First impressions of Metroid: Other M

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Everybody loves Metroid, right? I mean, Fusion had its quirks, Hunters was ill-conceived, Corruption wasn’t the home run that the previous two had been. But it’s hard to argue with Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, and Metroid: Zero Mission. At least one all-time classic there.


I know a lot of people were a little nervous when it was announced that Team Ninja was going to put out the next game in the series. And I wasn’t really that interested when I saw the initial screenshots and read the initial previews. It seemed much more Team Ninja-y than I was in the mood for.

But when the game shipped and the reviews started coming in, I was intrigued. It wasn’t as bad as it was looking in the previews. And once I received it from GameFly and popped it in the drive, I was surprised to find that it was a lot more Metroid-like than I was expecting.

So here’s the first three hours of my experience with the game.

Continue reading First impressions of Metroid: Other M

Dammit, Dragon Age.

You’re the prettiest RPG I’ve seen in years. You’ve got a few bugs, but you’re also incredibly polished. I am loving the hell out of you so far.

Except… (spoilers for about 8 hours in follow)

Continue reading Dammit, Dragon Age.

It’s beginning to look a lot like bankruptcy

As usual, the holidays are presenting gamers with quite a quandary. Namely, just how many incredible games are required purchases? Well, for me, there are depressingly many. Let’s take a look.

Continue reading It’s beginning to look a lot like bankruptcy

A brief visit with Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Or FERD for short.

Or "FERD" for short.

I’ve never been a big fan of the Fire Emblem series. Something about the universe has always kept me at arm’s length. Maybe it’s the character perma-death. Maybe it’s the rapid deterioration of weapons. Maybe it’s the very generic-seeming fantasy world. Whatever the cause, the fact remains that the most time I’ve ever spent with its characters was playing Roy and Marth in Super Smash Bros. Melee for the GameCube.

Still, I’m a big fan of strategy/tactical RPG’s. Final Fantasy Tactics, Shining Force, Front Mission… these are all games that occupy a special place in my heart. So many months ago, when I saw that it was getting reviewed fairly well, I placed Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn in my GameFly queue and promptly forgot about it. After all, games that I actually want to play on the Wii have been scarce since Super Mario Galaxy.

Unfortunately, GameFly’s system is so fickle that I was reminded in a hurry last week — when the company decided to skip over Ghostbusters (360), Ghostbusters (PS3), Prototype (PS3), Prototype (360), Tales of Vesperia, Crackdown, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, King of Fighters XII, and Knights in the Nightmare, and go straight for the bottom of my list.

As it turns out, there’s a reason why it was near the bottom of my queue — I only played it for about a half-hour before putting it back in my mailbox. It’s not a terrible game, but I don’t really have the patience for anything less than “great” at the moment. I did take notes along the way, though. So let’s get to it.

Continue reading A brief visit with Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

3,654 days

Hes taller than me, but not by much.

He's taller than me, but not by much.

Day 1 of my new life. Today I start my new job as a game tester at Legend Entertainment. It was a great first day; I got to play Wheel of Time for most of the day, and talk to intelligent people, whom I didn’t know, about video games. Life is good.

That was what I wrote on my personal web site (they weren’t called “blogs” yet) on August 25, 1999.   Ten years of game development later, life is still good.

The highest point: Three weeks of directing some of the best voice actors in the business as they acted out every line of my script — and raved about it as they were doing it.

The lowest point: Getting caught in a wave of layoffs two months later, and watching the universe that I had created get mangled to the point where it was savaged in the press upon its release.

There have definitely been more highlights than lowlights, though.

Bring on decade #2!

TWIT: This Week In Twitter

  • @JosieNutter Don't worry. The way the story is structured, there's no "to do everything". It all unfolds naturally over the year. in reply to JosieNutter #
  • @JosieNutter I pretty much sucked at fusing for about 80-90% of the game, and never really had to worry about it, so I think you'll be okay. in reply to JosieNutter #
  • Worse Blue Dragon omen: that disc 1 had a beer stain on it, preventing it from initially loading, or that the first enemy is a "Poo Snake"? #
  • I see that Alpha Protocol's pre-order bonus is a free copy of Space Siege. If you don't pre-order, then you get three copies. #
  • @Obsidian_Ent That wasn't a dig at you guys — I was the original writer on Space Siege before it all went downhill. We all bear the scars. in reply to Obsidian_Ent #
  • I need to stop committing to things on Tuesday nights during the Summer of Arcade. I didn't even get to play any Shadow Complex last night! #
  • Shadow Complex = crack. Must use recent death as excuse to stop playing. Must not keep filling out map squares. …okay, five more minutes. #
  • Time to put down the #ShadowComplex and go to Industry Night. #
  • I'm going to take #ShadowComplex going permanently black after my last death as a cue to go to sleep. That next gun can wait for 18 hours. #
  • Wow, to say that the #ShadowComplex ending came out of nowhere would be a pretty big understatement. Other than that, a pretty awesome game. #
  • @whiskey_diet You're right, instead of getting ready for bed at 1am, I should definitely be posting Twitter updates about stage dives. #
  • @whiskey_diet No, I'm just old and feeble. #
  • Hours 83 through 86 of Persona 4. This will be my last liveblog for a while, I think: #
  • Aww, man, there's an item you can't get in Shadow Complex if you don't get it before a story event happens. Booo! …time to start over. #

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Hours 83 through 86 of Persona 4

Love that title screen.

If you’ve talked to me lately about video games, it’s likely that I’ve brought up Persona 4 as an example of how to do them right. It’s a modern classic. While talking to a friend via IM a few weeks ago, he — perhaps tired of hearing me say how good it was — wondered why I wasn’t doing a “liveblog” of that game, since I loved it so much.

But that wasn’t really an option, since I didn’t start doing these “liveblogs” until I was five hours from the end. However, since I haven’t found an RPG since then that I’ve liked as much, I figured I’d give it another playthrough. I don’t know how long it will last, but at least I can try to articulate why I love the game to the degree that I do.

Since I’m writing this liveblog on my second time through the game, I’ll be talking about things that happen all through the story. This will obviously result in some rather massive spoilers from time to time. I’ve blocked out these sections with colored bars: spoilers for the current point in the story will be hidden behind green bars, while spoilers that give away things that happen later in the game (including the ending!) are behind black bars. Just hover over them to see what I’m talking about.

Keep in mind, however, that if you’re reading this in an RSS reader, those spoiler tags WILL NOT WORK! So proceed at your own risk.

Continue reading Hours 83 through 86 of Persona 4

TWIT: This Week In Twitter

  • @JosieNutter Sure, I could do that. And I still have all my PS2 cables (and the PS2 they belong to), so let me know if you need connectors. in reply to JosieNutter #
  • Watching the attract mode of SF4 while I write its review. The title song is not on the list of things that I've missed about the game. #
  • If I'd known I was never going to get any top 10 choices from my queue, I probably would never have signed up for GameFly. Pretty lame. #
  • I'm not really familiar with much of The Beatles' work, but this game is still calling to me. Love the UI, too. #
  • Hey, GPG: Go see "District 9". Then explain to me again why we absolutely HAD to come up with a "real" name for our aliens in Space Siege. #
  • Since I haven't bought a Madden game in four years, maybe I missed this. But thank you, EA, for finally getting the jersey fonts perfect. #

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TWIT: This Week In Twitter

  • @ginnielizz We're breaking up. in reply to ginnielizz #
  • Just completed Final Fantasy VII for the fourth time. Only this time, it featured a very special guest – my fiancée, @ginnielizz. Hooray! #
  • Ten hours in to Persona 3 and I'm not hooked. Guess my first impression (back in '07) was correct. Or maybe I shouldn't be going backwards. #
  • Another week, another PlayStation Store update without Trine. QQ #
  • Hey @GameFlyInc, what's the deal? You received two games on Monday, but have only shipped out one so far. Don't make me come over there! #
  • $15 for Kings Quest I-VI on Steam. But do I really want to give that money to Activision? Maybe I should just Paypal it to Roberta Williams. #
  • This weekend: Red Faction: Guerrilla (360), and Drawn to Life (DS). They should help me forget about the sauna-like conditions at home. #
  • Developers, please properly constrain your ragdolling. #
  • inFamous screenwriter: it's "the first of which I've come across [with] a big idea and a character arc." What games has he actually played? #
  • I've spelled "PETUNIA" three times in an hour. Is that a bad thing, @PopcapGames_BWA? #
  • After spending far too much time creating the perfect Drawn to Life avatar, I'm exhausted. Time for some Devil Survivor on the flight home. #
  • Devil Survivor limits you to six letters for all name fields. Come on, Atlus, at least give us kana if you have to pull this 80's-era stuff! #
  • Broadstripe is now directly affecting my ability to enjoy games — namely, Fat Princess. This is unacceptable. Why, I oughta! #
  • So my first-ever game of Madden 10 (via the demo) ends in a 0-0 tie. Sometimes I long for the days of Joe Montana Football for the Genesis. #
  • Firing up Persona 3 feels like driving to the dentist. I'm about 45 hours in (just got Aigis) – does it ever get, you know, interesting? #
  • I'm trying to think of a shorter phrase that would sour me on a game than "Wolfgang Van Halen: Bass". I mean, come on! It's Michael Anthony! #
  • New liveblog (a few weeks after the fact) for my limited time with Star Ocean: The Last Hope: #
  • While the 'Splosion Man demo is downloading, here's my last Persona content until P5 comes out: Persona 3 can go fly a kite. That is all. #
  • @JosieNutter Read my blog post. :) The combat tutorial is really off-putting, and way too complicated. Not that the game is really worth it. in reply to JosieNutter #

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A few hours with Star Ocean: The Last Hope

I admit it. I never finished Star Ocean: Till the End of Time on the PS2. I loved, loved, loved how detailed the universe was. I loved most of the characters and the voice acting. I loved the central conceit, and rather shocking revelation towards the end of the game. But I never finished it, for some reason — I think because it seemed like I was so underleveled towards the end of the game that I was just getting slaughtered by regular enemies, and I didn’t feel like grinding. Which is pretty much exactly what happened to me during Xenosaga Episode One: Der Wille zur Macht.

So it was with some trepidation that I opened the three-disc (!) envelope from GameFly that contained Star Ocean: The Last Hope. I had heard good things about it from a friend, and I was in the mood for another JRPG after Persona 4 treated me so well. But was I going to lose interest like I did with its predecessor?

The answer is “no” — I lost interest much, much quicker.

Thanks to KaddyGamer for his Star Ocean: The Last Hope YouTube playthrough, which provided video evidence for several observations below. Now let’s get to it!

Continue reading A few hours with Star Ocean: The Last Hope