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106  Media / General Games / Re: Muscle March on: December 07, 2009, 08:08:19 AM

Oh wow! I would never have thought that they would've had the guts to release it outside Japan!

It might be a way for Japanese developers and publishers to "test the waters."  Japan actually has a big library of games like this, but that style of humor is rarely enjoyed by America--or at least that's what their marketing departments say.  I think the more internationalized the world becomes, the more likely this style of humor is going to catch on in America.  Of course, no gramers are going to enjoy it other than for its shock value, but like what has been seen with the Wario Ware games, there's a market here for this, too.  I just don't know if NOW is the time.
107  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: AmI the only one who hate Final Fantasy xii? on: December 07, 2009, 08:00:05 AM
I've lived my whole life surrounded by rust belt collapses, factory shadows, and the ghosts of the Black Swamp. I don't care much for political dramas -- they don't speak to me. I want to see an RPG without grandiosity. Where the main character's only goal is to find a reason why his life's just a long sigh and a tired slouch. No heroes. No larger-than-life villains. Just rock quarries, refineries, junk yards, highway, and field.

You know. A game about raging at the sky when there's nothing left on earth worth getting mad at.

This sounds a lot like the movie Adaptation (absolutely stunning film, by the way--go see it now!)  As that movie points out through Robert McKee (if you want to learn screenwriting, read this guy!), you cannot have a movie/video game/book about nothing.  No one wants to read about how life is one long sigh, and about villains that are inconsequential.  Okay, a few do, but this is not a recipe for success.  Huge things happen all the time, and that's what catches people's attention.  If people wanted to read about or watch someone go through the everyday 9 to 5 bs, then they wouldn't go out to see a movie, buy a book, or play a game--they'd live it.  Forgive me if my tone is harsh here, I'm sort of stealing from McKee's character in Adaptation.  :)

However, perhaps you mean something a little more rooted in reality, like Earthbound.  Of course, this is NOT that close to reality, but the setting is very much like our own, at least in comparison to the Final Fantasy's and Neverwinter Nights' of the RPG world.  This works, but, again, a fair amount of exaggeration is necessary.

I do sympathize with you, though!  A year ago, I wrote up some pretty extensive notes about an RPG I would design if I ever broke into the industry, completely about truck drivers vying to save the world from oppressive scientists and "hunters."  I did this for the very reasons you stated--writing from a meager protagonist's standpoint is appealing.  Though, as you might expect, the protagonist and his troupe do have "skills."  Which raises the question:  If it's an RPG about someone who isn't that special, and the villains aren't that grand, how would gameplay work?  Where are the skills coming from?  Does a salaryworker with the ability to call forth huge lightning bolts somehow stay modest in society's view?  Unless this is the norm.

Oh, and a brief bio in the instruction booklet about how a 16 year old is a military cadet that somehow gets a chance to show that he is amazingly skilled by his CO doesn't count.

[A short note to dalucifer0]:  The game doesn't actually have AI.  It's basically pre-determined commands per situation.  It's completely in your control, with zero guesswork on the "AI's" part.  I don't know if you've played, but an example would be, "When an ally's HP goes below 50%, use cure."
108  Media / General Games / Re: Ridiculous Littlebigplanet level on: December 07, 2009, 07:45:02 AM
Is it possible to put a playthrough of this level up on YouTube?  I'm intrigued.
109  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: AmI the only one who hate Final Fantasy xii? on: December 07, 2009, 02:29:08 AM
Holy cow, this thread caught fire.  Gone for a day and I miss this?

Throwing my two cents into the now-rusty fountain:

Sentiments are very similar to Ramza's.  I had no problem PLAYING the game, and found some of the boss fights absolutely intense.  I've had some of my best gameplay experiences as far as pure adrenaline goes here.  However, the story is where the game gets hit hard.

In case anyone's surprised after reading this far, SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS.

All of the relationships felt horribly artificial, and I did not connect with anyone, let alone the central protagonist.  I had no idea where I was in the game at any time.  In fact, I didn't even know the final dungeon WAS the final dungeon, or even the last scene before the final boss was an indication of the final boss coming.  I'm not saying these things should follow a formula, but good writing places you in the climax very clearly, and, as far as I'm concerned, this game had no climax.  I thought it might have more to do with the gods that the game made such a big deal out of, instead of just this rogue Venat.

And the ending.  Oh god, the ending.  Was not even sure it was the ending.  Guessed the whole way through, until we were made to believe that Balthier and Fran died.  And let me tell you, of all the FF romances, FFVIII included, this romance felt the most forced.  I'm glad they didn't try anything with Vaan, but I felt like Balthier and Fran coulda been fleshed out more.  Perhaps it was the lengthy amounts of gameplay in between story bits, or just the bounty system itself getting in my way, personally, but all of the relationships seemed to have very thin threads connecting them.

These are my central complaints in a nutshell, but one thing must be kept in mind:  Are we judging the game as a game independent of the series, or are we holding it up to the standard of all Final Fantasy's?  I'm thinking of writing an article about this someday, because it's important to consider HOW we're judging the games we play, and from what angle.  I think most of the people here who responded quite positively to the game are likely judging it from the grander scope--did I have fun?  Was the story interesting in its own right?  While people who are not so pleased with the storyline expected the Final Fantasy brand name to be respected.  I find that if I think of the game in this sense, and compare it to much of what I see on the market, it's still above average.  Takes some effort to zoom out and figure out from which direction you're seeing things.
110  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Youtube on: December 07, 2009, 01:59:49 AM

This just makes me sad for probably every conceivable reason.  Feels similar to those "breakdown" videos where a gamer goes nuts after not being able to pass Through the Fire and Flames.
111  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Sentinel of the Starry Skies / Dragon Quest IX title trademarked on: December 04, 2009, 05:50:00 AM
Yay... localization of the 9th installment I feel has sucked since day 1.

People will flame me for that; the the general progression (or lack thereof) to the game's mechanics haven't left a good warm-n-fuzzy old skool vibe.  
While I can understand why some people love it, I can't understand the craze for it that can make it sell millions of copies.

They like their comfort food. The Japanese gaming companies have fallen significantly behind in terms of innovation in recent years.

Culturally speaking, this is no surprise.  Like you said, comfort food.  The status quo is really interesting.  I think this became especially apparent when everyone absolutely flipped out over the fresh The World Ends With You.  We realized--hey, wait, this is actually new!  And it forced us to reflect on how everything else wasn't.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though.  Innovation's been the big buzz word for years now, but we forget how fun the "same old thing" can be.  Dragon Quest offers no surprises--you know what you're getting, and you're either really, really happy about that, or you just don't buy it.  No harm done.  In fact, I think many people were worried that the simple merging of Squaresoft and Enix was going to change Dragon Quest VIII.  Man, could you imagine JRPGs with BioWare-esque dialogue choices?  DQ has tried this since game one, but that's always been a big flopperoo.

I would not expect any dramatic changes in the 9th installment.

Oh, and, a name's a name, as far as I'm concerned.  To be honest, "sentinel" makes me think of Warcraft III.
112  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Travel on: December 03, 2009, 07:45:15 PM
Talk to strangers.  Don't be shy.
113  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Sentinel of the Starry Skies / Dragon Quest IX title trademarked on: December 03, 2009, 04:50:25 PM
I think after DQVIII's success (insane graphics are good for something!) we can expect Dragon Quest games to pick up here in the States.
114  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Sentinel of the Starry Skies / Dragon Quest IX title trademarked on: December 03, 2009, 02:15:58 PM
Ah, the sincerest form of excitement--when small little updates like this get you all energeticified and giddy.

VI or IX, makes no difference to me.  I want it all.  Gimme Taloon's Quest!
115  Media / General Games / Re: Muscle March on: December 02, 2009, 05:28:02 PM
I must have this.

Really, though, I don't think an American audience will appreciate this game.  That's why we don't get a lot of the more interesting, horrible games from Japan.
116  Media / General Games / Re: EA announces the next Medal of Honor will take place in present-day Afghanistan on: December 02, 2009, 03:12:19 PM
Any idea how many shades of brown it'll have?
117  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Fuck Dell on: December 02, 2009, 01:46:52 AM
newegg.com is great for piecing together your own PC.  Tons of ridiculous deals there constantly.  Just get a tech-savvy friend.  Don't have to touch anything with commercial markups, save a small fortune.  Top of the line PCs for $800 (monitor included).  Unless, of course, you're buying something else that can't be as easily pieced together.
118  Media / Brush and Quill / Order of the Stick books on: November 30, 2009, 12:42:07 PM
Howdy, folks.  Hope I'm welcome here!  First substantive post here in the community, and I'll be using it to request help (what a guy!)

I'm looking to buy my brother a Christmas present or two, and since we're both pretty big fans of OotS, I thought he might enjoy some of the backstory books offered there.  I'm looking at Start of Darkness and On the Origins of PCs, specifically.  Anyone read these who can comment on their worth?  Seems like a solid deal, and I've heard some good things on the forums over on giantitp.com, but I thought I'd get more candid responses here.

Also, just for shits and giggles, can anyone comment on the other books offered there, or even the board game?  All look good, but I'm not too keen on buying books of the comics rehashed if I can just view them online.

Thanks in advance!
119  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: The Future of Aion - MUST SEE on: November 24, 2009, 09:45:53 PM
Was that a lollipop on the house?
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