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3:28 AM on 04.01.2009

New tri-Ace RPG teased!



tri-Ace Teaser Site here.

It's April Fool's Day. I'm aware of this. Sadly, my fanboy-ism refuses me to simply dismiss this, though the website address screams "FAKE!!!" fairly loudly. At any rate:

The site reminds me of Valkyrie Profile. A lot. I would love to get a Current Gen Valkyrie Profile console game, though I do need to play the DS game. I was hoping for some Valkyrie Profile cameos in the Star Ocean: The Last Hope bonus dungeons. Sadly, this didn't happen. Also, notice the PS3 and 360 logos at the bottom, so the PS3 might get some tri-Ace love if this pans out to be true.

Anywho, not much to report beyond the site and my speculation.

/thoughts?
//fake?

Ura-   read


2:54 PM on 01.30.2009

New Star Ocean: The Last Hope Battle Videos!

Since the release of Star Ocean: The Last Hope is about two weeks away in Japan, and a little less than a month away here, I was hoping to see some more Videos displaying the game's battle system come out. Square Enix has seen to this by releasing 3 new videos showing off different aspects of their Battle system on the Japanese Star Ocean: The Last Hope website. Now, for some reason, my computer cannot run any videos off of this flash site without lagging all to hell, thankfully Gametrailers has captured and uploaded these videos into a compact size my computer can actually play.

Since the US Star Ocean 4 website is very slow in releasing any new info, I like to watch these videos and see what I can glean from watching them...well, that and the fact that I have nothing else to do at the moment. I can't wait for the weather to get better and work to pick up again... So, without Further ado, here's the first of three videos featured on Gametrailers.

[embed]119819:17282[/embed]

This is the longest of the three videos on the SO4 site. Lets see what I can find:

- You can chain together encounters, sort of in the vein of Tales of Vesperia, just without lumping all the monsters into one big encounter. If you look at the results screen, it would seem that you also get bonuses to Experience, FOL, SP, and HP/MP restoration, though that could be from something else.

- Symbology seems to be sort of slow paced again, though it's always been that way.

- The Battle Theme in the background seems to be an Orchestrated remix of the original Star Ocean's battle theme.

- Linking your special attacks together gives you a Damage bonus, similar to Star Ocean 3.

- Bacchus D-79, the Green Cyborg fellow, seems to be an interesting fighter. I have a feeling that everytime I see him use his skill "Saint Blaster," which sounds like what he yelled when he used it, I'll be think of Iron Man's famous line in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2: "HERE'S MY SUNDAY BEST! PROTO---------N CANNON!" I wonder if he'll have a "War Destroyer"-esque ability...

Now for the next video, showing off SO 4's "Sight Out" feature:

[embed]119819:17285[/embed]

Fairly straight forward video. Not sure who the Scythe wielding character is, but seems cool enough. The "Sight In/Sight Out" feature is a part of SO 4's BEAT system, which, according to this little Star Ocean Wiki, characters can customize their fighting style to be more offensive, more defensive, specialize in sneak attacks via "Sight Out," etc. The RUSH system seems to include the addition of being able to Jump in battle, allows players to switch out characters in combat with reserve characters mid-battle, and also lets the party chain together a huge combination attack.

Last One, shows off the RUSH combo system:

[embed]119819:17287[/embed]

The RUSH combo system is basically like something I've seen before in Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology, I think. Basically it looks like a series of special attacks done in succession, one at a time, and the success or failure of chaining together attacks depends on doing certain timed button presses. I'm not sure how long you can chain these attacks together, nor if they lead up to some other huge attack at the end. Oh, I should also mention that all Special Attacks use MP again, meaning they probably got rid of the rather annoying system in Star Ocean: 'Till the End of Time in which physical Special Attacks used HP and Symbology used MP, and if you ran out of either HP or MP, you died.

Anywho, glad to see some more vids showing off the battle system. I'll do my best to make my next post about something other than a tri-Ace product. :x   read


10:08 PM on 01.09.2009

Star Ocean: The Last Hope's New US Release Date



It's been a long time since I've made a blog, and as my last one was about Star Ocean: The Last Hope, so shall this blog be as well.

This story on Kotaku, informs us that the US release date for the highly anticipated release of Star Ocean: The Last Hope has been moved....in the good way. It's now set to release on February 27th, a week before it's initial March 3rd release date. Granted, it's not much of a move, but a week can seem like an eternity when a game you've been anticipating for, oh let's say, two years is finally close to being released. This is awesome news in two ways: This game is closer to being released, and there's a bigger gap between this and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2's release. It should be mentioned that only the US release date has been changed.

I'm a little worried that, with the game's release so close, I might be attaining over-inflated expectations of Star Ocean: The Last Hope, as was my problem with Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. I mean, I enjoyed it, but even so, I feel my expectations led me to not enjoy it as much as I could have. Then again, SO3 seems to receive quite a bit of flak, which I can understand I suppose. The story wasn't all that strong, but then again, neither was Star Ocean: The Second Story's ....story....

As the game get's closer, though, I find myself anticipating the Bonus Dungeon more than the actual main game. Weird, I know, but it was the same with Inifinite Undiscovery. The thought of being able to go through another tri-Ace bonus dungeon was what got me through IU's pretty craptacular main scenario. My fondest memories of playing through Star Ocean: The Second Story were mostly in the Cave of Trials.

Another thing I wonder about are the Achievements for Star Ocean: The Last Hope. Till the End of Time had a battle trophy system for completing different objectives, and there were 300 in all. While that's a lot of shit to complete, it made the game a bit more entertaining. It was nice hearing the little chime and seeing the trophi----.....well, I guess anyone who has a 360 knows what it's like. Still, I'm not aware of any limitations when it comes to the maximum number of achievements a game can have, but it'd be interesting and hilarious to see if there are 300 achievements in The Last Hope. Achievement whores would probably loathe this game were that the case.

Looking forward to hearing more news about Star Ocean: The Last Hope as it's release draws ever closer.


P.S.: ([SPOILER:] Having Faina be the Ethereal Queen in IU's Seraphic Gate was genius[/SPOILER])

P.P.S.: Also, Happy New Year.   read


8:06 PM on 10.09.2008

Star Ocean: The Last Hope TGS Media!

So I haven't seen any posts or media on Star Ocean 4, so I thought that I'd remedy that for the good of Destructoid! Cause what good is TGS 2008 without the juicy SO4 media? (Although most of what I've been able to find are of low quality, but still better than nothing!)

Battle Video (Via Gametrailers / Video taken by a camera and at a terrible angle):

[embed]107051:15089[/embed]

Some Exploration and a Small Scene (Via Gametrailers):

[embed]107051:15090[/embed]

I haven't found a good quality video of the Microsoft Keynote Trailer, though I have a shaky cam Video of it:

[video]107051:521[/video]

I like what I've seen thus far, but one thing that does worry me is the fact that the trailer shows the character's ship crashing on an underdeveloped planet. This has happened in one way or another in every single Star Ocean game, though the citizens of the planet bowing to them as some sort of gods is a bit of a departure. I've heard that there will be several planets to visit, so hopefully this will be only one part of a larger story arc spanning several planets.

Anyway, I'll post more media as I find it!

Also.....I fucking hate the main character's name.

Ura-   read


9:42 PM on 08.16.2008

Ura's Serious Business: Nibelung Valesti Edition

[embed]99940:13873[/embed]
(The original Nibelung Valesti! I still get goosebumps when Lenneth yells, "IT SHALL BE ENGRAVED UPON YOUR SOUL!")

So it's been a hectic couple of weeks here, but it's been all for the better. I finally have a new job at my local Golf Course that will be a bit more stable for me for the next couple of months, but I'll have to find something during the winter season. It's basically grunt work, but it's really not that bad. Working outside all day, getting plenty of sun and fresh air, there are a lot of really awesome people that play at the course, and a group of very awesome people to work with. With this, I'll finally be able to stabilize my finances, which has been my biggest worry for the past couple of months. That and I can stop selling my game collection on Cheap Ass Gamer.

Selling my games something I never thought I'd have to do, but when a situation dire enough calls for it, it has to be done. I've gotten about $350 total from all the games I've sold thus far, and basically all I've sold is a few sparse PS1 RPGs and my "Tales" collection. I still have a few staple PS1 RPGs that I refuse to sell, such as Star Ocean: The Second Story, Xenogears, and both the complete Lunar: Silver Star Story and Lunar 2: Eternal Blue releases. While financial stress is never a good thing, it did force me to make a decision on a lot of things, one of which was what game series I wanted to collect stuff for. I decided to settle on collecting all I can for the Star Ocean series. I was going to keep all tri-Ace releases, but sadly I did have to part with my Black Label copy of Valkyrie Profile, which is the one game I had the worst time parting with. Oh well, I still have the PSP release of VP, along with Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria.



Speaking of Silmeria, I've really been missing my PS2 lately. I traded my old PS2 in for a 360 months ago. I would have never done it if it weren't for the fact that I got $100 trade credit for it. I've had this strong urge to play Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria for a while now, feeling the urge to Nibelung Valesti enemies into oblivion. Not only that, but I've also had the urge to replay Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, if for nothing else than to get more battle trophies. I've contemplated selling my Wii more than once these past few weeks, but I just have this feeling that something, ANYTHING will come out and make me want to keep this console. Though, I've felt this before, after selling my DS, and I still haven't gotten another one, nor do I want to, at least not until Valkyrie Profile: The Accused One is released here in the states.

[embed]99940:13872[/embed]
(Hrist's, Lenneth's, and Alicia's Nibelung Valesti's, along with Rufus' Blinding Blaze.)

Anyway, thanks to this job, I think I'll finally be able to get a head start on things I've been meaning to do for a long time now, such as:

- Working on Self Discipline.
- Getting a DAZZLE and being able to Capture my own footage from games.
- Get a book or two and studying the basics of Japanese.
- Get some drawing supplies and get back to Drawing again.

These are just a couple things that I know I can get started on in the next six months, and that shouldn't put too much of a strain on my wallet, provided I can find some holiday work to supplement my lack of work at the golf course when the weather turns for the worse. Granted the Self-Discipline goal isn't really one that requires money, but financial responsibility lends itself to being more disciplined. Hopefully these small steps will lead me to better times next year.

Ura-

[embed]99940:13874[/embed]
(Alicia's first version of Nibelung Valesti. Not really as epic, but when I first saw it my jaw dropped, to be honest. It brings back fond memories of my first playthrough.)   read


10:20 AM on 07.17.2008

E3: 2008 - Return of the "Meh"

[embed]95814:13234[/embed]

So this year's E3 was semi-exciting for the week leading up to it, but the event as a whole was sort of "meh." I was excited to see Final Fantasy XIII on the 360, but for that being the biggest announcement at the conference, the whole event was a let down, not to mention the fact that Squeenix's FF XIII announcement has me wondering exactly what kind of delays that's going to put on the US Release. My guess is that, in 2010, we'll see FF XIII, and it's either going to be a big money maker for Square Enix, or it's going to be a huge waste of money.

Really, FF XIII aside, the only announcement that got me excited was the release dates for the PSP remakes of Star Ocean 1 and 2, which came out in the days leading up to E3. The conference itself seems almost meaningless now, besides the big three's events. After reading Atheistium's blog post asking "Is E3 Failing it's most important demographic?," and the subsequent comments by other C-Bloggers (especially Tubatic's comment), I came to realize that E3 has become a day for game developers to get out in "bigger" publications that, what most of us would consider the more "casual" gamer, read more of, rather than us "hardcore" players that read news sites, blogs, and blog about games and such ourselves on a daily basis. I guess it's pretty much always been this way, but the huge influx of information and leaks we've gotten over the past few years has sort of amplified this point. I suppose we could still have huge announcements from the big 3 at some point in the future, but moments like this are a rarity, these days. All we have now is charts, graphs, and giant enemy crabs.

Also, I really hate using the words "casual" and "hardcore" to describe gamers. I mean, I play Call of Duty 4 on my 360 quite a bit, I log on World of Warcraft just about everyday, but I also play "casual" games like Wii Sports and Brain Age every now and then. Does that make me a "Hardcore Casual," or am I just "Casually Hardcore?" Why can't people just be gamers? If you play Bejeweled during your down time at the office, you're a gamer. If you log on World of Warcraft and wipe on Kil'Jaeden and M'uru attempts for 4 hours straight, you're a gamer.

I don't like putting labels on people, like "Casual Gamer" or "Hardcore Gamer" or "Tasty Coma Wife" because they just tend to invoke something negative in people. The "hardcore" looks down on the "casual" and makes fun of him playing Imagine Fashion Designer, and the "casual" makes fun of the "hardcore" for not getting laid because he spends the majority of his time playing World of Warcraft. The "Tasty Coma Wife" on the other hand is just hot and makes fun of the two arguing geeks.

Anywho, back to E3. So the conference is about over and the journalists and bloggers covering it will probably go to after parties and get drunk while Mr. Destructoid and his Harem of Booth Babe wives will just head back to the hotel for a little Jacuzzi time. Even though it was disappointing, I consider it a win that we got more Star Ocean: First Departure and Second Evolution info, including the first english screens and a subtitled version of a Japanese Trailer I've already seen like 10 times, though it's nice to finally know what it says beyond character names.



That's really all I care about, nowadays. Tri-Ace releases and other RPGs like Tales of Vesperia and Valkyria Chronicles are the only things that get me excited. I still look forward to the Tokyo Game Show later this year. Hopefully they'll have my Skies of Arcadia 2! Until then, I'm off to celebrate my birthday on the 19th, which will partly be spent watching the Dark Knight! Bah, 23 already. I feel like an old man. :/

Ura-

BTW: The World of Warcraft video I linked earlier was my guild's first time beating Ragnaros, long before the Burning Crusade expansion. That's my guild leader yelling "ORANGE HAMMER!!!" Good Times. Axiom For Life, baby. :P   read


2:18 PM on 07.14.2008

Ura's one E3 prediction!



Due to the awesome, yet bad for sony, news that FF XIII will be released on the 360 as well, I have a small prediction to make about the upcoming Sony Press Conference:

Square Enix and Sony will announce a PS3 Exclusive FF VII remake.

I just got a feeling that this almost has to happen for the PS3 to retain any pressure on Microsoft. Besides, I still believe that a company doesn't go through the trouble of making a very well done Trailer just to use as a one time "test" video.

Also, I'm happy that Star Ocean and Infinite Undiscovery got at least some time on stage at Microsoft's Keynote. A new trailer would have been nice, but it's good to see at all. Also, I had almost forgotten about the Last Remnant.

Also, it sort of sounded like Johnny Yong Bosch is voicing the (i guess) main character in Last Remnant. For those who might not know, Johnny voices: Vash the Stampede from Trigun, Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach, Nero from DMC 4, Yukimura Sanada from Warriors Orochi, Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass, Guy Cecil from Tales of the Abyss, and many, many, many, many other things (not bad for a former Power Ranger, eh?). I congratulate him on all his success, but damn I'm getting tired of hearing his voice. >:/

Anywho, here's hoping we get some big news from Nintendo and Sony tomorrow. (INC NEW GAMEBOY! ...Ok, so two predictions. :P)

Ura-   read


7:03 PM on 07.09.2008

What's With The Official US Star Ocean Website?



I was extremely happy to hear that the Star Ocean PSP remakes finally got US release dates. After taking care of some business, I went to the Official NA Square Enix website to see if they had put up an official site for Star Ocean: First Departure. I was suprised to find that they had actually put up a big Star Ocean Portal site, a-la the Japanese "Eternal Sphere" website.

I was, however, disheartened to find that the websites look completely thrown together and ugly. I mean compare the US Star Ocean Portal Site in comparison to the Japanese Star Ocean "Eternal Sphere" Portal Site, along with the First Departure websites for both.

First you have the main pages -

The Japanese Version:


The American Version:


Notice how the Japanese Version has a bit more of a clean design, complete with update logs, news about the games, and recent entries into the "Eternal Sphere" blog. I mean, hell, it actually has a blog.

The American Version has a very plain layout, and looks like it was thrown together last night. I can understand the lack of a blog, update and news columns considering the fact that it was JUST put up, and also that most official websites don't have blogs.

Now take a look at the Star Ocean: First Departure websites for both -

The Japanese Version:


The American Version:


The Japanese version has a very clean design about it. The Tabs at the bottom of the screen are relatively small, they are clearly labled, and they expand when you roll over them with a whole bunch of different options for each section. Each section is accompanied with various pieces of Artwork and Screenshots along with text boxes and very slick section transfer animations.

Then the American version has two stars that only reveal what section they go to when you mouse over them, and the sections themselves are very bland. The information page looks very thrown together, and the other section is entitled "Pre-Order Now" and only offers links to three retail chain websites. Now I'll let them off a bit easy considering this site was just put up, but couldn't they have at least put some information about their product other than when it's coming out and where you can pre-order it at? Things like the Story? The Characters? ANYTHING?

I know I'm probably being overly judgmental, but come on Squeenix. How do you expect to attract more interest in your games if you don't even give them a decent site. Hell, it doesn't even have to be flash. A well laid out, normal website could do a lot more for your product than a lame, poorly done Flash site with horrible sound bites.

Square Enix isn't the only culprit of putting out bad Official Game Sites. There are many that could be better than what they are. For example, the US Dynasty Warriors 6 website in comparison to the UK Dynasty Warriors 6 website. Granted, I don't think the Warriors series has a big a following here in the US as it does in the UK, but the fact still remains that the US site is definitely inferior to the UK site. The US Site is lacking in information about the game and it's characters, whereas the UK site has a ton of information on both, not to mention a little mini-game that allows you to unlock new wallpapers and stuff.

Naturally, there are sites that are very well done here in the States. For example, the Infinite Undiscovery website is kind of bare, but looks great. The official NA site for Final Fantasy IV DS is very well done, which you'd expect from a Final Fantasy website. Perhaps the fact that Star Ocean isn't Final Fantasy is the main reason SO's websites didn't get more lovin'.

In the long run, I guess a website doesn't mean that much. I mean, after the game comes out, it rarely gets visited. Not to mention, there are a ton of outlets to get info, videos and screenshots of upcoming games online. I guess I'm just bitter that Star Ocean isn't getting any love from the webmasters at the NA Square Enix website. I mean even their new iPod game got a better site than Star Ocean did.

Grumble.

Ura-   read


12:53 PM on 07.09.2008

Star Ocean: First Departure\Second Evolution US Release Dates!

Square Enix has finally announced their E3 Line-up, and with it, they've also announced Release Dates for Star Ocean: First Departure and Star Ocean: Second Evolution for the PSP.

"Release dates are now available for Star Ocean: First Departure and Star Ocean: Second Evolution. Star Ocean: First Departure will release in North America on October 21 with Star Ocean: Second Evolution following on January 6." - Source, RPGamer.com

This announcement has been a long time coming. I'm not happy that we're not going to see Second Evolution untill 2009, but I'm sure that Infinite Undiscovery and First Departure will be more than enough to tide me over until then!

Here's hoping they get decent Voice Acting for both, though I think it'd be funny if they went with the original voice cast from the US PS1 release of Star Ocean: The Second Story.

Ura-   read


1:55 PM on 06.05.2008

The Start of the Affair: "The Holy Trinity" (Part One)



When you go to High School, there are typically a lot of "firsts" that come along in those four years. Things like getting your driver's license, getting your first car, getting your first "serious girlfriend," getting your first job to pay for your first car and to spend the rest of your pay on your first 'serious girlfriend' so that you can get a slim chance of getting yet another "first." For me, only the license, the car and the job happened, so I spent the extra cash on gaming.

Despite the over all sadness of that last statement, I did spend a lot of my free time in High School playing Role Playing Games. Now, I had been gaming a lot nearly all of my life, but I never really got as engaged in it as I did during the year 1999, which was the start of my freshman year of High School. This year would see my first playthroughs of what I consider to be my "Holy Trinity" of RPGs. These games would forever effect the kinds of games I play through my life, would turn me into a huge fan of Video Game music, and they would also turn me into a huge fanboy for one particular game developer.

The first of my "Holy Trinity" of RPGs came out in 1998, but I wasn't introduced to it until early 1999, when my best friend told me about his struggles with the last boss. That game was Xenogears, and it was the first actual RPG I had ever seriously played up to that point in my life, and it started to reinforce my theory that "Giant Robots make everything better."



Xenogears takes place on a planet that a huge interstellar ship crashed into ten thousand years ago. As man began to evolve, they discovered ruins of this ship. Among various advanced technologies, they found "Giant Humanoid Fighting Machines" called "Gears," which quickly changed the face of warfare on the planet.

The story centers around the exploits of a man named Fei Fong Wong, or "Fei" for short. Orphaned as a child, Fei is forced to leave his home village of Lahan after it is destroyed in an incident. He leaves only seeking a new place to live peacefully, but is instead dragged into a journey of strife and self-discovery, and along the way, he would come to battle men, machines, and even "god." The characters in Xenogears all had great depth to them, and many characters were far, far more than what they appeared to be on the surface.

The battle system was very engaging and challenging. It used a variant of the Active Time Battle System found in Final Fantasy games. You can battle as your character or inside your Gear. Attacks were done via a combo system for your characters, where various combos of the three basic attacks (weak, moderate, strong) could be strung together to do a "Deathblow Combo." Each character had their own variety of attacks and combos. Learning these combos is also essential to Gear battles, as they unlocked various attacks you could use, provided you build up the correct "Attack Level," which consisted of four levels: 1, 2, 3 and Infinity. The higher the attack level, the more devistating the attack.



You can enhance your gear with various items to give it more armor, a more efficient engine, weapons, ammo, and special items that gave it even more abilities. In Gear battles, you were also limited by the amount of fuel your gear had. Each attack and Attack Level combo had a certain fuel cost. The fuel limits made more than a few boss fights very frustrating. In fact, Xenogears is host to two of the most frustrating boss battles I've ever played in an RPG, and they happen in succession. (Anyone who has played the game all the way through probably knows which battles I am referring to.)

(There's a lot more to Xenogears' battle system, but I'll leave the details out for you to discover if you haven't played the game yet. :p)

The music of Xenogears was also something really special. The game's soundtrack, composed by the great Yasunori Mitsuda, gave me a deeper appreciation for great Video Game music. In particular, the song playing during the end credits, titled "Small Two of Pieces" and the final battle theme "Deus" both really sparked my interest. I still hold that, while maybe not as memorable as Final Fantasy VII's "One Winged Angel," the track "Deus" is the best final boss music I've ever heard in an RPG to date.

The story pacing on Disc One was what you would expect out of an RPG, but the pacing on Disc Two was extremely hurried. This is due in large part to the fact that Xenogears is an unfinished game. While no specific reason was ever given, some believe that the higher ups at Squaresoft had either lost interest in the project or cut funding, and told the development team to finish quickly in order to focus on other games. The game was intended to be part five in a six part series, as evidenced by the fact that the title appears with the words "Episode V" under it during the end credits, and was originally planned to be called "Project Noah."

Despite the fact that it is unfinished, Xenogears is arguably one of the greatest RPGs ever made. It is truly a game that "stands tall" above almost all others. If you ever get the chance to play through this game, take it.

In my next post, I'll talk about the second game in my "Holy Trinity" of RPGs, which comes with a pretty embarrassing story.   read


10:56 PM on 05.21.2008

Ura's Serious Business #2: Electric Boogaloo



So I've still been wrapped up in the Icy Grasp of World of Warcraft ever since my nostalgic feelings prompted me to re-up my account. For the most part it's been enjoyable, but I can't help but notice how utterly disinterested I've become with gaming apart from WoW. Its not a new feeling, however, as I felt the same when I was still raiding Molten Core/Blackwing Lair/Ahn'Qiraj/Naxxramus back in the good ol' days of pre-expansion WoW. The game obviously sucks up alot of your time, mostly due to the fact that it takes so long to really get anything meaningful done, especially at 70. I'm not raiding at all, but rather doing dailies and farming mats to level my blacksmithing ability, which is probably the most expensive profession in the game. I've discussed how engrossing WoW is before, so I won't prattle on about it, but the whole "disinterested with gaming" bit has gotten me thinking these past few days.

For the past hour or so, I've tried to think up all future game releases that I'm currently looking forward to that don't pertain to Warcraft. So far I've come up with Tales of Vesperia, Metal Gear Solid 4, Infinite Undiscovery, Star Ocean: First Departure, Star Ocean: Second Evolution, Valkyria Chronicles, and that's pretty much it, aside from things that aren't yet confirmed like a possible Skies of Arcadia 2 (Please make it so!). Thats a very small amount, in my opinion. Granted, I'm an RPG nut/tri-Ace fanboy, but even still, there's just not much out there that excites me anymore. I kind of hate the idea of me being set in my ways and tastes for games because it makes me sound like I'm getting close minded, but it seems anymore that the only things that get me excited are tri-Ace/Square Enix/Koei releases.

I think part of it pertains to the fact that I think there are entirely too many First Person Shooters coming out, and it's been that way for a couple years now. I mean, Call of Duty 4 was great, and frankly that can last me for a long time if I ever want to jump on Xbox Live and have some fun. I never played Gears of War, even working at a Game Crazy with attached Hollywood video and never bothering to rent it (and even when I tried to, it was usually out. They only had one copy because all the others were either stolen, transferred to us to sell, or scratched beyond repair.) So naturally, I'm not that excited about Gears of War 2. Haze looks meh, Killzone 2 will probably end up being shit, and I could go on, but won't.

Then there's the Wii. I hate my Wii. It just sits there, taunting me, saying, "You fucking cunt, you spent $250 on me and you've got shit to play! Hah! I revel in your discontent!" You might be saying, "Urashima, you dumb fuck, what about Smash Brothers?" My answer would be, well, what about it? It was great the first two weeks, now I have no reason nor want to play it with all the characters/stages unlocked and no wireless connection to use for online play, which ALSO means no chance of downloading WiiWare titles and such. I know they're making a Tales of Symphonia 2 for the Wii, but honestly I know they'll find a way to fuck it up with motion controls. I don't want to flick the wiimote up and down to do a damn Tiger Slash! I know you have to expect that sort of thing with the Wii, but come on, some things just don't need freaking Motion Controls. I'm not going to sell it on the off chance something worthwhile DOES happen to release on it. Not to mention there is also the Trauma Center releases that I can pick up and play should I ever want to, and I'll end up buying ToS 2, motion controls or not, because I'm a chump like that.

In this time in between Christmas and E3, there usually isn't a lot of exciting news to be announced, so perhaps it may be natural to feel this way; however, I still can't help but feel a little jaded. Ah well, perhaps E3 or the Tokyo Game Show will lift my spirits a bit. That, or a damn confirmed release date for Star Ocean: First Departure. The only thing I've been using my PSP for these days is to play music. It requires more Fellpool Air Slashing and Welch Vineyard.

Till next time, ladies and gents.

Ura-

(P.S. - That was a great Champions League final earlier today. I was cheering for The Blues, but it just wasn't meant to be, I suppose.)   read


5:09 AM on 04.17.2008

Yep. I'm Back....



...back to the cold icy grinding grip of World of Warcraft. It wasn't something I had planned on doing, but nostalgia over my old days playing with my friends, many of whom have long since left the game, brought me back. My account was reactivated by a friend who used a "Scroll of Resurrection" on it, which gives you 10 free days of play time, provided your account has been inactive for 90 days. Seeing as how I hadn't logged in since July of last year, it was well qualified to be rezzed.

I was sort of excited to get back into the swing of things. I logged into my old main, Shinobu on Skullcrusher, and after getting in touch and caught up with friends and old guildies who still play WoW, I went to play around a bit on my Blood Elf Paladin, Urashima. I hadn't really kept up with the game all that much over the past 7 months, so I was very astonished at how quickly I leveled up my second paladin. It really only took about a month of on and off playing to get him from 40 to 70.

Just about everything has gotten easier in this game. Like getting decent gear, for example. All you have to do is either grind out honor in the battlegrounds, or pay an arena team to put you into their ranks for a few games, gather arena points, and buy even better epics than what the standard honor grind gets you. Money is also very easy to get, since there are dozens of daily quests which net anywhere from 9 to 15 gold for those who do them, AND some of those quests give you items that you can then turn around and sell via vendor or Auction House. It also seems like PvP is easier, but this could be due to the fact that I've been mainly PvPing on my Horde character, rather than my Ally character. In my battlegroup, Ruin, the Horde side tends to have a much better winning percentage than the Alliance does.

All of this ease sort of ruins the game, though. Easy grind quests net rather large profits. Granted, the entire game is just a huge grind, but it just isn't the same. To be honest, pre-Burning Crusade WoW was the best. It wasn't as easy as it is now. Granted, WoW has never been the hardest of MMOs, but its crazy how insanely easy it is in comparison. Even the instances are easy. It seemed to take forever for even the best guilds to down the big bosses in raid instances, like Naxxramus. Now the big instances have shrunk their max raid size to 25, and 3 or 4 well geared players can defeat Onyxia, a feat that used to take a well coordinated 40 people to do. There's even a horde guild on my server selling Black Temple loot like people used to do in Molten Core and Blackwing Lair.

Oh well. I'll probably continue to play off and on untill the next expansion pack releases. Its a good time waste, and console releases have left me sort of jaded again. There's only a handful of releases I'm even that excited about. Mainly Tales of Vesperia, Star Ocean: First Departure and Second Evolution (If they'd ever get freaking released outside of Japan!), and I have to purchase Ikagura when I get the chance to get some more Microsoft Points. I will say that the very averageness of Brawl has left me very Jaded about the Wii, and I still have yet to unlock all the officers on Dyansty Warriors 6, which I really need to get around to doing.

Oh, and to those of you who might be wondering why in the bloody hell I leveled up two Paladins to 70, my only response is this: Shinobu is Holy, Urashima is Retribution, and Otohime is Protection (but only 44. :P). In all honesty, Paladins are good fun. The recent tweaks to Retribution make us a very viable damage class. I've found that Blood Elves are the best choice for Retribution paladins, as Seal of Blood is ungodly good, and Mana Tap and Arcane Torrent actually do help quite a bit in Leveling and in PvP.

Untill next time, ladies and gents.

::Ura::   read


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