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2121  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Game Controllers: I Wish Someone Would Bring This Idea to the PS3 on: September 11, 2007, 01:55:16 PM
http://www.saitek.com/uk/prod/p3600v2.htm

"New ‘Cyborg-module’ reversible d-pad and left analogue stick - Alter the stick and d-pad position to your preference"

This is a PC controller, but I think this would be a great idea for a console. Most people I know prefer the layout of the analog sticks on the 360 in comparison to the PS2/PS3 layout. After using Sony's controller for about an hour I feel like my thumbs are trying to detach from my hands in protest. Gah! Logitech, where are you when I need you most?!
2122  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Star Ocean 4 - first details and screens! on: September 09, 2007, 10:25:35 AM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on September 09, 2007, 12:53:11 AM

Quote from: Calvin on September 08, 2007, 10:06:23 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on September 07, 2007, 02:45:17 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on September 07, 2007, 02:31:35 PM

All things considered, I think MS made a very solid effort at trying to attract JRPGs to the console. You basically have:

Yeah the initial effort was good.  But when you look at that list the only game that wasn't announced a year ago is Last Remnant. 

I think Last Remnant has an excellent shot at selling more on 360 as long as the game comes out before FF13.  I don't think people in Japan will buy a PS3 for Last Remnant but if they already bought one for FF13...

Ok, so here is the question that I am not sure we have addressed completely. Is the issue with MS and jRPGs, at least in Japan, simply the fact that they have Microsoft branding on them? If Blue Dragon had been published by some random third pary-err Atlus lets say, or had the Dragon Quest branding on it (discussed ad nauseum before), what would the reaction have been? Heck, what would the reaction have been here? I know the Anglophobia argument is not popular around here, but there are times that I really wonder how much that might have to do with things.

It has more to do with having to buy new hardware than the publisher.  If Blue Dragon was on a Sony or Nintendo system then the fact that it was published by MS wouldn't have mattered- I think it would have sold very, very well.  The issue was that if you wanted to play BD then you had to buy a new system for it which makes the cost of entry a helluva lot higher.  Reception to BD seemed much better in Japan than it has over here but it still didn't get the "worth buying the console for" buzz that MS was hoping for.

A Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy name would help but really only if it was a proper numbered series entry.  People didn't exactly scramble to pick up a Gamecube in Japan because Crystal Chronicles had the FF name attached. 

I agree that the high cost of entry held back sales of Blue Dragon. I think most consumers want at least three or four games for a system before they can truly rationalize a purchase of new hardware.  However, I still think Blue Dragon was an amazing success in Japan. MS simply had completely unrealistic expectations on how much pull one game can have.

Look at it this way- At the time that Blue Dragon was released, I believe sales of the Xbox 360 were around 125,000 units in Japan, with an average of 2,000-4,000 units selling per week. When BD released, it moved 35,000 hardware units in a little over one week, and 29,000 of those units were the Blue Dragon bundle. Software sales exceeded 80,000 units during the opening week. The 360 saw a sales bump of almost 800% for one week. Hardware and software sales dropped off significantly thereafter, but remained above average for a few more weeks.

http://www.siliconera.com/2006/12/18/blue-dragon-causes-xbox-360-sales-to-surge-in-japan/

Looking at the actual install base, that is an amazing attach rate for hardware and software sales. If you assume 5 million North Americans own an Xbox 360, it would be like Mass Effect moving over 3 million units in the first week, and over 1 million of those units would be bundled with hardware. 

Expecting so much out of Blue Dragon was a ridiculous idea, if MS truly expected much more than they got. If Lost Odyssey is of comparable quality to Blue Dragon, I'm sure we'll see another bump in sales for Blue Dragon and MS hardware. If Lost Odyssey shines it may finally give the 360 some continuous momentum since Japanese gamers will have another quality RPG on the system.

I won't hold my breath on that, however. I still find it amazing that one of the biggest complaints against the 360 in Japan is the size of the hardware. Have they seen the PS3?
2123  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Star Ocean 4 - first details and screens! on: September 07, 2007, 02:31:35 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on September 07, 2007, 01:37:42 PM

Quote from: metallicorphan on September 07, 2007, 01:29:36 PM

i know its not JRPG,maybe more action RPG,but knights of the old republic did great on the xbox,i am sure MS would want more RPGs,no matter how they are(JRPGS or not).

Again, Western RPGs (ie KOTOR) and JRPGs are pretty much different genres.  Xbox 1 did very well with western RPGs (KOTORs, Jade Empire, Morrowind, Fable) and the 360 looks to follow suit.  JRPGs are still unproven financially on an Xbox platform though. 

The game you are referring to is True Fantasy Online, an MMORPG that was being developed by the awesome Level 5 (DQ8, Dark Cloud, Jeanne D'Arc, White Knight Story, Rogue Galaxy) and published by MS. 

I agree that Western and JRPGs should not be categorized together.

All things considered, I think MS made a very solid effort at trying to attract JRPGs to the console. You basically have:

Released:
Enchanted Arms
Blue Dragon
FF XI Online

Around the corner:
Eternal Sonata

In the pipeline:
Cry On (action rpg)
Infinite Undiscovery
Lost Odyssey
and don't forget...The Last Remnant   http://na.square-enix.com/remnant/

In relation to JRPGs, I think the astounding success of the Wii and DS (something that NOBODY forecasted) is the true thorn in Microsoft's side.   Both pieces of hardware are going to start drawing in larger amounts of developers' money, as witnessed with the increasing love Square Enix is showering upon Nintendo.

Lost Odyssey will be important for obvious reasons, but I'm very interested in The Last Remnant. Here we will finally see a Square Enix RPG released simultaneously for the PS3 and Xbox 360. If the 360 sells more copies worldwide, it will be an interesting turn of events.
2124  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Star Ocean 4 - first details and screens! on: September 07, 2007, 02:10:57 AM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on September 06, 2007, 03:56:27 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on September 06, 2007, 03:37:38 PM

Its difficult to say how the RPG landscape will turn out. With the exception of your heavy hitters (Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, etc) RPG titles rarely break 500,000 units in sales worldwide, and most never crack 250,000. Blue Dragon will definitely hit 250,000 units, and I think it will probably end up around 400,000 units by year end. That isn't bad at all for a title with no pedigree. I'm sure insiders at MS were trying to convince themselves it would be the next Final Fantasy, but anyone grounded in reality probably never believed that. There is also still hope on the 360 with the upcoming releases such as Tri Ace's Infinite Undiscovery and Mistwalker's Lost Odyssey. I agree with the sentiment that Eternal Sonata will only gather a cult following, however.

Blue Dragon isn't a title without a pedigree.  If fact, the title is really all about it's pedigree.  It's not an existing IP but the game was being sold on being it's core trio of Sakaguchi, Uemetsu, and Toriyama.  Blue Dragon's entire role was to make other JRPG developers see the 360 as a viable platform by selling the console itself in Japan and doing well enough in Western Markets to make JRPG developers see that as a key piece in their financial planning.  It failed the former (sure it sold to in an insane attach rate but made no lasting effect on hardware sales)  and I think it's going to fail as the latter as well. 


Developer pedigree is far different than Title pedigree. Unlike in Japan and Korea where developers are often treated like celebrities, most Americans have absolutely no idea who created their gaming experiences. Blue Dragon will do respectable numbers, but Final Fantasy would have sold extremely well on the 360. That is the basic difference between a pedigree based on names vs games.


2125  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Star Ocean 4 - first details and screens! on: September 06, 2007, 03:37:38 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on September 06, 2007, 12:31:32 PM

Quote from: EddieA on September 06, 2007, 06:07:19 AM

The developer said that the game was being made on "hardware that can display beautiful graphics", and the screenshot of the main characters looks like it's either PS3 or 360.

Yeah Tri-Ace is one of the few JRPG developers I expect to focus most of their energy on PS3 or 360 since their games are so much technical showpieces.  The only other JRPG dev I would say that applies to are the FF teams at SE.  Level 5 to a degree but they've been doing so much standout work on lesser powered equipment like DS and PSP that I wouldn't be surprised to see them tackle some more PS2 games or even something on Wii. 

Most of the primary JRPG shops (SMT series,Tales, Suikoden, Wild Arms, etc) rely much more on artistic prowess than technical stuff and I don't see them in much of a hurry to make the jump to "next gen."  I think the Vanillaware Wii title is a sign of things to come. 


Its difficult to say how the RPG landscape will turn out. With the exception of your heavy hitters (Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, etc) RPG titles rarely break 500,000 units in sales worldwide, and most never crack 250,000. Blue Dragon will definitely hit 250,000 units, and I think it will probably end up around 400,000 units by year end. That isn't bad at all for a title with no pedigree. I'm sure insiders at MS were trying to convince themselves it would be the next Final Fantasy, but anyone grounded in reality probably never believed that. There is also still hope on the 360 with the upcoming releases such as Tri Ace's Infinite Undiscovery and Mistwalker's Lost Odyssey. I agree with the sentiment that Eternal Sonata will only gather a cult following, however.

Going back to Blue Dragon for a moment, the real problem with the game is that it really is one of those slow burn titles. Mistwalker absolutely failed to follow the Final Fantasy methodology of front loading the first few hours of gameplay with amazing graphics and several outstanding CGI scenes. Whoever decided that the first true enemy would be a giant shark fin swimming around in the dirt should be dragged into the street and capped in the head Fallout style. The later part of the game dramatically outshines the beginning, but the majority of the reviewers will never get that far.

2126  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Another PS3 game delayed-Alone in the Dark on: September 05, 2007, 10:19:16 PM
Hardcore gamers better hope that Sony and MS get their act together, or we'll be living in a Wii world where the new releases are increasingly titles like Brain Age, Cooking Mama, Wii Health Pack, and Mario Paper Tennis Cart World Domination. All in glorious 480p.
2127  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Blue Dragon Getting Some Poor Reviews on: September 03, 2007, 04:17:38 PM
This is an absolutely wonderful game. I'm really surprised by the mediocre reviews.
2128  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Brave Story...A Wonderful PSP RPG Nobody Ever Played on: August 27, 2007, 04:35:16 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on August 27, 2007, 04:22:54 PM

FWIW, the localization for both Jeanne D'Arc and Brave Story were done by the same company (8-4 Productions I believe) and they've done excellent work on pretty much everything they've done.  Between these, Persona 3, and FF12 it's nice to see localization being given a lot more attention these days.  I'm pretty sure that Final Fantasy Tactics is getting a new translation too and that should make the story really shine in that one. 

I didn't realize the same company did both translations. Very well done on both accounts.

A few years ago I read the Pinski translation of "Dante's Inferno", and wondered why his translation was so much more vibrant than other translations I read previously. In the author's notes he remarked that the best translations are not literal translations, but rather ones that capture the mood and spirit of the original writing and transfer it seamlessly into the new language. He clearly admits that his translation is not the most literal, but he firmly believed it came the closest to capturing the beauty and intent of the original work.

I think we are starting to see this occur with software translations, which is a huge step forward IMHO.

2129  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Brave Story...A Wonderful PSP RPG Nobody Ever Played on: August 27, 2007, 04:07:23 PM
BTW, Sogreth has my favorite dialogue so far:


"Why do we keep meeting weirdos? Can't we run into anyone normal for a change?"


"I hate sidequests."


"INCONCIEVABLE!"

2130  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Brave Story...A Wonderful PSP RPG Nobody Ever Played on: August 27, 2007, 03:58:43 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on August 27, 2007, 03:30:45 PM

I picked it up this weekend intending to let it and Jeanne D'Arc battle over which would stay in the PSP and which would be sold off to be repurchased later.  Right now Jeanne is winning but the bit of Brave Story I played (just past where Birdhunting is introduced) was pretty charming if not earth shattering.  It was enough to put off selling it for now- I may just hang on to it. 

The game gets much better in another two hours. Once you get Meladee and Kutz the game really opens up. But, yeah, Jeanne D'Arc is hard to beat. The PSP is definitely getting some quality titles with very high production values.
2131  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Brave Story...A Wonderful PSP RPG Nobody Ever Played on: August 27, 2007, 03:56:04 PM
To me translations can easily make or break an RPG. An example of the excellent translation in Brave Story:

(A "mage" is being bullied by some workers. A town patrolman named Trone comes to his rescue:)


Trone: "Are you okay?"

Mage: "You're welcome."

Trone: "What? Shouldn't YOU be thanking ME?"

Mage: "No, No, I'm sure I have the right of it. Suppose those boorish and/or brainless brutes had resorted to violence. Seeing as I have the right to defend myself, I would have certainly and/or summarily reduced them to ash. The responsibility for the whole affair would have fallen on you, since your negligence would have brought about said scorching. So, you see, you should be thanking me. I simply followed the above logic and skipped right to the "you're welcome."

Yuno: "Did anyone follow a word of that?"
2132  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Brave Story...A Wonderful PSP RPG Nobody Ever Played on: August 27, 2007, 03:28:13 PM
I'm not sure why this game hasn't received more fanfare on the forums I visit. Apparently the game is performing poorly in the marketplace, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that so few people are talking about Brave Story. If you are one of the many people lamenting the lack of quality RPGs on the PSP, this little scrapper of a title might just change your mind.

Brave Story has some wonderful graphics, a slick sense of humor due to an excellent translation, entertaining characters, and a battle system that is strangely addictive. In the random battles you have the ability to learn and use Bravura attacks (special attacks and magic), unity attacks (group attacks that change as your roster changes) and Extra Attacks (automatically triggered extra hits on a second target). Add in weapons that do significantly increased damage against certain enemies, random monsters that can enter a "crazed" state (which makes them far more difficult to beat, but offers better loot) and you have a recipe for entertaining random battles. And while the encounter rate does tend to be relatively high, you can easily escape from most battles, and those that you do choose to complete are turn-based but move swiftly. Plus there is almost no loading time experienced when changing to the battle screens.

In typical JRPG fashion you also have several sidequests and sidegames, such as Goalfinch Brawling. Think of this as cute and fuzzy Bird Brawling where you capture birds, and based upon the size, type and colors that you capture, a new bird is created that squares off in matches against other birds. Its not exactly a Michael Vick simulator, but it is rather fun to collect a band of brawling birds (which, BTW, can lead to a mutation that creates a mega-badass bird)

Even the story, which tends to be on the fairly generic side, has quite a few heart-warming and funny elements sprinkled throughout. If you enjoy JRPGs, I definitely recommend this title to any interested PSP owner. Clocking in at roughly 30 hours, it is one of the better investments I've made this year with my gaming dollars.


A fairly balanced review:
http://www.gamerankings.com/itemrankings/launchreview.asp?reviewid=798807


2133  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / Wanted: Overlord for Xbox 360 on: June 29, 2007, 01:32:07 AM
Willing to pay $50 via Paypal for a "like new" copy of Overlord for the 360. Sorry, I have no games to trade.
2134  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Overlords on: June 28, 2007, 11:56:50 PM
Can you save anywhere on the xbox 360 version? I'm still trying to decide if I should go PC or 360...
2135  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PSP] Own Lumines? Now you can totally hack your PSP with it! on: June 24, 2007, 06:38:44 AM
I always see people raving about playing their PS1 games on a PSP via homebrew. But how do you save or even control a PS1 game since the PSP uses a totally different controller layout and save system?
2136  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: May NPD via our friends at Neogaf, Bloomberg, will keep updating, PS3 not go on: June 16, 2007, 02:46:03 AM
I think the reason MS hasn't dropped the price on the 360 is because they do not see the Wii as their direct competition. Microsoft understands that they have neither the casual nor the child-friendly mystique that Nintendo enjoys. Nintendo built that foundation over generations. MS has no answer to Pokemon, Mario, Zelda, etc. and they don't have a controller that someone new to gaming can pick up and understand in a few minutes. They aren't going to attract these casual gamers because they don't have the proper hardware, software, or mindshare.

My friend thinks this is a horrible idea, but I really believe MS should create a well structured "Microsoft Family" portal on Xbox Live, and then give several small development houses some money to start creating children's titles that could be sold as downloadable content for under $10. Some games could be complete downloads while other could be released in episodes every Saturday morning. If you build up a large enough library of these micro-titles, I think parents might gravitate toward buying these games instead of renting cartoons from Blockbuster to keep their children occupied. This would also start to create a foundation where parents would see the console as child-friendly.

Hopefully the Wii becomes a "gateway" console that slowly brings casual gamers into the more hardcore arenas dominated by MS and Sony.

2137  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PS3 Firmware 1.8 comes out tomorrow......ITS OUT!!!! on: May 25, 2007, 11:09:41 PM
I don't think a price drop for MS is going to draw in a large flock of mainstream consumers as many people hope. Two reasons:


1-

The Xbox 360 already has a system within striking range of the Wii's price point, but that isn't driving the system out of stores. And as witnessed by the Wii, hard drive space and wireless controllers are not a selling point to these people, so the core system is a feasible option.

I think Microsoft's main problem is that they don't have the name recognition of Nintendo and Sony. Even the most uneducated mainstream consumer knows that Nintendo is a huge gaming company, and Sony is known for being an electronics powerhouse that developed the Playstation. It doesn't take long to convert these people because the transition is so easy. Thus, if Sony had a $299 console they would be in a significantly different position.

Microsoft is known as a PC operating system company. They aren't known for games, and they aren't known for electronics. Mainstream America identifies Microsoft with a slightly frustrating operating system that they barely understand, and Microsoft Office, which they use at work. 


2-

There is a stigma about buying an HD gaming system if you don't own an HDTV. When a mainstream consumer asks a sales associate for information about an xbox 360, at some point many sales people will say something like "and you really need an HDTV to get the full experience..."  Well, now you've just convinced a person who doesn't own an HDTV that they either can't fully appreciate their new toy, or they need to drop ANOTHER $500 minimum.
2138  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Odin Sphere on: May 24, 2007, 01:41:33 AM
A few comments after an hour of gameplay:

Cons:

-I wish the camera was pulled further out. You can't see enemies until they are on top of you, and flying enemies cannot be seen unless you jump in the air. I realize the radar in the corner gives you an indication of what is approaching, but I would still prefer to have the camera pulled back instead.

-Some stages are ridiculously short. 11 seconds? 21 seconds? C'mon....

-Character and NPC movement is slightly...off. Like Disgaea they seem to be almost hovering or gliding over the ground instead of actually actually running across it.


Pros:

-Solid voicework and translation. I'm pleased that the Japanese version was included.

-Beautiful artwork

-Fairly engaging storyline


Overall at this early stage the game seems to be very solid, but less addicting than I had hoped. The game is definitely more shallow than I had expected, and I don't like how the game practically forces you to move through the stages at warp speed. I can definitely see it becoming repetitive quickly. As one review stated, this is probably a game best played in small doses.

Artistic value: 9/10 
Gameplay value 7/10
2139  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / FT: Gurumin (PSP) on: May 19, 2007, 01:35:07 AM
This was a wonderful title for the PSP that got alot of praise in the console gaming forum.  A few reviews:

http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/psp/guruminamonstrousadventure?q=gurumin


Gurumin is in perfect condition and comes complete. It will be shipped with delivery confirmation. I'm looking for well kept copies of the following:


PS2
Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams

DS
Izuna
Lunar Knights
Final Fantasy 3

PC
Neverwinter Nights 2
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos
Immortal Throne Expansion

PSP
Marvel Trading Game


2140  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: April NPD numbers... on: May 19, 2007, 12:27:25 AM
I think MS is taking the right approach for the moment by not lowering their price. I definitely think there is a manufacturing and quality issue with the 360. It is better for them to have steady sales, push out the questionable stock over a couple quarters to dilute the repair costs, move to the better manufacturing process, and then drop the price in conjunction with Halo 3, GTA 4, Blue Dragon, etc.

If dropping the price now by $100 would indeed create a massive sales jump, MS will basically be ramping up production in a manufacturing environment that will be driving ALOT of those consoles back into their repair centers. Anyone who has worked in manufacturing repair knows how quickly this eats into your profit margin, and how easily a repair center can be overwhelmed by sales spikes. Add to this the fact that the system would be selling for a significant loss and suddenly you're in double jeopardy.

So for the short term stay the course. I think the three sku approach should be dropped in the 4th quarter. Move the elite down to $399, eliminate the Premium, and drop the Core to $199.  Hardcore gamers have already proven that they will buy a console in respectable numbers at a $399 price point and the $199 price point is perfect for all the parents shopping for Christmas consoles. To me the Premium system is quickly becoming irrelevant, especially if you move the price points around. The hardcore informed crowd want HDMI and a larger hard drive, while the more casual gamers like my friend don't really see a need for wireless controllers and extra fancy inputs. So the premium becomes a system that lacks what the hardcore crowd desires, and is still out of the price range of the frugal shopper.

2141  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [ds] etrian odyssey impressions on: May 17, 2007, 01:43:15 AM
This coupled with Valhalla Knights will probably satisfy my craving for the dungeon crawling games of the past. When I purchased Etrian Odyssey today I also snagged Innocent Life for the PSP, and I'm really enjoying its laid back Harvest Moon-esque atmosphere.

This is turning out to be an expensive month for me with Etrian Odyssey, Innocent Life, Odin Sphere and the new .Hack  game all releasing in such a short period of time. I'm actually glad that Eternal Sonata, Bioshock, Mass Effect and Blue Dragon are being released later than anticipated.
2142  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Opinions on this LCD? on: May 12, 2007, 06:06:42 PM

Quote from: dmd on May 12, 2007, 04:49:40 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on May 12, 2007, 05:15:46 AM

My friend has this model. He has gone through three units due to dead pixels. 12 on the first, 18 on the second, 5 on the third. Because of this I'd definitely recommend buying from a brick-and-mortar store, or a online vendor with a very liberal return policy.

The set itself is actually quite beautiful, although it does seem to have a slight red push problem.
Which store/vendor did your friend use?

Best Buy. And BTW, it is 10% off right now.
2143  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Opinions on this LCD? on: May 12, 2007, 05:15:46 AM
My friend has this model. He has gone through three units due to dead pixels. 12 on the first, 18 on the second, 5 on the third. Because of this I'd definitely recommend buying from a brick-and-mortar store, or a online vendor with a very liberal return policy.

The set itself is actually quite beautiful, although it does seem to have a slight red push problem.
2144  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [psp] gurumin: a monstrous adventure on: April 29, 2007, 01:15:45 PM
This game just had a price drop to $19.99, so the 50% reduction in price will probably sway me into buying the title. One last question for people who played the game-

From the reviews it seems like there is an auto-jump feature implemented into the game, which eliminates the frustration of dying becuase of a bad camera angle or mis-timed push of the button. Is this true? My one hesitation with buying the game is getting stuck replaying an area/level multiple times because I cannot get past some jumping puzzle that is either too difficult (jump-jumpjump-DOUBLE jump) or goes on for too long.

Other than that, the game has received very solid reviews and it seems like a $20 price tag makes Gurumin a no-brainer purchase.
2145  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [psp] valhalla knights impressions on: April 28, 2007, 04:06:19 AM

Quote from: Qantaga on April 27, 2007, 11:55:11 PM

I'm still enjoying the game quite a bit. I am only playing in short bursts, so the "grind" has yet to get to me. I can completely see where semiconcious is coming from, though, and I can see that I could reach that point, too. However, it does scratch a deep gaming itch of mine and I do think I'll continue to enjoy it in short sessions for a good, long while.

I'm in agreement with you. I play for about 30 minutes a day, so it really doesn't give me time to get burned out on the title. Even if I eventually fall into the same apathy as semiconscious, I've put about 10 hours into the game so I feel like I got a good benefit-to-cost exchange.

However, I do think that more storyline - of any type - would have made it far easier for me to recommend this game to anyone who wasn't a hardcore RPG fan.
2146  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PSP] Aedis Eclipse... anyone have it... impressions?? on: April 28, 2007, 04:01:36 AM

Quote from: semiconscious on April 28, 2007, 01:05:47 AM

Quote from: Qantaga on April 28, 2007, 12:02:52 AM

(I even found a European copy of Tales of Eternia, so I should be all set now).

amazingly good game - probably the best psp rpg available...

as for ae, i chickened out & got puzzle quest instead...

Puzzle Quest is definitely the easy winner. I just....despise....the NPC bug. It claws at the back of my mind whenever their abilities should activate.
2147  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PSP] Aedis Eclipse... anyone have it... impressions?? on: April 27, 2007, 09:10:03 PM

Quote from: Jarrodhk on April 27, 2007, 08:32:35 PM

Hmmm.... sounds interesting.  I'll be contemplating this when I'm visiting gamestop later tonight.

Just remember- learning curve. And the first few early maps are ridiculously easy in comparison to later. I'd rate the game a solid 75%, or 80% if you love strategy titles.
2148  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [DS] New, FANTASTIC Phantom Hourglass pics on: April 27, 2007, 08:49:13 PM

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on April 27, 2007, 08:45:12 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on April 27, 2007, 08:42:27 PM

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on April 27, 2007, 08:13:52 PM

I think this is rapidly becoming one of my most aniticipated games. I'm really surprised by how good the 3D graphics are.


Those 3D graphics look like shit, and that map is far too spartan and lifeless. I suppose if you view everything in a vacuum and take into consideration the lack of power under the hood the developer's did the best they could. But the PSP shows that the DS just isn't a system for 3D graphics.

I would have preferred to see more detailed sprites and painted backgrounds instead of blocky, bland, 3D textures. And a better color pallette wouldn't kill anyone.

Well, this is certainly a... 'half-empty' way to look at things.  icon_wink I think it looks great.

They did a good job of capturing the broad strokes of the Wind Waker look. Perhaps everything looks better in actual gameplay. Still screens can often do a game an injustice. But I still think developers should avoid 3D on the DS. It reminds me of how bad many original PS games like Xenogears looked in comparison to their sprite based RPG counterparts.
2149  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [DS] New, FANTASTIC Phantom Hourglass pics on: April 27, 2007, 08:42:27 PM

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on April 27, 2007, 08:13:52 PM

I think this is rapidly becoming one of my most aniticipated games. I'm really surprised by how good the 3D graphics are.


Those 3D graphics look like shit, and that map is far too spartan and lifeless. I suppose if you view everything in a vacuum and take into consideration the lack of power under the hood the developer's did the best they could. But the PSP shows that the DS just isn't a system for 3D graphics.

I would have preferred to see more detailed sprites and painted backgrounds instead of blocky, bland, 3D textures. And a better color pallette wouldn't kill anyone. The DS is a great system, but none of its 3D offerings have been even remotely impressive.
2150  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PSP] Aedis Eclipse... anyone have it... impressions?? on: April 27, 2007, 08:28:43 PM
I have it. It is definitely a step up from the last game, although not as significant as I had hoped. Gameplay is a combination of turn-based and real-time. I'd say 80% of your gameplay will be spent in the turn-based portion watching story details, terraforming land, upgrading generals, moving armies and building defenses.

In actual real-time combat you do not control the actual grunts, although you can set up "attack stances" (aggressive, defensive, wedge, close, etc) at the initialization of the battles. You also control the release of your general's special attacks, and you have the ability to call a retreat during the battle. Battles also resolve more quickly which is a godsend, and loadtimes are non-existent.

Aedis Eclipse also does a much better job than the first title of leveraging and incorporating the idea of opposing elements and day cycles into strategic planning. Your army's strength in battle (hit points and attack power) is significantly affected by the element of the tile in which they will fight, along with what time of day it is at that point in time. For example, a significantly underpowerd army can defeat a greater opponent by terraforming the tile in which the will fight to an affinity element, AND by waiting for a night attack.

Overall if you loved the first game you'll be even happier with this version. People who hated the first game will find little to change their mind in this game, as the core mechanics are still very similar. The main differnence in Aedis Eclipse is that it has a better storyline, superior graphics, a few more RPG aspects, and a better strategic map layout. It still has a high learning curve, a godawful manual, and an AI which is improved in comparison to the last game, but still in need of further tweaking especially when it comes to enemy armies supporting one another.
2151  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [360] Microsoft is losing money on: April 27, 2007, 08:11:49 PM
The one point I find troubling as a Microsoft investor is that MAINTAINING market dominance in the video game market is such a difficult prospect. Sony, Sega and Nintendo have all shown that a few missteps can have  significant negative implications.

Having said that, I also feel that it is imperative for MS to diversify because sooner or later the Windows cash cow, like all other technology products, will be devastated by something new and probably open source. Video games are a huge market that plays into several of Microsoft's strengths, so I think it is a good fit for the company.

Remember, if it wasn't for the crazy initial success of the Wii (which not even Nintendo anticipated would be so dramatic) Microsoft would be well on their way to  being the #1 console for this generation. That is quite impressive for an American company moving into a highly competitive field dominated by the Japanese. Back when the original xbox launched most analysts and gamers were positive that the xbox would be a complete and utter disaster, and that MS would leave the field with its tail between its legs. One generation later they have the current sales lead, significantly increased Japanese developer support, name recognition in the living room, and a product that is actually "cool". That is a significant achievement in such a short period of time considering the two titans they must compete against.

And I still believe that the Wii is on borrowed time. I have no doubt that it will continue to sell well, but once heavy hitting HD franchise games like Halo, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, and Grand Theft Auto start entering the field the tide will begin to shift with increasing momentum. The difference in capabilities between the Sony and MS consoles and the Wii will be increasingly magnifed- and there are still at least 4-5 more years for this gap to grow.

 
2152  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Mario and Zelda-I Just Don't Get It... on: April 25, 2007, 09:41:28 PM

Quote from: depward on April 25, 2007, 09:31:05 PM

I think, for me, it's just the continuation of a "storyline" from my childhood.  I grew up playing Mario & Zelda games.  Playing games now with these characters gives me a feeling no other kind of game does.  I can identify with these characters, they have a personal past for me that I've experienced through the years.

Hey, I have no problem with Nostalgia. I also believe the Nintendo has an "innocence factor" or "family factor" that Sony and MS just cannot replicate. (Some people call it "kiddy-factor", but I find that label to have too much of a negative connotation.) Perhaps parents buy these titles for their children because they know they are safe.
2153  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Mario and Zelda-I Just Don't Get It... on: April 25, 2007, 09:21:15 PM
I've tried and tried again, but I absolutely cannot get through any Mario or Zelda game. I think the furthest I've ever reached is about the 25% mark before I've completely lost interest in any of these titles. Paper Mario, Wind Waker, Mario Sunshine, Twilight Princess and several other variations have just come across as lukewarm offerings to me. And it astounds me that they sell MILLIONS of copies? Why? There are numerous games out there with better graphics, storylines and gameplay, but they can't come close to the sales figures generated by some silly looking plumber. Okami is one example of a game that I find to be superior to the Nintendo offerings, but it sold only a mere fraction in comparison.

I'm not saying these games are bad by any stretch of the imagination, but the way reviewers and the gaming community fawn over each new release is rather baffling. I can't help but think Nintendo is given a complete pass when it comes to these franchises, and if Twilight Prioncess or Wind Waker had been a Microsoft title the average review would have been in the low 80s instead of mid-90s.

So for those of you that love Nintendo's little plumber and boy in green, what is the fascination that keeps you going back for more? What is the X factor?

2154  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (4/23) on: April 23, 2007, 09:09:52 PM
Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos
2155  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [psp] valhalla knights impressions on: April 21, 2007, 07:57:09 PM

Quote from: semiconscious on April 21, 2007, 05:03:37 PM

glad you're enjoying it, overall - it is a pretty damn addictive game...

made the mistake of including an over-leveled character (met via quest) in my party - he immediately brought experience gained down to 1 per battle. so experience looks to be related to where you are & the highest level member of your party - as soon as i replaced him (after removing his cool equipment, of course), battles in the same area netted 30-40 points...

Yeah, experience is definitely related to the highest levelled person. I read that on a different forum and it was confirmed by a few people. I played for a few more hours and the game continues to grow on me. The AI really is well done, and that makes all the difference in the world. It will be interesting to see how things play out when I have a full party on a cramped battlefield.
2156  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [psp] valhalla knights impressions on: April 21, 2007, 07:46:45 AM
I went ahead and grabbed Valhalla Knights over Gurumin. I decided that if I was going to pay full price for a game, it would be easier to justify the price on a game that had significantly more play time. Not the best rationalization, but it works for me.

Anyway, a few comments after 1 hour of gameplay:

Positives:

-As semiconscious mentioned tha AI is very competent if you take the time to set up the routines. My AI healer does an excellent job of keeping my player-controlled thief alive, and she actually QUICKLY flees from battle whenever she is in any immediate danger. Battles can definitely be difficult, but thankfully not because your AI companion is tripping over her own feet. I have yet to see the computer get a "cheap win", so I'm guessing that many reviewers are overstating the game's difficulty, or they aren't making efficient use of party AI techniques.

-I really enjoy the game's graphics. The quality level is similar to Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony or Kingdom of Paradise. Backgrounds can be somewhat spartan, but the character designs are all nicely done and the animations are smooth and relatively realistic.

-The level of customization appears to be fairly high.


Negatives:

-The story is....yeah, well....

-I can't quite get comfortable with the way the camera rotates. It simply does not have the fluid movement exhibited in most of these games.

-Hit detection is definitely off. Enemies have hit me in melee combat when my character is still a noticeable distance away from them.

-"An unseen force seems to be blocking this door."  "An unseen force seems to be blocking this door."  "An unseen force seems to be blocking this door."  "An unseen force seems to be blocking this door."  "An unseen force seems to be blocking this door."  "An unseen force seems to be blocking this door."  "An unseen force seems to be blocking this door."  "An unseen force seems to be blocking this door."


Despite these negatives the game has a strangely addictive quality to it, and I think I'll be happy with this purchase in the long run. I'm pleased to have a game where the combat isn't ridiculously easy. My greatest complaint with Enchanted Arms, Suikoden 5 and a few other recent RPGs was that I didn't even need to pay attention during combat. I get the feeling that Valhalla Knights will crush you like a bug if you don't plan and tweak your party properly.
2157  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [psp] valhalla knights impressions on: April 20, 2007, 08:57:20 PM
Okay semiconscious, here is a rather loaded question-

If you had to choose between recommending a highly rated platform game like Gurumin to someone who has had only limited success enjoying that genre, or a poorly rated RPG like Valhalla Knights to someone who typically enjoys RPGs, which game would you recommend?

I'm going to purchase one of the two titles, and I'm on the fence for both. Hated Zelda. Loved Ratchet and Clank. RPGs are my favorite genre, but usually because of the marriage between storyline and gameplay. As I understand it, Valhalla Knights has practically no story whatsoever, so I'm assuming exploration and customization are the main draws of the game.
2158  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [psp] valhalla knights impressions on: April 19, 2007, 11:40:57 PM
As requested above, please keep us updated Semiconscious. I'm considering purchasing this game after I complete Rogue Galaxy. The old school level grind has some appeal to me if the combat and customization is enjoyable.
2159  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Surprise! NEW 360 Backward Compatibility Update! on: April 19, 2007, 11:33:33 PM
Dai Senryaku VII !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My life is complete and if my old xbox dies I won't need to buy another one.
2160  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [psp] gurumin: a monstrous adventure on: April 15, 2007, 09:41:17 AM

Quote from: semiconscious on March 07, 2007, 04:49:55 AM

is something of a minor masterpiece...

just beat the final boss, & can't say enough good things about this game - cleverly designed, very good story, nice bits of humor, great, numerous bite-sized dungeons, & easily, in it's own way, matches up well with r&c:sm as a solid, pretty portable action/platformer. don't let the kiddie vibe turn you off - parin's a hard-core heroine, & she swings a mean drill...

(did i mention that the soundtrack rocks?...)

How difficult would you rate the platforming and combat in the game? Generally I suck at platforming, so its holding me back from getting this title. I have images in my head of multiple reloads due to insta-death falls. And everyone knows that loading on a PSP takes a few seconds less than forever.


I ask about combat because it sounds interesting, but possibly frustrating. I don't understand how the analog stick(which I assume is used for movement) needs to ALSO be turned in a 360 degree motion to introduce attacks. From Gamespot:

Quote
Instead of going the button-mashing route with a few boring combo attacks, special attacks here involve combining a 360-degree motion on the D pad or analog stick with the dash, melee, or jump button, or a combination of any two. It might sound daunting, but the circular motion is forgiving enough that it'll quickly become second nature to execute any of the special attacks at will. It also helps that instead of encountering hordes of weak enemies, you'll come up against armored and evasive enemies, which means you'll have to chain together your special attacks for maximum effectiveness.

Tha game is only $29 new at my local blockbuster. So....
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