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11121  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Shadow Hearts: From the New World thread of ALL THREADS on: March 12, 2006, 05:25:55 PM
I'm now about 10 hours in, and I honestly doubt I'm going to finish this game.  While there are many good things about it, there are a few things that are keeping me from really enjoying it:

1.  Johny Garland.  I said it earlier, but this kid is the most underwhelming, un-badass, un-threatning main character I've ever seen.  Hello Kitty looks positively evil next to Johnny 'Sunshine & Rainbows' Garland.  Having Johnny as the lead character has ruined most of the game's appeal to me.  He is just simply a forgettable, generic lead character.  Which brings me to the next problem...

2.  Both of the first two games, while very funny, were also very dark and dealt with very mature subject matter.  They seemed to have a change of heart this time around, and aim this game directly at the pre-teen market.  Sure, the goofiness is still there (and I still think Frank is a great character), but there is absolutely nothing sinister or remotely threatening to balance it out.  

3.  The story just flat-out sucks so far.  In previous SH games, you visited a ton of real-world locations, but they were all in context of the story.  There was always a reason why you would be there.  In this game, it seems like they decided on all the locations they wanted to include first ('Oooh, let's have them visit Roswell, and the Grand Canyon, and Chicago.  Gamers would love that!"), then tried to build a story around these locations.  Simply put, it didn't work.  It feels like every new location is just a stupid goose chase with no purpose except moving you on to the next place.  Also, the person I'm assuming is main villain has been seen for a grand total of about 5 minutes in the 10 hours I've played.  I have no idea who she is, why she's evil, what her plot is, or anything else.  Hell, the only reason I think she's the badguy is because her eyes glowed red and she killed some cops at the beginning of the game.  There is absolutely no sense of drama, excitement, or tension, and the story is - quite frankly - incredibly dull.

4.  I still think the Stellar Chart system is a great idea.  Problem is, outside of the odd healing spell and boss fights, there is never a single reason to use any spells!  I literally have gone through entire levels without ever using Stellar Magic until the boss fight.  Every enemy can be defeated by simply using physical combo attacks, so there is really no reason to have the extensive magic system.  Although with how the pacing has gone so far, I'm sure I'll suddenly reach a point where I will have to use magic every turn.  

My gut feeling is that they simply tried to cram too much into this game without taking the time to tie it all together.  Everything about it feels disjointed and half-baked, especially the stories.  I could completely care less about the characters, which is something that has never happened in a Shadow Hearts game before.  I might give it a couple more hours, but unless it gets significantly better, SH:  FtNW will be on the trading block.  frown
11122  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Shadow Hearts: From the New World thread of ALL THREADS on: March 09, 2006, 03:44:35 AM
Quick impressions after about 2 hours:

Overall, I'm very impressed.  The production values are high, and the off-beat feel of the series is definately still intact.  The voice-over work is surprisingly good, and the character designs are fantastic.  They've made a few tweaks to the battle system, but it's pretty much the same.  The magic system is now based on 'Stellars', which are essentially runes that you place in different slots on a chart (based on the Zodiac symbols).  I haven't messed around with it much, but it seems like there could be a great deal of customization with this system.  You can adjust and power-up the different slots through the two gay bikers (these guys bother some people, but I think they're pretty damn funny), which allow you to equip more runes, equip higher level runes, change the slot type (each slot is designated as an attack, defense, or elemental slot, and you can only equip the corresponding runes), and lower the MP cost for spells.  Pretty cool stuff, and I can't wait to get into it further.

The story moves pretty slow, and after I couple hours, I'm not exactly sure what the point is.  There doesn't seem to be an overarching villain/peril/uber-baddie, so I'm hoping it picks up a bit.  However, it is well told, and the dialog is very funny.   A couple minor gripes:

1.  The music is pretty poor.  Granted, the last two games set an incredibly high standard, but a few of the songs they use are just grating.  on the ears.  I knew this going in (I've got the soundrack), but it's still very dissapointing.

2.  I just can't get into Johnny as the main character.  This has been one of my main concern since the game details were announced.  Again, he's some some awfully tough shoes to fill, since Yuri was one of my favorite game characters of all time.  Johnny just seems like, well, a little wimp.  He's about as un-badass as you can get.   However, Frank the Brazillian Ninja makes up for anything Johnny lacks.  Seriously funny stuff.

3.  Didn't we learned from FFVIII that unskippable summon animations are a bad thing?  Apparently not.  Not that I really mind seeing Shania strip every time she transforms, but it gets a little old.

These are the only gripes I have so far, and they're really pretty minor.  For me, stepping back into a SH game is like putting on a comfy pair of shoes.  Nothing mind-blowing, but you know you'll enjoy them.  OK, that analogy sucked, but maybe you get my meaning.  smile More impressions to come after a few more hours...
11123  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Shadow Hearts: From the New World thread of ALL THREADS on: March 08, 2006, 01:44:19 PM
This uneven storytelling isn't helped at all by the lackluster voice acting either.

This is dissapointing.  I thought the amazing voice work in SH:  C was one of the games huge strong points.  

I'm hoping it actually shows up today.  I didn't get the standard pre-order call from Gamestop, so I wonder if they're not getting it until tomorrow.  frown
11124  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / What'd You Name Your Band? on: March 07, 2006, 11:40:20 PM
The Grumpy Crampers
11125  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Shadow Hearts: From the New World thread of ALL THREADS on: March 07, 2006, 01:49:28 PM
Quote from: "depward"
I can't wait to play Wednesday.


I pimped the first two SH games to the ends of the earth, so of course I'm in.
11126  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / The Official GT Trader Feedback List (updated 7/30) on: March 07, 2006, 12:34:24 AM
Big +1 to The_Man
11127  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Guitar Hero 2 coming!! on: March 07, 2006, 12:08:15 AM
Quote from: "Nth Power"
Awesome news!  
I always thought AC/DC or Van Halen (and Metallica) would be a good match for Guitar Hero.  Maybe for the sequel!

From what I understand, Van Halen was their first choice, but they could never get any of the band's representatives to call them back.
11128  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Guitar Hero 2 coming!! on: March 06, 2006, 08:25:23 PM
Quote from: "ATB"
Quote from: "Gratch"
Seriously, this is the best gaming news I've heard in months.   biggrin

 depending on what their definition of 'metal' is.

Why Jethro Tull of course...

LOL.  Well played, sir.
11129  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Guitar Hero 2 coming!! on: March 06, 2006, 07:27:53 PM
Seriously, this is the best gaming news I've heard in months.   biggrin

I'll definately pass on the country version, but a metal version has the potential to kick all kinds of ass - depending on what their definition of 'metal' is.
11130  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Guitar Hero Questions: With New Questions! on: March 06, 2006, 05:12:08 PM
Ralph hit most of the points, but I'll add a couple:

1.  Hitting the 'higher' notes is simply a matter of practice.  It will feel extremely awkward the first few times you have to use the orange key, but it will become second nature after a while.  Remember that the raised notch on the yellow key is your friend.  Get used to feeling for it so you know exactly where your fingers are placed.  When you start getting into some of the more insane passages, you will need to make sure you are on the right keys, and that little bump is a lifesaver.

2.  Definately lots of notes as opposed to long ones.  Chord passages are even better, and you can really rack up the points.  8X star power on expert level 'Unsung' about made my score meter explode.  smile

3.  From what I can tell, the whammy bar does not give you more points on non-star power notes.  It does boost your star power meter if you use it on starred notes (which annoys me to no end.  I hate using the whammy in places I normally wouldn't just to get more star power.), but I don't think it has any effect on the score of regular notes.

4.  There has been a ton of talk about a sequel, but nothing has officially been announced yet.  There was an artice in GI (possibly EGM) a couple months back that the developer was talking about the list of bands they're looking at for the sequel.

Drum Hero would be awesome, but I don't think there's any way they could create a peripheral that would be cost effective.  Guess I'll just stick to my real drum set and some headphones.  smile

5.  I certainly hope so.  The guys at my Gamestop said they've had a hell of a time keeping it in stock, and everything I've read talks about what a huge success it has been.  I can't imagine that it would be terribly expensive to develop (at least in comparison to other games), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Have fun with it, and keep us updated on your progress.  You'll be amazed at how easy some of the difficult songs seem once you've put in a few more hours.  The learning curve is just about perfect on this game.
11131  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Who are your favorite *fictional* characters? on: March 03, 2006, 03:18:47 PM
Another vote for Darth Vader & Tyrion Lannister.  I'd also add a random smattering of others:

-  Zaphod Beeblebrox (HHGTTG)
-  Raistlin (Dragonlance)
-  Fitz-Chivalry Farseer (Assassin & Tawny Man series)
-  Jules Winfield (Pulp Fiction)
-  Gandalf (LotR)
-  Godzilla (does he count?)
-  Jack Burton (Big Trouble in Little China)
11132  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Katrina: Bush and the administration were explicitly warned on: March 03, 2006, 01:50:46 PM
Quote from: "Devil"
Kinda like Drew Bledsoe. I don't think he WANTS to suck, he just does.

I have nothing to add to the political debate, but had to say that that quote is sheer genius.
11133  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [Guitar Hero] And your newest guitar god is... on: March 02, 2006, 12:04:31 AM
...ME!!!     biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

After about, oh, 100 or so tries, I finally beat Bark at the Moon on expert last night to get through all the songs. I am now a certified rock legend, and I have the battle axe guitar to prove it. I don't think Mrs. Skinypupy was terribly impressed (I think I detected an eye roll when I leapt off the couch in triumph), but I felt a sense of accomplishment that I haven't had from a game in a long, long time. Made me realize (for the umpteeth time) how damn good this game really is.

I think I probably only hit around 70% of the notes on BatM and finished about one step away from being booed off the stage, but at least it's done. I will now sit back and bask in my plastic guitar glory while I eagerly await Guitar Hero 2.    slywink
11134  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Virtual Girlfriend (NSFW) on: March 01, 2006, 02:59:28 AM
While it's not as revealing, I like this one better.  Strip, hummer are pretty funny, and kiss is great.
11135  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: February 28, 2006, 12:33:44 AM
11136  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / FS: Nintendo DS unit w/Age of Empires DS *SOLD* on: February 27, 2006, 08:55:26 PM

Having some financial troubles, and don't really play it much - so the DS is up for grabs.  It's the blue version in perfect condition and will include:

-  DS unit (power cord, extra stylus, original box & manuals)
-  Age of Empires DS with box & manual (played about 3 hours total.  In perfect condition)
-  Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (no box or manual)

Looking for $125 shipped, obo.  Feel free to shoot me a PM with any questions.

EDIT:  Checked on the shipping (a little more than I thought it would be) so I added a small bump in the price.
11137  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Shadow Hearts : FtNW reviews on: February 25, 2006, 04:24:45 PM
Another very positive review here.  I'm getting more and more excited for this one as these reviews come in.
11138  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Cellphone/Mobile Games - what's good? on: February 24, 2006, 03:50:35 PM
I've really been enjoying the Doom RPG.  Nothing overly deep or complex, but it's good solid fun and very well done.  A ton of nostalgia for old-school gamers, but enought depth and 'fun factor' to satisfy anyone.  Plus, it's perfect for 10-15 minute sittings.  I just checked my game clock and noticed that I've put about 5 hours into it over the last couple months.   :shock:

FWIW, I'm actually enjoying it far more than the actual Doom 3 game.
11139  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Pre-rendered game ads no more? on: February 24, 2006, 01:24:09 AM
Quote from: "Destructor"
Quote from: "Gratch"
Good thing this wasn't in place when FFVII came out.  Methinks the game wouldn't have sold nearly as well without the completely rendered CG ads.

That's a VERY big part as to why the game sold as well as it did - all the idiots out there who thought that all the FMV was real ingame shots. That and the spamming of the airwaves in commercials.

Then, once they had the game, and found out they were lied to like you wouldn't believe, they decided to play it anyway.

Poof! Instant RPG revolution.

I'll admit it, I was one of those idiots...and am damn glad I was.  I never had a NES or SNES, so I missed out on all the 'classic' RPG's.  I purchased my PS1 about a week before I saw a FFVII ad in a movie theater.  I was floored by it and immediately rushed out to buy the game.  After I got over the initial dissapointment, I was hooked.  Not only on that game, but on the RPG genre as a whole.

Honestly, if it wasn't for those ads I probably never would have played an RPG and missed out on some truly incredible games.  So 'Thank You' to Square's marketing department, as it got at least one person addicted to the genre.  smile
11140  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: February 23, 2006, 11:51:45 PM

11141  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Pre-rendered game ads no more? on: February 23, 2006, 02:02:59 PM
Good thing this wasn't in place when FFVII came out.  Methinks the game wouldn't have sold nearly as well without the completely rendered CG ads.
11142  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Shadow Hearts : FtNW reviews on: February 23, 2006, 02:00:58 PM
Quote from: "Calvin"
Not sure I can do it, even though I want to. God, another winy emo 13 year old unsure of his sexuality as a main character? Somehow FF gets away with this, but Shadow Hearts just makes it seem like gay Vegas cabaret. I dunno, i really WANT to like this game and want to play it, but when I read about it I'm just not sure.

That's been my main reservation on SH:  FtNW since it was announced.  The past games have had such a strong cast of mature characters, and that has been a major draw for me.  I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the young characters are handled well in this new installment.

FWIW, I've got the soundtrack as well, and I agree with the 'meh' comments. (soory, Dep)  Mitsuda's work on the last 2 soundtracks was so incredible, and this one seems a bit lacking on comparison.  It's not bad by any means, but it's not up to the level of the past games in the series.
11143  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Shadow Hearts : FtNW reviews on: February 22, 2006, 01:45:18 PM
I'm still not sold on the character and story choices, but with the positive reviews, I think it'll be a day 1 purchase.  Game Informer gave it a very positive review as well (8.5, iirc)
11144  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / How many consoles do you own? on: February 21, 2006, 01:25:35 AM
Currently own:
- X-Box
-  PS2
-  PS1
-  DS

Have owned:
-  PSP
-  GBA
-  Gamecube
-  DC
-  Nintendo 8-bit
-  Saturn
-  Sega master syste
-  Sega Genesis
-  Atari 2600
11145  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Age of Empires: The Age of Kings for DS Screens on: February 17, 2006, 04:54:29 PM
Quote from: "Farscry_Redux"
Gratch, did you just say "tech trees"?  I didn't know there were tech trees in this game... oh man, I'm really really starting to get pulled into picking this up the more I hear and read about it!  Those impressions of yours sound great too, TML!

Yup.  Just like in the PC game, you can research different technologies during the different ages.  Some help economics (i.e.:  Advanced Mining gives 15% higher gold output from mines), some help military (i.e. Scalemail gives 20% higher defense), and there are a few other miscellaneous ones (i.e. Footwear give villagers 1 extra movement).  Once you get a specific amount of gold, food, & tech advancements, you can move to the next age, which allows for additional research and units.  Again, similar to the PC game...which is a very good thing.  smile
11146  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Age of Empires: The Age of Kings for DS Screens on: February 17, 2006, 01:56:50 PM
After 3 of the tutuorial missions, I'll pretty much echo TML sentiments.  This is a solid title that is going to be a lot of fun.  I love how they've kept the original AoE feel by using the PC game music and sound effects.  Very nice touch.  

I should get a few hours to put into it tonight, so I'll be albe to better discuss strengths & weakneeses.  Initial impression:  AoE is essentially Fire Emblem with resources & tech trees.  If you enjoyed FE at all, I think you'll have a blast with AoE.
11147  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Age of Empires: The Age of Kings for DS Screens on: February 16, 2006, 01:40:59 PM
Got my call from Gamestop last night, so I'll get it this afternoon.  Won't have too much time to play (soccer game tonight), but I'll get a few impressions up.
11148  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Age of Empires: The Age of Kings for DS Screens on: February 16, 2006, 12:37:28 AM
Well, no luck for today.  They're hoping to get it in tomorrow, but no promises.

BTW, it got good reviews from both the GI and EGM mags that showed up today.
11149  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Age of Empires: The Age of Kings for DS Screens on: February 15, 2006, 07:52:59 PM
I'm hoping to pick mine up tonight as well.  Oddly, I didn't receive a call last night from 'Aeris at Gamestop' confirming that my pre-order was arriving.  Did it get delayed or something?
11150  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: February 15, 2006, 02:45:53 AM
Double post
11151  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: February 15, 2006, 02:45:16 AM

11152  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Selling my Xbox for a PS2 name me some must haves! on: February 13, 2006, 07:08:04 PM
Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero, and Guitar Hero.  smile  Honestly, it is worth every penny of the extra $20.

A few of my other favorites (most of which have already been menioned):

-  Shadow Hearts series (both games are great, but Covenant is quite a bit better.  Helps to play through the first game to understand the full impact of the second.)
-  God of War
-  Final Fantasy X
-  Disgaea
-  Xenosaga (just the first one.  The second game is an absolute mess)
-  Tenchu
-  DQ8
-  Hot Shots Golf
-  Dark Cloud 2

A couple multi-platform that are must play's if you missed them on your X-Box:
-  Burnout Revenge
-  Lego Star Wars (I'd rent it though, as it can easily be beaten in about 8 hours)
-  Beyond Good & Evil

A few games everyone else but me seemed to love for the PS2
-  Metal Gear Solid:  Snake Eater
-  Shadow of the Colossus
-  Star Ocean III
-  RE4
-  Digital Devil Saga 1 & 2
-  Any of the GTA games
11153  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Resident Evil 4 sucks. You know it is true. on: February 13, 2006, 01:53:01 PM
Count me in with the 'controls ruined it' crowd.  I really, really wanted to like it, but I felt like I was fighting the controls more than I was fighting the baddies.  Not exactly my idea of fun.
11154  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Grandia III reviews trickling in on: February 12, 2006, 12:31:20 AM
I'm going to hold off and pick up Age of Empires DS instead.  GIII is intriguing, but I wasn't a huge fan of the previous games and I'm not a big fan of fast-paced, frantic battle systems.  I'm sure I'll give it a try, but not until after a price drop.
11155  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Age of Empires: The Age of Kings for DS Screens on: February 11, 2006, 02:37:00 PM
I was waffling between AoE DS and Grandia III, but I think AoE just won out.  This looks entirely too cool.
11156  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / What are some good fantasy movies? on: February 10, 2006, 05:38:24 PM
Quote from: "TheMissingLink"
The Dark Crystal owns all.

Amen.  DC and Labyrinth were two of my favorite movies as a kid.  I had a Jen & Kira poster on my wall for years.

Did you know they're making a Dark Crystal sequel?
11157  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / FF7 Advent Children voice actors, details on: February 10, 2006, 05:33:04 PM
Quote from: "farley2k"
I wonder if the story will make sense.  I watched the subtitled version which floated around the net a few months ago and I was just silly.  

sure looked pretty though.

The story is really pretty lame, even for the most ardent FFVII fanboys (of which I am one).  However, the visuals more than make up for what the story lacks.  It is a absolutely incredible and jaw-dropping work of art.
11158  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Anyone else regret not being born in today's age? on: February 06, 2006, 05:15:18 AM
Screw the technology.  I'm just miffed because I don't remember girls being nearly as hot when I was in high school.  slywink
11159  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / A couple Madden 06 questions on: February 06, 2006, 05:14:20 AM
Thanks.  I forgot it was a pre-season game, so that explains the subs.  The fair catch also worked as soon as I took control of the return man.

The stadium music is still horribly annoying, but I guess it's a necessary evil.  Why they didn't give it an 'Off' option is beyond me.  Michaels also didn't make any play call goofs in the last 2 games I played, so it must have been an isolated thing.
11160  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / A couple Madden 06 questions on: February 05, 2006, 08:35:20 PM
So I'm a little late to the Madden party this year.  Picked up a used copy of Madden 06 yesterday to get my yearly football game fix.  Unfortunately, it came without a manual, so I have a couple questions:

1.  How do you call a Fair Catch?  I can't find it anywhere on the controller settings.  My punt returner keeps fumbling the ball since he's getting hit the moment he catches it.  I've resorted to moving everyone away from the ball, but then I run the risk of losing 10-15 yards on the bounce.

2.  Why do my players get randomly subbed out in Francise mode games?  Playing with the Steelers, I noticed about halfway through the 2nd quarter that Roethlesburger & Bettis were both out.  There was nothing on the injury report, and I was able to sub them both right back in.  Playing against the Eagles (same game), neither McNabb or Westbrook played after halftime.  Again, no injury to either of them.  Granted, McNabb was 0-10 at halftime, but I was only up 10 points so I can't think of why they would sub him.

3.  Is there a way to turn off the god-awful music during the game without completely turning off the crowd noise?  I figured out how to switch it out of the menus, but not the actual in-game music.  Hearing that shite after every play is grating on my nerves, but completely shutting off the crowd noise kills the experience.

4.  Is Al Michaels saying the wrong team name a random bug, or a common occurrence?  I was on offense with the Steelers, and Michaels kept saying 'Pittsburgh comes out in a 4 man front.'.  Ummm, no.  The defense may be in a 4-man front, but I'm pretty sure Pittsburgh is in the I formation.  I wish there was a way to keep Al and turn off John.  Madden's commentary just keeps getting worse and worse.
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