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12:05 PM on 05.31.2010

If only wishing could make them appear...

I'm stuck in a meeting that has nothing to do with me, for the next twenty minutes, and all I have with me is my phone. So how about a list?

The recent news of a new Golden Sun game (I'm still absurdly happy over that) has made me think of other franchises that I adore and would love to see new entries in. So here are a few of my MOST WANTED.

Final Fantasy Tactics 2

Don't get me wrong, I love Tactics Advance and A2. I've spent more than 300 hours playing them, combined. But all the magical books and Seeq in the world can't compare to complex, genuinely interesting plot of the original Final Fantasy Tactics. Give me some new HD 2-D artwork and sprites, a fully orchestrated score, and another mature, political plot (hopefully better translated than the first time around), and I can't think of a single other game that I'd rather have.

Parasite Eve 3

Yes, I know that a new PE is being made for PSP, and hopefully it will be great. But none of the information I've read about it leads me to believe it will be anything like the original Parasite Eve. I still occasionally play through it, and to this day there aren't any other RPGs that I can compare it to. The weapon customization, battle system, music, and NY setting were all awesome. Even the way the game was divided up into days was cool. A new console Parasite Eve would blow my mind.   

Jade Empire 2

The first Bioware game that I ever played, and I absolutely fell in love. It would be a true shame if this fantastic world was never revisited. 

Eternal Darkness 2

Mere words cannot describe how amazing Eternal Darkness was. If not for Smash Bros. and Resident Evil 4, this would have easily been the best Gamecube game that I played. And instead of a sequel, we get a fucking Too Human trilogy. Hurray.  

Space Channel 5 Sequel

These games satsify my goofy, just-want-to-have-fun side, like few others can. This would be great for a budget title, or XBLA/PSN release. 

Panzer Dragoon Saga 2

The original was one of the games that made the Saturn worth owning. The regular Panzer games were great, but Saga was brilliant. It would be a shame for another entry to never be made.

Traditional Shining Force Sequel

SRPGs are dear to my heart, and the way the Shining Force name was whored out and destroyed during the PS2 years, was a blow that I've yet to recover from. A new DS/PSP title in the old style would be heavenly. 

Alundra 3

Was there anyone who played the original Alundra that didn't love it? Alundra took everything I loved about A Link to the Past, and spiced it up with a considerable level of difficulty. Alundra 2 abandoned the things the made the series so amazing, IMO, but a new 2-D entry with gorgeous artwork, great music, and a return to that maddening challenge, would be epic.

Lunar 3

Silver Star is easily one of the most charming and funny games that I've ever played, and it's one of the few classics that comes to my mind when I think of traditional RPGs. If you didn't love Alex and Co. by about 30 minutes into the game, you had no heart. Eternal Blue was basically a retread of the original story, but it still had its moments. Do want.

Syphon Filter 3

All Sony has to do is mention that they are developing a new console SF, and I will buy a PS3 tomorrow. I remember I got Metal Gear Solid and Syphon Filter on the same day. That is the definition of a happy kid. 

Fear Effect 3

Think what you will, but I will go to my grave with the firm belief that Fear Factor and Fear Effect 2 were two of the best Playstation games ever released. They made combat work much better than the earlier Resident Evil games, and the difficulty was perfect. I was extemely disappointed when Inferno was cancelled, a few years back.  

Champions of Norrath 3

Champions was even better than the awesome Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. This is the kind of awesome co-op experience that I've been wanting this entire gen.

Actraiser 3

No explanation necessary. If you've played either of the first two games, you already know how amazing they were.
Honorable Mentions: SSX Sequel, Einhänder 2, Clock Tower Sequel, Breath of Fire 6, Tecmo's Deception Sequel, Illusion of Gaia 2, Vagrant Story 2, Tao Feng 2, Haunting Ground 2 (sorry, I liked it), Stella Deus 2, Wild 9 Sequel, Oddworld 2-D Sequel, Summoner 3, Rogue Galaxy 2

Does anyone agree that an announcement of one (or all) of those games would be the best thing ever? Did I leave off any obvious games that should have been included?        read

6:17 PM on 05.12.2010

How much of an impact does the price of a game have on you?

Price makes all the difference, doesn't it? Or at least, a lot of it. I recently bought The Saboteur for the low, low price of $20, and I'm having a lot of fun with it. Sure, nearly every mission is a slight variation on "drive to Point X, put dynamite on Point X, then escape from the Germans". And the stealth system is basically useless. But all in all, it's a fine deal for less than the price of a decent ice cream cake. . 

Anyway, my point is that I never considered buying The Saboteur when it first released, because: 

A: It was released during that absurdly crowded period around the holidays. I'm sure a lot of you are still catching up on all those games, like I am. Actually, I'm still catching up on some from 2008.


B: Full price seemed way too expensive for GTA: 1940's Paris Explosion.

So I didn't get it until a few days ago. But I know for a fact that if I would have bought it back then for $60, I would have been massively disappointed with the very same game that I'm having a ball playing now. Which makes me wonder, how would my perception of some of the other games I've played have changed, if I would have gotten them at a different price?

Would I love Super Street Fighter IV as much as I do if it was $60? Sure, I think so. If I would have paid $75 for Virtua Fighter 5 Online, Final Fantasy Tactics, or Smash Bros. Meele - I still would have felt like I had gotten more than my money's worth. The countless hours of fun I got from those games would have justified the added expense. Would I have liked Devil May Cry 4 more if I would have waited for it to be around $20, instead of buying it when it was new? Maybe, maybe not. I have a strong suspicion that even if Lost Planet or Radiata Stories would have cost me only $5, I still would have thought they were dull wastes of time. 

A lot of my favorite games from the period when i was in elementary and secondary school, were bought used at pawn shops for much cheaper than their retail price. It's strange to think that part of the reason I love Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy VI so much, may be that I paid so little (around $15 I think) for them.

What do you think, theoretical internet user who may or may not read this? I'm sure that not everyone would have been happy to pay $75 for Virtua Fighter 5, but have there been games that you would have been happy (or grudgingly accepting) to pay more for? Have there been games that you loved more because you got them for little or no money? Have you been disappointed by a purchase that you might have enjoyed more if it came at a lesser expense to you?          read

7:04 AM on 03.18.2010

Give Me Back My Horror Games!

The recent news about Shinji Mikami's plans to leave Platinum Games, form a new company, and possibly develop a new horror game, has reminded me of how much I used to love that genre. It seemed to really hit a high-point last-gen, but these kinds of games are now curiously scarce. 

Eternal Darkness, Parasite Eve, Fatal Frame 2, and Silent Hill 2 & 3 are some of my favorite and most memorable titles of my 16 years of gaming. There could easily be debate about whether any of these games are actually "frightening", but most horror movies aren't genuinely scary either; even the good ones. Good horror games all share a general goal of freaking the player out - a goal that I heartily approve of. It's a completely different experience from any other genre of games, and one that I've grown quite fond of during the years.

I fervently hope that Shinji succeeds in creating his vision, as there is a real lack of quality, "true" horror games right now. If he can make a good one (the pedigree would indicate yes), then he has my full support. 

It's funny, because it seems horror games should benefit more from the graphics capabilities of the 360 and PS3 more than nearly other genre, yet there are relatively few horror games of note on those consoles this gen. I Iike RE5, Dead Space, and Dead Rising, but those are all really action games, at their core. If I'm not forgetting anything, that really just leaves Silent Hill 5 (disappointing compared to the first three) and Siren, which I haven't gotten the opportunity to play. 

The Wii is doing a bit better, with the recent Silent Hill remake, Fatal Frame 4 (was that even released in the US?),  and a few other games that I can't really recall at 7 in the morning, but what happened to all the Haunting Grounds, Tecmo's Deception (maybe doesn't belong in this list, I know) Clock Towers, Dino Crisises and horror RPGs like Parasite Eve? 

Yes, The Third Birthday is eventually coming out (theoretically), but the fact that it's on PSP leads me to believe that it's going to be even more of an action affair than PE2, as early rumors suggested. A game more like the original, would be very unique, these days.

Maybe there's not much of a market for these games anymore. Game budgets have skyrocketed, and it's more of a risk than ever to release something that may not be a sure-fire hit. But I truly believe that a great new horror game would sell. least one copy.    read

11:33 AM on 03.11.2010

Obligatory FFXIII Post

I'm going to go ahead and throw my opinion out there. FFXIII is "different". There's a specific kind of FF fan who has no tolerance for any FF that is different, and they can't look past that fact to see the well-crafted game, underneath.

This kind of fan generally hates FFXII and FFVIII, holds up VII or IX as the pinnacle of the series, and may have played any pre-VII Final Fantasy after the Playstation generation had begun, if at all. I'm not mentioning any of those points as a negative, because everyone has a right to their preferences. In a series as expansive as Final Fantasy, there are bound to be some games that connect or repulse each of us to different degrees. If someone tried to get me to play FFXI again, I'd try my hardest to smash their eyeballs into a paste in the back of their skulls.

But back to my main point. FFXIII is undeniably very different from the games that came before it. It IS linear. But being linear isn't automatically a negative thing. It's a feature, not a flaw, albeit a feature that won't appeal to everyone's personal taste. I personally am loving the game so far. The characters are wonderful (even Hope is beginning to make me want to murder him slightly less), the battle system is beyond addictive, and the music is top-notch. Would I like all the games to follow to be exactly like XIII? No. And they won't be. There are a lot of things you could accuse Square Enix of, but playing it safe with the FF-brand is not one of them. So if you hate FFXIII, that's perfectly ok. You're not wrong for your distaste. But I'm a pretty open-minded gamer, and other than FFXI, I've found a lot to love in every main FF release. Yes, even FFX-2 and FFII. It's a bit annoying to see people across the Internet who apparently believe that if a game doesn't hit every box on their checklist of what "X" game should be, it's automatically shit. There's a difference between a "bad" game and a game that's not for you. It's not a difficult distinction to make.   read

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