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by Ethos

Final Fantasy XIII IMpressions: The World

Friday, March 12th, 2010

World IMpressions 1World IMpressions

Hmmm. So, has Final Fantasy XIII succeeded in creating a believable and immersive world? What do YOU think?

Scatter Storming. Issue #023

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

ss023Wow, Riddles is fail. I stayed up extra late for the mother fucker because he promised he’d be around at a certain time so we could do those IMpressions that I promised last night. Now I just look like an asshole! Granted, midnight typically isn’t late for me, but it has been recently, and Riddles knew that, so don’t hold back your hate.

Obviously this is a Final Fantasy issue, so there’s no need to hesitate.

I don’t find Vanille that annoying -
I needed to get this out of the way right off the top. I mean, I agree with Riddles that she sounds like she’s perpetually having sex, but that’s not so bad, right? And when compared to Rikku, Vanille is a godsend. At least Squeenix isn’t obsessed with giving terrible hooks to these characters. Remember Rikku’s unforgivable “Yunie, y’know?”. Goddammit, it makes me want to kill babies just thinking about it. Anyway, Vanille’s far from my favourite, but she’s not so bad.

Dude, the battle system is fucking awesome –
Excepting recently when I’ve been killing it a bit more easily, the battle system is consistently engaging and fun. I noticed something that I think is the reason why I love it so much. In a game like FF9, the battle system itself is pretty boring really. Now, it never really bored me because I enjoyed seeing the payoff from my leveling and the decisions I made with equipment and abilities and such. The battles were payoff for working the backend. The fantastic thing about FFXIII is that not only is there still that noticeable difference in battle for tinkering with the backend, but the battles themselves take quick reactions and deep strategy to master. It’s a beautiful balance. If you power-up the wrong roles or don’t construct a key paradigm, you’ll find yourself fucked in battle. However, if you made fantastic choices in the menu systems but make a few grave errors in battle, you won’t survive either. The result is easily the most engaging and satisfying battle system ever created. Pogo came to watch me play for a bit, and I took 10 seconds to try and explain something without pausing, and I was very quickly slaughtered. No longer are battles part of a larger grind to manage overall HP and MP until the next inn, but rather individual efforts. It brings you into the moment and makes the game perpetually exciting.

vanilleYeah, there’s something missing -
Although I’m enjoying the cast and story, and immensely enjoying the battle, paradigm, and crystalium systems, I have to mirror what everybody else is saying in that there does just seem to be something missing. And I’m actually okay with the linearity and lack of towns, but there isn’t even a sense of different cultures. It’s fine that there’s only humans, but Final Fantasy has been so great at representing diversity, and while Cocoon has a rich culture, I’m surprised and disappointed to not have more insight. Also, while I say I don’t miss towns, I do miss what they represent: gathering information. While I’m enjoying the datapad, or whatever it’s called, I do miss picking up that sort of insight from the scattered comments of NPCs. They also provide quirk and personality to the world. So although I’m thoroughly enjoying the game, I am missing that extra layer of depth.

The music’s a mixed bag -
While it’s not a soundtrack I’d import the sheet music for, I’ve been very impressed with a lot of the music. It can be moody, unique, and very effective. Yet once in a while, there’s a track that comes on and I have to mute and unmute the sound to make sure it’s actually coming from the game. I think it’s Sazh’s theme, actually, because it usually props up when he’s diving into his past. Bad, bad choice.

That’s enough for me! Back to the game!

Initial Impressions: Final Fantasy XIII

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

logoIt’s been a long time since I’ve played a brand-new Final Fantasy game. And I won’t lie: it feels really damn good.

It also feels very different. Final Fantasy XIII is a very focused, linear experience – more so than any game prior in the series. There is little to no exploration, and no towns. Final Fantasy XIII doesn’t pause long enough to let you smell the roses; it’s constantly moving forward.

The result is a very story-driven approach, and while I’m not far in, I can say that I’m more intrigued by the setting and characters than I thought I would be. The dialogue is occasionally awkward, and the voice acting ranges from good to subpar. I hate to follow the crowd, but I have to single out Vanille – she’s awful. She literally sounds like she’s having sex with everything, all the time.

But aside from her, most of Final Fantasy XIII’s characters will grow on you quickly. Sazh, in particular, is great – as long as you don’t take him seriously. Lightning is overly bitter at times, but she’s interesting and strangely likeable in spite of that. Snow comes off as obnoxiously overzealous at times, but his stake in the story is arguably greater than anyone elses’.

ffxiiiFinal Fantasy XIII’s battle system appears to be exceedingly oversimplified at first glance – but, it doesn’t take long for it to start showing promise. At a little over five hours, I can say that I’ve more than warmed up to this new system. It’s the one aspect of the game thus far that really does feel more “streamlined” than “watered down.” I don’t think I’ve seen all it has to offer yet, so I’ll refrain from saying more – but, at this point, I can say that I’m enjoying it.

As for the game’s new form of character progression, the “Crystarum,” the jury is still out. It really seems to be a somewhat watered-down version of the Sphere Grid, and not much else. But to be fair, I haven’t spent much time with it, so I won’t pass final judgement.

Final Fantasy XIII is, indeed, very linear. There’s no exploration to speak of, no towns, few NPCs – few conventions you find in the average JRPG. However, I’ll admit that so far, the linearity isn’t bothering me too much. I’m looking forward to the world opening up somewhat, but thus far I can appreciate the story-focused approach that Square Enix has opted for.

Oh, and for the record: the game looks absolutely gorgeous. Final Fantasy XIII proves that there are some decent 3D animators and texture designers in Japan. It’s without a doubt the best-looking JRPG of the generation. The character models are detailed and expressive, and the environments are crafted with stunning detail. As always, the art direction is incredibly inspired. Final Fantasy has long been notorious for its pretty graphics – and Final Fantasy XIII does not disappoint.

FFXIII-1And finally, it must be said that Final Fantasy XIII really does feel like a Final Fantasy game. It’s hard to put one’s finger on, but when you play it, hopefully,  you’ll understand what I mean. I’m not a nostalgic guy, for the most part, but when I play Final Fantasy XIII, it brings back memories. There’s a reason why I still call it one of my favorite series of all time

Ethos and I will be bringing you more Final Fantasy XIII thoughts and impressions as the week goes on. If you happen to be playing it yourself, let your own comments rip below. Just make sure they’re spoiler free, plz.

Seriously, if anyone spoils anything, THERE WILL be blood.

Finally, Fantasy XIII Week

Monday, March 8th, 2010

logoThat really IS an awful pun. Thank god we didn’t name our theme week that.

Welcome to Final Fantasy XIII Week, Riddlethosians. The long, long wait is over; in less than seven hours, I’ll be traipsing across the street to my local GameStop and snatching my very own copy.

For the PS3, of course. Even though the Xbox 360 version IS better. (Sorry, I know I’ve plugged that article before, but I just… love it so much.)

I think it’s safe to say that, despite the fact that it’s yet to even be released outside of Japan, Final Fantasy XIII is one of the most controversial titles in the series. Lots of negativity has been circulating around the interwebs, and a lot of gamers are already set-and-ready to hate on the game. Needless to say, it has a lot to live up to – more, perhaps, than is possible.

I’d be lying if I said that I’ve avoided the buzz entirely. But, for what it’s worth, I haven’t read anything related to the game since it was released in Japan – and I’ve yet to read a single review.

Few series hold as many memories for me as Final Fantasy. Part of me is frightened that, after all these jaded years, Final Fantasy XIII won’t have the same magical effect on me that previous entries have.

But, by the same token, I’m ready to be blown away once again. Buckle up, everyone; me and Ethos are going to do our best to make this one a week to remember.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

HLLfinal

1:32 a.m. on a Friday night, and what am I doing?

Nothing FUN, that’s for sure. I’m at my desk, surrounded by empty bottles of cheap lager, writing an article for you fucks. I hope you enjoy it.

Actually, I hope you don’t, because that would SHOW you.

Yeah.

Anyway. Let me grab another Yuengling, and we’ll get started.

Bobby NodickActivision Vs. Zampella/West: Things are Getting Heated

You guys should pay attention to this, because it’s one of the juicier, more scandalous stories to emerge from the game industry since Jack Thompson was disbarred.

In the previous edition of HLL, I reported on the unceremonious canning of Infinity Ward’s two main men, Jason West and Vince Zampella. I also reported that Activision had filed an SEC suite against both of them, citing “insubordination” and “breaches of contract.”

Well, the (seemingly) dynamic duo of West and Zampella aren’t taking this one lying down. They’re counter-suing Activision, claiming that the company owes them royalties for work on the massively popular Modern Warfare 2, and that they were fired without proper cause. They’re not playing small-time here either: their suit demands 36 million USD in damages, as well as the rights to the Modern Warfare brand. (Not Call of Duty, mind you; but Modern Warfare.)

Said West: “We were shocked by Activision’s decision to terminate our contract. We poured our heart and soul into that company, building not only a world class development studio, but assembling a team we’ve been proud to work with for nearly a decade. We think the work we’ve done speaks for itself.”

Said Zampella: “After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn’t have to sue to get paid.”

Said Activision: (full commented blockquoted for douchery)

“Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to Kotaku by a spokesperson. “Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth.

“In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executives who hold positions of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans.”

Well. If anything’s clear at this point, it’s the question of appearances. West and Zampella look like two creative geniuses who’ve been thrown under the bus, while Activision continues to look like a grand, huge, massive, gargantuan, money-grubbing bag of douche.

And, frankly, I wouldn’t be too surprised if that turned out to be exactly the case. I have no proof, of course, but the pieces fit. Why the hell would Activision fire their two golden boys? Either they were doing something awful, like, say, money laundering – or Activision just wants them out of the way. Creative differences, perhaps? Arguments over what direction the Modern Warfare brand should take? Understand, as the heads of Infinity Ward, West and Zampella had complete control over the Modern Warfare subseries.

There are countless rumors and nuances to this story, and I’m not going to try to sum them all up here. It’s honestly deserving of a site feature in and of itself. I’ve given you the basic facts. Choose your side, place your bets, and we’ll see where this goes.

portal 2 - GIPortal 2 Unceremoniously Announced

I don’t care about Portal. I’ve never played it. I actually have it sitting on my PC’s hard drive somewhere if I’m not mistaken, but I’ve yet to give it a go. Regardless, a lot of people like Portal. So. All of those people can now officially get excited.

I say “unceremoniously” because rumors have been flying around for a while, and it was revealed the next month’s Game Informer would feature a Portal 2 cover story. After all of this happened, Valve confirmed it through steam.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it. Maybe we’ll see a reveal trailer at GDC? It is next week, after all – and Valve’s very own Gabe Newell will be receiving a “pioneer award” (whatever the fuck that is) at the show. (VG247)

dsi-xlOh Snap: DSi XL and iPad to Hit Retail Within Days of Eachother

C’mon, isn’t this at least kinda interesting? The DSi XL and the Apple iPad, two devices that a) are catered to people who like… uh… large things, and b) don’t need to exist for any reason are both hitting North American retailers within the same week. You can grab a DSi XL on March 28, and then an iPad on April 3.

All of you “size matters” people should be in heaven. Me? I’ll be sitting back and laughing at anyone dumb enough to purchase either device. Unless they’re really old and have problems seeing things properly. I’ll still be laughing then, but for different reasons.

Thanks to GamerLimit

Thanks to GamerLimit

Here, I’ll Up the Ante: Michael Atkinson is a Stupid, Melodramatic, Misguided, Fame-Seeking Fuck.

Note: I did NOT call him a crook.

Everyone other than SiliconNoob is probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Well, it goes like this: there’s this little island nation called Australia. Australia likes to ban a lot of games. They’re sensitive like that. Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the most recent examples. One of the reasons for this is that Australia’s most “mature” rating for games is MA15+. After L4D2′a banning in Australia, a bunch of sensible people decided that it might be time to introduce an R18+ rating for Australia, so we could end this nonsense of banning and/or altering games once and for all.

For the hell of it, South Australia’s Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, decided he didn’t like the idea. He’s opposing it tooth and nail. He just doesn’t understand WHY Australians crave more sex and violence in their interactive media! From a letter he wrote to… uh… someone:

“It does not follow that a game is more interesting to an adult simply because it contains extreme violence, explicit sexual material, or highly offensive language. Indeed, with all the effort and money that goes into game development, coupled with the effects and graphics now available, there is no need to introduce these extreme elements. I am baffled and worried about why proponents of R.18+ games are putting up their hands and saying ‘Give us more cruel sex and extreme violence!’”

Cruel sex…?

Anyway. The above was just a crash-course in Michael Atkinson, seeing that I’ve never mentioned him on the site before. In a nutshell: he’s an idiot. The real story is this: sometime last year, a dude named Dean McQuillan submitted a comment on an Adelaide-based website. Somewhere in the comment, he called Atkinson a “crook.”

Because the comment was “highly defamatory,” Atkinson is now suing McQuillan for $20,000.

Yes, you read that correctly. An Australian attorney general is suing a civilian for calling him a “crook” online. And that’s, quite literally, all there is to it.

Atkinson’s head must be one hell of a place to be. Obviously the guy has some serious issues of self-worth, because he seems to be doing his very best to simply be noticed – to  hell with what he’s being noticed for. But hey, I suppose we should thank him. It’s been too long since we gamers have had a public figure outside the industry than we can love to hate. (Kotaku)

shimomuraNERD ALERT: Yoko Shimomura to Score Xenoblade

What? You don’t know who Yoko Shimomura is?! Where is your nerd card, sir?

Anyway. Yoko Shimomura wrote all the pretty music for Kingdom Hearts. She’s damn good at what she does, and if Famitsu via Destructoid is to be believed, she’ll be providing the music for the upcoming Wii RPG, Xenoblade.

I’ve actually been fairly interested in Xenoblade for some time now, if only because I’m the world’s biggest Xeno-fanboy. (Xenoblade is, for the record, written and directed by Tetsuya Takahashi, the mastermind behind the Xenogears/Xenosaga games.)  Shimomura’s musical presence only sweetens the deal. I was actually just listening to the final boss themes from Kingdom Hearts II. Absolutely fantastic stuff. Xenoblade is set for release in North America sometime this spring.

FFXIII logoLook at All the Final Fantasy XIII Reviews

That pesty embargo for Final Fantasy XIII reviews has been lifted, so now the internet is practically swelling with verdicts on Square Enix’s first current-gen entry in the beloved series. Go to GameRankings. You might be a little surprised at what you see.

Having said that, I haven’t actually read any of the individual reviews, and I have good reason for it: I don’t want to go into Final Fantasy XIII with any more negativity than I’ve already acquired. I know for a fact that I’m going to be disappointed with some of the decisions they’ve made. I know that it’s not going to be the same as it was all those years ago, when I was young and Final Fantasy was the greatest thing in the world. But, regardless, I want to give Final Fantasy XIII a fair shake. I want to try to re-capture some of that magic that I felt as a kid, when I didn’t read or care about reviews. Impossible? Maybe. But I’ll give it my best.

As a closing thought, I leave you with indisputable proof that the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII is superior to the PS3 version.

Thank god for Destructoid. And to think, I was about to go buy it for the PS3! Silly, silly me.

Well. It’s now 3:19 a.m. on a Friday night. Or… Saturday morning. Whatever. Point is, I’m still not doing anything fun. I’m at this same desk, with the same empty lager bottles. Plus a few new ones.

‘Till next time!

Scatter Storming. Issue #022

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

ss022Silly Paranoid Riddles. We all know Scatter Storming is better.

Although I do have to thank him for giving me his camera as a parting gift. Let’s get to it.

Hey, guess what? I played Heavy Rain! -
It’s true! Thanks Andogo for the loner copy. I’d even consider buying it myself, but you know I’m broke when I trade in two games (one of them Darksiders which I know I’ll re-buy) just to afford Final Fantasy XIII next week. Anyway, I think I have to slightly disagree with Riddles and say that Heavy Rain really is Quick-Time Event the game. But they are more forgiveable in this case. They branch out, and there is a degree of decision and influence in Heavy Rain that doesn’t exist in the QTE disasters of God of War. Still, after a time, although I’m thoroughly enjoying the story, I get sick of just tapping on-screen cues. But I’m sure I’ll trek my way through it if I still have a copy after I’m done with Final Fantasy XIII, God of War III, and Pokémon Soul Silver. So…hrm…that doesn’t look so optimistic anymore, but there is the added bonus of Heavy Rain looking to be relatively easy to Platinum, so we’ll see. But all that brings me to my next point…

Theme Week War -
There’s no debate that Final Fantasy XIII gets next week. Despite all the mixed buzz about it, I’m just as hyped as ever. Final Fantasy IX isn’t a fan favourite and its obviously my favourite, so I’m reserving final judgement on this one until I play it. And honesty, the big complaints about this one (linear for a long time, no towns), don’t scare me in the least. But, that leaves the following week. Riddles the Moronicus wants it to be God of War III Week. Boo-urns, who the fuck cares? I’ll play it, yeah, but he and I both agree that it’s a fun, yet vastly overrated series. Maybe not vastly, but notably. Anyway, my vote is for Pokémon Gold & Silver Week. Riddles argues that God of War is the bigger release, but I call bullshit on that! Pokémon is fucking huge and he just wants God of War because he’s never cared about handhelds or the PURE AWESOMENESS that is Pokémon. Whatta douche, what do you guys think?

Oh dear -
I have no idea why any woman has ever had any interest in me after writing a paragraph like that.

Etrian Odyssey! -
For long-time fans of Ethos (I’m sure there are many), I used to write reviews for RPGamer.com. The first one I wrote for a new release was Etrian Odyssey II. This was a game I never would have played otherwise, and a game that literally everybody I talked to on staff warned me about. I ended up loving the game and almost bought a used copy the other week. In fact, I only didn’t because of the previously mentioned broke situation. But after going for my occasional browse of RPG-related news, I stumbled upon art for Etrian Odyssey III. Huzzah! I didn’t even know it was coming. This is now officially on my radar. If they can keep up all the awesome without making it dissolve at the end like last time, then it could even be on the top of my lists for the year.

That’s all. Go home.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

HLLfinal

I’m baaaaaack!

Or, HLL is back, I should say. I feel like it’s been weeks since I sat down and wrote one of these things… and that’s probably because it has been. We did have the debut of the Audio Edition last Tuesday, if you recall (I’m sure it’s impossible to forget, as much as you’d probably like to) but HeyLookListen started as a written column, and those will never go away.

Now, will we see more audio editions in the future? Well, I can’t give any specifics at the moment (largely because I don’t know them myself) but I think it’s safe to say that you haven’t heard the last of HLL.

Get it? Heard the last? I’m implying that, y’know… there’ll be more audio editions.

Anyway. Let’s get on with it.

SamusMetroid: Other M Demoed, Dated

Nice. I’ve always been a strange breed of Metroid fan, but a fan nonetheless. I really love Metroid Prime 1+2, but I never did get into 3. I played Super Metroid all the way up to Ridley’s lair, and then for some reason, stopped playing forever. And that’s the extent of my Metroid experience.

We haven’t heard shit about Other M for almost a solid year until now, and it’s looking like a day one purchase for me. The concept intrigued me when it was first unveiled, and after reading through the slew of impressions now floating around the interwebs, I’m all but sold. For once, it looks like Nintendo is doing something very, very different, and that alone is enough to interest me.

For your convenience, I’ve provided links to gushy, fanboyish impressions from IGN (in which Matt Casamassina literally quotes all the dialog from the demo) as well as slightly more objective impressions from Kotaku. Both, however, seem to love the game. Other M has been confirmed for a June 27 release date in North America. Can’t wait.

And who knows, maybe I’ll finish up Prime 3 for posterity’s sake before then.

mediaMario Galaxy 2 Demoed, Dated

Hey, this headline is the same as the last one… except it’s Mario Galaxy 2 instead of Metroid.

I suppose I could have mentioned the fact that the Nintendo Media Summit just took place. Hence these two announcements. I’ve really never had much interest in Mario games of any kind, but Galaxy 2 is looking pretty sweet. For a Mario game. And that’s my educated opinion, after watching the trailer and not reading these Kotaku impressions I’m about to link you to. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve also provided the newest trailer for the game below.

Oh, and uh… here’s the boxart.

UR MI AY...? Whut? "UR MR GAY" was so much more straightforward.

UR MI AY...? Whut? "UR MR GAY" was so much more straightforward.

ffxiiiFinal Fantasy XIII is an 18 GB Install on 360

That’s between all three discs, naturally. Ve3tro.com was nice enough to provide exact sizes for all three discs:

  • Disc 1: 5.9GB
  • Disc 2: 5.8GB
  • Disc 3: 6.6GB

18.3 GB in total. Of course, it’s entirely optional to install. And it’s worth noting that the PS3 version sizes in at about 38 GB, so it literally more than twice the size of its 360 counterpart. And it’s all on one disc, too! Oh, the beauty of Blu-Ray.

heavy-rain-1New Line Optioned Heavy Rain Film

And, in fact, it’s technically still an “option,” as it were. Waaay back in 2006/2007, New Line Cinema (y’know, the people who distributed the Lord of the Rings movies) filed a “Short Form Option” for Quantic Dreams’ Heavy Rain. All this really means is that they have the option to make one, should such a thing be feasible. It has no financial contracts therein. The filing was discovered by internet sleuth Superannuation.

So really, this is nothing at all to get worked up about, just an interesting bit of trivia. And also a reminder that development on Heavy Rain really did start a looong time ago… now that I think about it, I do seem to remember the game being shown off before the PS3 had even been released. It’s been a long time coming.

On that note, I apologize for the complete lack of Heavy Rain-related content on Riddlethos this week. It’s been a little difficult, getting back from 8 days in Toronto and readjusting to normalcy. But I promise to have something written and posted before this week ends. Look for it!

Final Fantasy XIII Doesn’t Look as Good on Xbox 360

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Sad but true. After utterly embarrassing themselves some weeks ago with “comparison” screens that were clearly all from the PS3 build, Square Enix has finally released some actual, high-res screens from the Xbox 360 version. And, as the title of this post indicates, there’s a pretty notable difference. Click on the images below to see the high-res versions.

Final Fantasy XIII - PS3

Final Fantasy XIII - 360

That’s one of the more noticeable comparisons. According to NeoGAF, the PS3 version is running at 1280 x 720, while the 360 version is being rendered at 1024 x 576. If you’re interested, Kotaku has all 18 of the recently-released 360 screens.

Obviously, this isn’t reason enough to rush out and buy a PS3 if you don’t have one already, but if you do, the PS3 version will probably be the way to go. I’ll be interested in seeing how the two versions compare in terms of performance. (Y’know, load times and framerate and all that stuff.)

A REAL game

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Do Big Sisters look like this?

Do Big Sisters look like this?

While Riddles is gushing over his “All in the Family” licensed game what with big daddies and little sisters and big sisters and whatnot, I came across a cheap used copy of Magna Carta 2. If you’re a fan or begrudging reader of Scatter Storming, you’ve probably noticed me talking briefly but excitedly about it. So I popped it in last night for some classic JRPG gaming before I fell asleep. And y’know, the animations are stiff, the voice acting is mediocre at best, and the script is worse, but unlike something like Blue Dragon that just feels vapid, I found myself getting really into Magna Carta 2. Maybe it was the traditional leveling up system or the unbelievably clichéd girly boy hero who has amnesia and runs into the sexy busty princess, but there was a traditional charm that moved me from rolling my eyes to caring about what happened next. The battle system is real time and has some really interesting mechanics, and after hours of Mass Effect 2, it’s refreshing to sift through some good ol’ Japanese menus. Yet, it’s nice to see even the most minor of influences from the Western RPG sub-genre. Sidequests give out experience and…well…okay, so that’s the only influence I’ve noticed. Still, I’ve always liked that idea and it’s taken too long for JRPGs to adopt it. So anyway, the game has already opened up quite a bit for a traditional RPG, so if I don’t buy a piano today, I’m excited to play more of it.

Anyway, I’ve been good about turning my eye away from Final Fantasy XIII media and impressions, but I skimmed this post from Ryan Clements of IGN, because it didn’t seem to be so much about spoilers, but rather about his level of excitement from the viewpoint of a Final Fantasy fan. Worth the read if you’re on the edge of your seat for the game like I am. Anyway, back to more of Riddles’ Bioshock 2 drivel after this, so I apologize for that.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

HLLfinal

What’s worse than February?

This recurring “news” column, that’s what. This barely informative, self-gratifying, irregularly updated EXCUSE for videogame journalism.

I feel sorry for anyone who’s about to read it, frankly. But hey, everyone’s gotta bite the bullet and eat a shit sandwich at some point in their lives. For the lot of you, that day is today.

So let’s get this over with.

lusiMegaphones Ahoy! Celebrates its 50th Podcast

A lot of you probably don’t need to be informed of this, but for those of you who don’t listen to Lusipurr.com’s Megaphones Ahoy! Podcast, there’s never been a better time to start. Both myself and Ethos guest star in this special, double-sized 50th podcast. I’m there for the whole thing, while Ethos’ airtime is limited to a 15-minute pre-recorded segment. Kinda stupid, actually, but so is he.

Click here to download the cast. Alternatively, you could get it on iTunes. Or you could click that big freaking banner to the left to go straight to the website itself. Choices, choices!

I like this guy already.

Mass Effect 2 Sells 2  Million

We have our first official videogame blockbuster of 2010, folks, and it’s Mass Effect 2. Here’s some PR spin for you:

Forty perfect scores. Two million units. One pop culture phenomenon. BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS), announced today that Mass Effect™ 2 has sold-in over two million units worldwide in its first week of release*. Lauded for its intense shooter gameplay and deep, hand-crafted story, Mass Effect 2 has earned an average review score of 96** — making it the second highest rated game of all time on the Xbox 360

I’ll admit to being a little surprised. I knew Mass Effect 2 would be big, but 2 million units in a week is huge.

Then again, I’ve never seen so many people at my GameStop for the game’s midnight premiere. Not even for Modern Warfare 2. (VG247)

Heavy RainHeavy Rain Requires 4.2 Gig Install, Lets You Make Origami

Quantic Dreams’ interactive movie, Heavy Rain, will size in at a whopping 4.2 gigabytes. 4.2 gigabytes that you’ll be required to install before booting the game up. But never fear, because Quantic Dream was reportedly nice enough to include a 12-step origami minigame that you can play while performing the install.

I’m not sure that a 12-step origami piece will be enough to occupy the average gamer for 4.2 GB worth of install time, but hey, the effort is appreciated.

I haven’t talked much about Heavy Rain on Riddlethos.com, but I’m actually really looking forward to the game. I’m somewhat familiar with Quantic Dream’s previous works, having played approximately half of Indigo Prophecy back in the day. I really liked it, too – which makes me wonder why I stopped playing it.

Not interested in Heavy Rain? This video might change your mind. It features the main (female) protagonist naked. No, really. There are boobs and everything. Damn nice ones, too, as far as digitally rendered stuff goes. (VG247)

ps3slimSony Hopes to Bring More PS1/PS2 Classics to PSN, Considering Charging for PSN

IGN recently interviewed Peter Dille, Sony’s senior vice president of marketing. He’s also the man “in charge” of Sony’s PSN service.

The interview is very, very good, and there are more than a few things to latch onto and discuss. Two things in particular caught my attention: the discussion of PS2 games coming to PSN, and the possibility that Sony may go the way of Xbox Live and charge for their online service.

When asked about PS1 and PS2 classics on PSN, Dille responded that they’re “working really hard” on making more of them available. From the interview:

By all means, I think people can look for more of that because once the third-parties see how this works, it’s just found money. There’s not a whole lot of work that has to go into it and once we can get it up on the network, it finds an audience pretty quickly.

“Found money” is an excellent way to put it. On all accounts, there is absolutely no reason for PS2 games (and more PS1 games) to be on PlayStation Network. Peter Dille said it himself. I suppose it’s a matter of getting third-party developers on board, but frankly, that shouldn’t be difficult for Sony to do. So. Where are the PS2 classics?

IGN asked quite a few questions about Sony’s PlayStation Network, and one of them was if Sony ever planned to charge for it. From the interview:

It’s been our philosophy not to charge for it from launch up until now, but Kaz recently went on the record as saying that’s something we’re looking at. I can confirm that as well. That’s something that we’re actively thinking about. What’s the best way to approach that if we were to do that? You know, no announcements at this point in time, but it’s something we’re thinking about.

And… ugh. I am not in support of this. I buy multiplatform games for the PS3 for a few reasons, and the main one is that if I ever feel like playing online, I can do it for free. I don’t play enough to be considered “hardcore,” and certainly not enough to justify a $50 Xbox Live subscription, but I enjoy the occasional round of, say, Modern Warfare 2.

If Sony does introduce some type of subscription model, I sincerely hope it only applies to “premium” content – like, say, exclusive demos or videos.

I know $50 a year isn’t much to ask, and I know that people have the idea that it “pays for the stability.” But playing games online is not and should not be considered “premium content.”

I encourage you to check out the full interview here.

QUICKIES:

Here’s a few rapid-fire headlines for you. Short, sweet, and not really worth writing about at length.

Final Fantasy XIII Will Ship on Three Discs – As long as one of them doesn’t sit in a paper sleeve. (I’m looking at you, Lost Odyssey)

Final Fantasy XIV Is Coming to Xbox 360 – According to VG247, this has been “obvious for a while,” but it came as a surprise to me.

And just because we have a bit of a Simpsons thing going this week, I figured I’d include this image from the latest episode:

simpsonsZii

I should watch that show more often.

Well. Between a long night at work and frequent South Park-induced distractions, this thing went up a bit later than I anticipated. But hey, at least I did it, right? If nothing else, it means you don’t have to suffer another one of Ethos’ pathetic attempts to match my news-condensing prose.

Which is almost as bad as February, but not quite. ‘Till next time!