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11281  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Magna Carta Impressions on: November 25, 2005, 02:57:45 PM
Very nice write up, semiconcious.  While MC didn't do much for me, I can certainly see how people looking for a non-traditional RPG would really enjoy it.  I don't think MC is a bad game by any means.  There were just too many little quirky things (both in and out of battle) that kept me from really enjoying it.

Of course, since it got stolen out of my car earlier this week, I won't have to worry about playing it anymore.   :evil:
11282  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Any DQ8 impressions yet? on: November 24, 2005, 05:18:38 AM
I caved.  Picked it up tonight and have put about 3 hours into it.  Just beat the waterfall quest (my guys barely survived at 6th level.  I was out of herbs and one more hit would have killed me) and limped back to town.  I'm really enjoying it so far, despite my lack of enthusiasm about Enix games in general.  I have actively disliked the previous DQ games I've played, so coming into this one with no expectations probably helped.  After trying the chaotic on-screen mess that is Magna Carta's combat, DQ8's simple streamlined battle system seems great.  I like the unique look and feel, although I think I'd be embarassed if anyone over the age of 10 was watching me play.  I'm actually more of a 'on-rails' RPG fan (my biggest gripe about RPG's is the 'What am I supposed to do next?' feeling), but we'll see how this one progresses.  The visual and music are both better than what I was expecting, and the monster designs are fairly inspired.  I'm excited to play more, but am not sure if this will be able to pull me away from Guitar Hero entirely.

On a side note, I usually pick up strategy guides for RPG's (see the gripe above for why), but the DQ8 guide is pretty much worthless.  For example, it makes absolutely no mention of the boss for the waterfall area.  I was actually wondering if there was one right up to the point he popped out.  Um, isn't that why the strategy guide is made?  I'm not expecting the book to give everything away and completely hold my hand, but at least give me a little heads-up that I'll face something that might completely kick my ass.  That's why I bought the damn thing!
11283  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: November 24, 2005, 01:28:48 AM
For all you FF fans:

11284  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / What's your GOAT of the year so far - 2005 console edition on: November 23, 2005, 03:30:30 PM
Quote from: "Devil"
Guitar Hero!

You've got to be kidding.  Guitar Hero is nothing short of brilliant.
11285  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / FS/T: Magna Carta (PS2) *no longer available* on: November 23, 2005, 02:09:30 PM
This got stolen out of my car this afternoon.  Sorry to anyone who may have been interested in it.  frown
11286  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Any DQ8 impressions yet? on: November 23, 2005, 01:46:42 AM
OK, knock it off.  You're making me really want this game, even though I have yet to ever like an (mostly) Enix developed title.
11287  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Should I sell my PSP - I am becoming one of those people on: November 23, 2005, 01:43:11 AM
Quote from: "farley2k"

I just cannot see anything on the launch horizon which appears even slightly interesting.  I like RPGs, I don't like multiplayer, and I hate sports titles.  I can't find a single thing which I would buy for this system.

That was exactly what I was feeling.  I sold mine and haven't regretted it at all.  All told, I probably lost about $50 on the whole thing, but that's certainly worth knowing that it wasn't the system for me.  

Get a DS.  While there isn't much right in the way of RPG's now, it looks like there will be some good ones down the road a bit.
11288  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Guitar Hero Impressions!!! on: November 19, 2005, 02:05:25 PM
Quote from: "Loomi"
Just played a little at lunch.

Fuck Crossroads.

I only went through on Easy level last night, and I'll second this.  Damn, that song is brutal.

The song selection is just awesome though.  There's a few in there that I'm not crazy about, but most of the songs are great.  Mrs. Gratch laughed at my reaction when I saw 'Symphony of Destruction' on the set list.  I said, "I've always wanted to be able to play that!".  Like button pressing on a controller is going to help with that somehow...

It's odd how some of the songs I expected to like I didn't (Hendrix, White Zombie), and sone of the songs I expected to hate I loved (Queens of the Stone Age, Deep Purple).  We'll see if that changes at the higher levels.
11289  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Guitar Hero Impressions!!! on: November 19, 2005, 05:53:55 AM
This pretty much sums up my feelings about Guitar Hero after a few hours of play:

When Mrs. Gratch and I were in Gamestop tonight, I was debating on Guitar Hero or DQ8.  There were some kids (probably 8-10) years old that were playing the Gamecube demo unit.  I don't know what they were playing, but they were just giggling and laughing with unabashed glee at the joy of playing the game.  I turned to Mrs. Gratch and wistfully said, "I wish I could feel like that playing a game again.".  I figured what the hell, and picked up GH for the extra $20.

2 hours later, about halfway through the Ziggy Stardust solo, standing in my living room with one foot up on the laundry basket like an on-stage amp, my head bobbing, the guitar neck swaying with the emphasis I was putting on the wammy bar, and the crowd meter maxed out, it hit me...

For the first time probably in years, I felt like those kids while playing a game again.  I was able to completely lose myself in a game, throw inhibition to the wind, and dance around my living room like a rock-star at 8:30 on a Friday night.  And how often does a game let you say that?

I have no idea how the replay value will be.  I have no idea if I'll be playing this game a week from now.  But for the gaming experience I had tonight, I would recommend Guitar Hero to any person who has even the slightest interest in it and would venture to say it is probably the best gaming dollars I've spent in a long, long time.  It is truly one of those, 'This is why we game' games.
11290  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / FFX How arcadey? on: November 18, 2005, 01:56:53 PM
I'll second (third, fourth...whatever) the recommendations for FFX.  It is an absolutely fantastic game that is about as far from 'arcadey' as you can get.
11291  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: November 18, 2005, 02:04:15 AM
11292  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Magna Carta Impressions on: November 17, 2005, 02:38:33 PM
Quote from: "EddieA"
1. I think R2/L2 is supposed to switch targets.
2. The manual says it's random, so there isn't a set number.
3. ???
4. From what I've read, enemies will respawn a few times in most areas, but only after you've progressed further in the game from that area.  This was a concern of mine, too, but none of the reviews I've read mention the game being particularly difficult, so I'm assuming that if you fight every enemy in a region, you should be fine.

Thanks Eddie.  I was hoping I'd just overlooked something with the targeting system, so I'll give that a shot tonight.  I haven't encountered any respawning enemies, but maybe i need to get further in before that happens.  I'll give it another couple hours and see what happens.
11293  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Final Fantasy 12 demo impressions on: November 17, 2005, 03:55:19 AM
I haven't played it, but every time I read an article saying that 'Square is trying to make FFXII similar to an off-line MMORPG', I cringe.  If I want to play an MMORPG (which I never do), I'll sign up for a freaking MMORPG.  Beleive it or not, game developers, there are some of us out there that detest that style of game!  I play FF for the characters, the story, the graphics...all the things we've come to expect from the FF titles.  I have serious concerns about FFXII.
11294  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Magna Carta Impressions on: November 17, 2005, 03:25:26 AM
I put in a few more hours, and I have a few question/gripes about the battle system:

1.  If there are multiple enemies in your target range, Is there any way to pick which one you want to attack?  For example, I'm busy hammering away on the strongest enemy and nearly have him beat.  But once his buddies join the fight, your character automatically targets the closest one, which isn't necessarily the one you already had depleted 3/4 of their HP.  This poses a problem because you then have to move around to target the one enemy you want, and the leadership bar (time meter) doesn't fill while you're moving.  So the other enemies might get in another hit or two by the time you position yourself to attack the one you were originally fighting.  Highly, highly annoying.

2.  Is there a way to tell how many perfect hits it take to level up a skill?  In order to percieve a new skill (level up a skill), you need to get three perfect button presses when using it.  But there doesn't seem to be any way to tell how many times you have to do this before it levels up.  This makes skill levelling feel completely random, which is very aggravating.

3.  Is there any way to tell how much Chi a specific skill will use?  You have to have a specific type of Chi available (out of 8 ) to use a skill.  There is a meter for each type of chi in the top corner, but there doesn't seem to be any way to tell how much or how little of that Chi will be used for each action until after you make the attack or cast the spell.  That doesn't do much good.  The only way I've seen is to memorize how much the action uses, which is OK when I only have 3 actions available, but would be a serious headache with more skills.

4.  Do enemies ever randomly spawn?  I was hoping to level my characters up a little bit before a boss battle, but once I cleared a map, there is no way to make the enemies reappear.  How are you supposed to level up if you're only allowed to fight one set of enemies one time?

While the story and graphics have gotten better over the last couple hours, the battle system has become very frustrating.  I'm hoping I'm just overlooking something obvious with these questions.  Otherwise, MC may be on the trading block before long.  frown
11295  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Magna Carta Impressions on: November 16, 2005, 05:01:00 AM
The only way to turn off the VO is to turn off the sound effects as well.
11296  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Magna Carta Impressions on: November 16, 2005, 04:01:12 AM
I know there are a lot of people on the fence with this one, so here are some VERY early impressions (about 1 1/2 hours):

Graphics:  Not very impressive.  In fact, they pretty much blow.  For a game that seems to tout it's artwork (The quote 'The best production values since FFX' is on the box), I was very dissapointed.  This honestly looks like a 2-3 year old title.  The character animations are stiff, everything looks low poly, lighting and particle effects are dull, and the backgrounds are blocky.  Not impressive at all, especially when we've seen with recent games (i.e. God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, etc.) what the PS2 can really do.

Sound:  Oh dear lord, the voiceovers.  Just when I think a game can't possible do any worse in the VO department, along comes this one.  The delivery of most of the lines is seriously wince inducing, and the VO's on the cutscenes can't be skipped.  For some reason, the voice actors decided to put long pauses between words when there shouldn't be.

"I can't believe....(long awkward pause)........what she did.  She could have.....(long awkward pause)......made a better choice.  We'll have to.....(long awkward pause)......go on."

You get the idea.  It's absolutely embarassing.

I'm actually really enjoying the in-game music, other than the dreadful opening song.  Several nice melodies, and I'm excited to hear more.

Gameplay:  The story is pretty RPG-basic, but seems interesting enough.  There have been quite a few flashbacks to the main character's background, but nothing about any of the side characters.  Hopefully the story gets a bit more involving.

The battle system really shines...I think.  I'm having a hell of a time figuring it out, but what I have picked up on is pretty good.  I'm honestly going to have to read the manual pretty thoroughly before I really understand it.  There does seem to be a glut of icons, buttons, and gauges on the battle screen, which are somewhat tough to keep track of.  The combat itself seems like a cross between Grandia II and Shadow Hearts.  Your time meter and the enemies meter fill at the same time, and when  it reaches a certain point, you can act.  The action itself revolves around timed button presses - a la Shadow Hearts.  If you are successful, the attack/spell/action goes off.  If you miss, no action happens, but you only lose a little bit of your meter.  The tutorial (which was basically worthless, btw) said that 3 perfect button presses would gain me new skills, but that seems to be pretty random so far.  I'm going to have to read up on how that works.  There is also a field effect (sort of like Chrono Cross) that determines what actions you can cast.  Thankfully, you can change styles (actions) mid-battle to allow for different attacks to take advantage of this effect.  It seems like a cool system so far, and I'm sure will allow for great flexibility as the game progresses.  

Overall first impression:  I was really expecting more in the production department.  The lackluster graphics and horrid voice acting unfortunately serve to draw you out of the game, rather than into it.  Hopefully the story and battle system can overcome the other shortcomings.  I'll post some more detailed impressions when I get a little further.
11297  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Magna Carta Impressions on: November 16, 2005, 01:49:12 AM
I'll second Eddie's comments on the packaging.  Very, very impressive.  I'm going to sit down with it in a few minutes, so I'll have some impressions later tonight.
11298  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Who doesn't care about Oblivion? on: November 15, 2005, 10:51:42 PM
Huh, I didn't know Strongbad was a Devils fan.
11299  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Dragon Quest VIII ship date change . . . on: November 15, 2005, 07:17:50 PM
Quote from: "Calvin"
The reviews have thankfully made my hesitancy after the average demo completely go away, so I cannot wait. I hope its in stores today!!

As loath as I am to admit it, I'm in the same boat.  I have yet to like an Enix-developed game (and yes, that includes Valkyrie Profile), and the demo did nothing for me.  Yet, these reviews are actually making me interested.  The FFXII demo may put it over the top and I might actually buying DQ8 instead of Magna Carta, as the reviews on the latter are making me wary of spending $50.
11300  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / What are you buying this week? (11/20) on: November 15, 2005, 03:38:57 AM
Magna Carta, and possibly Guitar Hero (it's not hitting my Gamestop until this week)
11301  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Who doesn't care about Oblivion? on: November 14, 2005, 08:29:20 PM
I'm very interested in Oblivion, but I refuse to purchase a $400 system when it is the only game that interests me.  So it'll be a while until I play it.
11302  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Xbox 360 - Massive Shortages at Launch on: November 11, 2005, 10:42:32 PM
Looking at it from the outside (as someone who has no interest in picking one up on day one), this whole thing seems rather silly.    Golden tickets...sales rationing...

You guys have fun with all that.
11303  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Video games and crying? on: November 10, 2005, 11:47:11 PM
Quote from: "Autistic Angel"
I've never played Final Fantasy VII, but I thought it was "Aeris."

-Autistic Angel

US version was Aeris, Japanese version was Aerith.

I don't know about teary-eyed, but that was definately my first  "Holy Shit, did that just happen?" gaming moment.  Parts of Beyond Good & Evil and the ending of Shadow Hearts 2 (both previously mentioned) brought me much closer to actual tears.
11304  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / I caved today on: November 09, 2005, 06:51:01 PM
Until they get some games that I'm actually interested in, fighting the 360 temptation will be pretty easy.  Once that killer-app hits, it may be a different story, but I haven't seen anything yet that screams 'MUST HAVE' for me.
11305  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / I may not get a PS3 - if this is true on: November 09, 2005, 03:31:22 PM
Quote from: "bluntman72"
what about people who dont want to go online, does this mean they cant play games because it will not be able to check.

That would be me.  I have absolutely zero plans to go online with any of my consoles.  If they suddenly required me to be online just to play, then I wouldn't be buying a PS3 (or any console that requires it).  

I also buy most, if not all, of my games used.  This would be a horrible move on Sony's part if it's true.
11306  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Guitar Hero Impressions!!! on: November 08, 2005, 08:07:41 PM
How did you guys get this already?  Every place I've been says it's not coming out until next week.
11307  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / How did Shining Force Neo hold up? on: November 08, 2005, 08:06:05 PM
Hmmm, that's not good.  Maybe I'll wait until I can find it used...
11308  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: "May the Force be with you" takes a new twist. on: November 08, 2005, 05:24:46 PM
Quote from: "Dreamshadow"

This boggles the mind.  As I mentioned to Aahz on ICQ earlier:

"My brain is alternating between "That's Cool" and "I can't believe they did that" so quickly right now that I could be used as an AC generator."

I'm with you, although I have to admit that Vader/TIE Fighter combo is pretty sweet.  It'll look great on the shelf next to my Darth Tater.
11309  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / How did Shining Force Neo hold up? on: November 08, 2005, 04:30:00 PM
I have a $40 credit at Gamestop and have been intrigued by Shining Force Neo.  The reviews are all over the map (from 40% to 90%), and I'm wondering how it held up after the initial positive impressions.    I'm torn between picking it up today, or waiting for Magna Carta next week.

GT Collective, let me know what you thought.  I'm counting on you!!  slywink
11310  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Xbox 360 - Massive Shortages at Launch on: November 04, 2005, 10:41:39 PM
I have no interest in the 360, but now I wish I would have pre-ordered one just to E-Bay it.
11311  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Diablo 3 Speculation (and rumors)... on: November 04, 2005, 02:18:20 PM
Please, please, please...anything but an MMORPG.  I don't care if you turn Diablo in an RTS or FPS, just please don't make it an MMORPG.  Just keep using BattleNet for those who want to get their multiplayer fix, and make a game that those of us who loathe MMORPG's with every fiber of our being can play on our own.
11312  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Your choices for best PC game music ever? on: November 03, 2005, 09:29:36 PM
I much prefer console game music (Mitsuda & Uematsu for teh win), but PC games certainly have some great music.

-  Any of the HOMM games
-  Pretty much anything by Jeremy Soule
-  The opening theme from Civ IV is fantastic, but I'm not crazy about the rest of it.
-  Beyond Good & Evil (multiplatform, but still...)
-  the Diablo games (Odd story about Diablo music:  I'd never listed to Bauhaus before, but in reading a review of the first Diablo, the reviewer mentioned how much the music sounded like them.  I loved the Diablo music, so I picked up a Bauhaus CD and have been a huge fan ever since.  So, Diablo is directly responsible for my Bauhaus collection.  Thanks!)
-  and who can forget the classic Darkstone song!  'When the Darkstone shines...'  slywink  Actually, the rest of that soundtrack is pretty good.
11313  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Back & Forth, Back & Forth - No 360 for me... on: November 03, 2005, 06:49:24 PM
It's actually kind of refreshing not to have any interest at all in the 360 launch.  I can avoid the inevitable 'Buy-a-ridiculous-amount-of-games-just-because-I-have-a-new-system' glut I always go through and save myself a ton of money.   I'm sure I'll pick one up eventually, but I am perfectly content to wait for a) a price drop and b) more games.  I've always been a late adopter, as launch and early-library titles always seem more like overpromoted cash-grabs than actual quality games.  Oblivion is the only game that interests me at this point (and that one only somewhat), so I'll be on the sidelines waiting for a while.
11314  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: October 29, 2005, 03:25:39 AM
Empire Strikes Back - in it's entirety - in .gif format

11315  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / So did Rich kill Octopus Overlords also? on: October 26, 2005, 11:02:20 PM
Quote from: "warning"
Maybe Daehawk's picture wasn't too far off...

So... fess up?  Who did it?

While I don't harbor near the bitterness as some people over this whole mess (what's done is done - let's all just move on), I have to admit that's really damn funny.
11316  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / PS2...about that backwards compatability thing... on: October 26, 2005, 12:01:23 AM
Quote from: "crumsteel"
Maybe it is just me, but this entire compatibility issue is mute.

/grammar nazi

Moot.  The whole thing is moot.

Sorry, that's just one of my all-time biggest pet peeves.  Please continue.

/grammar nazi off
11317  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Final Fantasy X... on the NES! on: October 24, 2005, 08:40:44 PM
That's pretty damn cool.  Wish we could get an english version.  frown
11318  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow Review on: October 23, 2005, 01:31:46 AM
I'll go ahead and be the lone dissenting voice on Castlevania DS.  While it certainly isn't a bad game by any means, I just don't see what all the ranting and raving is about.  It's a pretty platformer with some very basic level design and a few RPG elements thrown in.  It was fun for a few hours, but I actually thought it got boring pretty quickly.  I don't see what all the hype is about.  Then again, I've never been a big fan of the series.

Meteos is still safe as the top DS game in my book.
11319  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Sexiest Singer of our time? on: October 22, 2005, 06:40:18 PM
It sort of depends for me.  Goth chicks done right can be the absolute sexiest thing in the world.  However, those are very few and far between.  And goth chicks done wrong are possibly the most horrid thing ever.  Unfortunately, they seem to be in the extreme majority.  frown
11320  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Sexiest Singer of our time? on: October 22, 2005, 06:32:05 PM
Quote from: "Calvin"
Faith Hill.

Please remove all Goth chick pictures. Thank you smile

Bah.  I'd take crazy goth chick over poppy bubblegum bullshit any day of the week.
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