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1:18 PM on 12.17.2008


Wedge ordered the P4 Social Link Expansion Pack for my birthday/christmassy-thing, right after he found out I preorded Persona 4. Everything is pretty cool in it-- especially the shirt. Though it's really, really big for an allegedly "XL".

I <3 Wedge.

PS: The Teddy toy that comes with it is creepy. And lives on my TV :(   read

4:48 AM on 11.03.2008

Ew :(


8:41 PM on 06.27.2008

My Favorite Game: Starsiege

While many people have played or at least heard of Tribes, the game that series is tenuously based off of is comparitively unknown. Starsiege is my favorite game in the mech genre.

Starsiege is the sequel to Earthsiege and Earthsiege 2. It continues (and retcons) the story of mankind creating a fully sentient AI named Prometheus, and eventually an army of AI controlled HERCULANS (the game's term for mechs) called Cybrids. Eventually Prometheus decides that serving humanity really isn't where it's at, fucks up Earth a bunch and flees to the outskirts of the Solar System to brood.

The first chunk of the game takes place far enough after this to where people forget about the Cybrid threat, and instead focus and killing each other instead. You control a generic colonist on Mars who, along with the rest of the planet, is being brutally oppressed by Earth. The emperor of Earth, being the bejiggidy ass that he is decides that Mars isn't pulling its fair share of protecting against the Cybrid threat everyone's forgot about. After a couple hours dicking around with the Imperial forces, the Cybrids unsuprisingly start coming to town to kill everyone.

My favorite part of the game, by far is how much you can customize your mech. While it may not have the sheer number of parts the Armored Core series might have, Starsiege makes up for it by not having the vast majority of parts being useless. Most parts and weapons in the game are situationally useful, and the game's campaign is varied enough to make tinkering with your mech a pretty important skill to pick up.

Multiplayer is an area where the game really used to shine. I have no clue what the community is like now (I lost my disc when I moved), but back in the day this was my favorite online game. If a team had proper communication, it almost played like a proper class-based FPS (but much, much slower). There's also deathmatch, but it doesn't ever feel too spammy-- usually maps are fairly large, and the server limit was around 20, IIRC.

Running this game may be problematic on a modern system-- the last time I tried to install it hardware rendering had weird graphical glitching everywhere and was near-unplayable. And software rendering is ridiculously ugly. Also, to get it running online, I'm fairly sure you need to download a community-made patch for the master server list, but that's not too strange for a game more than a decade old.   read

9:15 PM on 06.20.2008

My Favorite Game: Master of Magic

Note: I don't actually have a favorite game-- this is the first in a planned series of my favorite game of each genre

Master of Magic is a fantastic strategy game developed by Simtex (The same developer as Master of Orion) in 1995. Though I played it when it first came out, I was way too young to properly appreciate how great the game really was.

MoM plays a lot like the original Civ spiced up with tactics-style battles. After picking a wizard and race, you start off with a single city in the middle of unexplored teritory. You pick which building or unit you'd like the city to create, and then pick a spell to research. You also start with two units for scouting or defense.

There's two types of currency in the game: Mana and gold. They're convertible in a 2:1 ratio, so in a pinch you can liquidate your coffers to cast a mana-expensive spell. Around the map, you'll eventually come across Mana Nodes. These tend to be guarded by powerful monsters or droves of weaker ones, though the reward for killing them is very important. Once the Node has been cleared of monsters, you can move a special unit onto it to 'meld' with the Node, which then starts generating large amounts of mana for you.

You'll also find a few other event tiles littered around the map. Various ruins, temples and caves can be found, with matched guardians. Prizes for looting them generally tend to be gold and mana, though you can find artifacts as well.

To use artifacts, you'll need heroes. Heroes will occasionally offer to join you, with the calibur of hero largely dependant on your Fame stat. Heroes have a few equipment slots for artifacts, and can act as normal units in battle. Heroes become very important due to their good stat growth, and abilities. Many heroes (and a good amount of normal units) have special abilities that can let them do things like ignore damage from specific sources, use ranged attacks, or reanimate enemy units as various undead creatures. Obviously, balance can be an issues with some higher-level heroes.

My favorite part of this game, however, is the ability to customize your wizard in the begining of the game. You can chose from a list of pre-rolled wizards, or create your own. The game will prompt you to chose a portrait for your wizard, and then will bring up a list of traits and proficiencies in the 5 realms of magic your wizard can have.

You start out with 11 'picks', which you can spend on traits and 'books' of magic. The more books you take in a school of magic, the more spells of that school you'll start the game with, and the more spells you can eventually research.

Picks can also be used for traits, which change certain rules for your character. "Myrran" starts your character off on the second plane of existence in MoM, and generally you're one of the only players there. The various magic masteries let you collect mana from nodes faster. Some of the traits cost more then one pick, depending on how powerful it is.

Battles are played out on an isometric grid. You move your whole army in a turn, unit by unit, and then your opponent gets to do the same. You (or one of your heroes, if they have the ability to do so) can throw spells in battle, though you're limited on how much mana you can spend in one battle by your "skill" stat.

The game has two victory conditions. The first one is simply to wipe every other player off the map. Honestly, this is the victory I tend to get most often. The other condition is to research and cast the Spell of Mastery. However, the spell takes forever to research and longer to cast, and the AI has a nasty tendency to instantly declare war on you when you begin casting it.

All-in-all, Master of Magic is my favorite strategy game. It left a legacy in the realm of strategy games (Many of Master of Orion II's features were ripped directly from MoM), and Stardock has talked about making a spiritual sequel to the game.   read

6:19 PM on 05.23.2008

Tales of Etrian Odyssey

I've always been a big fan of dungeon crawly RPGs, and roguelikes. There's just something about grinding and exploring vast repetitive dungeons that gets my gamer juices flowing. So naturally, when I heard about Etrian Odyssey, I was very excited. It brought back fond memories of playing stuff like Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder.

It was also totally rape.

I think I died in my first fifteen minutes or so of actually being in the dungeon. My fledgling party encountered a host of insects, who despite being low-leveled totally wiped out my green characters. This was an ill omen of things to come >_>

I never actually got that far in Etrian Odyssey, from a combination of it being frustratingly difficult in places, and more importantly, being a huge timesink. I'm not sure I'm ever going to beat it-- it's allegedly pretty long, and I have so many other games to play that it would be criminal to invest so much time in a general (albeit fun) dungeon crawler.

So why'd I enter in the contest? Because the swag is pretty, and I'm a petty capitalist pig who only feels validated when I'm swimming in video game related junk :)

(Also it's nice to have games that aren't on my not-R4)   read

3:20 AM on 03.12.2008

My entry into the RPG Spotlight contest-- Wizardry 8

Honestly, I would've picked VII, but he had already played it, and it wouldn't be the easiest RPG to get into anyway (If you hadn't imported data from the previous game, you're left to fend for yourself with a level one party in a world full of of monsters ready to tear your shit up). But Wizardry 8, as blasphemous as it may sound, it something I'd probably rather play then VII anyway.

Wizardry 8 is a direct continuation of VII-- depending on the ending you got in that, your game gets a different into, and you start in a different location on the world map. There's also a starting location if you're just starting a new game, which honestly is something 99% of people probably had to do, because I think it only lets you import data from the Windows version of Wiz VII, which wasn't all that common.

Wizardry 8 (and the rest of the Dark Savant trilogy) has fantastic character customization. Most of the classes and races have been heavily rebalanced in 8, and the game no longer has randomized stats, which reduces the frustrating re-rolls you'd have to make in VII. Another very welcome addition is the fact that the game allows any race to be pretty much any class. While some combinations are still pretty useless, Fairy Ninjas are always cool to play. Several classes have also been made worthwhile in 8, like Lords, Alchemists, most of the magic-melee hybrids.

The skill system is largely the same as VII, which is fantastic. In this system, every level gets you a small HP/Endurance/MP bonus, and a couple skill picks (And a magic pick if you're playing a magic user). These skill picks can be invested in either improving your combat effectiveness, or learning nifty miscellaneous skills like pickpocketing or trap disarming. These skills also level up naturally with use, and there is a point where you're no longer able to spend skill picks on them (I think that point is around 75 points out of the max of 100). It's great, because it allows your characters to be pretty flexible, though sometimes it's weird to just be walking along and suddenly half your party skills up in Mythology or something.

Another kinda cool part about character customization is the totally frivolous aspect of it. Each character gets a user-selected portrait, which fully animates on the game screen. You also select a voice for your character from a pretty decently sized voice bank, and your character instantly gets some (albeit ghetto) personality. The voice acting is actually somewhat helpful, because your characters will inform you verbally about something you may not have noticed, like secret items or if you're about to be ambushed. They also say snarky things when your teammates die.

Gameplay is pretty simple. Like most computer RPGs (or RPGs in general, I guess), you run around the map levelling and collecting crap. And beating up a fuckton of monsters. Combat in Wizardry 8 can be set to real time or the more traditional turn based. My experience with the real time combat wasn't exactly the most fun I've had, but I'm the kind of player who likes the plan out moves. It's also a little unwieldy to control up to 8 characters in real time.

Anyway, in combat (the turn-based combat), you give your characters a command to follow, whether it be whack a crab with your sword, cast a spell, or some other pretty conventional commands. You can also chose to give up your initiative and act last, but get a chance to move your party. This becomes very important, because as this game is full-3d instead of the old grid-based Dungeon Masteresque maps, many bastard monsters try to move around to your party and munch on your weak characters. It's no longer acceptable to just dump your spellcasters in the back row and have them near-invulnerable.

Wizardry 8, like the rest of the trilogy, is pretty long. I've never actually beat the whole thing without resorting to cheating, to be honest. The difficulty is frustratingly uneven for big chunks of the game-- you can be walking down a forest road totally raping everything in sight, until the game spawns a party of Pit Demons twice your party's level. Certain maps definitely seem more guilty of this then others, and the swamp that spawns shit that delevels your party permanently was a test of how many times I could quickload an RPG.

All in all, Wizardry 8 is a great game if you're ever nostalgic for old dungeon crawling RPGS, or if you like a game with a pretty robust set of character creation. It's definitely not perfect-- sometimes it can be a little frustrating to know what to do next, especially if you hadn't imported data from VII. Also, without a manual, some commands aren't the most intuitive. However, it's still one of my favorite RPGs of all time, it's totally worth picking up if you ever find a copy. However, actually scoring a decent copy is pretty rough-- I'm still playing a burned copy (My ex wouldn't let me keep his copy, the bastard) because I can't see myself spending 40 bucks on a disc only copy of a game.

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