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.
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)
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.
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
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!
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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.
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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!