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Been such a great day, I just have to brag a little bit...

I work in a refinery as a Project Controller. For the past year and a half or so, I've had to share an office with various lackeys like estimators, administrative assistants, and schedulers. All of them have been annoying for some reason or another... from the young mother who has had WAY too many kids already and doesn't get anything done because she's always got some drama bomb going on in her personal life... to the psychopathic ex project manager from Los Alamos National Laboratories who acts like he could go postal at any time... to the old as dirt estimator who a bigger redneck than the whole cast of King of the Hill.

Finally today, my boss rewarded my hard work with a new office all to myself. I've been busting my ass since I started in the Project Controls department and I was getting tired of having to share a work area with some of these tools. Don't get me wrong, I'm a team player and worked well with them... but I'm not going to lie and say they didn't annoy the living hell out of me.

At the end of the day, after moving my stuff to my new office (and getting a ton of 'thumbs up' from many other co-workers, the boss brought me into his office for another surprise. I got a 20% raise on my salary! In the line of work that I'm in and the industry, he pretty much said it was unprecedented... but he new I deserved it not only because of my hard work.. but because I came into the job from an internship and I felt that I was not adequately compensated originally for my first hiring after the internship was over. Wow, so huge, this much closer to having the means to build and purchase the house of mine and my wife's dreams for our family here soon.

So, why am I putting this here on dtoid? Well, I couldn't think the day could get any better. But it did. I got home and was reading a topic on NeoGAF about Advance Wars DS 2. I'm a big fan of the AW series... mainly stemming from a love affair with the Conflict (NES) and Super Conflict (SNES) from way back in the day. I've always loved them and play them about once a year via emulation. I've always been sad that they never continued the strategy turn-based wargame series after the second iteration.


However, during the browsing of that topic on NeoGAF...someone mentioned some games like the AW series... one of which was one I had never heard of called Dai Senryaku. I was intrigued so I did some searching. I found that there was an english version published in the states a few years back for the original XBOX called Sai Senryaku 7. As I read the description I welled up with excitement to learn that this was a true spiritual successor to the conflict series! I quickly found the title on Amazon and got my order in ASAP for only 20 bucks (I don't have an xbox...but it is backwards compatible according to xbox.com). Turns out that there were only five copies in stock so I figure its fairly hard to find.



Wow... what a fucking fantastic day! Fridays FTW.










http://lostodyssey.jp/

As a fan of Mistwalker (Blue Dragon has proven to be a VERY good buy so far)... I can't wait for this title now.

FYI, this site is mostly in Japanese...but is still browsable thanks to the English headers. E3 movie and some new and old screenshots inside.

Enjoy.










Here are the steps on how to get the Hard Mode included DLC for Blue Dragon now instead of waiting for it to be released in the US Marketplace. I don’t think this is illegal… at least I hope not. It’s not like you’re stealing content that’s not already free to begin with.

1. You’ll need an email address OTHER than the one you have currently used for any other XBOX Live account. If you need a new email address, just go sign up for a new one at gmail or hotmail. If you choose the hotmail one, make sure you set your home country as Hong Kong SAR (I used Gmail…so I didn’t have to worry about this…)

2. Jump onto your XBOX360. Sign out of your current profile if it auto-signs in.

3. Create a new gamer profile.

4. Use the email you created / set-aside for this in step 1 for this profile.

5. For all the address and phone information, just put in whatever you want…just fill in something. Again, make sure you choose Hong Kong SAR when prompted for the country. I believe it will ask if you already have a Microsoft Live ID created for this email… you’ll say no and to have it create a new one for it. No biggy. Choose a free silver account etc…

6. After the account is created (NOTE, if you still have free XBOX Live Gold trial accounts available on your console, this WILL use up one of those…there’s no way around it. Sorry.), sign in on that account and proceed to the marketplace for downloadable content for Blue Dragon. Its one of two free items and the other is the demo so it should be easy to spot.

7. Download and enable. Start Blue Dragon (still on your Hong Kong profile) and it will auto apply the DLC at that point.

8. Now you can press the XBOX button and sign out of your Hong Kong profile and log in with your main US (or other nation) profile that you usually use and the DLC will also enable for that profile. Have fun starting a new game on Hard or New Game+. Note, these are only for new games…you can’t switch an already in progress Normal game to Hard.

9. You never have to do the above steps again… from then on out, you can simply log into your normal main profile from boot-up and the DLC will be autoloaded. I don’t know if you can delete your Hong Kong profile or not at this point… I haven’t bothered.

Enjoy! It is well worth it for the challenge.










Thanks to Snaileb's impressions (Here and Here)
I picked up a copy of Blue Dragon this past weekend (I needed something new to do with Bioshock beaten at 960 achievement points I might add... just need to beat it on hard mode next).

Snaileb went into far greater detail than I will (no need to rehash the same) but I'll touch mainly on where I think I'm getting the big parts of my enjoyment from.

First of all, if you get this game, do yourself a HUGE favor and create a free Hong Kong XBOX Live account (lots of instructions on how to go about this out there...but if you need help with this, just ask) so that you can get the free DLC patch for the game. This adds the Hard Mode and New Game+ modes for new playthroughs.

I did this first and have been playing through the game on Hard difficulty because I had heard that the game was VERY easy. I like a challenge in my rpgs thank you very much. I'm very glad I've done this because the difficulty feels exactly where it should be. The fluff battles are still fairly easy as they should be...but exciting enough to where it's not enough to hit A, A, A, A, A, etc.. Some are a bit of a challenge though.

Where it really shines though is the boss fights. I've heard the boss fights on normal are just a snorefest. On Hard though, they really do test you in some cases. I frequently have to plan my charge attacks ahead to make sure I'm not leaving myself vulnerable to what the boss might be getting off on me beforehand (especially my casters which do double duty on black and white magic).

One thing which has always plagued me in JRPGs (especially the Final Fantasy games) is how the extremely valuable and helpful (yet rare) items you collect tend to never get used. Take Final Fantasy IV. The Elixirs you collect which restore all HP (and MP?) to a character. Awesome items that can save you in a pinch. I never freaking used them because they were SO valuable, I always was afraid to use them because I might need them later. By the end of the game, I had so many that they felt artificial and I really didn't need them so much. I run into this problem ALL the time.

Thankfully, this hard mode in Blue Dragon isn't following the same model for me. I have HAD to use some pretty kick ass items I've found so far just to keep my head above water. I can say now if I hadn't forced myself to get away from hoarding the good items, I'd be forced to spend a bit of extra time powerleveling my party to compete with the bosses. It has been GREAT fun because of this and I love being on the edge of my seat for so many battles knowing that one wrong move could doom my party to defeat.

For all its fanfare, surprising how I NEVER felt so close to disaster at any point in Final Fantasy XII as I have for the vast majority of Blue Dragon. And I mean that in a good way (for BD) because it makes the game that much more fun, challenging, and ultimately rewarding.

What Blue Dragon is:
-A Classic JRPG in every sense of the phrase
-Turn based, methodical (some will call it slow and boring) combat
-Vividly colorful
-Full of tongue-in-cheek dialogue with endearing characters that some will abhor because of their cheesiness and cliche's

What Blue Dragon is not:
-Revolutionary
-Brown
-Emo
-Fast Paced

If you know this going in and want a good classic JRPG (in all forms and manners), you'll be well rewarded. Buy it!









I wanted to check interest levels on the idea of running a Destructoid Video Game Fantasy League for at least the remainder of 2007.

Here's the idea:

We get like 20 people or so and break them up in a random order from 1 to 20. Then, we get a list of all the games currently slated for a release between now and the end of the year. We then take turns going from 1st to 20th picking a game from the list. Once the 20th person picks the order then snakes back up the list to #1.. i.e. 1 through 20 pick..then 20 through 1 pick and so on until all games are exhausted.

Here's how you score...

We'd get a list of, lets say, the five to ten of the most prestigious or well known print and internet game review sites out there. Using a similar breakdown as Gamerankings.com... a review would be given a value between 1 and 100 (100 being top scoring). Those values are added and determine your score.

Just like a fantasy football league, drafting your players (or games in this case) should be fairly easy the first round or so for the sure fire big scorers... after that though, you'd really need to do a bit of research on your upcoming games and either pick one that is sure to get you decent points or risk points on a relatively unknown game.

Anyways, if you're intrigued by this at all... please reply... even if you have some better ideas. Who knows, maybe we can get some real nice prizes going for the winner(s)!









I'm lucky that I work at a business where a few co-workers share in my interest for all things video games. This leads to frequent lunch-time discussions on the latest and greatest happenings in the news from sites like Destructoid. It also leads to some very interesting discussions on the topic of who has or has not played certain games.

Let me get something out of the way now so that the argument can't be made later... Yes, I do realize that everyone has particular 'tastes' for certain games and genres. This isn't about those tastes though. This clog entry is about folks that flat out refuse to play a game based simply on a principle. Heck... I'm not even talking about the idiotic fanboys whose only purpose is to bring down a particular company. Many of the instances I'm going to give examples for are much less dramatic than that and are borderline nuts.

Case in point. I'm having a discussion with two of my co-workers about the Zelda series. One of them is a fairly big fan of the Zelda games... fanboy? No... but definitely a fan. We began talking about the series as a whole and the topic of Wind Waker came up. I talked a bit about how I thought the game was very fun save some parts with the sailing. I then touched on the graphics and that's when he chimed in with... "The graphics is the whole reason I've never played that game. I don't feel like playing Powderpuff Link".

I couldn't believe what I had just heard... Sure that's a phrase you might pass off as one coming from an anti-nintendo Sony/MS fanbot... but not from someone who is fairly neutral and is a self proclaimed lover of the series as a whole.

I, myself, used to be this way when it came to console FPS games. I'm a long time PC FPS player with countless hours in Quakeworld and Unreal Tournament as well as play-throughs of most of the other big titles to hit the platform. I used to always spout off on forums about the inferior control schemes of consoles when it comes to FPS games and how I'd never stoop to that level. Thankfully, I broke down and bought a 360 a couple of months ago and was introduced to Gears of War which pretty much took my view that console FPSs were inferior and slapped its dick in my face. Sure, I'd still prefer a mouse and keyboard any old day... but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy a console FPS game JUST as much (if not more than most!)

One game that is about to hit us all next week is Bioshock. All signs are pointing to it being the front runner for Game of the Year. The reviews that have come in so far have all been VERY high and there's no sign of the hype train slowing down any time soon. But, if you look around, you will still find people who want nothing to do with this game and, in fact, wish to tear it down as much as possible based on silly arguments like how the guns look literally like pieces of junk (intended... art deco / dystopia feel), or how the game can be completed in anywhere from 12 to 20 hours depending on the skill level of the player and the difficulty of the game. There are plenty of other insane arguments (especially considering that 99.9% of the population out there has yet to play the game... damn you lucky bastards). You'll always have those who want to do nothing but tear down a game which is destined for greatness only because it appears on the system they abhor (I'm looking at you Sony bots)...

Can't we all just get along? Wait... that's been used before. Can't we all just agree that a GREAT game is GOOD for GAMERS? Don't limit yourself from trying something out of the ordinary. Don't discount a game simply because you CAN. Don't write off a game simply because you wan't to be the only guy on the block that doesn't like it and you need to feel like a rebel. When enough people say something is great... there comes a point when you have to tell youself "That many people can't be wrong... can they?"

I'd like to hear your personal tales of dealing with folks who refuse a game based on a silly principle. I'd like it even more to hear from you guys about your personal stories of overcoming views like this of your own and how they panned out to be unfounded when you realized that the game you once wrote off for silly reasons was actually just as good as everyone else has been saying.