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1761  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Screw Octopuses on: April 26, 2005, 04:11:47 AM
"The name earwig is derived from a European superstition that these insects enter the ears of a sleeping person and bore into the brain."
1762  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Screw Octopuses on: April 26, 2005, 12:37:38 AM
Would you rather have an earwig in your ear or a spider that spins webs in your inner ear canal?
1763  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Xbox 360: So ya want backwards compatability? It'll cost you on: April 25, 2005, 05:47:37 PM
My thompson drive xbox is on the verge of dying after 2 years.  I've been hoping that the drive will make it to December, but based on how Jade Empire played, I'm guessing it's days are numbered.  With that said, I need backwards compatability, since my original xbox will be dead by then.  I'm willing to pay extra, although I think they're crazy not to include backwards compatability with the main baseline unit.

I loved having my xbox serve as my dvd player, which helped motivate my wife to jump on board with purchasing it at launch.  If the PVR comments are true, I'll use that to get her on board again smile
1764  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 25, 2005, 01:51:38 AM
I finished tonight, great game.  The pacing and story get A LOT better after the Lotus Assassin Fortress.  Character level - 22; total hours: 24.  

Bioware did a good job of resolving all of the sub and main plot lines.  

If you finish the game, make sure you sit through all the credits!  There's a very funny running commentary by Dawn Star and Segacious Zu.  Some of the Segacious Zu comments are hilarious.
1765  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire Character Choice on: April 24, 2005, 08:06:35 PM
I don't mind not having inventory to manage besides the gems, but it would've been nice to have a couple of outfit choices or changes throughout the story.  I found it a little silly that they would let my character run around in his normal clothes in the Lotus Assassin HQ for example.
1766  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 23, 2005, 10:41:17 PM
Quote from: "Freezer-TPF-"
Quick question on upgrading styles:  I am starting Ch. 2.  Should I put anything into Heavenly Wave, or should I save the points and wait until I get a better support style?


It really doesn't matter, but I'd recommend maxing out 1 martial style, 1 weapon style, 1 magic style, and the duration effects for 1 support style.  By the end of the game you'll have enough points to do all of the above, and have points to train up another 2-3 styles.  

Heavenly Wave is a great support style that I relied on heavily for triggering HCs until the latter part of the game.  Storm Dragon and Paralyzing Palm are both excellent support styles.  Storm Dragon you can get relatively early in the game, and works very well against a single target to keep them incapacitated for several seconds while you pummel them.  Paralyzing Palm is received through a quest series at the Black Leopard School off the Imperial City.  PP is a very good support style against almost all foes (it works against all humans and most spirits).  It's almost overpowering when you consider that a PP user can lockdown boss characters for the entire fight by timely use of PP and a WS or martial style. To answer your question though, the only support style I spent training points in was PP, and that was just to max out the duration.

It's nice being able to switch between multiple martial styles, or a couple of weapon styles, but you don't need them.  If you just max out LS, 1 magic style, a weapon style (I'd recommend waiting until you get dual sabers or twin axes to do this) and 1 support style, you'll be in great shape.  As far as the weapon styles are concerned, since you can't get dual sabers or twin axes styles until later in the game, I'd suggest maxing out the focus cost reduction on your staff.

If you have a martial style damage option, a magic damage option, a weapon style damage option, and a support style you like, you'll be in great shape. The only martial style that I would absolutely train up the chi damage option for would be thousand cuts, since that is the least damaging style, and each hit would benefit from the chi strikes.  


Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
In fact the lack of options that seem to truly adhere to the Closed-Fist philosophy vice being outright evil is a huge missed opportunity.


Agreed.  The way of the closed fist, as it is explained in Twin Rivers, is not necessarily by definition evil.  According to the game lore, the closed fist path is based on personal strength and encouraging others to find their own strength.  The best western comparison that came to mind for me was "tough love".  Unfortunately, there are very few decision paths in the game that offer choices outside of good vs evil.  I originally wanted to play a closed first character following the philosophy outlined at Twin Rivers, without being evil.  There's absolutely no way to make progress far into the closed fist meter without choosing most of the evil options.  I thought initially that Bioware had created an alignment system not based on good vs evil or even tied to morality, but in the end, that's exactly how it works.  It seemed almost like the writers either didn't have the creativity to develop more solutions that were in keeping with the closed fist philosophy, or they took the easy way out and reverted back to the old good vs evil system.
1767  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 23, 2005, 01:33:16 AM
Quote from: "AttAdude"
Did you ever try out white demon with paralyzing palm?  For it to be an effective combo you have too up the speed on demon and up the duration of palm.  Once you get it right, its almost unfair.


I was using that combo last night, PP + white demon (speed & damage maxed), and it was oh so sweet.  I have duration maxed on PP and start with the 3 hit combo to stun, power attack to trigger HC (if enemy is vulnerable to HCs), white demon power attack (enemy is now petrified!), and then 1 more normal hit will explode the enemy.  If the target isn't vulnerable to HCs, I'll start with 3 hit PP, white demon x3, tiger style x3, PPx3 and repeat until dead.  

PP HCs drop either a chi or unblockable power up.

If you want to see carnage, try chaining back and forth between the twin axe style and white demon.  The twin axe style can hit enemies near the targeted enemy during the 3 hit combo.  It's a slower WS than dual sabers, but it seems to do a lot more damage (even compared to the artifact dual sabers).  

The further I get into the game (18 hours now) the better the combat gets.  The romance love triangle is getting pretty heated too…great character development.
1768  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ron - Dump Kelly!! Amazing Race - 4/19 - Spoilers on: April 21, 2005, 11:16:12 PM
Quote from: "Frog's Honey"
Well, I was sad to see Lynn and Alex go, but I like all the teams except Romber.  I was especially sorry to see Joyce go through with cutting her hair off - it grows back, but as a woman, I am sure that was a little traumitizing.  But good for her for going through with it!

LASTLY - Ron needs to dump Kelly NOW!!!!!  Dump her Ron, Dump her!!  The preview for next week - shows her saying that he has issues with commitment.  Ending with - him saying - what about my military career, what about commitment to the military?  She has the GALL to answer - you got out of that by being a POW.  WHAT!!!?!?!?!?!?!?  :shock:


Ron dump her now!!  For your own good!


My wife and I were speechless for a few seconds after hearing Kelly say that during the preview.  Based on that unbelievably absurd comment, I'm not sure if Kelly is:
a) a moron
b) beauty queen on the outside and a cold bitch on the inside
c) both a & b

I'd like to think she's just a complete moron, and has absolutely no clue or understanding of what she said.  If she did understand what she said, and made a conscious choice to make that statement, I agree, Ron needs to get out of that relationship asap.  I think it's probably a lot of A and a little of B combined.

But yeah, that had to be one of the most idiotic and ignorant comments I've heard in my entire life.  If that quote doesn't end up in Entertainment Weekly's "They said that" weekly quote section, I'd be shocked.  

In her mind, there were a heck of a lot of pows from WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and most recently in Iraq, that got out of their military commitments by being lucky enough to be pows.  

"You got to be a POW", as if it's some kind of selection process that you win.
1769  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 21, 2005, 08:59:26 PM
Quote from: "AttAdude"
That arena comment was aimed at the last qualifier for the championchip fight right?  That was one hard ass fight.  i actualy had to do that one 3 times before i won.

Exactly.  It only took you 3 tries?  It took me about 5 attempts, very tough fight.  The humans weren't too bad, but throwing in the demons, that's what made it tough.  That little monkey-looking guy (1 of the 3 brothers) can drop your health in seconds if you're not paying attention.  That fight, plus the one just after, made me realize that trying to scrap with demons in melee range is a bad idea.  Horse demons and their damn damage shields!   Better just to blow them away.  I'm glad I picked up maribelle too, although I would've loved to have Sky with me to regen focus.  



Quote from: "AttAdude"
By the way just for comparisons sake, i like the conversations, the story, and the conversation options.  I thought the baker bei quest was very light hearted and funny in the face of such a grave main quest.  I appreciated it for the small funny distraction i thought it was ment to be.  I say this only so that this style of gameplay is not counted as a mistake, for people like me, this is exactaly what we want.

I think Bioware did the best they could to try and cater to all types of players.  At least I can just skip through dialogue when I don't want to read it, and I'm not forced to read it.  A quick example: In the debate part of the Sir Bastard quest, I didn't even bother to walk around and talk to all of the judges, I just started the quest and winged it.  It took me all the way to the 6th question, but I was still able to get a majority vote by mixing up the answer types.  I loved his dialogue, but it was late, and I didn't want to read through all of the different judge dialogue too.  At least for the dialogue impatient like me, I can still complete quests like that.
1770  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 21, 2005, 06:25:10 PM
I'm about 16 hours into the game, and while the pacing does get better as far as action vs. reading/listening to dialogue is concerned, it's still clearly an rpg, and not an action game.  At this point, if it's not dialogue concerning my party members or the main plot line, I tend to just fly through it or skip it.  I'm sure I'm missing some good backstory and fluff dialogue, but it's becoming a little tiresome for me.  I do appreciate Bioware's effort to include all of the scrolls, history, and spoken dialogue, I just tend to lose interest if that's all I'm doing for an hour.  

Btw, if you thought the combat was too easy, wait until you get to the imperial city and fight through all of the arena matches.  Single human foes are not too tough, but wait until the final matches :twisted:

Any tips for fighting demons in general?  Magic and support styles don't normally work against them, the A+X martial style doesn't work against some of them, leaving only martial and weapon styles.  

Any tips for fighting golems?  The ones I've fought are immune to martial attacks, magic, and most status effects from support styles.  Once I run out of focus fighting golems, the only way I've been able to kill them is by using spirit thief in chi mode, which takes forever.
1771  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 20, 2005, 08:00:56 PM
Quote from: "Sepiche"
Quote from: "Arkon"
I think he was my favorite NPC interaction Atta, just wish I remembered his full name.

I can't remember his name in the game too, but I'm 90% sure he was voiced by John Cleese.  He sure was a tough fight though... man he loads that rifle fast!

s


He was great, I loved that part.  His name was Sir <something> Bastard, I forget what comes before bastard.  On his breastplate was the symbol of a fork stuck through a piece of cheese.  His rifle does a ton of damage, but I was able to get in close and keep him paralyzed while I ripped him t shreds.  Now Mirabelle(sp?) is mine, and man does she rock at range, giving a nice focus ranged option.    

Atta:  thanks for the tip on the martial styles, I'll have to try that.  I use tiger style, and exactly how you described with paralyzing palm, I have to move forward to close the distance after the PP combo.  Something I thought was curious is that Tiger Style if bought from a merchant is significantly more expensive than either Thousand Cuts or Legendary Strike (10,000 compared to 6000 and 7500 I think).  Not sure if price equals value in this case, but I thought that was interesting.  You mentioned you just picked up White Demon, have you found a use for that style?  It didn't really fit with my play style, but it seems strong.
1772  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Ninja Gaiden Tips? on: April 20, 2005, 07:03:12 PM
I played through the first time using sword almost exclusively, except for the level with the ghost fish.  I did ok against the black ninjas using only sword, mainly relying on wall jumps and constant moving to stay alive.  Blocking the black ninja attacks is a lot easier said than done, and requires excellent timing and reaction speed.  Someone suggested to me to try using nunchucks on the black ninjas (and any other fast enemies in the game).  I wasn't a fan of using nunchucks, but I gave it a shot.  For me, I found the black ninjas easier to fight using nunchucks.  Not only were they easier for me, but I started racking up a ton of essence because of how nunchucks can keep the combo count rapidly increasing, especially compared to using a sword.  I still mainly recommend using sword for most parts of the game, but nunchucks can make certain foes a lot easier imo, and are excellent for farming essence due to the combo strings.

One of the more frustrating levels for me was the level with the ghost or spirit fish, mainly because I was trying to get through it using my sword.  As soon as I switched to nunchucks (based on a tip) that level became much, much less frustrating. Just before you leave that level, there's a large doorway that has respawning fish.  If you use nunchucks and just mow through each spawn of fish (run away from that spot after clearing and run back) you can rack up enough essence to keep you stocked up on potions and lives for the latter part of the game.  

Nunchucks are situational, but can be very effective against certain foes.  I wouldn't discredit them until you've tried them out and see if they fit your play style.  You may find a certain section much easier using them (or not).
1773  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 18, 2005, 11:55:04 PM
Quote from: "Sparhawk"
I'm holding you to that Atta. Though, when I get home from work tonight I'll have to fight the urge to play EQ2 and sit down with JE.  :lol:


Atta is right, those 3 quests are basically non-stop combat each, and they're not short.  In fact, each of those quests may end up being a reality check for your comfort level with the combat system.  I thought I knew what I was doing in combat until I hit those quests, and then I really had to learn smile

Harmonic combos are your friend! Not only do they kill baddies faster, but they also supply you with a reliable source of power-ups.  

Something I've been wondering since I started seeing most of the starting martial styles show up for sale by certain merchants:
Is there a reason to buy additional martial starter styles other than for looks?  None of the starting martial styles do anything special, other than ending harmonic combos.  And if you've spent training points at level up for your starter martial style, it seems kind of waste to buy another martial style.  Am I missing anything here?
1774  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Ninja Gaiden Tips? on: April 18, 2005, 09:54:50 PM
For the fastest enemies in the game (black ninjas - ghost fish, etc) nunchuks are the best and safest option.  The best general advice I can give is to do everything you can to keep your potions stocked up to the max as much as you can.  Anytime you find a location that has respawning baddies, break out the nunchucks and start kicking ass (they allow you to rack up insane amounts of combo points - or whatever they're called...I forget).  

Next, I'd recommend having the patience of Jobe when you play, because there are some insanely tough boss fights that you may need to come back to numerous times (on another day even) to try again.  Also, don't take stock in the difficulty of one boss being easy just because someone said it was easy/hard.  An easy boss to you may be incredibly hard to someone else, and vice versa.  If you don't have potions saved up for the boss fights, you may be in for a really frustrating experience.  

Third, the platforming sections of the game, especially the timed one near the end, may make you want to rip your hair out and stab someone.  All I can say on those is again, be patient and stop playing and try again later if you start getting pissed.  I found that NG is one of those games that if you play pissed, it'll kick your ass and make you even more pissed. Tongue

Always try and keep moving, and master the jumping on baddies heads and attacking from walls moves...they help alot, especially against certain bosses.  
 
Finally, don't try and understand the ending smile  

It was a very frustrating and rewarding gaming experience for me.  I haven't sworn more playing a game in the last 15 years than I did playing NG.  

Good luck smile
1775  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 15, 2005, 06:20:40 PM
You can switch styles during a combo at any point, and as long as you keep pressing A the string will continue.

I have no freaking clue what the aoe ice attack does either.  Snow falls doing seemingly nothing, and a few seconds later a big ice chunk will fall on a random bad guy for minimal damage.  The baddies in the aoe radius don't have any status effect applied from the attack either, so I really don't know what it does.  On the other hand, the dire flame aoe is nice, and will damage and immolate all within the radius. Immolate functions kind of like a stun, preventing enemies from attacking while they have that effect.  

I was also worried about ice shard being overpowered, but even in normal mode baddies and bosses later in the game seem to be able to dodge out of the way pretty easy (unless they're engaged by an active follower!).  

I'm still trying to work the transformation styles into fights.  I haven't relied on them much just because of the fast chi drain.
1776  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 15, 2005, 05:50:59 PM
I'm discovering that style switching mid-combo and many times during fights is the way to go.  You can string together almost non-stop combos if the enemy doesn't bother to block by switching back and forth between martial and weapon styles mid combo. I like switching to weapon style first because of the range, start the combo, then switch to martial in close and keep the string going.  I also like starting a combo with weapon style, switch immediately to heavenly wave, and then switch to martial style.  The aoe heavenly wave slow is very helpful against multiple foes.      

The easiest harmonic combo I've found early in the game is using the power move for ice shard which freezes the target in place, and then following up immediately with a martial style power move.  Dire flame is a little trickier since the baddy isn't frozen, and can interupt or block your martial power move.  The ice shard harmonic combo drops a spirit power-up and dire flame drops a health power-up.
1777  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Is it wierd to want a system for just 1 game? on: April 15, 2005, 04:19:17 PM
GoW does look incredible, and I'm also tempted to get a ps2 just to play it.
1778  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 14, 2005, 09:24:22 PM
I just figured out last night that you can use the first support style while hitting the aoe attack and have an aoe slow effect on all the baddies around you.  I never used that support style until I figured out that aoe trick, now I use it at the start of a fight and then proceed to unleash claws o' fury on soon to be dead baddies.
1779  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire - Official Impressions on: April 13, 2005, 09:28:46 PM
I'm really enjoying it so far, and love the eastern mythology and characters.  I do have some nitpicking though:

- This is going to sound crazy, but I wish Bioware recorded all of the spoken language with authentic chinese voice actors, using english subtitles.  They could have even used a different dialect for the "Old language" distinction.  Playing the game right now feels like I'm watching Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon with english dubbing, it just doesn't feel right (even if it's a hell of a lot easier on the brain than reading subtitles all the time - which for some reason I do anyway even when they're speaking english).  It's a small point, but I would've loved to hear the characters actually speaking chinese.    

- Part of what makes the recent chinese martial arts movies so great to watch is the artistry and gracefulness of the violence in their fighting scenes.  A lot of the cinematic brilliance of their fighting revolves around their blocks, parries, and counter attacks. The design decision to have a single animation, large glowing orange shield serve as "blocking", seems so counter to capturing the chinese martial arts feel.  It really would've added to the game if they had built in a visually exciting blocking and counter system, with animations to match.  

Aside from those 2 nitpicks, the game has been great.

Btw, if you bought the LE version of the game, make sure you put your 2nd cd in and unlock the monk character.  His model is very cool, and really puts the other male character models to shame.
1780  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Oldest thing ever found on Earth on: April 11, 2005, 11:06:22 PM
1781  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Dungeon Lords Demo available tommorrow on: April 11, 2005, 06:45:49 PM
They were insane to release that demo, unless they didn't want people to buy the game.  Did they even play the demo?  I have no idea what the final game will be like, but wow, that was a stinker early impression.  I can't remember the last time I've had to manually delete a folder to uninstall a game or demo.
1782  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / First Person Shooters - Inverted or "normal" on: April 07, 2005, 08:34:16 PM
Inverted for all of my fps, also inverted for any game that has a camera that I can pan around, and of course for flight sims.

My wife plays normal for Halo2, and when I pick-up her controller to try and help her through a tough spot, the normal config wreaks havoc on my brain.
1783  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 3/30/05 - HOLY COW! (WBS shoutout) on: March 31, 2005, 09:20:44 PM
I got the impression that the father in any other circumstance would not want to be bothered with Locke's existence, much less maintain a relationship.  The only way he thought Locke would offer to give up a kidney would be for him to play the father-son bonding role long enough for Locke to volunteer.

To make matters worse for Locke, his newly introduced mom was in on the scheme, with her payoff being even worse...just $.  "Feeling used" would probably be an understatement.

The plane full of heroin seemed like a really cheap plot device for a future Charlie-gets-tested episode, which I hope isn't the case (although there seems to be another round of character testing occurring).
1784  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 3/30/05 - HOLY COW! (WBS shoutout) on: March 31, 2005, 08:46:51 PM
And here I was hoping his mom wasn't a nut and Locke was Jesus smile  

A lot of religious references last night both subtle and obvious.


I suspected the setup by the father, but I thought he was working Locke on his own, not with help from nutjob.  I think Locke tried to kill himself in the last flashback scene in the car, smashing into a tree and paralyzing himself.  The guy was raised in foster homes his entire life with no adopted family, and as an adult finally reunites with his mother and father only to be used by them for money and an organ.  I imagine he took the entire reality of all of that pretty hard.  

Great episode.
1785  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Troika is no more. :( on: February 25, 2005, 10:53:25 PM
I've never seen a string of recent games by 1 development studio with as many bugs, both game stopping and small, as Troika's last 3.  The content in their games was never in question, it was just their ability to actually make a working game.  ToEE was an absolute mess, and vampire:bloodlines was unplayable for many, even with patch 1.2. I hate seeing rpg developers go down, but when they can't even make a game that works in their last 3 tries, something is wrong.
1786  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Survivor 2/17 on: February 22, 2005, 01:13:01 AM
Do these people even watch any of the previous seasons?  

How to get yourself booted off in the first 3 episodes:

- Act bossy and tell people what to do
- Do something insane that others find annoying...like singing or blurting out bizarre yells
- Do something stupid that makes you well known
- Get caught scheming
- Talk too much
- Cry a lot
- Get sick
- Injure yourself
- Scare people with bizarre behavior
- Steal or horde food

I think that's most of them.  There's never a shortage of people that will do one or more of the above in the first couple of episodes.
1787  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / EQ2 - now with pizza! on: February 18, 2005, 05:59:16 PM
Quote from: "Destructor"
It's either brilliant or really, really, lazy. I'm not sure yet.


Both...but that's not a bad thing!  Effeciency is the goal of all intelligent lazy people.
1788  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / KotOR2 - Light or Dark? on: February 17, 2005, 09:48:48 PM
In any rpg that has an alignment meter, I try and play naturally the first time (kind of like my own psych eval  Tongue ).  In kotor I ended up about 3/4 of the way up the light meter.  I played through again as a dark consular...but the decision making was canned for me since I had to force myself to choose the "right" dialogue options.  

In kotor2, I'm trying to play naturally again, but there are so many opportunities to get light points that my main character now has a giant beam of light shooting up through his portrait.  I still won't wargame a dialogue tree to work towards light or dark points, and even with some dark points I've gained along the way, my character is still beaming with light lol.  One of my favorite dark side moments in kotor2 (paraphrased from memory):

"[Force Persuade]Give me all your credits and both of you walk into the center pit".
1789  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / March looks to be a great month for game releases on: February 16, 2005, 07:50:31 PM
I'd be happy if Jade Empires came out in March.

Looking forward to seeing another bioware rpg.
1790  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / KOTOR 2 - anyone seen it yet? on: February 15, 2005, 08:55:54 PM
I’m currently about 16 hours into kotor2, and after an agonizingly slow start (peragus mining colony), the game has ramped up close to the original in terms of fun, interest, and addictive pull.  I really had to force myself to push forward during the first several hours with kotor2, taking breaks and coming back to it later.  Kotor started slow too, but for some reason I found its first world more interesting than kotor2’s running around a mining colony watching holo-vids and fighting droids for several hours.  

I’m enjoying the cast of characters and their interaction with the main character more in kotor2 than kotor.  In the first game, with the exception of Bastilla, I didn’t really care about any of the character plot lines, and found them to be tedious at times (dreading when a character would pause and a dialogue exchange was about to start).  Playing the 2nd time through kotor as a dark side consular, I enjoyed telling most of the characters to shut the hell up and stop whining.  I haven’t felt that way with any of the characters in kotor2…yet.  

I don’t understand Obsidian’s rational in having the player wait 14-16 hours before their character can wield a lightsaber.  In kotor I didn’t like it, but I understood that my character would rise up in a normal profession and then ultimately tap into their ability and memories as a jedi/sith.  I don’t understand why in kotor2 they waited so long to get a lightsaber in the hands of your character (who already is a jedi of substantial experience by that point).  I think my character was a lvl14 jedi guardian before he got his hands on a LS!  Just seems like an odd gameplay choice

After 16 hours into the game I do enjoy kotor2.  I’m not sure at this point where the plot is headed (I have a guess), but the story has been intriguing and interesting.  A lot of kotor2 is more of the same, but that’s not a bad thing imo.

  I think it’s very cool that your character can identify jedi potential in his companions, and potentially take on the responsibility of a jedi master (even if they’re not officially a “jedi master” in title).  The romances are silly but fun too.  Without giving away any spoilers, there is one particular romance that involves “echani combat etiquette” that cracks me up every time it happens.  Kotor2 doesn’t have the same pull on me that Kotor did, the latter I completed in 2 all night marathon sessions.  But I still feel that draw to get back to the game, which is a good sign.  If you can get through the first 5 hours of kotor2, the game ramps up quickly.
1791  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Quick Mercenaries Question: on: February 09, 2005, 12:54:15 AM
I had the same problem, not sure if it's a bug or not.  I grabbed a helocopter and flew around the map until I found the last 2 cards on my own.  Not exactly the most targeted approach, but I only had the option of speaking with colonel also.
1792  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire worth getting? on: February 04, 2005, 10:31:51 PM
It's obvious that Troika has some very creative and gifted minds on their team, but over the past 5+ years they've really set the benchmark for releasing games that shine with potential but reek of sloppiness and poor quality control.  I enjoyed arcanum, TOEE (patched), and I've enjoyed bloodlines, all 3 of which were beaming with potential...and full of more bugs than you could imagine (game stopping ones in all 3).  

They've also become very good at spinning their PR to blame everyone but themselves for their bug filled games.
1793  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Elektra bows before the awfulness of Alone in the Dark!! on: February 02, 2005, 10:51:01 PM
Quote from: "WestNile"
"Cedric the Entertainer".  Does anyone, seriously, find anything he has ever done funny?


He has the title "the Entertainer", so he must be entertaining on some level, just not the one I'm on.
1794  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Mercenaries Impressions on: February 02, 2005, 10:31:23 PM
That's the best part of this game, the feeling that you can complete contracts any and ever way imaginable.  I've had what I thought was a well thought out plan, only to have my apc or helo blown up, forcing me to get creative with the resources nearby.  Great game.
1795  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Elektra bows before the awfulness of Alone in the Dark!! on: February 02, 2005, 05:21:48 PM
My wife loves Christian Slater's chick flick Bed of Roses, which for me is agonizing to watch.  Mary Stuart Masterson & CS?  She has to be pushing 4 foot 11 or 5 feet even considering she looked short next to CS, and he's small.  I did like Heathers though, and thought Tina Fey borrowed heavily from that movie for Mean Girls.

Speaking of stars in bad movies, has anyone seen the trailer or preview for the upcoming comedy with Cedric the Entertainer and Tommy Lee Jones?  WTH was TLJ thinking?  Maybe the movie will be surprisingly good, but from the preview it looked terrible.
1796  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / WoW - Did you buy a pet? on: February 02, 2005, 02:02:35 AM
Quote from: "slackerjoe"
I love my parrot, don't get me wrong, but I just wish he would go into stealth mode when I did.  A rogue needs a stealth pet!


I like stealthing around in cat form with my cockatiel following in tow, makes for some funny moments...and yes I know there's a parrot following me!

Mechanical squirrels are great too.  If you're horde on whisperwind and want a squirrel, I can make one for you.
1797  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / WoW - Did you buy a pet? on: February 01, 2005, 03:20:04 PM
I like how the panda sleeps all the time, even during the middle of fights.  Nothing seems to bother the panda, even when their master is getting the snot beaten out of them.
1798  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Are Sudeki and Yager good bargain games? on: January 31, 2005, 10:12:19 PM
I'll echo Gratch's comments about Sudeki.  It's a short rpg, but it was fun while it lasted.  The ending is absurdly non-existent, and reminded me of action adventure console games from the 80s:

Final climatic battle followed immediately by...

"The End" {roll to credits}  

It's worth $15 if you like party-based rpgs, with minimal story elements but decent combat.
1799  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Anyone getting bored with WOW? on: January 25, 2005, 11:14:58 PM
I'm still very much enjoying WoW.  If you're someone that likes trying out and playing alts (myself included), I'd recommend not churning through the exact same quests and zones as your first character.  The nice thing about WoW from lvls 1-30 (after getting 2 horde characers to 30+) is that your adventuring and leveling experiences can be very different with each character if you focus on different areas, quests and zones.  

I could see where someone would get burned out if they did the same barrens, xroads, 1k needles quests 2-3 times with alts.  Move your new alt to silverpine and level up there.  Some areas I just don't like adventuring in, like Desolace, so I'll go to Stranglethorn Vale instead.  It's nice having options like that at those levels.
1800  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire worth getting? on: January 24, 2005, 07:30:55 PM
I enjoyed the story, setting and rpg elements, but this is another example of good content and sloppy execution by Troika.  

They’ve managed to take the source engine and turn it into a rig killer, bringing even high-end pcs to their knees.  Activision released a statement a few weeks after release that stated the game plays best at 800x600, and that you need to set your swap file to a certain size (forget what they recommended) to avoid large performance hits.  The game actually defaults to 800x600 at first load up, which was a red flag for me right from the start.  Unfortunately, on my rig the framerates have very little variance from 800x600 to max supported resolution.  I didn’t expect the graphics to be on par with HL2, but with worse graphics and less use of the more demanding graphics features, I would’ve thought the performance would be ok.  There are a lot of graphical glitches in game, including during the cutscenes!  You’d think they would at least get the cutscenes right.  In fact, the very first cutscene that introduces the story is buggy and often has characters floating across the floor, very noticeable clipping, and other unexplainable problems.  

The sound is buggy too, to include an unbelievably annoying footstep effect that isn’t timed with the motion of your character.  I never could get EAX to work, and the hardware audio option can result in some major performance issues.  The lip synching can be bad too.  

The combat system is so-so, with melee being much more effective than ranged combat.  The disciplines are all cool and fun to use, but some of the flashier ones can really bog down framerates (even with particle effects turned down).  Generally I enjoyed combat, but it definitely felt clunky at times.  

The story was very cool, and I felt like my character was influencing the world around him.  Like I mentioned earlier, the rpg elements are good, but the quality of the coding and poor utilization of the source engine make for another defective gem from Troika.  That’s not to say you want have fun playing, I did, but it’s hard not to imagine how good the game could’ve been with no bugs, better optimization, and a cleaner combat system.
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