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2281  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Serenity on HD-DVD.....Holy S**t!!! (My HD-DVD Review) on: April 25, 2006, 02:47:35 AM
Several people on the AVS forums are reporting that there is no resume play. I have absolutely no idea why a studio would leave this out, but hopefully it doesn't become commonplace.
2282  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Serenity on HD-DVD.....Holy S**t!!! (My HD-DVD Review) on: April 25, 2006, 01:10:27 AM
Did some more research. Two things I'm not happy about :

1) No single frame advance
2) Movies (all Warner movies confirmed) do not allow "resume play". When you stop the movie you must restart at the beginning of the entire movie.
2283  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Serenity on HD-DVD.....Holy S**t!!! (My HD-DVD Review) on: April 25, 2006, 12:55:23 AM
BTW.... join the AVS forums and you can get $60 off the price of this player through HIDEF Lifestyle. Final price- $439.99

Last I checked into it (mid-March) Bluray was exactly the same as HD-DVD- it was up to the studios to decide whether to enable the flag or not. I haven't seen any official word since then but I might have missed it.

There are reports that if you take a disc that is flagged "no" for component upscaling, when you burn the movie to a DVD-R the Toshiba will upscale. I'm guessing the flag does not transfer?

<edit>  (from another forum)

"The reason why you can upconvert your backup disks is that you stripped the copyright of the disk when you ripped it. For copyrighted disks, the CE manufactures are not allowed to send 720p/1080i over an analog connections according to licensing agreements."
2284  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Serenity on HD-DVD.....Holy S**t!!! (My HD-DVD Review) on: April 25, 2006, 12:38:53 AM
HDCP  is copy protection.

Now, I already have an upconverting DVD player....but this is leagues above. When it upconverts, it looks like it is true HD. I put in Star Wars: EPIII and it looked simply incredible. Pretty much like any HD broadcast I have seen from HBO.

Interesting. I thought all upconverting DVD players had output that was generally the same.

There is also a "Wal-Mart exclusive" HD-DVD player for the same price that is all Black, same price.

I'm glad to hear this. I just couldn't go with a black/silver unit. Between a white Xbox 360 and a black PS2, adding another color to the mix would make my home entertainment cabinet look like Frankenstein's monster. I miss the good old days of all black hardware.[/quote]
2285  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Strategy Guide? Nonono....StrategyWiki on: April 23, 2006, 07:22:23 PM
This really has the potential to be a great competitor to gamefaqs. The one thing I worry about is the collaboration. Since the site only allows for one guide, I'm wondering how the different writing styles will work out when meshed. Some people are much better with explainations and descriptions than others. This is especially true of RPGs with puzzles or complex dungeons.
2286  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Do current gen games look significantly worse on an HDTV? on: April 23, 2006, 06:39:06 PM
Okay, I figured out my problem with the 360. On the component cables there is a reallllly tiny switch that says "TV/HD"

It was toggled to TV. After switching it I'm getting 1080i.  PS2 still looks like complete garbage, however.

And for the record, I'm a certified image quality whore since I paid upwards of $500 for a professional ISF calibration on my living room HDTV.

Crap, Kevin Grey is insane! That's 3/4 the cost of my @#$# TV!   Do you counterfeit your own money to afford these extravagences?  One of my Star Wars DVDs has a calibration tool on it. Can I use that, or is it specifically for that disc?
2287  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Do current gen games look significantly worse on an HDTV? on: April 23, 2006, 06:17:15 PM
I'm using component cables from Monster.

My friend just brought over his Xbox360, and I went out and rented Oblivion. On the Xbox 360 I put the settings to 1080i, but on my television set the TV settings information screen shows that Oblivion is running in 480i.

Any idea on what am I doing wrong? There is no menu on my TV to change 480/720/1080 settings.  All it has is Screen Modes (Wide Zoom, Normal, Full, Zoom) and DRC modes (Interlaced, Progressive, Cinemotion)

Here are the TV specs:


• Full HDTV (built-in ATSC tuner for over-the-air HD reception)

• DRC™ Digital Reality Creation™ Multi-function Circuitry analyzes a 480i NTSC image and creates a digital bit mapped pattern in real time. The original NTSC signal is mapped in real time, replaced with an HD representative, and then discarded. Because DRC™ processes video signals in real time, it creates an image with 4X the density of the original signal. Resolution is increased both vertically and horizontally.

• Hi-Scan 1080i™ Display accepts the full 1080 interlaced scanning lines (1080i) or 720 progressive scan (720p) from an external HDTV receiver or a compatible high definition digital satellite receiver. It also accepts 480 progressive (480p) scanning lines from compatible DVD video sources.

• SuperFine Pitch CRT provides better image detail with high definition sources. The Aperture Grill was improved by making the vertical slits a finer pitch that increases the number of slits by up to 65%(16 x 9 base). Also improved were the High Precision Deflection Yoke, Fine Focus Electron Gun and the inclusion of higher intensity Luminescent Phosphors. The result is a more detailed image for both moving and still images, higher resolution picture quality, and better edge detail.

• HD Detailer™ Wideband Video Amp provides greater detail on finer images, delivering the best possible image from high bandwidth sources.

• ClearEdge VM™ (Wideband Velocity Modulation Scanning) allows you to select levels to create better separation between an object and its background for clearer edges, greater picture depth and improved overall picture quality.

• ATSC Integrated Tuner allows the reception of local, off-air digital broadcasts providing the viewing of free, true high-definition network programming without the addition of a set top box or a monthly fee.

• Digital Cable Ready with CableCARD™ Slot A set of hardware specifications that are defined to include a removable security module, which separates the cable operator's proprietary conditional access system from the retail digital cable device, to enable portability of the host to other cable networks.

• HDMI Interface (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) – HDMI is the first industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. HDMI provides an interface between any audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, and A/V receiver and an audio and/or video monitor, such as a digital television (DTV).

• HDCP Interface (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) was developed to protect digital entertainment content across a DVI interface. It also serves as the security system for HDMI.

• CineMotion™ Reverse 3-2 Pulldown improves the display of video programs originally shot on 24 frames per second film preserving the integrity of the original film frames for more fluid motion and more fine detail.

• Memory Stick® Media Enhanced Playback (JPEG,MPEG1,MP3)

Specifications • Dimensions (WxHxD): 35 3/8" x 23 3/4" x 22 1/4" (898 x 604 x 564.5mm)
Weight: 154 lbs. (69.8kg)
Power Requirements: AC 120V 60Hz

• Inputs and Outputs:
Component Video Input (Y/PB/PR): 2 Rear
Composite Input: 1 Front/3 Rear
S-Video Input: (With Detection): 1 Front/2 Rear
Control S: 1 Rear
HDMI: 1 rear

• Tuner:
Clear QAM
Digital Cable

• Audio:
TruSurround® SRS® Audio (7.5W x 2 With 15W Sub)
Steady Sound® Automatic Volume Control With BBE® Audio Effect
Auto Mute Tuner
Auto SAP
Audio Output (Variable/Fixed)

• Video:
Dynamic Focus™ Circuitry
Dynamic Picture™ Circuitry
Trinitone® Color Temperature
ClearEdge VM™ (Wideband Velocity Modulation Scanning)
Vertical Aperture Compensation
Vertical Center Adjustment
3D Digital Comb Filter
Wide Modes: (Normal/Full/Zoom/Wide Zoom)
Auto Pedestal Clamp
Auto White Balance
High Voltage Regulator
HD Detailer™ Wideband Video Amplifier
NTSC Color System
ID1 Detection
Magnetic Quadruple Pole
Tilt Correction
Vertical Correction
Vertical Size Adjustment

• Convenience:
Auto Channel Program
Caption Vision (CC)
Channel Fix
Channel Skip/Add
Video Label
V Chip Parental Control
Speed Surf™ Channel Selection
Sleep Timer Function
Tilt Correction
Program Palette™ (Vivid/Movie/Standard/Sports) presets
On Screen Display (English/Spanish/French)
Channel Jump
Front Button Menu Control
Favorite Channel
Energy Star® Compliant
Clock/Timer Two Event
Antenna Level for DTV
PSIP Program Information
DTV Auto Add
2288  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Do current gen games look significantly worse on an HDTV? on: April 23, 2006, 02:12:23 PM
It is a Sony KD-30XS955 CRT Television.  Several forums (AVS, for example) and a few review sites rated it as one of the very best, and probably last, series of great CRTs to be constructed by Sony.

Do I need to invest in a calibration disc? I was hoping to find a freeware one online, but I've been unsuccessful.
2289  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Do current gen games look significantly worse on an HDTV? on: April 23, 2006, 11:21:18 AM
I recently bought a 32" Viewsonic LCD myself. My 360 looks amazing on it. But my Xbox and PS2 look much better on the old 20" CRT TV I used to use. , even in progressive scan.

Glad to see its not just me and my TV. smile The degradation it very apparent. I have no idea how those of you with 40" and 50" HDTVs can stand the poor image.

I guess I misunderstood one of the features on my Sony. It has something called DRC (Digital Reality Creation) Multifunction. My manual states that this "provides four times the line density for quality sources, such as DVD, satellite and digital camcorders."

I mistakenly thought this line doubling negated the effects of the larger screen and super fine pitch tube.
2290  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Do current gen games look significantly worse on an HDTV? on: April 23, 2006, 05:02:58 AM
Yup, where possible. It made a slight difference, but the image still doesn't look as good as that seen on my standard old TV.
2291  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Do current gen games look significantly worse on an HDTV? on: April 23, 2006, 04:23:25 AM
Forgive my ignorance but...

I recently purchased a new 30" widescreen Sony HDTV. I'm still waiting on my Xbox360 so I decided to unhook my PS2 from my battle hardened 19" Panasonic Tau and attach it to my new TV.

UGH. I tried playing Radiata Stories and Shadow Hearts:Covenant. Both games look SIGNIFICANTLY worse on my new set. It doesn't matter what screen mode I choose. Am I seeing all these added jaggies and bluriness because of the increased TV size? Does HDTV magnify the problems inherent in current gen games? Or am I doing something wrong?

If things look this poor on a 30" TV, I'd hate to see a PS2 on a really large TV.
2292  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Grim Outlook for Square-Enix - Lower earning estimate on: April 19, 2006, 07:40:54 PM
If you look at their relatively recent portfolio, the company has released a significant amount of mediocre titles:

Romancing Saga
Fullmetal Alchemist (1 and 2)
Drakengard (1 and 2)
Final Fantasy X-2

Dragon Quest 8, FFXII, FF Online,  and Kingdom Hearts 2 will go a long way to rehabilitating the company. I think we are in tail end of their slump.
2293  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / What to play next: Wild Arms:ACF or Suikoden 5? on: April 08, 2006, 10:14:49 PM
After how terrible Suikoden 4 turned out to be, I was shocked at the turnaround in the new title. Although the graphics are relatively spartan, the storyline and characters have some real depth.

WILD ARMs, on the other hand, was....unpleasant. I'll leave it at that.
2294  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Revolution Specs on IGN - Less Powerful than the Xbox 1 on: April 01, 2006, 04:40:37 AM
This doesn't change anyone's real estimate about the next generation consoles:

-Nintendo falls to a clear third position
-MS gains ground on Sony
-Sony remains king of the next generation
2295  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Valkyrie Profile Sequel Official Site on: March 29, 2006, 10:30:28 PM
The Japanese really know how to put together a preminum/collector's edition of their games. American collector edition games, by comparison, usually suck.

If Valkyrie Profile on the PSP sells well, I definitely think the PS2 game is assured for the North American market.
2296  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [PSP] Generations of Chaos problem... on: March 29, 2006, 10:04:39 AM
I enjoyed the game for about 15 hours, and then I simply got burned out. Its definitely a good game, but it can become repetative.
2297  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Suikoden V impressions on: March 26, 2006, 01:05:13 AM
I've put a whopping TWO hours into the game, but as of this moment I'm happy to report that Suikoden V seems to be much better than the last game. The initial characters are interesting and the story already shows signs of great promise. The graphics are not nearly as bad as I had feared. Although the environments are somewhat sparse, the character models and animations are all well done.

I think the reviews placing this game around the 80% marker are probably fairly accurate.  If you were burned like I was on Suikoden IV, don't turn a blind eye to the newest game. It seems to hold great potential.
2298  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [PSP]Am I the only person excited about Generation of Chaos? on: March 11, 2006, 06:37:18 PM
Nth Power,

Take a look at the strategy guide. It should definitely help you make an informed decision.
2299  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [PSP]Am I the only person excited about Generation of Chaos? on: March 08, 2006, 01:44:43 AM
Ditto on the thanks Dante. It looks like a free pdf guide will be available from NIS America's site in a couple of weeks. It was written by the fine folks from Double Jump Books. It is supposedly 80 freakin pages as well

That would be great. I love Double Jump.

Some other points:

-Caves can be searched only when a general is on the hex. Use the "search" function and one of two things will happen. Either an event will take place and you will receive a random (sometimes rare) item, or a battle will take place. Save before searching because the items generate randomly and some are VERY cool.

-Captured generals drain your money for the expense of feeding/clothing/guarding them. Only keep generals that you plan on converting or you will quickly start to run a deficit.

-When trying to convert a general it is important to hold conversations with them. Frequency of conversations coupled with duartion of imprisonment appears to be very important. Don't be discourage by those low conversion possibility estimates.

-There are different types of super moves that can actually stop enemy generals from performing their own moves.  If you don't have these moves you can buy them.

-Airports, airports, airports!
2300  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams this week! on: March 08, 2006, 01:21:56 AM
I loved the fact that the Onimusha games were so easy. I don't have the pinpoint reflexes necessary for games like Ninja Gaiden or the original Devil May Cry 3.

I play for the environments, interesting enemies and story.
2301  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [PSP]Am I the only person excited about Generation of Chaos? on: March 07, 2006, 12:31:42 AM
The game continues to impress me, but they really dropped the ball on a tutorial or a proper manual. Examples:

-If you give a weapon, healing herb, or armor to a general as a gift (ala Romance of the Three kingdoms) he cannot equip it or use it, even though he accepts it and his loyalty increases. To equip treasure or items, a general must equip it through the stat screen while in a city.

-The key to stopping enemy generals from unleashing their super moves on your troops is to increase your armys speed. Attacks momentarily stun any general, and if enough blows hit consistently and swiftly, the enemy cannot properly use special moves.

-Creating airports is vital to quick troop movement, as is the transformation of land.

-Stats, gifts and city improvements carry over from one scenario to the next. Thus it is vital to level up your generals and kingdom.

This game will die on the vine due to a substandard tutorial.
2302  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [PSP]Am I the only person excited about Generation of Chaos? on: March 05, 2006, 02:04:51 PM
Loading times take about 10-15 seconds when entering a battle. When switching between various screens there is sometimes a 2-3 second delay as the menu loads.  There can also be a very brief delay when scrolling through a list of items or names.

Saving takes about 15 seconds. I'm still early in the game, but I definitely have NOT seen any long, minute long delays.

You do have to sit through an early, boring intro movie that lasts about 5 minutes. Then you are dropped into the game- without a tutor. (well,  I haven't seen one)
2303  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [PSP]Am I the only person excited about Generation of Chaos? on: March 05, 2006, 05:02:37 AM
On Wednesday I picked up Generation of Chaos, hoping that the game would meet my expectations and satisfy my craving for a solid strategy game on the PSP. I'm happy to say that the game is truly quite excellent, although you would never know that in the first hour of gametime.

For those of you with attention deficit disorder, I'll give a brief rating breakdow now. smile

Gameplay: C (during the first hour) B (after learning the necessities)
Graphics: B  
Music: A
Manual: D
Save System: A  
Storyline: C

Gameplay: Generation of Chaos is a strategy game that places you in command of a kingdom that is embroiled in war.  Under your command are various generals, all of whom have a set of statistics and specializations that increase in levels as they engage in battles. Besides your initial list of generals, you also have the ability to search for hidden generals, hire mercenary generals, or persuade enemy generals to join your cause either through bribery or after they become your prisoner when losing a battle. Generals have special affinities to various attributes, so it is important to have a diverse stable of leaders. Some fight better at night, some do extra damage in fog, other are resistant to magic, etc.  In addition each general has a set of divers skills to use in battle. They may be offensive (tornado, earthquake), or defensive (cure, shield). Generals also have super attacks. These attacks are "charged" as your troops or leader take damage. When a certain threshold is reached, they can unleash these attacks and do massive damage on the field. An interesting point to these attacks is that you can store several of these attacks and carry them over into harder battles.

The strategic portion of the game involves research, building new forts, clinics and factories, fortifying towns, establishing alliances, searching for hidden generals and items, shopping for weapons, and recruiting soldiers. All of this is completed on a world map that is littered with the various settlements, all of which are conected by a series of roads. These roads are used for all troop movement. Thus it is imperative to set up chokeholds and forts at strategically placed positions to thwart enemy advancement to into your territory.  Forts also become important as a means of recruiting fresh troops when you are far from friendly cities. They also serve as an excellent means of defense if you are forced to retreat from battle, as each fort comes equipped with a sentry garrison.

Actual battles take place in real-time, although you are given the option to pause when issuing orders. At the start of battle the commander can set up various formations and operations which can be adjusted as the tides of battle fluctuate. Unfortunately, at times the sheer number of units on the screen make it difficult to truly move in the manner desired. Bottlenecks can be a rather common occurence. A battle ends when one of the generals is captued, someone successfully retreats, or if they manage to break through the enemy lines. Captured generals may be released, executed or hired (assuming their loyalty is low)

graphics: The graphics in generation of chaos are similar to what you've seen in just about any other Nippon Ichi game. Of course the small size of the PSP screen makes everything look quite vibrant and detailed. Spell effects are nicely animated and character portraits are attractive.

Music: The music is wonderful. A diverse number of symphony pieces keep everything fresh. Music changes based upon the screen you enter.

Manual: Horrible. This is a complex title and the manual is only 30 pages, half of which are useless, tiny pictues.  Only the broad strokes are covered, and my first few hours with the game were somewhat frustrating because certain things were not well explained.

save sytem: You can save anytime, anywhere other than in battles. Since battles only last for about 5 minutes this isn't a problem.

AI: The game has a great deal of complexity, and the AI does an excellent job of pressing its attacks. In one particular battle my fortess was attacked by four separate armies during the same turn. Luckily my strongest general was stationed there. Even with his S ranking by the end of the battle he was the last man standing. His army was completely decimated, and only 10% of his hit points remained. If not for a series of super attacks that he had stored the fortress would have fallen into enemy hands, along with three of my best generals. Reinforcemnts arrived a single turn before the enemy staged another assault.  

Storyline: The storyline is generic. Conquer the world-look for the lost artifact-avenge the death of friend. Nothing new here. After each map a set of cut scenes drive the story forward, but the dialogue is forced and rather bland. Voiceovers range from excellent to atrocious.

Generation of Chaos has exceeded my expectations as a strategy game.  It is by no means perfect, but it does just about everything reasonably well. There are multiple layers of complexity that I did not even touch upon in this review, so be warned that the game will take some dedication upon the part of the player. My only true complaint with the game at this point is that the story is such an afterthought and the generals could have been given more personality.  Despite these deficiencies I urge any strategy fan to seriously consider this title.
2304  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [PSP]Am I the only person excited about Generation of Chaos? on: March 01, 2006, 12:26:17 AM
I'm having a hard time figuring out how much control you have over your generals' armies. Are the army battles just a fun and different way to animate the battles between generals? Or do you actually get to control things like their formation and tactics?

I'm not sure exactly how much control you have, but Liquid Sky states "... know that ordinary grunt soldiers follow orders during this mode, while the commanders can be directly controlled and can even pull off their own special attacks. The tactics and fighting styles you set up for your combat force is essential in dealing with the opposing forces."

From RPGFan:

"The commander is able to issue orders on the fly, changing formation or striking directly at the opponent's commander. As the troops battle it out, the commander can expend his limited SP into doing special abilities. Damaging the enemy, healing allied troops, and buffing or nerfing the enemy are all possible, and more. Sometimes commanders will have to withstand several battles on a single tile, so you might not want to blow all of your SP on a single battle before your next turn."

Doesn't this come out tomorrow?


This part of the preview from Yahoo! games sounds very interesting:

The board game-style strategic layer in Generation of Chaos takes some getting used to, since you have numerous menu options that aren't immediately clear. Terraforming the land, reinforcing your strongholds, shopping for new equipment, maintaining the loyalty of your forces--these are all considerations as you take turns marshaling your troops in an effort to take out enemy generals and claim their land as your own.
2305  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [PSP]Am I the only person excited about Generation of Chaos? on: February 28, 2006, 02:10:20 AM

I feel so lonely. And cold.
2306  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / So, anyone playing Tale of Legendia? on: February 28, 2006, 02:06:14 AM
Wait for it to hit $30. Tales of Legendia, thy name is mediocre.
2307  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / MS Saga on: February 25, 2006, 03:23:13 PM
Thanks! Any other info would be appreciated. I'm still on the fence until one or two people have put a few hours into the game. If it wasn't for my love of mechs this title would be completely off my radar due to the lukewarm reviews.
2308  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / MS Saga on: February 21, 2006, 06:37:19 PM
Can anyone report on the save system?  I'm hoping it is rather liberal.
2309  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / BET On Soldier on: February 09, 2006, 01:55:17 AM
Actually it was surprisingly good.
2310  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Suikoden V coming March 28 on: January 26, 2006, 10:42:59 PM
Suikoden is dead to me. Suikoden 3 was average and Suikoden 4 completely sucked.
2311  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Baten Kaitos 2 coming to US on: January 17, 2006, 05:43:55 AM
If I'm not mistaken, combat is becoming even quicker.  Like Gratch, I was unhappy with how fast the late game forced you to make decisions.
2312  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / PS3 $500!?? on: January 12, 2006, 03:06:52 AM
There is absolutely no way the system will come out at $500.  Next year the premium Xbox 360 will drop to either $349 or $299.  Sony will not want to be $200 over the price of the MS console.

IMO, the sytem will be $399.
2313  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Random encounter frustration on: January 04, 2006, 02:59:05 AM
I wish more games would employ the Xenosaga I method of battles, whereby each battle allowed you to multiply your experience by 5 or 10 times depending upon how you played that particular encounter.  I always made sure I was getting the experience bonuses, and then I could skip a bunch of unwanted combat.
2314  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / RPGs for trade on: December 28, 2005, 12:32:44 PM
Gladius is the Xbox version.
2315  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / RPGs for trade on: December 26, 2005, 02:20:34 PM
Looking to trade for one or more of my RPG titles. As a free bonus I'll throw in a copy of the Dragon Quest 8 demo if requested. This does not have to be a 1-for-1 trade. Since many of the games I'm requesting are newer, I'm willing to do a 2-for-1 trade also.

All games are in near perfect condition with box and manual. (I'm a religious zealot for keeping my games new)


Phantom Brave
Suikoden 3
Suikoden 4
Baten Kaitos
Unlimited Saga

Looking For:


Battalion Wars


Timesplitters 3 (Xbox only)


Knights of the Old Republic II
Dungeon Seige 2
Civilization 4


Shadow of the Colossus
God of War
2316  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Armored Core: Formula Front (PSP) on: December 18, 2005, 03:44:33 PM
Gamespot just posted a very level-headed review of the game. They gave it a 7.5. The reviewer notes that controlling the mech in manual mode can be very difficult. I also felt this way initially until I realized that I needed to buid a mech that centered around the type of pilot I actually am. In other words, since I have the reflexes of a sloth, using close range weapons and  quick-fire missles wasn't doing me any good. I was getting slaughtered in over 75% of the matches. Frustrated, I took a step back and thought "what type of mech would I TRULY use if I was a pilot?".  I needed to stick to sniper rifles, long-range missles and options for decreased lock-on times. I needed increased jumping capabilities to flee from a quickly approaching enemy.  Once I built a mech that mirrored my abilities, I won 7 matches in a row. I need to reiterate that this is a relatively complex strategy game. All those stats you see in the garage are there for a reason.

Game Freaks gave it a 5.9, ripping the game because "I regret to report the rest of the PSP crowd that Armored Core: Formula Front isn't the action game you're looking for."

Again, the game isn't even designed as an action game. It is a strategy/simulator title, that allows for action elements if you decide to jump in the cockpit.
2317  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Armored Core: Formula Front (PSP) on: December 18, 2005, 09:30:54 AM
Is there any PS2 connectivity?

None that I'm aware of, but the manual is very poor for a game with this much complexity. It weighs in at less than 30 pages, and much of that is pictures.

I just finished my first league. It consisted of six teams and I had to work my way into the #1 position. <minor spoilers> In the final battle the enemy mech had a devastating mortar weapon which was knocking my mech all over the arena. Luckily I had a sniper rifle so I pulled back and picked away at him from a distance. Still, the winner wasn't decided until the final few seconds, and I walked out battered with only 6% of my hit points remaining. The new league has 29 teams and I've just entered into it with several new AI routines and a few new weapons.

One point that disappoints me is that when you die you get a chance to just replay the match. I would have preferred that you lose your mech or were forced to spend credits to repair it. It takes away from the tension of the combat.

With a proper storyline and harsher consequences for losses, this could have been an A+ title.
2318  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / What would your perfect game be? on: December 17, 2005, 09:36:44 PM
A massively multiplayer game where people actually role-played all of the time. A game without assholes and immature idiots whose only goal in life is to make other people miserable. A game where I never see an avatar with names like "phat-kok" or "2cool4u".
2319  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Armored Core: Formula Front (PSP) on: December 17, 2005, 08:15:15 PM
It does have wireless head-to-head play/wi-fi-compatability.
2320  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Armored Core: Formula Front (PSP) on: December 17, 2005, 06:36:14 PM
Yesterday I picked up Armored Core: Formula Front for the PSP, and now that I've put about two hours into the game I thought I'd share some of my initial impressions.

First, the original version of the game was roasted in the Japanese press and by several US sites that imported the title before it was officially released in America. Their main reasoning for such a harsh verdict was that once you spent all of your time building these wonderful mechs, you couldn't actually fight in the arenas manually. Instead, the various AI chips you built automatically played the arena games for you, and you were forced into the role as a spectator for the duration of the contest. With the official US release this has been changed. Before a match begins you now have the option of choosing manual override (you control the mech) or automatic (where the AI fights and you watch). This should please alot of people because those who are looking for a pure strategy game can choose one option, whereas speed junkies can choose the alternate option.

Okay, on to the game itself. Armored Core: Formula Front is basically one gigantic mech garage game, wrapped around a rather simplistic league match system. The true heart of the game is when you build and customize mechs from hundreds of options divided into categories such as: head, core (chest), arms, legs, boosters, FCS, generators, radiators, extensions, back and front optionals, etc.  It amazing how many build options they wedged  into this game. Besides all of the obvious customizations there are multitudes of smaller ones that can dramatically change the outcome of an arena bout. You can find equipment that reduces lock-on times, increases stability when hit, improves reload rates, enhances radar readouts, cancels enemy missle-lock ons, and dozens of other small yet vital ways to adjust your particular loadout. Then you can even "fine-tune" almost every part by redesigning them in the parts tune lab, which allows you to incrementally adjust a modules inherent characteristics (weight, cooling, energy consumption.)

Next there is the AI tuner, which sets and alters the AI's basic characteristics. For the people playing this game as a pure strategy title this is one of the most important aspects of the game. Here you add intelligence points to categories such as enemy assessment, terrain assessment, attack execution, defense execution, energy management, overall piloting, weapon utilization, combat style and temperature management.  I'm happy to report that this aspect of the game works very well. As a test I threw a bunch of points into the defensive categories, but very few into enemy analysis and weapon proficiency. When I sent my mech into the arena he was elegant and swift, easily dodging many enemy assaults. Unfortunately he couldn't shoot his way out of a brown paper bag.

The graphics in Formula Front are absolutely beautiful, easily some of the best I've seen on the PSP. The mechs look spectacualr and are intricately detailed. All of the design screens are wonderfully detailed and animated, so the game consistently feels vibrant and alive even when just poking around in the labs. The various arenas are somewhat less detailed, but I think this was a necessary sacrifice to keep such a high level of mech and weapon burst detail.  I don't think anyone will complain about this aspect of the game.

The music is basic electronica which can be turned on or off at the player's discretion. There is no voice acting in the game.

Actual combat, as stated earlier, can be manual or automatic. In manual mode you merely watch the battle, change the camera angle if desired, and then wait for the after battle statistics. In this mode you basically design, build and manage a group of mechs as the AIs you create do the grunt work. If you decide to become a mech jockey, I'm happy to report that the controls are responsive and fluid. (to the extent of how well you designed the mech)

Overall I would rate the game a solid 80%. Add 5 points to that if you are a gamer who could spend all day tricking out his stable of hardware. There are two basic faults with the game. First, there is no true storyline to the game. I would have enjoyed a more fleshed out world with a higher degree of personality, but realistically this game is meant as a simulator. Thus, all of the enemy orqanizations feel somewhat faceless and similar.  Most world information is given to you via news clips or e-mail  that you receive and read. Second, you have so many mechs (5 on your team) and so many readily available parts to choose from that the level of upward progression feels somewhat stunted. In others words, most of the goodies are available 30 seconds into the game.

<edit> I forgot to mention that one other cool aspect of the game are the AI routines that you win. Before sending a mech into battle there are 30 second slots that you can fill with specific commands. Three examples are "Zig-Zag and close on target", "Attack with hand-to-hand weapons only" and "Keep distance and fire with long range weapons". There are hundreds of these routines (think of them as cards) to collect. You then need to determine in which 30 second timeslot t to place each routine. When the AI mech goes into battle he will fight according to the parameters of these routines. If you choose NOT to fill these slots, the AI chooses what it believes is the best path to victory.
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