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3001  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Ridicule me if you must.... on: July 07, 2007, 07:08:44 PM
Quote from: JSL
RE4 is probably a good choice, but I have not played it yet. I am getting it soon, so I can comment more on it later.

If you liked it on the GameCube or PlayStation 2, you'll *love* it on the Wii.  The controls are spot-on perfect for the game, but you can even connect a classic controller if you get the urge to play it with the original style.  Even if you weren't a big of the game before, I'd recommend at least renting it to see what a difference the new aiming system makes!  thumbsup

If you haven't played RE4 before, your opinion will be more difficult to predict.  It's not a traditional Resident Evil game, a standard run-and-gun shooter, or a Ghost Recon-style tactical game -- it's a pretty unique style of "survival action" where you'll solve most problems by putting a few bullets into anything that moves, but ammunition is scarce enough that you'll want to place your shots very carefully.  I think it's a clever and very enjoyable spin on a franchise I've never previously liked, but your mileage may vary.

-Autistic Angel
3002  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Ridicule me if you must.... on: July 07, 2007, 06:33:20 PM
Personally, my Nintendo Wii has gotten more use in the last few months than any of my other systems.  I am not saying it's the best system, but between Super Paper Mario, Twilight Princess and Resident Evil 4, its current library of games has really captured my interest.  I'd probably already have Godfather: Blackhand if I weren't caught up in other games, and I can't wait for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption later this year.

I agree with kronovan: although I like these games, I'm not sure I could recommend them to you without knowing more about what other sorts of things you like to play.

I use Nintendo's official component cables, but many people have said that the GameStop-brand ones cost less and work perfectly fine.  Regardless of your choice, you should see an increase in sharpness and color vibrancy compared to the regular cables.

Finally, you should know that some people are reporting that using the Wii Connect24 feature while the system is in standby mode is causing them to overheat and malfunction.  There are much more specific details in this thread, and reading through them convinced me to disable that feature for now.  As a new owner, I thought you'd want to know in advance!  icon_cool

-Autistic Angel
3003  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Second 'Civ 4' Expansion Announced on: July 07, 2007, 01:33:20 PM
IGN posted an interesting hands-on article about Beyond the Sword that delves into some of the new diplomatic and espionage mechanics.  I was most interested in a section they had about the new colonization system since I hadn't heard about it before.

Here's the relevant excerpt from the article:

Quote from: IGN
Big empires that have been hard to manage before are going to be even more trouble in the expansion. In addition to the regular maintenance costs, you will now also incur a significant additional cost for cities that aren't on the same continent as your capital. It's not much of a problem for a handful of overseas colonies, but once you actually establish a mini-empire on another continent, you're going to find yourself losing money.

The answer is to visit your Domestic Advisor and make the cities on the new continent into a colony. The new colony is assigned a new leader and civilization and becomes a vassal to its parent civilization. The AI takes charge of the colony from then on but still allows the player who created them to make use of whatever resources they hold. So if you settle on a distant continent and find rich resource fields there, creating a colony out of the new cities won't affect your access to those resources.

The colony begins life in a very friendly relationship with the parent civilization but from there you'll have to ensure that you do what you need to do to maintain that relationship. Colonies can eventually break completely free of their parent civilization at which point they stop contributing resources and can even become hostile. Smart players never let it get that bad, of course, and the colonies we've seen the AI establish have stayed allied with each other throughout the game.

I'm not sure how I feel about this yet.  If any of you have ever played a "Terra" map during an Epic- or Marathon-length game, you probably know how tough it can be to establish a foothold in the New World once the barbarians have had a few thousand years to establish a civilization of their own.  To be blunt, after spending a couple hundred turns sacrificing my troops to drive back their rampaging hordes and seizing their cities for myself, turning around and granting those cities quasi-independence from my empire is just about the last thing I'd be inclined to do.

This colonization feature makes a lot of logical sense, but it's the first thing in the expansion pack that I've wondered, "Hmmm...I wonder if there's an option to turn that off...?"

-Autistic Angel
3004  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PS3 price drop? on: July 06, 2007, 11:09:22 PM
Quote from: JSL
I would guess that someone who says, "When X, Y, and Z are out, I'll buy one.", like games X, Y, and Z. It could also be reputation of the games or just general interest. In the case of MGS4 or Ratchet & Clank it is probably based on playing the past games, but for games like Heavenly Sword or Lair it is pretty screenshots and previews.

In the case of Ratchet & Clank, that's exactly right.  I've enjoyed every game in the series, and when you add the fact that Insomniac alread has one well-received PS3 game under their belt, I have high expectations for the new R&C game.

When it comes to Lair and Heavenly Sword, I list them as games with the *potential* to pursuade me into buying the system.  This is because

1) they're not coming out for the X-Box 360,

2) they look like they could turn out well, and

3) they look like the type of game I would enjoy.

So yes, it would be fair to say that I cite them as interesting games because of screenshots and previews, but if the final products don't bear out my beliefs about them, it's easy to just set my sights another few months down the line at the next set of releases....  icon_wink

-Autistic Angel
3005  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: New Xbox 360 warranty improvements on: July 06, 2007, 05:36:53 PM
I feel extremely fortunate, but so far there haven't been any problems at all with my 360 or the one I purchased for a friend from Purge.  I don't use mine as frequently as many people probably do, but I've completed games like Kameo, Perfect Dark: Zero, Dead Rising, DOA4 (unlocked all the characters and outfits and such), and Gears of War.  My system was once on for about 72-hours straight when I was making my marathon run through Dead Rising's survival mode, and still no problems.

The only thing I've ever seen was some odd red/blue distortion in Need for Speed: Most Wanted which went away after I powered down the console.  That was more than six months ago now, and I haven't seen any issues since.

(knocks on wood)

-Autistic Angel
3006  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Games for a slow day at work on: July 06, 2007, 05:10:10 PM
I like keeping a good turn-based strategy game on hand because they're convenient to turn away from at any moment and easy to pick back up once you can return to them.  To that end, Civ 4, GalCiv 2, Alpha Centauri, and the Pokemon, Advance Wars, and Fire Emblem games have all been perennial favorites.

Games you can easily pause in place are also good.  RPGs like Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale can be good in that regard, though if you haven't played them before, it can be hard to remember story details if you go a long time between play sessions.

-Autistic Angel
3007  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Iphone battery annoying people now on: July 06, 2007, 04:28:58 PM
Quote
When 99% of Enterprises use Exchange or Notes, I don't think you can possibly call the iPhone business friendly as of yet.

Most of the Enterprises I know of use fancy shmancy touchpad consoles that explode in your face at the first sign of trouble.  It's a good thing the iPhone doesn't have an EPS conduit running through it, am I right people?

...anyone?  retard

-Autistic Angel
3008  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Iphone battery annoying people now on: July 06, 2007, 02:39:55 PM
The iPhone also seems more likely to have private information on it.  It's pretty easy and safe to blank your iPod if you needed to, but since the iPhone is apparently* capable of accessing things like your e-mail at the push of a button, I'd be less enthusiastic about parting with one unless it was absolutely necessary.

* Note: I do not have an iPhone or an iPod, so consider this is purely one layman's opinion....

-Autistic Angel
3009  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS3] Ninja Gaiden Sigma - Why No Buzz? on: July 06, 2007, 01:43:23 PM
I can be easily frustrated by games that are extremely difficult.  It's one of a few reasons why I've never been able to get into the Devil May Cry series.

I don't remember feeling especially frustrated by Ninja Gaiden.  When I died, I didn't feel that it was because the game was unfair or the section was punitively hard, but because I had gotten sloppy and needed to do a better job.  The enemies are fast and powerful, but your character is always faster and even more powerful, and I always found that switching up tactics was a good way to learn how to deal with extremely difficult parts of the game.

The roll-jump-roll combination is critical -- it isn't hard to do, and it keeps you in constant motion so you can reposition yourself in battle without getting hit.  Remember that you'll jump straight towards the nearest enemy if you press "Jump" and "Light Attack" simultaneously, enabling you to properly execute moves like the Izuna Throw and thin out the number of enemies you have around you at all times.  I also recommend spending most of your money on permanent upgrades to your weapons, particularly the Dragon Sword, as opposed to one-time use items like the Second Life.

-Autistic Angel
3010  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Metroid Wii: No online play. on: July 06, 2007, 01:11:52 PM
Quote from: Purge
I'm hoping the new Metroid Prime has some suit upgrades like powerball spin etc.

No plot spoilers, but some information about what sorts of game play changes have been advertised so far:

Spoiler for Hiden:
From what I've read, Corruption will still have different visors appropriate for different situations, but will be replacing the ability to select between different beam weapons with a system more like the 2D Metroid games where beam upgrades are permanently active.  There will be upgrades for the grapple beam (presumably one that allows you to snag enemy shields and tear them away like in the E3 demonstrations) and a screw attack ability, as well as an ability to call in your gunship to provide aerial support.

Retro is also claiming that the new game will be faster paced than the previous Prime games and less difficult than Echoes.  I'm not sure how I feel about this yet because I thought the pacing of the first two games was ideal and didn't find Echoes particularly challenging until the very last boss, but I'm excited about the game nonetheless.

I haven't heard about any specific morph ball upgrades, but I'd be surprised if they cut out such a popular addition to the franchise.

-Autistic Angel
3011  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Metroid Wii: No online play. on: July 04, 2007, 07:13:43 PM
I don't think I can precisely quantify this for you, but I feel that some games simply deserve to be owned.  X-Com, A Link to the Past, Psychonauts -- these are games which have *earned* my money, and I value having them here on my shelf far more than I would the few dollars they'd be worth on the market.

I also tend to play older games quite frequently.  Just in the last year or so, I've spent a great deal of time replaying Alpha Centauri, Halo, Ninja Gaiden: Black, Baldur's Gate, and FreeSpace 2.  This is in addition to newer titles like Supreme Commander and Super Paper Mario, so it should be no wonder that I'm still playing them long after other people have finished and moved on.  Tongue

-Autistic Angel
3012  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS3] Ninja Gaiden Sigma - Why No Buzz? on: July 04, 2007, 05:30:44 PM
Quote from: kronovan
I know I'll eventually own a PS3 and this is one game I'm looking forward to playing when that day comes.

If Sigma were an all-new Ninja Gaiden game, I would have purchased a PS3 in order to play it the moment it was released.  I'll definitely pick up this enhanced remake once there are enough other games to get me excited about buying the system, but since I already own this game twice over on the X-Box, it isn't enough all by itself.

Perhaps after Heavenly Sword, Lair and Ratchet & Clank Future are on the shelves....

-Autistic Angel
3013  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Metroid Wii: No online play. on: July 04, 2007, 04:55:58 PM
I never tried playing multiplayer in either Hunters or Echoes because the very idea seemed unappealing.  To continue a comparison from earlier in the thread, it seemed like trying to crowbar multiplayer into Thief -- you could probably set up a couple arenas for people to run around in, but there's no way to implement it without a radical departure from all the game play conventions that define the franchise.

I enjoyed Echoes every bit as much as the original Prime, but even the single player portion of Hunters failed to grab me.  It wasn't developed by Retro Studios and it showed: the game was very linear and the DS controls were uncomfortable and cumbersome compared to the GameCube entries.

-Autistic Angel

3014  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wii Component Cable - is it worth it? on: July 03, 2007, 11:56:09 PM
Quote from: Kevin Grey
As-is, no I wouldn't trade Gears visuals for Wii controls.  The Wii controls work so well in RE4 because the combat systems are designed around precision- strategy depends on whether you shoot for the head, shoot for knees, the body, shoot weapons out of hands, all at a rapid pace with numerous enemies closing in on you, and all but one piece of your arsenal is not an automatic weapon.  On the "conventional" consoles version of the game there was a gap between what you wanted to do and being able to execute it.  That gap is almost completely closed in the Wii version making it truly the definitive version of the game.

Gears is a different story- precision isn't as important since the game doesn't reward targeting individual body parts to nearly the same degree.  Enemies are also very large and hard to miss and most of the time you'll be using automatic weapons.  Outside of the awkward grenade throwing mechanic, controls in the game are pretty much perfect.

Although I still think I'd enjoy a good Wii version of GoW, I don't disagree with a single part of your analysis.  Very well stated!

My biggest problem with GoW is that I wished there was even more of it. Tongue

-Autistic Angel
3015  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Metroid Wii: No online play. on: July 03, 2007, 10:12:59 PM
Honestly, I'd never even heard online multiplayers was even a rumor for MP3.  This game is going to live or die based on the quality of its controls and the immersiveness of its world, and I just pray they can deliver an experience that's as great as the original.

-Autistic Angel
3016  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wii Component Cable - is it worth it? on: July 03, 2007, 09:48:34 PM
Quote from: Kevin Grey
I think the console is still too young- to make such definitive comments I think we need to see games that are very much like we've seen on other consoles but are unquestionably elevated by it's control scheme.  RE4 doesn't do that to me because it's still kind of it's own thing- it's a third person action game but the controls even on "conventional" systems like Cube and PS2 are still pretty unique so while I have no trouble saying that the visual tradeoffs were more than worth it to port it to Wii instead of 360, I'm not going to say that the same would hold true of something like Gears of War.

Well, let's take Gears of War as an example.  I have absolutely no idea if the superior aiming controls would ultimately make up for the massive loss in visual quality, but I don't doubt for a minute that in the hands of a good design team, the controls *would* be superior.  Do you?  If you've played RE:4, can't you imagine a very similar control scheme being adopted for a port of GoW and giving you far greater control over your field of fire?  If we could take graphics out of the equation, that would be an upgrade I'd be happy to pay for!

Obviously, in the real world, we can't actually take graphics out of the equation.  No one here is trying to argue that the Wii is visually on par with the 360 -- I just have my doubts about how much that really matters.

When I look at the Wii, I see some great games with fantastic controls that I have an absolute blast playing.  When I look at the 360, I see a whole different set of great games with with great graphics that are a lot of fun to play.  

Then I look at the PS3 where I see pretty much the same games as the 360 with pretty much the same graphics as the 360, except with a slightly less comfortable controller, no force feedback, and a $600 price tag.  I want to make it clear that I have nothing against the PS3 as a system, but personally, I see little reason to pick it up right now.  If the PS3 were as distinct from the 360 as the Wii is, I bet I'd already own one.

The point is: I *like* the fact that my Wii and my 360 offer totally different gaming experiences, and the idea of grousing about one's "crappy graphics" or the other's "ancient control scheme" seems like a pretty useless endeavor.  So long as the Wii is putting out games with cool, innovative controls, the 360 is releasing games that look fantastic, and *both* are a lot of fun to play, I'm happy!  icon_cool

Quote from: kronovan
What I like about a console from Nintendo is that you know they're going to deliver close to that many AAA titles singlehandedly; such is their software pedigree. The fact that the Wii's graphics are sub-par to the other systems doesn't worry me because I'm confident Nintendo will bring me some amazing game experiences. I bought a N64 when 3rd party support literally fell out from under Big N and yet at the end of the day I was still happy to have made the purchase.

I completely agree.  I purchased my Wii at launch, and at the risk of being accused of more exaggeration, I'd have to say that my time with Twilight Princess, Resident Evil 4, Super Paper Mario, and yes, Wii Sports has already justified the cost of the unit.  With Metroid Prime 3, Super Mario Galaxies, Super Smash Brothers: Brawl, and Fire Emblem still on the horizon, I'm feeling pretty damn good about the future.

-Autistic Angel
3017  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wii Component Cable - is it worth it? on: July 03, 2007, 08:17:53 PM
Quote from: Kevin Grey
I'll withdraw the bulk of my comment since I didn't read the entire context of what I quoted and I'm not prone to using hyperbole like "compelling substance and unparalleled style" or even agreeing with it.

Quote from: Autistic Angel
I'm curious to know which part you consider hyperbole: the idea that the Wii has some compelling, substantive games that are extremely fun to play, or the statement that the control scheme offers a style of game play that is unique among its peers and improves on the experience?

Quote from: Kevin Grey
Specifically "unparalleled style"- way too wide ranging and definitive.

I have a friend who flatly refuses to play any sort of shooter on a console.  He's great at sports games and even realistic racers like Forza, but for some reason he just can't make the connection between his brain and his fingers to line up a crosshairs on a moving target with an analog stick.  If the river rafting sequence in Twilight Princess would frustrate him, RE:4 would drive him to pitch his GameCube controller against the nearest wall.  Between you and me, I think he just gets overly frustrated when he encounters something that he doesn't instantly excel at, but games are usually more fun if you feel like you're good at them.

But take those games and put them on the Wii where aiming at a target is as easy as pointing at it, and I'd bet you he'd have a much better time.  Neither game has been dumbed down at all, but by simply adopting a more intuitive control scheme, they suddenly become less artificial, less constrictive, and more fun to play.

If you took RE:4 from the GameCube and ported it over to the 360 and PS3 with an all-new graphics engine, you'd wind up with a much prettier version of the exact same great game.  Sure, it's better for the effort, but when you port it over to the Wii instead, you transform the game play itself to produce an experience which is fundamentally more fun.

I stand by my statement that the Wii offers an unmatched style of game play compared to the more traditional consoles, just as I would have stood by a statement that the 360 offered better visuals than any other console when it was released.  As I said to Purge, that doesn't mean that every Wii game controls like a dream, nor that every 360 game has the technical prowess of Ninja Gaiden Black and the artistry of ICO, but the awesome potential of these systems is already being actively showcased by their best games. 

Isn't that how we gauge the quality of our systems? After all, if we judged each one by the worst games they had available, wouldn't we have to classify everything as a failure?

-Autistic Angel
3018  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wii Component Cable - is it worth it? on: July 03, 2007, 07:00:31 PM
Quote from: Purge
You take Zelda and RE4 (considered A+ titles) and compare them to 360 average titles? I'm sorry, but the bottom of the barrel on the Wii is much lower than the 360 right now, and as it stands some games on the Wii shouldn't be released at more than 20USD to even justify the shelf-space. I own both consoles, and I have gripes over both of them. 360 hardware failures vs Wii software failures.

I'm not trying to argue that the Wii has fewer bad games than the 360 or that its mediocre titles are somehow better than they would be on a different system; I'm arguing against the idea that it's less advanced graphics somehow make it an inferior platform.  When a game is as good as Gears of War, I don't find myself wishing it had Wii-mote controls, and when a game is as good as Twilight Princess, I'm not mourning how much better it would have looked in 1080i.  There are a number of ways in which those games could be improved, but neither of those options strike me as important.

Look at FarCry: Instincts for the Wii.  That game is lousy in every category, but if you could choose to improve the graphics *or* the braindead AI and annoying controls, which would take precedence?  Sharp visuals are great, but they don't mean much if the game isn't any fun to play.  My point is that the reverse is also true: Devil's complaint about the Wii's "crappy graphics" might be technically true when compared to the other consoles, but it doesn't mean anything to me about its quality and potential as a platform.

Quote from: Kevin Grey
I'll withdraw the bulk of my comment since I didn't read the entire context of what I quoted and I'm not prone to using hyperbole like "compelling substance and unparalleled style" or even agreeing with it.

I'm curious to know which part you consider hyperbole: the idea that the Wii has some compelling, substantive games that are extremely fun to play, or the statement that the control scheme offers a style of game play that is unique among its peers and improves on the experience?

-Autistic Angel
3019  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wii Component Cable - is it worth it? on: July 03, 2007, 05:57:25 PM
Quote from: Laner
What do those qualities have to do with the Wii, though? Were RE4 and Zelda worse on the GC?

I'd hesitate to say that they were "worse" on the GameCube since that tends to suggest that they're unsatisfying or not fun to play on that system, but I'd be very comfortable saying that both games are "even better" on the Wii.  There are a few graphical improvements such as the true widescreen support, but the real improvement is in the controls.

It's fun to deride the sword play in Twilight Princess with the phrase "waggle controls", but the projectile aiming is so my faster and more intuitive with the Wii-mote that there are segments of the game that I simply cannot imagine trying to do with traditional analog stick controls.  I've manually pulled off incredibly tricky shots while riding Epona at full speed that I *never* could have done with a normal controller, and whether or not such things are "necessary" to the game play, they sure make it a lot of fun!  If I were to choose between playing Zelda with the 360's graphics or the Wii's controls, I'd pick the latter.

By contrast, RE:4 is a game where manual aiming is central to the entire game, and the benefit of playing this game on the Wii is astounding.  You simply can't match this level of precision with a traditional controller.  This game was a blast to play on the GameCube, but the Wii version vastly improves the experience without sacrificing a thing in the process.

We've all heard the phrase, "Good graphics don't make a good game, but bad graphics can ruin one."  Some people feel that the Wii suffers because is eschewed HD graphics capability in favor of an ambitious control scheme and a low price point.  I disagree, and if developers can continue to capitalize on the Wii's unique strengths to produce games that are this much fun to play, it could very well be my favorite system of this generation.

-Autistic Angel
3020  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Indigo Prophecy] I'm not sure what I just "played" was a "game" on: July 03, 2007, 05:04:27 PM
Yeah, it's been a while since I achieved the "perfect ending" in Indigo Prophecy, but from what I remember....

Spoiler for Hiden:
...it's established that Lucas' pale, withering body is ice-cold to the touch during the same scene wher he and Carla decide to have sex.  I can empathize with the urge for comfort sex, what with it being the end of the world and all, but the idea of doing it with a stone cold corpse just doesn't sit right. banned

-Autistic Angel
3021  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wii Component Cable - is it worth it? on: July 03, 2007, 04:57:57 PM
Quote from: kronovan
Quote from: Devil
Yep - It lets you clearly see how crappy the Wii's graphics are. The jaggies will be so sharp that you might get cut.

I take it then that you haven't gotten around to playing RE 4 on the Wii yet?

Even if he has, Devil would be correct in pointing out that the graphics of Resident Evil 4 on the Wii are nowhere near as crisp and detailed as the average 360 or PS3 game.

The problem would be if he tried to argue that the Wii's "crappy graphics" somehow diminish the unique and incredibly satisfying game play experience it offers.  Personally, I would take my experience with RE4 or Twilight Princess over those average "next-gen" games any day of the week.  There are many games I enjoy on my 360, but the Wii's combination of compelling substance and unparalleled style is solid proof that bleeding-edge graphics aren't required to produce one hell of a kick-ass game.

-Autistic Angel
3022  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Libby goes free! On a scooter, just to make it funny. on: July 03, 2007, 04:33:04 PM
Quote from: Mr. Fed
Quote from: Autistic Angel
I like the idea that the conservative base can be effectively mollified by having one rich and powerful guy let another rich and powerful guy off the hook for repeatedly lying to federal prosecutors about a case of potential treason.  

"Boy, I'll admit I was starting to have my doubts about Bush after these last six years of empty promises and failed policies, but when I heard on Fox News that he'd commuted the sentence of that rich white guy, I knew his heart was still in the right place!"

How about "I've heard on Fox News for years how this Plame investigation is bogus -- a politcally motivated smear job by the Democrat party.  They convicted a guy who didn't do anything, Fox says.  And CLINTON GOT A BLOW JOB.  Anyway, I like it how Bush stuck it to the liberals here.  Ha!  Liberals.  So liberal."

Touché.  Still, substituting blind partisan loyalty with even blinder, even more partisan loyalty doesn't mitigate the fact that the conservative base is allegedly willing to shift their approval of the president based on vague perceptions of his character rather than actual results.

It's only a matter of time before someone shows up in this thread to complain that Libby's conviction was based solely on the testimony of Tim Russert, "a notorious and unapologetic member of the liberal media elite."  You and I both know that the prosecution had sworn testimony from eight or nine other people who directly contradicted Libby's statements, including former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, but we also know that such information is unlikely to sway the opinion of someone sheltered enough to believe such talking points in the first place.

No matter how devotedly a person focuses themselves on the talking points of their favored ideology, shouldn't there come a point when they develop enough self-awareness to examine whether or not their support has been well placed?  Regardless of the political spin offered by Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter, surely conservatives are capable of comparing the promises and predictions of yesterday to the realities of today and recognizing the pattern of the last six years!  Even if a person believes Scooter Libby's commuted sentence represents a great way to "stick it to the liberals," how on Earth would that excuse this administration's track record on everything else?

I'm sure there are tons of examples where liberal democrats have been pacified by token political statements in lieu of actual solutions, but it's tough to imagine an example where the token statement could be any more divorced from a real beneficial result than it is here.  Scooter Libby gets out jail, so that means...what?  Bush is standing up to the democrats?  Our troops can finally stop playing rock-paper-scissors to see who gets the body armor today?  Iraq really did have WMDs?

As victories go, this one is particularly hollow.  I can't even tell who is supposed to have "won" (except for Libby, of course), and that's what's making it so hard for me to understand why the republican base would be ginned up about this issue at all.  The idea that this maneuver would help Bush's approval ratings at all is truly baffling to me.

I wish you would post on this forum more frequently, Mr. Fed.

-Autistic Angel
3023  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Libby goes free! On a scooter, just to make it funny. on: July 03, 2007, 02:00:39 PM
Quote from: denoginizer
It really doesn't have to do with Libby at all.  Bush is trying to win back his base after the immigration bill's failure to get passed.

I like the idea that the conservative base can be effectively mollified by having one rich and powerful guy let another rich and powerful guy off the hook for repeatedly lying to federal prosecutors about a case of potential treason. 

"Boy, I'll admit I was starting to have my doubts about Bush after these last six years of empty promises and failed policies, but when I heard on Fox News that he'd commuted the sentence of that rich white guy, I knew his heart was still in the right place!"

-Autistic Angel
3024  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wiik-ly VC Update on: July 02, 2007, 04:55:29 PM
Yeah, it really should be "Wii-kly."  The hyphen is used in this case to connect a noun with its modifier suffix, and since the noun in question is "Wii", the dangling 'k' should be placed on the opposite side of the punctuation.

-Autistic Angel
3025  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Indigo Prophecy] I'm not sure what I just "played" was a "game" on: July 02, 2007, 03:51:17 AM
I think Indigo Prophecy is the realization of the "interactive movie" buzzword that everybody was so hyped up about in the early 90's.  It's designed from scratch with a unique purpose in mind and I think it does a good job at achieving its goals, but I agree that it doesn't qualify as a game in any traditional sense.

Oh, and the story really does come completely off the rails in the final act.  I remember physically cringing at the part where

Spoiler for Hiden:
Carla has sex with Lucas, despite the fact that it's well established by that point that he's literally a walking corpse who's ice-cold to the touch.

eek

I liked Indigo Prophecy quite a bit despite its faults, but it's got nothing on Dreamfall.  Unless you just outright hate the idea of a semi-interactive story, you should try that one out sometime!  icon_cool

-Autistic Angel
3026  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wii Component Cable - is it worth it? on: June 30, 2007, 01:51:13 PM
I agree.  I was stuck with the standard composite cables during the first few weeks that I had the Wii, and the upgrade to the official component cables even made Wii Sports look better.  I'd say that they're absolutely worth it!

-Autistic Angel
3027  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Weekend Playlist -- A Rare Gift for Obfuscation (6/29/07) on: June 29, 2007, 03:47:55 PM
I'm still playing Zelda: Twilight Princess on the Wii and still having a fantastic time.  I can't say anything better about it than I already have except that those impressions are still holding strong.

I'm also still playing Resident Evil 4 for the Wii.  I'm a lot slower than most people: I've only just reached chapter 3-...1?  2?  I don't remember, but as everyone has stated already in the main thread, this game *rocks* on the Wii and positively should not be missed.  I hope to God the next entry in Resident Evil series handles this well, much less the upcoming Metroid Prime 3...!

Finally, I'm still playing a lot of Galactic Civilizations 2: Dark Avatar and the Sins of a Solar Empire beta for the PC, and I'm strongly tempted to reinstall Civilization 4 in preparation for the upcoming expansion pack.  I have a partial pre-order down for The Darkness for the X-Box 360, but since the combined reviews and impressions here have been little better than lukewarm and I'm having so much fun with the games I'm already playing, I doubt I'll pick it up.

-Autistic Angel
3028  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sins of a Solar Empire - Beta Musings on: June 29, 2007, 03:36:03 PM
Quote from: wonderpug
I get the feeling they want this to be a combat oriented game, so it's it's a tough balance to make culture a compelling game mechanic without turning the game into Civilization in Space.

In Civilization, culture is a separate concept from warfare.  There are a few combat advantages, such as units that heal more quickly when they're on their home turf, but for the most part, culture is used to define your empire's borders and say, "This belongs to me."

In Sins, culture is directly linked to conquest by boosting your own economy, undermining your enemies, and enhancing your battle performance.  Even the idea of deploying Propaganda Cruisers to undermine foreign morale goes directly towards aggressively and forcibly seizing territory from others.  There's no concept of "imperial borders" because you're only assumed to own the gravity well surrounding your existing colonies.

I think wonderpug is right that Sins is inherently a combat-oriented game and that this focus should be preserved, but I really like Arkon's ideas for expanding the current mechanic.  So long as culture is used as a tool boosting one empire's military performance at the expense of their opponents', I think they'd really need to *radically* overhaul things before it start feeling like "Civ in Space."

-Autistic Angel
3029  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 'Transformers' - Spoilers Flagged on: June 29, 2007, 02:59:48 PM
Quote from: CeeKay
how did you get lucky enough to see it?  Talk before we have to go all Jack Bauer on you!

A friend of my sister works as a movie reviewer, so she gave me a pair of tickets for the press screening here last night.  That part of the story probably isn't very interesting, so I'll tack on a part about how she probably gave me her tickets because I paid to have her cat's jaw wired back together.

Quote from: whiteboyskim
Did you see it at the Alamo Drafthouse screening with the giant fire-breathing Transformer outside?

No, I saw it in Connecticut where the giant Transformer outside was silently weeping about global warming.

I'd like to expand on my criticism of the late-movie dialogue, but I'll flag it because it does delve into some of the plot:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Near the end of the movie, Megatron snarls that humanity isn't worthy of Optimus Prime's protection, and Prime replies, "Humans deserve to choose for themselves!"  Even if we set aside the fact that this is a non-sequitur, it does beg the question of how Prime developed this opinion -- he'd only been on Earth for about 18 hours at this point, and most of the people he'd encountered were acting like megalmaniacal lunatics.

It's true that the Autobots had had more contact with Earth prior to this point, but really: if all you knew about humanity was what you could glean by browsing the internet, would you *really* conclude that this porn-addled species is worth laying down your life for?

Earlier in the movie, one of the Autobots even questions why they shouldn't kill humans who get in their way, and Prime's response is something like, "Because we don't do that."  Okay, fine...but why not?  Is there some sort of Autobot "prime directive?"  Have they ever even encountered biological life forms before?  Optimus Prime seems awfully willing to risk the failure of his mission and even sacrifice members of his team just to protect a native species he's only just met....

We don't need a lengthy monologue on Transformer history here, but a *little* character establishment would have been appreciated.

It's not really *that* big a deal; I'm just opining on ways that a pretty good movie could have been made truly excellent.

-Autistic Angel
3030  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / 'Transformers' - Spoilers Flagged on: June 29, 2007, 03:35:47 AM
No spoilers here; I'll flag them in future posts if any come up.

The good:

 thumbsup The plot was a lot more developed than I was expecting.  Based on the trailers you'd think this movie was all about large shards of jagged metal punching each other for two hours, but fortunately there's a clear and interesting story progression that does a good job of setting the stage for the action.  Transformers fans should be pleased.

 thumbsup The pacing was excellent.  Not so much downtime so you'd start crying about when they'll get to the fireworks factory, and not so much mindless action that the whole thing is like watching a videogame.  The movie strikes a good balance between plot development and big explosions; it's fun to watch.

 thumbsup The special effects are absolutely top-notch.  I didn't care much for the new "razor-sharp slivers of serrated chrome" aesthetic when I first saw the trailers, but once you get a chance to see the effects in context with all the incredible detail work they put into making every single piece articulate so precisely, I'm really impressed.  Plus, some stuff blows up.

 thumbsup The action is, on the whole, very good.  I think the sequences near the beginning of the film play out better than the later ones because they have fewer players and happen on a slightly more manageable scale, but I'm happy to say that even the larger battles are clearly defined.  Compared to the later Star Wars movies where there was *so* much happening on screen that everything blended together into one gigantic CGI blur, Transformers is a great summer popcorn flick!

 thumbsup Lots of nods to the original series.  If you're a Transformers fan, there's enough service here to make you happy. nod

The bad:

 thumbsdown Though funny, I doubt the humor is going to stand up to repeat viewings.  John Turturro's character in particular is played with *much* too much silliness, detracting from pivotal scenes where a more mature approach would have better served the plot.

 thumbsdown On a similar note, some of the dialogue is terribly stilted and out of place.  It's like somebody suddenly decided that it wasn't sufficiently clear *why* the Autobots are good and the Decepticons are bad, so the producers decided to cram a few "explainer lines" here and there.  Unfortunately this has the exact opposite effect: by raising the question of why the Autobots want to protect humanity but leaving the rationale so poorly stated, the sloppy writing is even more self-evident.  A little less silly humor and a little more character interaction between the Transformers themselves could have gone a long way here.

 thumbsdown The lack of character development for the individual Transformers means that the audience has little emotional connection to anything that happens to them.  The movie seems to realize this and tries to keep the core of the story centered on why humanity should care about the outcome of this alien war, but it's disappointing to realize that only die-hard fans would be able to name more than three or four of the robotic characters by the end of the movie.

I went into Transformers expecting very, very little, and I was quite pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  Overall, I'd give the experience a solid B.  If you find yourself in the mood for a light popcorn action flick this coming week, check it out!

-Autistic Angel
3031  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sins of a Solar Empire - Beta Musings on: June 27, 2007, 02:26:19 PM
Didn't I read somewhere that ships in a system that's culturally aligned with their empire allows them to repair hull damage more quickly?  Or did I dream that at some point...I really don't remember!

Quote from: Arkon
If they intend on allowing some sort of cultural victory conditions and cultural war, it would be great to see a support cruiser or even battleship that specializes in cultural warfare, allowing you to spread propoganda, deploy cultural beacons for a short period of time (something akin to a mini broadcast tower, for example that would "broadcast television/radio programs"/somethingl ike dropping propoganda fliers from a helicopter) to an enemy planet, would allow you to covertly take over a planet without having to necessarily engage in combat, or if nothing else it would demoralize the defenses of the planet and make it easier to take.

I'd like to see a ship like that be heavily shielded and have a lot of hit points, but need a warm up time where it deploys in place and becomes totally immobile until the planet is conquered or it's manually packed back up (another significant cool down time).  That would encourage players to set them up at the edge of gravity wells and use escorts and repair cruisers to keep them defended while they set up shop and started blasting propaganda throughout the area.  It might be tough to balance the deployment times against the benefits received by the attacking fleet, but this could add another cool tactical option to the planetary siege phase of the game!

-Autistic Angel
3032  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I fried my Wii, man! on: June 26, 2007, 09:16:47 PM
Hmmm....

My Wii has never felt more than vaguely warm on the "bottom" (I keep it in its vertical stand so the "bottom" is on the right), but this thread has convinced me to turn the Connect24 option off just in case.  I'd probably feel a little more adventurous if the systems were in common supply and could be easily replaced   Thanks for the heads up!

-Autistic Angel
3033  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Wii] Resident Evil 4 impressions on: June 26, 2007, 07:48:43 PM
Quote from: Kevin Grey
- Use the quick 180 degree turn constant to flip around and run back to get some more breathing space.

For anyone who isn't aware, the quick turn is done in the Wii version by clicking the 'Z' button and flicking the control stick down.  It's absolutely essential when you're trying to get some distance from your pursuers and want to spin around to face them again.

-Autistic Angel
3034  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sins of a Solar Empire - Beta Musings on: June 26, 2007, 07:44:36 PM
Quote from: wonderpug
Tech Tree Icon Shapes - The tech tree was a shock to the senses.  I love having an expansive tree with many options, but it took me a long while to parse out what my different options were.  What would be great is to have distinctive icon shapes for different types of upgrades.  If I'm looking for ship prototypes, I look for square icons.  If I'm looking for weapon upgrades, I look for triangle icons.  Defensive upgrades, shield shaped icons, and so forth.  This would be a huge help both for initially learning your way around the tree, and for quicker navigation after you've gotten the hang of the layout

I like all the ideas in your post, but this one stands out as particularly good.

I'd also like to recommend a change to how the construction interface displays things that you can't build yet.  Right now, all such options are greyed out and you need to mouse-over the icon to see why they're unavailable.  It would be more helpful if grey icons were items you can't afford, and *red* icons are ones you haven't researched yet.

The same would go for the research interface: grey icons for techs you can't afford to research yet, red icons for techs you would need more research stations to attempt.  It's a small change, but one that would make the interface friendlier to new players.

-Autistic Angel
3035  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sins of a Solar Empire - Beta Musings on: June 26, 2007, 07:16:43 PM
Quote from: kyro
Fighters actually can intercept long-range missiles according to Blair, though they aren't giving them as high a priority as they should in the first B2 release. That was being worked on yesterday, so I'd expect it'll be sorted when IC posts the first B2 update.

Excellent.  Bombers are potentially helpful against every other ship and structure in the game, so I thought it was more sensible to stick with them.  If fighters can be deployed as swift and versatile defensive units, not just shooting down bombers but actively running down torpedoes as in the "Suicide Kings" missions in FreeSpace 2, I can imagine them becoming much more appealing.

Another idea might be an orbital point defense platform which would have a percentage chance to destroy any enemy missile or anti-planet munition that passes through its area of effect.  Such structures on their own would be easy prey for non-ballistic weapons, but could be very useful for interrupting the Siege Frigate Planet Rush tactic that the marauding pirates like to use.  New research options could include Improved Point Defense techs that would increase the likelihood of destroying enemy munitions, and ECCM enhancements to make warheads more difficult to detect and destroy.  I also think they'd need to have their AoE and Logistics cost carefully balanced to avoid invalidating the effectivness of LRM Frigates.

kryo, you guys have probably heard this a lot lately, but you're doing an *awesome* job of communicating with the beta testers and making us feel our feedback is valuable to the process.  Thanks a lot for answering my question!  thumbsup

Quote from: Multianna
Ill be making a gameplay video of beta 2 around this weekend, id just like to know what some of you prefer the videos to be, like, the length and resolution. Those 2 will ofcourse change the file size and length for each part.

Are anyone interrested in a fullgame length video, that will last for about 2-3hour or so. Or would it be better, just to show like an hour and then skip like an hour, and so on, until the game is finished?

I think an edited video would be the more interesting choice to people who aren't already engaged in the beta, and that the best option would be to narrate it so that viewers will understand what you're doing and why.  For example:

Quote from: Sample Narration
First thing, I'm going to take my flagship here and send it out to this system to take care of those pirates.  It's going to take a minute or two to arrive, so while I wait I'm going to construct my first research platform away from those star lanes so enemies won't have such an easy time getting to it.  And look: once its built, I'll be able to start research on any of these first-tier technologies....

This sort of video would let you show off the game to people who are interested in learning more about it, edit down the redundant stuff so that the audience can see elements of the early, middle, and late game, and clearly illustrate your preferred tactics so that you'll be easy to defeat in multiplayer.  It's a win for beta testers and non-beta testers alike!

-Autistic Angel
3036  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: 1up reviews The Darkness (and assorted pleasantries...) on: June 26, 2007, 01:31:16 PM
I think I read someplace that Starbreeze has openly admitted that multiplayer has been thrown in as a fun extra rather than an integral part of the package: a couple of their guys slapped together a few multiplayer arenas and so many people on the development team had fun with it that they decided to flesh it out a little more and include it in the final release.  Personally, I'm going into The Darkness expecting it to be a single player-only experience.

On the other hand, if this game picks up many more scores like IGN's 7.8, I won't be getting into it for a long time to come.  It's tough to justify dropping $60 on a "good" game when I'm currently engrossed in truly excellent ones like Twilight Princess and Resident Evil 4.

-Autistic Angel
3037  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: 1up reviews The Darkness on: June 26, 2007, 12:06:57 AM
Quote from: Calvin
Anyhoo-I am not a fan of substantial user made mods-but for BG2, I think Dungeon Be Gone should be absolutely  recommended. God, what an awful way to start one of the best games of all time.

You know, I've never understood the negative reaction everybody has to that first dungeon.  I imagine it would be annoying when you want to experiment with different potential character builds, but I've always done the BG1 -> BG2 character transfer so that was never an issue for me.  I enjoyed the process of reuniting with old friends and encountering new ones...what is it that you dislike so much about that first part?

-Autistic Angel
3038  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: 1up reviews The Darkness on: June 25, 2007, 08:22:13 PM
Whoa, whoa...let's all take a deep breath and calm down, people.

Are we going to play Throne of Bhaal with or without the deleted content that one of the developers quietly reactivated with a free patch through Baldurdash.org?  How about all the "unofficial" FixPacks that correct things like Imoen's missing thievery points and random typos throughout the game?

Also, does anyone know of any similar user-made FixPacks for the Icewind Dale series?  I'm not a big fan of mods that drastically alter the course of the game, but I'm all in favor of unofficial patches that correct game elements which are obviously broken....

-Autistic Angel
3039  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: GalCiv2 Gold Edition Impressions on: June 25, 2007, 08:05:23 PM
Quote from: javahead
People actually take the loan options?

No, never.  Neither does the AI.  That's the problem: it's a game play mechanic that's going totally unused.  One of the goals in 1.7 is to revamp the leasing system to make it more attractive to use, and one of the ideas is to allow players the option to decrease the drain on their economy by choosing to pay off debt more quickly.

-Autistic Angel
3040  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: GalCiv2 Gold Edition Impressions on: June 25, 2007, 07:11:44 PM
Quote from: Lockdown
UI tweaks?  Is Brad going to let us customize the UI by any chance?

From what I've read, it's more like adding new management tools to help streamline things like constructor management and offer more options for things like paying off loans more quickly.  This screenshot, for example, shows off the potential new "Maintenance and Leasing" interface.

-Autistic Angel

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