plugging in another controller, gamers can share in their orc stomping duties. When playing co-op, one player will receive exclusive navigation of the menu, so there's no need to worry about your friend messing anything up.


Usually multiplayer gets it's own section, or at least not tacked onto the "Noticable Extras" section. I dunno, did he even try it? If so, for how long? 20 minutes, 3 minutes? <sigh> It seems like the whole time he spends apologizing for the lack of full-on I gotta kill these 400 green slimes so I can move on and kill the red slimes- mentality.  I'm going to rent it to see how it plays.
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2004, 02:39:08 PM »

Sounds to easy, which is to bad.  If there isn't any challenge, what is the point?  I don't mind not having shops or inventory, as that is mostly a waste of time in games anyway, at least to me.  I may rent this is people here are positive.
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2004, 02:43:00 PM »

Quote from: "olaf"
Like almost all IGN reviews I found this one to be poorly written.  Not only that, but the tone of the review was negative, whereas an 8.5 is a good score, even factoring in IGN review inflation.

My pre-order shipped today so hopefully I will be able to play some tomorrow.

olaf


Exactly, IGN isn't really someone I'd trust for an RPG review, especially a slower turn-based RPG like Third Age. I can just see them opening with "uh, we stopped playing the KICK4$$ HL2 for a few minutes to try out this LOTR thingy, and..."

They may end up being right about it, but I'll certainly wait for more reviews and feedback before deciding.

Rage, I'm not sure a rental will work. The devs claim it's "5 times longer than Return of the King", which should equate to a minimum of 50 hours of gameplay, maybe as much as 80.

I read previews and saw some gameplay footage of this game last night at Gamespot, and I'm kind of jazzed for it. The combat looked really cool.
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2004, 03:16:53 PM »

Looks neat but the review makes it seem to me more of a rental/bargain bin purchase than a day one purchase. Oh well that's quite all right. In fact I hadn't really kept up with this game and thought it was just another ROTK action platformer.
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2004, 03:20:52 PM »

I wish the Gamespot review would hit.  I trust them much more than IGN.  Unfortunately my beef with IGN is they tend to overrate games.

I suppose it doesn't really matter- I have no time for this or any other RPGs now so its guaranteed I wouldn't get to it for a month or more and there should be plenty of impressions and reviews by then.
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2004, 04:44:25 PM »

Obviously, I'll wait until some reviews from more reputable sites come in before deciding not to buy it, but that review does not make the game sound good. It's a dungeon crawler, but is way too easy and there's little to no character development at all? What incentive is there to play through a game like that, especially with so many promising titles about to be released?

Sounds like EA tried to borrow the Japanese RPG formula without really understanding what makes them tick. Kind of like how Japanese publishers try to make American-style action games and end up with well-intentioned but deeply flawed games like Breakdown and Dead To Rights.
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2004, 04:55:54 PM »

Quote from: "Andrew Mallon"

Sounds like EA tried to borrow the Japanese RPG formula without really understanding what makes them tick. Kind of like how Japanese publishers try to make American-style action games and end up with well-intentioned but deeply flawed games like Breakdown and Dead To Rights.


I've been concerned that the game was made in too short a time period.  IIRC, this is made by the ROTK team so they've only had approximately one year to make this.  That seems way too abbreviated for an RPG particularly for a team with limited to no RPG experience.

I've also been concerned that EA would make it too much of an RPG-lite.  I'm actually a pretty big fan of EA but I think their emphasis on appealing to the mass-market is at odds for the RPG market.  The Final Fantasy series is certainly the right template to use for any publisher looking for casual friendly RPGs but Square has almost two decades of experience in fine-tuning that balance.
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2004, 05:12:29 PM »

Quote from: "Andrew Mallon"
What incentive is there to play through a game like that, especially with so many promising titles about to be released?



Yeah, this might be the biggest bunch of great RPG's in a short time ever in history. I just replayed Suikoden III in anticipation of Suikoden IV in a couple months. Also Final Fantasy 12, Knights of the old republic II, and the one I am most anxious for. Xenosaga II.  Might pick this one up to hold me over till Halo next week. Not sure yet. Either this or San Andreas?
Still thinking.
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2004, 05:41:03 PM »

Quote from: "vagabond"
Quote from: "Andrew Mallon"
What incentive is there to play through a game like that, especially with so many promising titles about to be released?



Yeah, this might be the biggest bunch of great RPG's in a short time ever in history. I just replayed Suikoden III in anticipation of Suikoden IV in a couple months. Also Final Fantasy 12, Knights of the old republic II, and the one I am most anxious for. Xenosaga II.  Might pick this one up to hold me over till Halo next week. Not sure yet. Either this or San Andreas?
Still thinking.
Not to burst your bubble, but Suikoden IV is supposed to be pretty disappointing.  At least that's the buzz from Japan.
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2004, 06:06:37 PM »

Yeah, unfortunately both Suikoden IV and Xenosaga 2 have gotten awful reviews based on the Japanese versions.
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2004, 06:43:59 PM »

Im sorry, its difficult to respect the RPG recommendations of anyone who lists the walking slide show of absolute eye-splitting pain that was the juvenile faux-anime movie they called Xenosaga as their favorite RPG.
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Andrew Mallon
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2004, 07:01:37 PM »

'Juvenile faux anime'? You could say that about pretty much any console RPG. I thought Xenosaga's story was no better or worse than most RPGs. If you thought the cut-scenes were too long, that's fine, but that strikes me as a more of a preference thing than a criticism.

I enjoyed the game quite a bit actually. I don't know if I'm stepping into a grudge left  over from another thread or something, but I don't see any reason to insult the guy. Xenosaga is far from the worst RPG on the PS2.
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2004, 07:10:55 PM »

Quote from: "Andrew Mallon"
Obviously, I'll wait until some reviews from more reputable sites come in before deciding not to buy it, but that review does not make the game sound good. It's a dungeon crawler, but is way too easy and there's little to no character development at all?


For what it's worth, this is from Gamespot's Hands On:

"The Third Age has a good look to it that's reminiscent of the films, and it seems to have the basic role-playing game mechanics down. We were told that the game will be about five times as long as last year's Return of the King game, which, granted, was an action game rather than an RPG. Also, we were told that there would be four times as many character-customization options as in that game, which means players should be able to have a great deal of freedom in specializing their characters."


I look forward to the feedback from those of you who take the day one plunge for this one.
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2004, 07:21:20 PM »

Suikoden IV getting poor reviews in Japan saddens me. And they were on the right tracks with Suikoden 2, too.
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Andrew Mallon
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« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2004, 07:36:08 PM »

Quote from: "Jeff Jones"
Quote from: "Andrew Mallon"
Obviously, I'll wait until some reviews from more reputable sites come in before deciding not to buy it, but that review does not make the game sound good. It's a dungeon crawler, but is way too easy and there's little to no character development at all?


For what it's worth, this is from Gamespot's Hands On:

"The Third Age has a good look to it that's reminiscent of the films, and it seems to have the basic role-playing game mechanics down. We were told that the game will be about five times as long as last year's Return of the King game, which, granted, was an action game rather than an RPG. Also, we were told that there would be four times as many character-customization options as in that game, which means players should be able to have a great deal of freedom in specializing their characters."


I look forward to the feedback from those of you who take the day one plunge for this one.


Thanks for the info, but I think we're talking apples and oranges here. I'm talking about character development in the literary sense. What are the character's motivations and how does it impact the story? Does the character change throughout the story or learn anything? That sort of thing. I like my games story heavy. I based my comment on this (which I should have included in my original post) from the IGN review:

Quote

Each character, essentially, is the same when you first encounter them until the very end. It doesn't help that EA chose to cast relative unknowns in place of the original fellowship. Where a game starring the endearing Samwise Gamgee or the benevolent ass-kicker Gandalf might have roused emotional investment on the part of the player, playing as a bunch of soulless archetypes does little in the way of making you care whether each lives or dies (in terms of story.) Make no mistake, EA designed The Third Age as a very combat-centric game.


Selecting skills and equipment and distributing attribute points is the least important part of an RPG for me.
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« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2004, 07:43:19 PM »

Quote from: "Andrew Mallon"
'Juvenile faux anime'? You could say that about pretty much any console RPG. I thought Xenosaga's story was no better or worse than most RPGs. If you thought the cut-scenes were too long, that's fine, but that strikes me as a more of a preference thing than a criticism.

I enjoyed the game quite a bit actually. I don't know if I'm stepping into a grudge left  over from another thread or something, but I don't see any reason to insult the guy. Xenosaga is far from the worst RPG on the PS2.


Well said.

I loved Xenosaga, but can see how people might be turned off by the long cutscenes.  That's hardly a reason to tee off on somebody about it.
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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2004, 07:45:08 PM »

A good point I saw mentioned on Gaming-Age- what will the final boss in this game be?  Given the events in the films its hard to imagine how the game will make the ending satisfying while still making these "minor" characters feel important in the scheme of the saga.
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« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2004, 08:12:54 PM »

I was not teeing off on vagaband, although anyone who has ever attempted to have a rational conversation with him on this site or GG (As eldergamer) would understand the futility of trying to actually discuss games.

Either way-I made a statement-if Xenosaga is your example of the best PS2 RPG-I don't respect your opinions on the matter. If that is bashing, then dear god people, grow some thicker skin. I did not attack him one iota. If you tell me, Rage, your believing that PS:T is the best PC rgp ever makes so little sense I can't respect your opinion, why would I for one second take that personally. Come on now guys, stop looking for fights where there are  none.

Any vitriol in my post was directed towards Xenosaga itself. As for every RPG being faux-anime, sure I can understand that concept, but none took themselves so laughably serious and were so painfully overwrought as was Xenosaga's story, and exceptionally basic gameplay.
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« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2004, 08:25:45 PM »

Quote
Either way-I made a statement-if Xenosaga is your example of the best PS2 RPG-I don't respect your opinions on the matter. If that is bashing, then dear god people, grow some thicker skin. I did not attack him one iota. If you tell me, Rage, your believing that PS:T is the best PC rgp ever makes so little sense I can't respect your opinion, why would I for one second take that personally. Come on now guys, stop looking for fights where there are none.


I am simply saying that there are more polite ways to express your opinion on the subject than you chose to do. Let's not let CG be as uncivil as GG was near the end.
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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2004, 08:30:00 PM »

Quote from: "Rage"
Im sorry, its difficult to respect the RPG recommendations of anyone who lists the walking slide show of absolute eye-splitting pain that was the juvenile faux-anime movie they called Xenosaga as their favorite RPG.


I agree completely.  Xenosaga, like Xenogears before it, is trash.

Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
A good point I saw mentioned on Gaming-Age- what will the final boss in this game be?  Given the events in the films its hard to imagine how the game will make the ending satisfying while still making these "minor" characters feel important in the scheme of the saga.


I'm pulling for a showdown with Frodo.  I've always wanted to bash Elijah Woods' skull in.
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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2004, 08:43:12 PM »

Alright I got my game this morning and have played through the first chapter, and its associated 'evil mode'.  I bought the guide over the weekend to give me something to read while out of town.

The manual is flimsy and short, but it covers the basics. I think it could have been a little more detailed, but anyone who has played a console RPG ought to have no problems.

The game starts with a movie cutscene, that fades into an engine cutscene which leads to a battle you are going to lose.  These types of cutscenes are cobbled together with footage from the movies. Beyond the first one, you have to go into the game menu and view them. Think of them as an interactive journal, and mandatory viewing if you want to follow the plot.

The engine cutscenes are good looking for a console game. The voice acting is average. So far the script is average. It starts off pretty bad (the first scene between your characters is SHAMELESSLY lifted from the movies Aragorn/Arwen romance), but then picks up some.

Graphically the game is so-so. With PC games like Far Cry and Doom 3, its becoming more and more difficult for me to judge console graphics on their own merit. The engine is more sluggish than I imagined it would be, there is occasional chop when panning the camera in certain spots. But since its not an action game, no big deal really.

The sound is above average. The music is great. Like many of the other console RPGs it 'borrows' from, there are no volume controls (let alone separate volume controls for music, speech, sound). This irks me.

The game defaults to medium difficulty, I havent changed it. Easy and hard are the other choices. I would say the game is easy so far, but its the first chapter, and so it ought to be. I might change the difficulty to hard. I didnt die at all, and only came close to losing a character once, from a tough random fight.

The combat is standard TB console action. The animations and effects are well done. The character animations are a little jerky however. It looks like they could have spent some more time rendering most of them. Some of the animations are borderline too long, and you cant skip them. This might get annoying later in the game. Random encounters are very rare though, at least so far.  That is a huge plus for me.

The quest system is barebones. The game assigns quests based on cutscene triggers and since the game is fairly linear you can complete most of them w/o doing anything. But if you are lost or wondering where to go to advance the plot, there is a flashing red dot on the border of the mini map that will point you in the right direction.

There is no map option in the game, just the mini-map. IMO it could have used one despite being linear.

Leveling up is pretty basic, there is an option off of the menu and you distribute 2 stat points per level, and thats it. So far I have been putting my points into spirit and speed. Spirit gives you more Action Points, which are what skills consume when they are used. Speed increases your overall defense and helps you act more frequently in combat.  The other stats are Str, Con and Dex.  Str mostly affects melee damage done.  Con is HP and overall defense.  Dex affects your to hit chances and ranged damage.

For skills, you choose a target skill to work towards from a different menu and thats it. The skill thing is kind of a pain actually, you have to remember to change your target, as unlocking skills happens with minimal fanfare, and the game chooses a new target on its own. With each rank of skills past the starter ones, you have two choices. When you unlock one of these, you open the next rank, another two choices. You can always backtrack in the skill tree as well. This system encourages you to use a skill as often as possible in order to level them up.

The game menus are laid out well. You can change categories with the triggers, and characters with the white/black buttons. Equipping gear is a snap. You cant use skills outside of combat, so that means if you want to heal you have to use items, which is sort of lame. Saving heals all HP/AP though, so its not a big deal.

You have 2 characters pretty much right from the start getting a third about halfway through chapter 1 and a fourth at the end.

Evil mode is kind of cool, but it sounds better than it ends up being. Its just a series of battles, one after another with no fanfare, cutscenes, text, none of that. For example my first fight I was 3 orcs vs 3 heroes. The combat mechanics are the same, except you are fighting as the enemy and have access to the abilities they used against you in the related chapter. Damage is toned down for both sides, but moreso for the good guys. They also have less HP. So, it was not very challenging.

The first two battles I played as orcs, the third I played as a Cave Troll and the last a Nazgul. The AI does not play like a human would (ie. focusing fire, healing all the time, etc.) so that is another reason why it is easy. The Cave Troll especially beat ass. I suspect that if you lose one fight here you have to replay all of them, but I am not sure. After winning the fourth fight you choose a save game and some unlocked items are added to it.

The strat guide is a typical Prima disappointment so far. I found a bunch of typos and errors reading the non-walkthrough stuff in the days leading up to the game's release. The walkthrough sections has a map for each chapter, with quest relevant areas numbered and indexed below the map. It also shows save points. It does not show chests, or fixed encounters although the text will refer to them if you read along. The maps here are not as helpful as they could be. Each one is a birds eye view of the region but since there is no map in the game aside from the minimap, you dont have often have a good reference point.

Overall its a fun game, but its very plain. The most novel feature, evil mode, is underdeveloped.  One of the things that had me excited about this game was the look and setting.  Not so much Tolkien, just anything 'serious' as compared to most typical japanese RPG.  In that regard the game does not disappoint.  The look is all traditional western fantasy which is so refreshing to me in a sea of games featuring little kids and talking furry things.

If you are a fan of console RPGs and LOTR I think you will like the game.  If you are a fan of one and not the other...I dont know.  Rent it or borrow it first.  If you are a fan of neither, then stay away.

olaf
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« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2004, 08:47:02 PM »

I don't really get the "rpg lite" comment.  Console RPGs have gotten more story-based lately, but there are plenty of RPGs that are more focused on combat than story, and most RPGs these days are easy enough that you never have to "power-level" and I've never seen them called "lite".  As for difficulty, the "hard" difficulty level is supposed to be suitably challenging.
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« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2004, 08:51:30 PM »

Great writeup Olaf.

Any idea how many Chapters?  Over on OO Andy mentioned that he made it to (or through) the Mines of Moria in about 6 hours of playing which seemed relativly soon in the game to me.  If you're already done with the first chapter and its associated "Evil Mode" I wonder if the gameplay time estimates aren't a bit off?
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« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2004, 08:57:52 PM »

Quote from: "Andrew Mallon"
Quote
Either way-I made a statement-if Xenosaga is your example of the best PS2 RPG-I don't respect your opinions on the matter. If that is bashing, then dear god people, grow some thicker skin. I did not attack him one iota. If you tell me, Rage, your believing that PS:T is the best PC rgp ever makes so little sense I can't respect your opinion, why would I for one second take that personally. Come on now guys, stop looking for fights where there are none.


I am simply saying that there are more polite ways to express your opinion on the subject than you chose to do. Let's not let CG be as uncivil as GG was near the end.


Understood. I wanted my post to be a harsh, funny, witty indictment of Xenosaga, not an unintentionally nasty or ill-natured attack on another forum member.

I am all for keeping CG civil, and wholeheartedly support that ideal.
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« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2004, 11:04:45 PM »

There are nine chapters I think.  Three episodes with three chapters a piece.  So based on how long it took me to get through one chapter (~3 hours), I am guessing this is a 20-30 hour game for most people.  Unless some of the later chapters get a lot longer, I doubt it though.  The strat guide has about 65 pages of walkthrough text, 8 of those are for chapter 1.

olaf
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« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2004, 12:15:33 AM »

Olaf, is there any towns or NPC interactions or does the game just take you from dungeon to dungeon?
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« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2004, 03:26:46 AM »

Quote from: "Rage"
I was not teeing off on vagaband, although anyone who has ever attempted to have a rational conversation with him on this site or GG (As eldergamer) would understand the futility of trying to actually discuss games.



You are entitled to your opinion about Xenosaga, although nobody I know of that disliked it, actually played it very much of it at all.  I would like to know when on this board I have lacked in the rationale department? Also, I would doubt your opinion based on the fact your response was immature and terse. It is pathetic to assume somebody here is somebody else from wherever and tie them with baggage they don't deserve, unless they tell you so as well.
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« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2004, 03:29:48 AM »

[/quote]Not to burst your bubble, but Suikoden IV is supposed to be pretty disappointing.  At least that's the buzz from Japan.[/quote]

This from a country in which horse racing and virtual dating are the hottest game titles.  biggrin
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« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2004, 03:35:09 AM »

[/quote]

Well said.

I loved Xenosaga, but can see how people might be turned off by the long cutscenes.  That's hardly a reason to tee off on somebody about it.[/quote]


Well, I can understand most of the young people these days have ADD or at least act like it all the time. I don't play mario cart either. For those with an IQ high enough to appreciate a deep storyline it was great. Also the combat and character development was excellent. But for the attentionally challenged there were more than 2 stats for them to keep track of. biggrin
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« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2004, 03:42:55 AM »

Vagabond-
Anyone that knows you from GG knows that you and Eldergamer are one and the same. Thats fine-its irrelevant either way.

The fact that you IMMEDIATELY jump to "defend" yourself by calling me immature (what, pray tell, that I said was immature oh bastion of all that is mature?), terse (thats a fault now?), and then the following gem:

Quote
Well, I can understand most of the young people these days have ADD or at least act like it all the time. I don't play mario cart either. For those with an IQ high enough to appreciate a deep storyline it was great. Also the combat and character development was excellent. But for the attentionally challenged there were more than 2 stats for them to keep track of.


In this little ditty you call me, Ebonstone, and many many others ADD, arbitrarily decide we have low IQ's, presume that your opinion of the quality of the story is fact, and then assume that anyone who doesn't like the game can't handle more than two stats.

Really, all logic crumbles before the might of your fiery intellect.

Just a quick edit to ask an honest question: have you ever responded to someone who disagrees with you with a response other than an ad hominem attack?
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vagabond
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« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2004, 03:48:28 AM »

Quote from: "Rage"
Vagabond-
Anyone that knows you from GG knows that you and Eldergamer are one and the same. Thats fine-its irrelevant either way.

The fact that you IMMEDIATELY jump to "defend" yourself by calling me immature (what, pray tell, that I said was immature oh bastion of all that is mature?), terse (thats a fault now?), and then the following gem:



You don't KNOW anything, you speculate and consider that a fact. Thus why you are immature. Apparently it isn't irrelevant otherwise you wouldn't have brought it up in the first place. I have no need to defend myself from the likes of you. I didn't call you immature, I just pointed out the flare with "immature" on it you fired up in the air with your words.
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« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2004, 03:51:57 AM »

Quote from: "Rage"
Vagabond-
In this little ditty you call me, Ebonstone, and many many others ADD, arbitrarily decide we have low IQ's, presume that your opinion of the quality of the story is fact, and then assume that anyone who doesn't like the game can't handle more than two stats.

Really, all logic crumbles before the might of your fiery intellect.

Just a quick edit to ask an honest question: have you ever responded to someone who disagrees with you with a response other than an ad hominem attack?



You need to gain a sense of humor along with your maturity. If only you were sincere about the intellect, perhaps you might be able to gain some. You need to ask yourself the last question mr. hypocrite. Only person around here making ad hominem attacks currently is yourself.
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Calvin
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« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2004, 03:59:22 AM »

Really? I am not attacking you to deflect attention from the argument about Xenosaga. I realize that since a final consideration of the value of the game is purely based on personal opinion that there is no point futilely arguing with you over the merits of the game.

Thus, I set out to demonstrate to you the incontrivertable fact that you chose to attack me instead of my opinions on the game.

As for a sense of humor, well, you gave me no indication other than that lone smilely that you were trying to be funny, indeed, having seen you project constant rudeness, vitriol, and throwing tired tantrums in console RPG discussions on GG and this forum, I had no reason to believe you were trying to funny. Also, I find it somewhat amusing that you equate a lack of a sense of humor with lack of maturity, apparently I am forced to display maturity by having a basic command of both the language and logical reasoning, two things that you, unfortunately, seem to lack.

In conclusion, in case you still do not understand what an ad hominem attack is, I am not attacking you to try to prove my point in an argument about something (in this case, Xenosaga). No, instead, I chose to attack your abrasive, rude, holier-than-thou posting style that has created flame wars now on two message boards.

Bravo sir!
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« Reply #36 on: November 03, 2004, 04:05:07 AM »

No need to respond to you further, you have damned yourself more than sufficiently with your own words. I also got better things to do. Unlike you apparently.
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« Reply #37 on: November 03, 2004, 04:30:01 AM »

Quote from: "Andrew Mallon"
Olaf, is there any towns or NPC interactions or does the game just take you from dungeon to dungeon?

I am only on the second chapter, but so far there havent been any NPC interactions at all.  There are definitely not any shops, and it doesnt look like there are any NPCs to talk to either.  The plot is advanced via cut scenes, which are triggered at certain locations or after certain fights.  Most of the cutscenes are edited film footage from the trilogy with new voice over by Gandalf.  There are also engine cutscenes, where your party talks amongst each other, usually introducing or wrapping up quests.

olaf
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EddieA
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« Reply #38 on: November 03, 2004, 06:33:55 AM »

I've seen some movies where there is some NPC interaction, so that apparently comes later in the game.

TeamXBox has also posted their review, giving it 8.4/10.
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Sepiche
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« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2004, 03:15:09 PM »

I picked it up yesterday and, after a few hours, I'm having a blast.  I've got 4 of my companions now and just recently got into Moria.  It's really pretty much exactly as billed, FF gameplay with a tasty LotR candy coating.

I'll also point out that there is a difficulty adjuster.  So far I've been playing on Normal and it's been about right.  A few tougher battles, a few easier ones.

I haven't tried it yet, but there is also coop play of some sort.

Graphics are very impressive, and the character models updating as they get new equipment looks great.  The battles themselves are well done and interesting.  Character advancing is solid and there are lots of different skill trees to advance up.

The much vaunted "play as evil" option appears to be just some battles series you unlock as you go through the game.  After certain points you canback out to the main menu, and play a few battles against your party as the creatures they encounter.  It's amusing and you get free stuff out of it, but it's not exactly what they were billing it as.  Perhaps it gets more involved later, but not so far.

Overall a really solid game so far with excellent production value and some fun gameplay.

s
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And when he had failed to find these boons in things whose laws are known and measurable, they told him he lacked imagination, and was immature because he preferred dream-illusions to the illusions of our physical creation
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