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Reverend Macro's blog

2:25 AM on 09.10.2009

9/9/09: Remembrance of the Dreamcast

I still have my DC from way back when and I still have massively fond memories of that console. There was something about the DC that was special, and I think a lot of it had to do with the massive leap in technology it represented. It had amazing overall graphics and functionality for the time and, of course, internet access (though limited). For the first time in a long time, gamers were getting honest-to-god arcade perfect ports (Soul Calibur and House of the Dead 2 spring to mind) and so many of the titles were so solid. Yes, there was plenty of crap, but're going to get that.

For me personally, though, the DC holds a special place in my gaming heart if for no other game than Phantasy Star Online. I wrote about this briefly in another blog post, but basically PSO really changed so many things about my gaming life as well as altering things about my life in general. The game itself was very good as a nice, sci-fi themed dungeon crawler, but getting online with it was exhilarating. For a lot of people, this was their first massively multiplayer online title. At the time, my PC couldn't run any of the few online RPGs starting to come out for computers and being able to log-in and game with hundreds and thousands of people, even from other parts of the world was a pretty damn radical concept for a lot of people at the time, especially on a 56k connection and on a console. I have so many fond memories of the online gaming world of the Dreamcast, mainly from PSO and then Sega's last, great online multiplayer title, Alien Front. But PSO sticks with me because of the dynamic community and those great people I would game with until the wee hours of the morning. Times where we would just stop playing and chat for awhile and share items and just "hang out", finding a weird common ground with one another. All of these things are fleeting, forgettable things for most people today in our world of instant communication and massively online games, but back then there was still this "holy shit, you're doing something fresh and new" feeling to so many things about the DC and the balls that Sega had to do so many odd, niche things with the console.

I don't want this to go on too long, but I will say that I had some supremely fond gaming memories on the DC. It brought me a tremendous amount of joy for years and I am always grateful to have lived through that era of games. In fact, just talking about it gives me the hankering to hook up my DC and maybe just take a brief spin with PSO. Just a few levels. No wait...lemme get to level 10....20...30!!!   read

8:20 PM on 09.02.2009

Mini-Review: Defense Grid

So one of today's XBLA offerings is Defense Grid which I immediately downloading being horribly addicted to tower defense type games. I found myself getting it because it's hard to resist a good game in this genre, especially one like this.

It might not be clear what's going in this image, but trust me, it involves shootin' things.

So, for those few of you out there who may not have played a tower defense game, basically various bad guys walk a path through the screen which you must then defend by setting up gun towers or various types along the route. As the baddies move along, the towers blast them and, hopefully, make sure they don't escape. The trick comes in tower placement, tower type, and how you spend your slow increase of resources to build and/or upgrade your defenses. It's sort of like a real-time strategy game where all the enemies come to you and all you have to do is worry about how best to spend your money on structures without having to worry about all the other clicky stuff.

Defense Grid is similar to most tower defense titles only it has two key differences: 1. There are limited slots where you can place towers, you can't just put them anywhere around the enemy path, and 2. Rather than enemies coming in and trying to get to the exit, most of Defense Grid involves the enemies trying to get to your "cores" (little glowy things) and making off with them back the way they came which means on most of the levels the enemies will be making two trips through the path, leading to all sorts of different strategies compared to most TD type games. The game uses the basic tower types: machine guns, single target lasers, stuff that slows down enemies, continuous group damage guns, etc. It makes no real major revolutions in the tower defense genre, but instead just strives to be a very solid, well-developed addition to the crowd. The graphics are great, the music is nice, and the controls are wonderfully simple and highly functional (I especially like how you can target an enemy and keep it's stats on the screen as long you like, which is VERY useful for keeping an eye on boss monsters). The game's storyline is not exactly in-depth, but it's presented in a clever manner. Basically, as you defend what's left of Earth from the aliens, you're guided by an old computer who used to be a human being. While his voiceovers can be a little annoying, they do admittedly help as he alerts you when certain types of enemies are coming and when cores have been taken, which helps alot during the chaotic moments.

Initially I was skeptical about paying $10 for this game but I am pleased to say that this is definitely worth it. The overall presentation and amount of levels (of which there are MANY more than what you usually get in TD games) easily sells it and the $10 is in fact cheaper than the PC version, which is interesting. I've played tons of these games and this is easily one of the best I've ever played if for nothing else than it's unique approach to slightly altering the tower defense strategy and amount of levels and awards to get. This really should have been part of the whole Summer of Arcade thing, but in a way, maybe it's a good thing it was spaced out some more.   read

5:59 PM on 08.31.2009

There's a monkey on my back and it's called Phantasy Star.

Ok, cutting right to the chase: I'm a pretty big fan of the Phantasy Star Online series. Big fan might be an understatement, PSO overtook my life in 1999 when it hit the Dreamcast and to this day I can honestly say no other online experience has been anywhere near as much fun as PSO was. There was a pretty good community, a ton of people I knew online played it, and I could be guaranteed that almost any night I could log in and see at least a few people I knew playing. We had fun, I loved the game, offline and online, and it is probably one of the most cherished game experiences I've ever had.

Later I moved on to the Gamecube version, then the PC version (Blue Burst), then the fan servers when Sega asshole-ishly closed down the PSO servers, then to Phantasy Star Universe, the expansion, and then Phantasy Star Portable on the PSP.

About 3 or 4 months ago I stopped playing PS altogether because I sort of burned out on it. That time period is literally the longest I have ever gone without PSO being in my life in some form or another. I thought maybe I had taken that monkey off my back for good only to find out that not only is Phantasy Star Zero (the completely new PS title for the DS) coming out in a few months, but now another PSU-related title for the PSP is coming out in Japan, and most likely here in the states at some point in the future.

I CANNOT ESCAPE PHANTASY STAR!! In all seriousness, though, now the PSO bug is starting to bite me again and I will likely wind up getting PSZero since I heard it was pretty good. What's scary is that it will make almost 10 straight years of playing PSO related titles and I can't believe it's come to this point. I would have never thought back in 1999 PSO would have the lasting fanbase it does, but it does and it's both awesome that so many people, especially younger people, have created a community for it, but it also makes me sad that so many people I used to play with and obsess over the game with now no longer play it.   read

5:25 PM on 08.26.2009

The best of both worlds: Destroying the left wing and the right wing.

So the other day, like most people who bought Shadow Complex last Wednesday, I beat Shadow Complex. No, I don't have 100% or all the achievements but I'm pretty damn close. A few of the hidden things are kind of frustrating, but I kind of like how the frustration of having to explore the whole map is reduced to almost nothing once you have all the upgrades for your suit.
That final little cutscene is embarassingly awful, though. I thought about posting in regards to the ongoing controversy over the game's links to author Orson Scott Card and his political views, but I think many other bloggers here have said things about the issue far more eloquent than I. I will say this to those who haven't played Shadow Complex: regardless of your opinions on Card, it is important to note that the game itself is virtually devoid of politics. While the villains are the radical left-wing "Progressive Restoration" from Card's novel Empire, all of the significance of that is totally removed from the game, even the term "progressive", which makes me wonder why they bothered with linking the game to Empire in the first place. For me, personally, this is a good thing since I hate OSC's writing, but for those expecting something of a side-story to the novel, it isn't.
Putting all of that aside, though:
Like most people I was disappointed that the game was so short, but I also kind of expected it since it was an XBLA game. PROTIP: For those of you who enjoyed SC but have never played Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night, do yourself a favor and immediately buy it from the arcade marketplace. You will not regret it. (at least, I don't think you will, and if you do, you can draw a picture of me and throw darts at it for recommending it. Yes, I know you don't know what I look like, just be creative. I have dark brown hair, just be accurate to that)

So, I had my interest piqued in Wolfenstein since everything I had heard about it sounded cool and despite everyone bitching about the multiplayer, I didn't care since I enjoy well-made single-player FPS games moreso than the multiplayer aspect.

Long story short: GET THIS GAME. Wolfenstein kicks all kinds of ass. It's a very well crafted, well developed, super intense shooter that is probably one of the best single-player focused FPS titles I've played since Bioshock. It isn't perfect, but it's pretty damn close. It's been awhile since I have played an FPS where it felt like the developers spent weeks or months working on each level trying to make it as intense and involving as possible, not to mention atmospheric. (for example, the Farmhouse mission which is one of the first missions you can take after the initial intro portions of the game) It rejects being a "realistic" WWII shooter, obviously, in favor of taking the classic route of giving the Nazis supernatural powers and all sorts of crazy stuff, and it just makes the whole experience better. The decision to not have a traditional health system also really streamlines the pace of the game, while still making it challenging.
Most mainstream reviews have bemoaned the fact that the multiplayer doesn't live up to the expectations of fans of Enemy Territory, and that alone seems to be getting the game lower than normal scores, ignoring just how solid and focused the single player is. I'm also puzzled by some of the mainstream reviews saying things like the game gives you the "illusion" of free roam, when it isn't. While, yes, Wolfenstein may not be as free roam as something like, say, Far Cry 2, fact is you still have options as you play. At any one time you have a choice between at least two missions (Sometimes three) and if you don't want to involve yourself in one of those, you can always kill some time looking for secrets in the city or going back into previously played missions to get all the gold and secrets you can. It may not be "Free roam" on a gigantic scale, but certainly it's nowhere near as linear as the average FPS. I think this game is not getting a particularly fair shake in the media, and Raven deserves a lot of credit for coming back to this franchise and trying something a little different rather than just a generic, bland FPS designed solely to cater to multiplayer gamers. So, I LIKES IT and there's a good chance that you might too if you're not already playing it.

My only gripe so far is the weird loading glitches when entering some of the interior locations like shops and safehouses. Many people are reporting problems with this and also crashes. I haven't had it crash, but on occasion the game will freeze for about 5-8 seconds when you go into certain locations, then keep going. There's already been one patch, presumably to fix online issues, but hopefully this will be addressed in a future patch.   read

10:20 PM on 08.24.2009

Why I Love Destructoid Despite The Fact That He Never Calls.

I'm kinda a newbie round these parts, so I honestly can't give a heartfelt, impassioned letter to all the users out there that have made me a happy man, although the people I've run into since being here have been spiffy.

Actually, I know why I love Destructoid: So few people take things too seriously here. I spent years on Usenet before the advent of what we now know as WEB 1.0, and people were such fucking idiots all the time with their impassioned defense of their favorite consoles or games or whatever and if you dare pointed out a criticism they would threaten to kill your family or whatever. That shit got so old. I hate people who take games so seriously that treat it like some kind of damn holy and sacred institution that will utterly collapse into oblivion if it is not defended vigorously.

So, I guess thanks to everyone (well, most people) on Destructoid remembering they're just damn games.   read

12:04 AM on 08.22.2009

Mini-Review: Shadow Complex

So Shadow Complex came out and it doesn't suck. Not that I'm implying I thought it WOULD suck, just that, in point of fact, it does not suck. I told myself I wasn't going to buy it though and that I already had enough games on my plate what with Fable II and Prototype (by the way, fuck that bullshit where it's all OH YOU LOST UR POWERS SO SORRY PLZ TO BE DOING MISSIONS WITHOUT THEM FOR AWHILE), but after I played the SC demo I was friggin sold.

Shadow Complex is a very solid, atmospheric and well designed 2-D, "metroidvania" type game and if you're reading this, chances are you probably know more about the game than even I do thanks to the extreme pre-release hype.

I'm guessing about halfway through the game, maybe more, but my impressions are very positive, however I do think the game has a few flaws/worthy criticisms that most mainstream reviews kinda side-stepped.

1. No game ever, ever, EVER, EVER should have insta-kill. Never. Ever. This is not the quarter munching heydays of arcade machines and all that. Nothing in a game should EVER cause the frustration of an instant death or close to an instant death. Shadow Complex has a few insta-kill moments and I just want to take the developer's hands and slap them. NO! BAD DOG!! Now, the insta-kill moments do not ruin the game because they are purposefully placed, for the most part, in places near save points, but seriously people, fuck insta-kill. Especially when an insta-death means having to wait through a 15-20 second load time and then having to go BACK to where you were. Seriously, it accomplishes nothing other than frustrating the player. Again, SC does not abuse this to where it really effects the game, but the fact it's even there means someone somewhere at Chair deserves a mild spanking.

2. The game is a bit too linear for being something based in the tradition of Metroid-style exploration games. To much of the map is off limits for far too long of the game and basically there's not a whole of reward of going off the main path unless you already know where you're going because the map is, in my opinion, not really varied or open enough. Minor complaint, but still it's there.

3. The camera needed some work. More specifically, it was a bad design decision to make it so that enemies can shoot through doors but you can't see into the next room on most of the map until you actually go INTO that room. This isn't a game killer, but it certainly will be massively frustrating to someone playing the game on the higher difficulties where a few bullets from a guard can fuck your shit up and take you from 500 health to 80 in a matter of seconds. At minimum, the camera should have previewed the next room for the rooms where enemies were placed close to the door as it is possible, even sneaking, to get spotted just walking into a door and then getting holes put into your favorite clothes.

4. SLOWDOWN. Now, I'm not a graphics whore nor am I one of those who freaks out and goes madly posting on blogs and forums about OMG FRAMERATE DROP, however it does seriously effect Shadow Complex in a few places, most notably when it decides to rape you with tons of on-screen guards and missles and shit shooting at you. When this happens the game can go into a crawl that makes controlling things difficult and annoying. That should have been cleaned up just a little bit, I think.

Apart from those complaints, Shadow Complex is pretty damn sweet and easily one of the best XBLA offerings in some time. It's nice to see Chair doing some more cool shit on XBLA after Undertow and they are now officially a developer to keep an eye on.


12:27 PM on 08.18.2009

Lousy Games From My Past: Part 2

Anyone who grew up with an Atari 2600 remembers the fun times playing all sorts of great, fast games and occasionally having to blow real hard into cartridges in the vain hope of getting them to work properly.
Another memory you might have is of playing some truly baffling games that made you wonder what the hell the developers were thinking.
Such a title was the much hyped and heavily advertised SwordQuest:Earthworld

(Perhaps the only game where the title screen is also the ending screen. No, I am not making that up.)

Swordquest was maybe the Fable of it's age. Atari massively hyped up the game promising a huge, epic adventure, the ability to win real-world prizes (including lots of money and some form of cool replica sword), and unique interaction between the game and a specially made comic book included in the package.

When the game actually came out, most people who popped it into the console responded with a resounding, "Huh?"


Basically you wandered around an endlessly looping series of rooms (like the one pictured above) and, occasionally, you would wind up in another type of room (a room inside of a room, I guess) where there would be random items strewn about. Items like a lantern, or a grappling hook, or a bottle of wine. The way the game was played was that you had to figure out which items to pick up and in which rooms to leave those items. In some of the rooms (though it was nearly impossible to actually locate them when you specifically wanted them) a mini-game would pop up that you had to defeat in order to get to the items that that room might have. The mini-games were usually something extremely fiddly and frustrating and if you failed them, you didn't "die", you simply sent back to the start of the little game. Also, the graphics were HORRIBLE, even for the Atari 2600. Like, legendary-level bad.

(One of the mini-game rooms. You have to jump across the fast moving pink stuff to get to the little purple thing at the top. Great graphics, huh?)

So where were you going? What do you have to do with all the items? Just what the shit is up with everything? Who knows. You're only hope of "help" was in the form of a comic book which came with the game. The comic told a way more exciting and lively story than the game did about an adventurer who was pitted against all sorts of zodiac themed monsters and rooms (only loosely represented in the game). On random occasions while playing the game, a set of two numbers would pop up. The numbers corresponded to a page and panel number in the comic. At the point, you stopped playing and went to the book to look up the panel and then searched the imagery for a hidden message of some sort to help you along in the game. (no, I'm not making this up.) Problem is, the "hints" were often not much less vague than the whole game itself. For example, upon arrive in one room, I might get a clue that leads me to find the word "FOOD" in the comic book. That probably means that, in that room, you're supposed to drop some form of food. Could it be grapes? The wine? Who knows....trial and error I guess. Eventually once you figured out the whole damn sequence of items (and there was no save function, this predates all that modern convenience) you were rewarded with the knowledge of doing a great job and getting to see the title screen again only in DIFFERENT COLORS. The dev team were so cheap that they even let you know ahead of time in the manual that the title screen is also the YOU WIN FOREVAR screen. At this point, you could then take a photograph of yourself standing by the television in your best victory pose to be entered in the contest to win moneys, but I seriously doubt many people got to that point. I gave up on the game pretty early on, but my brother persisted at it and actually beat it once, but was too angry about the whole experience to bother with the "taking a picture" bit.


Atari promised that Earthworld would be the first of four such brilliant titles so that all us kiddies were entranced by the awesome of adventures of pixel man in the land of items lying on the floor, but in fact they only published one more, Fireworld, and that only made it out in very limited copies. The third, Waterworld, managed to leak out in the form of bootleg carts and wandering ROMs, but was never officially released. The fourth was never made, and the rest is non-history. Thank god for that, I guess.   read

4:44 PM on 08.16.2009

First it giveth, then it taketh away.

2 days ago I wrote a blog concerning how a less than moral "lady of the night" made off with a considerable amount of my hard-earned virtua-dollars in Fable II. That very same night while playing, I inadvertently BEAT THE GAME. What do I mean by that? Well, let's just say I wasn't expecting the game to end after, oh, say about 9 hours of play. I figured there would be a little more to it.


So, I figured once you met Reaver that would basically get you into the last part of the game, but I didn't think it would effectively be the end of the game in terms of the story. So, here I am happily wasting Spire Guards thinking WOW I WONDER WHAT COMES NEXT!! The answer? NOTHING!!! Apparently the big bad guy has only about 40 people in his employment despite owning a gigantic ancient tower of evil and once you beat them YOU HAVE SAVED THE DAY, HOORAY!!


I can't say I'm angry because I enjoyed my time with Fable II and I didn't pay remotely full price for it, but I'm a little....bewildered. The game basically ends as soon as it gets going with a bit of a whimper and a huge cop out of "well, there's a bunch of other misc. shit you can do, so just go do that instead of worrying about, you know, a story or anything. Look, you BEAT THE BAD GUY OK?? Go play outside now!"

And I'll be honest...while I will probably play a little more to maybe see a bit more of the game, find a few more hidden things, I can't imagine what the hell the point of stronger weapons and powers are. I know there's DLC, but is it even worth it?

In the meantime, I finally got my hands on a rental copy of Prototype so I've been fiddling with that for awhile. It's a fun game so far, but I kind of don't like the controls all that much. I understand why they need to be the way they do, but they can be cumbersome and awkward in combat. Also, the game feels like it was designed by a bunch of people with ADD. But it's hard to complain when the game is so batshit crazy.   read

10:23 PM on 08.14.2009

I feel so violated.

A entry or two ago I posted about how I was playing Fable II. I like it a lot and find it an enjoyable action RPG, though obviously most of Lionhead's bullshit claims about it's sandboxyness are...well...bullshit.

That said, the other night I decided to sleep with my first prostitute. To do the dirty deed just to say I did it. I figured maybe there would be a great cinema scene or something, but PROTIP: There isn't.

Afterwards, a little window popped up: "You have been robbed." Yes...after 10 hours or so of gameplay, the FIRST TIME I indulge the deliciously sinful life of 'tutes, I am robbed. And to what tune? 10 FUCKING THOUSAND GOLD. 10,000. THE BITCH GOT 10K.
Clearly someone at Lionhead has some serious morality issues with hookers or else they wouldn't have bothered programming them with the ability to steal enough dough from you TO BUY A SMALL HOUSE.

DId it teach me a lesson? Yes. Next time I sleep with a prostitute, I will kill her afterwards to make sure there are no wallet shenanigans while I sleep it off.

I also looked into Trials HD since much of the online community were going so agog over it. I have to admit, it's damn entertaining. If riding a motorcycle while blazing on fire through a wall of dynamite isn't enough to make you crack a smile, you might actually be dead. Also keep an eye out on the Indie Games marketplace for a title called Bit Stream. It's a cool version of the Japanese BitGenerations game "dotstream", only for the console. And it makes a nice change of pace from all the jokey titles, "massage" programs, and Japanese porno that has recently been flooding the community games.   read

2:54 PM on 08.11.2009

Mini-Review: Defender Chronicles.

I have a confession to make. I am goddamn addicted to Tower Defense games. I admit it. I'm one of "those" people. As a result, I have a lot of tower defense games on my iPod Touch since the apps market is in a glut with them. Over the last 6 months or so, the two that I have easily been playing the most are Fieldrunners (which is good, but I also think very overrated) and Sentinel 2 (addictive, but needs more levels and challenges that aren't completely insane).

About a week ago I decided to give Defender Chronicles a try. It's got a few twists on the defense genre that make it, in my opinion, probably one of the best in this genre you're going to see on the iPod.

Defender Chronicles is different in that instead of an overhead maze that the enemies come through, it is instead a 2-D map where the baddies come in from certain points, navigate the path up or down towards the goal. Along the way are flags where you can place a "guild" that manufactures unit types who will then fight for you to stem the tide of evil vomiting all over the place. If an enemy should get past all your defenses, at the goal is your "Hero", a very powerful special character who is the last thing standing between you and oblivion. The key to Defender Chronicles being a great game, aside from just having good play mechanics anyway, is that your hero gains money and experience from each battle, whether it's part of the main campaign or just a quick custom round. The experience can be used to make the hero stronger and, in turn, add skills that beef up aspects of your units. The money can be used to buy items and equipment for your hero which, again, add to either his own strengths or enhance your unit capabilities. Needless to say, this "building" feature where you're constantly making your units and hero better makes the game more addictive and, perhaps best of all, means that if you're really stuck on a tough level, you at least have the hope that someday you may build up a more powerful force to overcome it.
Anyway, if you like defense games, I can't imagine you not liking this one. If you have an iPod Touch/iPhone, give it a try.   read

3:06 PM on 08.10.2009


There is much giggling and excitement over tomorrows new Dashboard update for the 360 which adds Twitter, Facebook, a popcorn machine, epilepsy mode, and a constant screeching sound that you can't turn off.

One of the updates promised was an upgrade to Netflix where you could manage your queue on the Xbox rather than having to go through the complicated hassle of getting on your computer to do it (GEEZ, THESE DAMN 21ST CENTURY, FIRST-WORLD CONVENIENCES. ) It turns out, though, that that's not really the case. You can manage your queue, but only to a very limited extent only being allowed to choose from a handful of titles in each genre. If you want the whole kit and kaboodle, you will still have to be subjected to the godless hell of using your computer.

Me, personally, I don't really care, but a friend of mine pointed me out this blog For those of you, like me who would prefer not to read blogs on, I'll sum up the article for you. Basically the blogger asks a Microsoft representative why not just add full functionality to the queue system? The guy responds with this:

"When we looked at Netflix...we thought about that experience when you go to a video rental store and you see this amazing visual display of movie jackets. We wanted to bring that experience from the physical world and into the entertainment experience. Maybe bring it a little bit away from that functional world where you have alphabetization, that type of thing. I think when people come to Xbox they're not really looking so much for functional, they really want to have fun, they want to be wowed."

Yes, because no one wants...*gasp* FUNCTIONALITY on their 360. Instead, I would prefer to look at a bunch of movies in random order because OMG THAT'S TOTALLY WHAT IT'S LIKE AT THE VIDEO STORE.
Face it people, if you like searching for movies or books or anything in an alphabetized order you are officially SQUARE. DULL. PASSE. WHACK. UNCOOL. UNAWESOMEIFIED.

Now, I work in a store that rents movies. For about a year I worked solely in the video department. I understand the customer's pain when it comes to movies out of order (although, let me assure, it wasn't for lack of the staff trying...see, it has something to do with this crazy thing where customers apparently can't learn to put movies back where they belong.) However, I seriously doubt people have some kind of romantic affinity for a video store that's completely out of order. Where does this guy live? I love this new 21st century thing where manufacturers of products can pass off lousy thinking or sheer laziness as a "feature" of the development. "Well, see, wheels are so DONE. I mean when people look at a car, they EXPECT wheels, so we figured we'd think outside the box and make a car with NO WHEELS!!!"

Again, to me, this isn't really a big deal. Personally, I don't use Netflix (or should I say NOTFLIX) on the 360, I use it on my internet enabled dvd player since there's no fan noise, but I just thought it was a weird, funny response to a pretty good question. Oh well, here's looking to the new features and, trust me folks, I am going to twit the FUCK out of Twitter.


3:25 PM on 08.06.2009

Late to the party: Fable II

So in my last blog I mentioned I'm completing the guild quests in Oblivion, which is true, but I'm also starting to suffer from Oblivion-itis. Dude, I have put something like 200+ hours into that game since it was originally released, and that's probably not even a correct estimate. So, I've been jonesing for another RPG to play.

Oh, you sassy, sexy street day you WILL be mine...

So, I decided to get Fable 2, which I honestly wasn't very interested in when it originally released. I was never much of a fan of the first Fable. I thought it was stiff, awkward, game whose paths were entirely too linear for my comfort. I know a lot of people loved it, but count me as one of those who didn't. I figured Fable 2 would be more of the same, but after a lot of people told me that they felt it was an improvement on Fable 1, I decided to give it an honest try, so now I am playing that for a bit while also working on Oblivion.

My initial impressions of the game are pretty positive, much more so than Fable 1 which I quit playing soon after the Hero's Guild crap or whatever where you have to play through your childhood. I really dig the production design MUCH better in this one. I like the Dickensian atmosphere, the great voice acting, and the overall sense of humor. Most importantly, apart from the clumsy menu system, the game is easy to play and doesn't take much brain-to-button thought. I also think the whole system of personalities and relationships with other characters and getting married and all that crap is much better implemented in this one (though I did find it funny that some chick wanted to marry me almost immediately after starting the game...GUESS I'M JUST A STUD THAT WAY HURR)

So, I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I also kind of like how you can turn on the player orb thing and make it quasi-MMO where you're sort of playing with other people but not really. I've always dug that idea and I've only ever seen it done well in one game before (some crappy online RPG for the PC where it was the same thing: a single player game where all the players can interact via chat or in-game markers). Yeah, once and awhile you get some moron who won't shut up about how PWNED U WILL B if you "mess" with him or someone begging you for money or items, but it kind of adds to the game in a weird way. Now, if only everyone online would speak in a great, cockney, Dickensian accent it would make my life a lot better, so PLEASE GET ON THIS NOW PEOPLE!   read

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