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by Ethos

Call Me Lameish – Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Review

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Once again, my apologies for the tardiness.

Only hours before making this post, I turned in the $75 EB Games gift card my parents were nice enough to get me for my birthday, and got my hot little hands on my very own irradiated little copy of Fallout: New Vegas. I’ve yet to extricate the new and exciting fetid aromas of the Capital Wasteland from their vaguely sexual, cellophane bondage. I’ll be providing a detailed report on my body’s various responses to said aromas on next week’s CML. For now, here’s what I thought of Enslaved: Journey to the West.

-Lameish

Hey! Look! Listen! #63 – Not So Lost, as it were

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Hm. I’m having a difficult time coming up with something interesting to say for this little intro. Usually I say something self-disparaging, apologetic, or both. But I don’t feel the need, nor really have the cause to be self-disparaging or apologetic right now, so that won’t work.

I’d relate some intriguing story sampled from recent events in my life, but my life is actually really boring, stale, and monotonous. Nothing of particular interest has occurred since… well, probably since I moved into my new place. And yeah, that was fairly recent, but even still, it’s not like any exciting stories have arisen from it.

Sad as this is to say, the most interesting thing I’ve done in the last couple weeks is start watching Lost. Yes, you read that correctly. For no reason other than the fuck of it (and because I enjoy the show, I guess) I’ve begun the sure-to-be-lengthy process of watching Lost from start to finish. I’ve seen a lot of Season 6 (which, by the way, is probably the worst place you could ever start watching the show) but other than that I’m a noob.

So, how does it feel to be watching the first season after seeing almost every episode of Season 6? (I managed to avoid the finale, that was about it.) Well, it’s still an enjoyable thing to watch, but it’s obviously somewhat disappointing that much of what I’m supposed to find mysterious… isn’t. But I can only blame myself for that one. Stupid, stupid me.

The Tragically Comic Rantings of  EA Louse

HEY! – Why I Care I greatly enjoy these rare glimpses into the inner workings of Corporate’s seedy underbelly in the videogame industry. What we have here is a rant written by an employee of Mythic Entertainment – now known as “BioWare Mythic.” The guy’s pissed because he heard he was being fired soon, decided to write a scathing blog entry exposing the incompetency of Mythic and BioWare’s upper management figures. The article is labeled, simply, as “Why Warhammer Failed“.

LOOK! – Why You Care This guy was clearly pretty involved in the development of the now-largely-forgotten MMORPG, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. He tells an interesting story of what “really” went on behind the scenes of the game’s tumultous development. Oh, and if that doesn’t grab you: he blasts BioWare’s upcoming MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. In his own words:

Old Republic will be one of the greatest failures in the history of MMOs from EA. Probably at the level of the Sims Online. We all know it too

See? This guy has some crazy shit to say. So…

Listen! Mythic Entertainment has been around for a while. Founded in 1995, they finally made a name for themselves in 2001 with the MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot. In 2006, EA bought them out, and they were known as “EA Mythic” for few years afterward. Then, as you should all recall, EA merged with BioWare Entertainment. (Y’know, the Mass Effect guys.) Shortly after that acquisition, EA took the liberty of merging Mythic Entertainment with BioWare to create what is now known as “BioWare Mythic.” Dr. Ray Myzuka still runs the entire shindig, Mythic’s general manager was replaced, and things went along with ease and efficiency.

…or DID they? Apparently not, if this dude is to be believed. I mean, sure, it’s possible that it’s all an elaborate host, but it sounds legit enough to me. Hell, even if it’s not, it’s a legitimately entertaining read. The merger between EA and BioWare was a huge, huge deal – a deal that, seemingly, went over without a hitch. We still got our respective Dragon Age and Mass Effect fixes. And oh looky, Dragon Age 2 is set for release in less than five months! And Mass Effect 2 is coming to the PS3! No sign of greedy corporate evil here, right?

Probably wrong. If you still aren’t interested in reading his rant, then at least treat yourself to this glorious excerpt:

Oh yeah, and he needed Paul Barnett. You know him as the crazy British dude that appears in random videos at EA to promote his latest bullshittery. We know him as the crazy British dude who we have no idea of how he still has a job. This man was supposed to be the savior of Warhammer’s vision and design. Now all he can do is promote his strange ideas about his little secret project web Ultima game that’s been almost universally criticized by all of us and focus groups. What’s that? You didn”t know Paul loves one of those old Ultima games sooooo much he’s making a literal copy of it for Facebook? Well, the cats outta the bag. Too bad it sucks ass.

Oh… the hatred in his tone. I soak it up like a week-old sponge.

So, assuming that you’ve read his rant at this point, what are your thoughts? Rightly disgruntled employee with legitimate, if raging, critiques? Or a pill who just got burned and felt like bitching?

Or… both?

Aggregate Ranking Roundup: Final Fantasy XIV, Enslaved, Medal of Honor

Huh boy. It’s that time of year again.

Last year I had quite a bit more money than I do now, so I was set and ready to stem the tide of big game releases. This year, however, I am not so fortunate. One fortunate thing, though, is that it now seems that I can safely cross two games off the list.

Final Fantasy XIV – 55% (7 reviews, PC version) Ouch. Well, I guess we all saw this one coming. Final Fantasy XIV never looked like it would be anything more than a grindy, unpolished mess, and now that reviews are starting to roll out – almost universally negative – I guess we can finally put it to rest. From Kevin VanOrd’s review for GameSpot: “When the simple act of creating an account for the massively multiplayer online game you just bought is a convoluted mess, you know you’re in trouble.”

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West – 82.07% (30 reviews, PS3 version) Yeah. I still want this game. Really badly, actually, and I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve heard that Lameish (or whatever his name is) has it, but despite my repeated demands that he airmail it to me, he has refused. I’d fire him, but then I’d be admitting that I hired him in the first place.

Anyway, yeah, Enslaved looks really good. Granted, an 82 percent aggregate ranking isn’t exactly cause to blow one’s load, but it is quite respectable. General consensus seems to be that Enslaved greatly succeeds as an experience, a story, and a visual spectacle. Why do I want it so badly? Well, for one thing, I haven’t played a good action-adventure game in far too long. Secondly, I find the post-apocalyptic-yet-healing world setting incredibly appealing. In a sea of big-name releases with much larger ad campaigns, it looks like Enslaved might be doomed to obscurity. And while I’ve yet to play (though I promise I will) I think that’s a damn shame.

Medal of Honor – 75.3% (20 reviews, PS3 version) While I may spend a fair amount of time wanking Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the only way I’d spend money on EA’s Medal of Honor reboot is if it received sparkling reviews. And, while reviews for said reboot have been positive, they have not sparkled. I’m frankly surprised. Not that the game is only average, but that so many reviewers actually took the liberty of pointing this out. A big, fat, heavily advertised series reboot from EA is precisely the sort of thing that most media outlets would love to fellate. And yet they haven’t. Good for them. Bad for EA’s shareholders, as it were. Apparently, due to the average-only reviews, EA’s shares dipped six percent. Boo-hoo, I know.

QUICKIES – Short and Rough. Uh, Sweet.

The PS3 Will Soon Netflix Sans Disc – Oh thank fuck. The PS3 is my system of choice, so I prefer to Netflix on it rather than my 360. The problem? The PS3 makes me stick a disc in the drive, while the 360 does not. It presents quite the moral impound, but it will soon be a nonissue. Starting Monday, a system update will allow us all to watch Netflix without the damn disc. It will also now feature 5.1 surround sound due to some partnership with Dolby, and it will allow for video qualities up to 1080i. And it’ll look better and move faster. Sounds like epic winsauce all around.

Dragon Age II “BioWare Signature Edition” Announced – Woo. Well, actually, it is kinda cool. If you pre-order Dragon Age II before January 11, you’ll get a download code for a new character and mission, a digital soundtrack, and some kinda digital in-game armory. At no additional cost. I really need to finish Dragon Age Origins.

You Can Get Married in a Chinese McDonald’s – Ah. This is… something. Crazy Hong Kong-ians.

And that’s it. There’s no more. This thing is almost 1500 words long, which is pushing it a little bit given the average attention span of a Riddlethos reader.

Anyway, Ethos should be here tonight with some thoughts on the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer beta. The next time you see me, I’ll probably be reviewing the new South Park. (Preview: it’s pretty funny.)

~Riddles

Hey! Look! Longview! #56

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Well, subtle is definitely not my middle name. But, truth be told, we’ve never been much for subtlety here at Riddlethos.com. We generally prefer blunt and obvious stupidity. Just part of our unique charm, I suppose.

Or… whatever you’d call it. Maybe “charm” isn’t the right word.

But already, I digress. Welcome to the fifty-sixth edition of Hey! Look! Listen! As per usual, I am your host Oliver “Riddles” Motok, and I wish I had the money to buy Green Day Rock Band. I also wish I had the money to go to the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival this weekend. But alas, I have neither of  those things, which constitutes an epic musical fail. Oh well. Maybe I’ll start a cover band.

But, for now, I suppose I’ll settle for sharing some goings-on in the world of videogames. It’s a distinctly pre-E3 climate right now (obviously) which always produces a sort of energized lull that’s difficult to define. So instead of trying to define it, I think I’ll just write some stories.

Know Your Enemy: Proof that Final Fantasy XIII is Composed of Pure Evil

Apparently it wasn’t enough for Final Fantasy XIII to merely suck; now it destroys PS3s.

Or, at least, that’s what a group of people in San Fransisco are claiming. When they attempted to save their game for the first time, their consoles supposedly froze and died forever. They went to Sony first, who told them it was Square Enix’s fault. They went to Square Enix, who told them it was Sony’s fault. Point being, neither company was kind enough to fix the bricked consoles, so now they’re being sued in a class-action lawsuit. For $5 million.

Well. Thank god Final Fantasy XIII didn’t do that to me, at least. Talk about insult to injury. If you’re interested, the full PDF of the suit is available here. (IGN)

Welcome to Paradise: Red Dead Revolver Ships 5 Million, GTA IV Sells 17

Take-Two discussed their second quarter financials today, and happened to let slip the fact that Rockstar’s latest blockbuster, Red Dead Revolver, had already shipped 5 million copies. Now, granted, that’s shipped, not sold – but still, it’s big. It’s a big number.

Y’know what’s even bigger? 17 million. And, according to Take-Two, that’s how many copies that Grand Theft Auto IV has sold since its release back in April 2008. That is a lot. A lot lot. Holy freaking hell.

And… that’s about it. I just felt like throwing some numbers around. Moving on!  (IGN)

Jackass: Tomonobu Itagaki to Announce New Game at E3

You probably know who Tomonobu Itagaki is. If not, he’s the Ninja Gaiden guy. Not the old side-scrollers, but the bloody 3D re-imaginings. And I know you’ve heard of Ninja Gaiden before, because the first game was released no less than three times. Hell, even Ninja Gaiden 2 was released twice.

Oh, yeah, and he’s also responsible for the Dead or Alive games. The fighers and the slutty volleyball spinoffs.

Anyway. The thing about Mr. Itagaki is that he’s sort of a douche. He’s very much full of himself, which is made painfully obvious in pretty much every interview that he’s ever done. And, while being full of yourself is bad enough, what makes it even more obnoxious in my eyes is the fact that the guy really hasn’t done anything that amazing. Ninja Gaiden is, more or less, a hack-’n-slash actioner that uses gratuitous sex and violence as its primary selling point. Revolutionary, eh? Now, to be fair, it’s a very solidly built hack-’n-slash actioner, but it’s still nothing to write home about, and never has been. Admittedly, I haven’t played Dead or Alive – but from the looks of it, and given the general opinions on it, I’d wager you could say the same thing.

Itagaki happily made games for Tecmo for a long time. But, a few years back  - late 2008, if I recall – Tecmo and Mr. Itagaki ran afoul of eachother. My memory’s a bit hazy, and I’m too lazy to look up the specifics; but if I recall, Mr. Itagaki and quite a few other employees filed suit against Tecmo demanding unpaid wages and bonuses. They won. Itagaki left Tecmo, and he’s been relatively quiet since then – although, he’s always assured us that he was at work on a new game.

And now that I’ve written a 300-word mini-bio on this jackass, I might as well tell you the actual news part: he’ll be showing off his new game at E3 2010. Yep. He announced it in a blog post over at the website for his studio, Valhalla Games. Read it here, and be amazed at how douchy he makes himself sound in just a few short, matter-of-factual paragraphs. (Gaming Today)

Nice Guys Finish Last: Yakuza 4 Coming to North America

Well. Much less torturous waiting this time around. Apparently Yakuza 3 sold pretty well in the west when Sega finally brought it over. Well enough, at least, for them to give Yakuza 4 the same treatment.

Yakuza 4 was released in Japan back on March 18, 2010; it’ll be on American shores in the springtime of 2011. Good news, eh? Eh?

Frankly, I don’t really care that much. The only experience I have with the Yakuza series is when I played the demo for Yakuza 3 at Ethos’ place. But, be that as it may, he and I share one fantastic memory of the franchise, and it can be described in a single word: Karaoke. (Kotaku)

Waiting: New Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Trailer is Incredibly Awesome

I really, really want this game. I never even played Heavenly Sword, and I fucking can’t wait for Enslaved. This new E3 trailer seals the deal. Watch it, and be impressed.

Now, c’mon. Tell me you weren’t impressed. At least a little.

Well golly, it looks like I’m drawing close to that non-existent 1000-word limit!

Seriously, there’s no limit, I just have to stop at some point. So. Might as well be now?

And just so everyone knows, I’ve totally had my Green Day music library on shuffle the entire time while writing this. So, ideally, you’ll be listening to Green Day whilst reading. But I’m going to guess that none of you are, and frankly, that’s a shame. Because they’re awesome.

Lazy Saturdays #04

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Christ. What another lazy goddamned Saturday.

It’s probably just because I’m unemployed, but this whole Lazy Saturdays thing has become sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ever since I started it as a feature, every Saturday has been a dull, droll, and mindless affair. Usually involving me sitting at my apartment. By myself. Such is life, though; or, at least, such is the life of Oliver “Riddles” Motok.

I saw Iron Man 2 a few days ago. I don’t actually, uh… remember much about it, but I seem to remember liking it. Not as much as the original, perhaps, but it was an enjoyable experience. Definitely check it out if you’re an Iron Man fan.

Oh yeah, and I watched Aladdin yesterday! In HD! For the first time in years! God, that movie is timeless. It’s also one of the few good things Robin Williams has ever done with his life.

Ubisoft Bitches About an 81% Metacritic Ranking for Red Steel 2 – Sometimes, I really hate numerical review scores, and this is one of the reasons why. Gamers, media outlets, and publishers alike have all gotten spoiled. Really fucking spoiled, in fact, as evidenced by this statement from Ubisoft’s Jason Vandenberghe:

Let’s start here: if you clicked that Metacritic link back there, you know that (as of this writing) our average rating is hanging out at a solid 81%. Anyone in the industry will tell you: that doesn’t suck, but it ain’t the bestest ever. It’s the kind of number you need to be in the running for serious sales, and given the nature of the market we are releasing into, etc, blah blah blah, it’s pretty darn acceptable, but of course you always hope for more. It’s what Metacritic calls “generally favorable reviews”, but it’s closer to “mixed” than we’d prefer.

Ingrates. They’re all ingrates. Why is it that these days, a game has to score a 90% percent or higher to be considered worthy of a shit? I feel like it’s a trend that’s come along with the current console generation. 81%, for all intents and purposes, is an excellent aggregate ranking, especially when you consider the fact that the original Red Steel was flat-out panned by the gaming press. Grow the fuck up, Ubisoft. And everyone else.

Are You an Apple Fanboy? Well, You Can At Last Have True Love - I’m gonna go ahead and chalk this up as a solid 8.1 on my weird-shit-o-meter. (Cookies for whoever catches the reference.) This summer will see the launch of a dating site called Cupidtino. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “Cupidtino?” Latina women, of course. Or men, I suppose. But no. Cupidtino is a dating site designed for Apple fanatics. Here’s the site in a nutshell, according to “Mel,” one of its co-founders:

Essentially we’re hoping to do to dating sites what the iPhone did for smartphones. We want to create a simple, clean, uncluttered and Apple-esque experience. The profile page will not only show your typical “dating” features, but also highlight your Apple-ness – things like “when did you become a Mac?” and icons for the Apple products you own. We’re also thinking about an AppStore like “approval process” for profiles, which will require that your main photo must be posed with an Apple product or in an Apple retail store.

Sound… creepy to you? Yeah, me too.

Check Out this Trailer for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West – It’s no secret that I’ve been intrigued by this game. And I gotta say, this first trailer doesn’t disappoint. Lots of gameplay, showing off combat, platforming, and Ico-esque partner mechanics. Really neat stuff.

Wow, sorry, this is much later than I anticipated. I got, uh, distracted for a while. My lazy Saturday is suddenly not so lazy. Unfortunately, though, I’m exhausted. Because… in the last 60 hours or so, I’ve slept for 8.

Signing off,

-Riddles