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Malik (2/5/07)  

TI wish I had the time for a full posting today, but it's one hell of a possibly good day. Too much to do and far too little time to spend enjoying it all.

I will say that Okami has been laid to rest. It was a great journey (the best damned game I've played in a few years), and it will be missed. If there is any game that could give a jaded gamer like me faith that games are not just being forced into endless repetition and franchises/sequels, this is the game. It's different, fun, and has a visual style that shows (like Katamari did) that good graphics don't have to be a technological marvel.

Plus, Okami clocked in a mighty 45 hours, and that was without me finishing every possible side quest. If I wanted to finish it all, that would be an easy additional 10-15 hours. Not bad for a Zelda styled game...

...and yes, I did go there, because Zelda (OoT to be precise) influenced this style of game. It's true and it's a fact. GTA influenced games like Crackdown, Saint's Row, and The Getaway. Zelda influenced Okami. The one difference is that, in the end, no matter how much this Zelda fanatic doesn't want to say it, Okami did it all so much better than Link could ever do it in his green tights of doom.

Anyway, next on my menu is to make a review of Okami (better late than never and the most deserving game I know of for a solid review) and to start some Rogue Galaxy this evening.


Malik (2/6/07)  

I suppose there are times when having too little time could be a good sign. When you have multiple job interviews and houses to look it (for buying, that is), things can be pretty good. Although, there's nothing like having a slow and lazy day to really enjoy life. I guess those days, however, are behind me for the next week or so.

I did get a chance to start a game of Rogue Galaxy last night. I'm not too sure what to think of this game. On one hand, it's pretty. Really pretty. Beyond what Dark Cloud 2 did and in the same vein of style. I guess that's natural since Level 5 is the group behind RG (and DC1&2).

It's also easy to see their style in more than the visuals. The game uses a main character with the same general rules of DC2. You have a gun in one hand and a sword in the other. So, you have the same general abilities in the same high speed battle sequences that you'd find in DC2. I think the buttons are even mapped the same. You also have battles that take place in the actual game environments, and many other common features of DC2.

The main places the game diverges from the DC2 style is in the fact that the game uses multiple team members for the action based combat. So far it's working nicely, but I'm almost afraid to see the Star Ocean 3 effect come into play. That's when you have one smart party member (the one you control) and several stupid ones who don't understand basic tactics. I'm already seeing that, but I'm still at the start of the game where my extra party member is level 20 (while I started at 1), so he can take the beatings that his stupidity brings out of our foes. Hopefully, things don't get worse, since the difficulty of this game is a bit more towards that unforgiving side.

Also, this game uses a different theme/setting than DC2. Instead of the whole "out to rebuild society" feel, this one is a definite Star Wars inspired game. There are many planets and you join up with space pirates. There's also an evil government that has imprisoned certain planets. Feel free to draw your own parallels since they are damned easy to find.

Anyway, I wish I could say more, but I simply don't have much time right now. Life is coming at me pretty fast, and all I can really do is hold on and enjoy this matter where it takes me, or how many pedestrians it runs down in the process.


Malik (2/7/07)  

Okami is picking up nominations for awards at the Game Developers Conference. I mention this for one main reason; I just finished the game and I think there is no game more deserving in recent years of major awards than Okami. The last game I played that gave me such a thrill was Beyond Good and Evil (another ignored and neglected game that deserved so much more). For Okami to even get some nominations, especially after the who ignoring of Capcom than AIAS gave them last month, is like seeing justice being served up in a big frothy mug of goodness.

I wish I could say that I spent last night playing some Rogue Galaxy. The game deserves some love and affection from me right about now. Instead, I spent the night looking at one hell of a nice prospect for my house hunt. Combine that with my nice interviews this week for my job hunt and it feels like life is finally falling into place.

It's hectic and chaotic for me right now, but it's a good type of chaos. It's like the Chaos at the end of Final Fantasy 1. It's a bitch getting through, and you don't want to fail, since there are no save spots leading up to this point. However, once you beat Chaos, you have a great sense of fulfillment and you feel like this was a journey worth the battles...and level grinding. If only I had a party of four, then I'd have more than a black wizard and a white wizard (with Velveeta obviously being the white wiz to my black wiz). However, I'm going about this the hard way. At least we may soon be picking up a ninja (seems most appropriate class to name) to help rent out a space couple of rooms from the Temple of Time.

What the hell am I talking about and how did I get into that type of talk? Maybe it's moving back into my old neighborhood, where I first learned the joys of Final Fantasy, that has me waxing nostalgic. Doesn't matter. It's fun to get in a happy enough of mood to go insane for all the right reasons for once.

Anyway, if I learned anything from all of this it's a simple lesson; maybe I should go back and play through the original Final Fantasy again when I'm done with Rogue Galaxy. Maybe that's why I'm drawing parallels between life and FF. If not, then my insanity is probably going to make me play through it again sometime soon anyway. If only Nintendo would get some Square games, particularly FF1-6 and Chrono Trigger on the Wii Virtual Console, I would be a happy camper. Especially since one prospective ninja did get us a 2000 point card for the Wii for Christmas. I just now need something to use this point card on, and some old school RPGs would be a great way to use the points. Maybe even get some Enix titles (Soul Blazer and Dragon Warrior 1-4 come to mind) and the like.

Anyway, the final lesson for today, besides how old games are meant to be replayed with time, is that I am busy as hell right now. I am determined to keep posting, but I may have to go a little slower and less deep for the next week or so. Needless to say, I'll still be here to post and to trim the message boards of the plague of spammers...just not as much so as a week or two ago.


Malik (2/8/07)  

No post yesterday since I was looking at a house that we may want to call home. At least, despite how much time went into things yesterday, a lot of it was going into signing documents and such as we made an offer. Nothing like soon possibly writing a check that more than I was making in a single year a few years back to get the blood...well, I'd say burning, but it's not quite that feeling.

On the bright side, I had time yesterday to get this Okami review edited and finished. It may be a game that's been out for a while, but it's been ignored by too many potential fans (especially since Zelda sold more and it's a perfect Zelda companion game), and I only finished Okami last week. So check out the review and hopefully buy this game if you haven't yet. Show Clover some love and hope they show some love back to us gamers with a follow up game.

On a different note, I have to say I'm now getting a bit concerned about Guitar Hero as a franchise. First it was PS2 exclusive, but a 360 version is on it's way. That's fine since the prospect of downloadable content is a great thing with this type of game. However, once Harmonix was ousted from the developing of future GH games (being replaced by the so-so Neversoft), things started to look weird. Then it was announced that GH games would flood the market, in the for of an 80's game, trademarks of Guitar Villain, Drum Hero, Drum Villain, and a dozen potential other spin-offs.

Now the game is coming to the Wii it looks like. The DS may also be getting some GH (don't even ask me how I feel about playing GH on a stylus and touch screen). This over proliferation leaves me thinking one thing; the other times I have seen games overly saturate a market it was usually the time when these game franchises turned to crap.

Look at Tony Hawk, Burnout, Madden, any other EA title, almost any Ubisoft title, or any Sega title (especially Sonic). These game franchises all hit the mainstream with a vengence, and they also suffered from the obvious side effects of becoming cash cows for their publishers. While money came in from gamers, the quality did not come out from the developers. The games grew stale and stagnant, and while people continued to pay the price of admission, the main feature was not one worth sticking around for. I know I've had more fun with THPS 1-4 than I'd ever have with any new Tony Hawk game. I've had more fun with Sonic when it was a Sega console exclusive than I could have with this multiple platform bullshit that we now dread to see Sega releasing.

While it's not set in stone that GH will suffer the same fate, there are a few alarms that go off in my head about this. The first is what Neversoft has done and what they may do to GH. They can't seem to handle big name games, and once Tony Hawk went big name (well, "really big name"), it suffered. Also, it just seems that the larger a game grows, and the more platforms it hits, the more that is left out (Madden anyone?). I'd rather see GH hit one console, even if it's not one of them I own (PS3), if it meant a better assurance of quality.

I guess time will tell what happens. I just hope we're seeing the rise of GH, and not the fall.


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