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2626  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Stella Deus ~ Gates of Eternity on: October 28, 2006, 06:09:46 PM
Two things:


The story's a little interesting. Taking a simple philosophy such as apathy towards the destruction of the world, and making it punishable by death? Damn, that's capital punishment for being emo! Those, of course, are the villains. The cute little emos are the good guys!

Yeah, I wouldn't call it an emo religion. Emo kids would cry about the end of the world. These people are ascetics and stoics...they wait for the end because they understand that's the way it's meant to be. Fatalist, yes. Emo? nah.

2) The coolest thing about the game is the ability to essentially get *everyone* on your team, even all the villains. The thing is, it's crazy hard to achieve, you have to do *everything* perfectly throughout the game with dialogues and cutscenes and stuff. There are walkthroughs for it.

There are "ultimate weapons" for each major character, and again, this includes the villains if you can get them on your team. It's totally excellent if you do this. :)

2627  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 27, 2006, 02:02:36 AM
Thread resurrection!

First, Hidoshi, good points all around.

Second, I wanted to let the skeptics know that after posting my review, I've now received five *lengthy* emails from readers who all agree with what I had to say, especially in regards to the storyline.

Here's a little selection from one:


I'm a gamer (into RPGs mostly) and I gotta say i was extremely happy about the review you wrote at RPGfan. The first review posted a month or two ago, which got an 89% - i wasnt really a fan of that, especially since the review mentioned that the story aint special. After beating the game myself, i must say that ive never found myself agreeing with a reviewer on almost every level of his/her review - especially when u mentioned the story. Dude, like you, i actually enjoyed episode II a good lot, and kept thinking about what Episode III would bring to the story before its release. Reading your review felt like reading my own thoughts for the game, and i too found the story to be one of the best ive ever heard, if not the best, in my life. Kudos to a wonderful review (best review ive read, definitely) and im really glad u liked it Patrick!

This confirms my suspicion that, even if the fanbase is small, the fanbase is definitely die-hard loving the conclusion to the Xenosaga series. As well they should. Now that are friend Bogatyr is banned (at least temporarily), he can't continue to tell me that I'm wrong to call a videogame "art." So I'll sit back and continue to argue that Xenosaga is a work of art that transcends traditional categories by blending the works of old and gracefully adding many new things, and I'll also continue to say it's the best RPG of 2006, lest something should change my mind (it's doubtful).

2628  The Rest / General Discussions / Battle of the New Atheism on: October 25, 2006, 11:38:13 PM
Or it could be because you don't hear the words "thousands dead" in regards to almost any religion on Earth besides those three.

Hinduism's led to some recent killings, but I suspect it's more social/political than actually religious.

2629  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / MOMO in Xenosaga 3 reviews. on: October 25, 2006, 11:24:44 PM
you're right. imdb confirms it. :(

I took my info on the VA thing from what the earlier editor says. I feel ashamed, but I am glad you caught this. I'll go make edits in both reviews now. :)

2630  The Rest / General Discussions / 1up feature: Curse of the Sequels on: October 25, 2006, 12:06:52 PM
Another shitty sequel is Alundra 2. Do I even need to explain this one?

Now THERE's a bad sequel. Good Lord, why was Alundra 2 even made?

2631  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Anyone playing Baten Kaitos Origins? on: October 25, 2006, 01:31:47 AM
Anyone playing Baten Kaitos Origins?

...I am. I'm loving it, and I'm hitting myself on the head for not playing the first one.

I just wish the subtitle hadn't been taken away. They released the first one with the lengthy subtitle "Eternal Wings and the Endless Ocean", so I would've liked to see the "First Wings and the Heirs of God" subtitle stick with this game as well.

Anyway, the card battle system is apparently quite different from the first. It's still challenging, and still meaning LONG battles. But yeah...I think it's fantastic. Expect a review from me shortly.

Anyone else giving it a try?

2632  The Rest / General Discussions / Battle of the New Atheism on: October 25, 2006, 01:28:33 AM
I have little to say in reply that wouldn't start a flame war...

So I'll just say this.

Anyone on the board agree with Mr. Dawkins?

2633  The Rest / General Discussions / 1up feature: Curse of the Sequels on: October 24, 2006, 04:15:54 PM
The only games on the list that belonged there were:

PoP: Warrior Within
Deus Ex: Invisible War (maybe...I didn't like the first much either)

That's about it.

The logic behind the arguments is backwards. It wasn't the first game plus some add-ons, but rather a new deal...whoops!

And how "FFVIII" is even a direct sequel to FFVII is beyond me. Here's something that SHOULD have been on the list: Dirge of Cerberus. :P

Finally, IMO, MGS2 killed MGS1, especially in terms of story. Crazy crazy crap.

2634  The Rest / General Discussions / Confusion on: October 20, 2006, 11:30:20 PM
What John says is true. For your source:


They were very up-front with us in saying they had no intention of bringing it to the U.S.

And if THEY don't plan on bringing it, I doubt anyone else will. I doubt they'd be allowed to if they wanted to anyway.

I'm told it's a mediocre game anyway, so just be glad we're getting GU (which looks MUCH better).

2635  The Rest / General Discussions / Most profound english paper evar (bitchez) on: October 19, 2006, 09:02:07 PM
Last citation was tubgirl.

This guy hated the greeks. Anal sex this, anal lube that.

I wonder if it is 4chan'ed or real...

2636  The Rest / General Discussions / Wii pre-orders start tomorrow! on: October 13, 2006, 03:06:47 PM
My little bro and his friends ran all around the suburbs of Philadelphia today trying to preorder two Wiis. They finally got two at the King of Prussia mall...the last place they expected copies to still be around.

Yeah, preorders are fun!

2637  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 13, 2006, 02:13:44 PM
It would all be so simple, if we just could agree that Xenosaga Episode III is a game, nothing more, nothing less. I did not bother to read the last few pages of this thread in their entity, but I'm wondering, why you just can't let Pat (Ramza) enjoy the game.

Well I think the biggest problem may be that I've gone and called the game "art"...that it is more than "just a game," because it's *that* good and very different from what I'm used to in a game.

So...I think that's why people are arguing with me. It's possible that I'm in the wrong, but so far I still think I could have a valid point here. :)


PS - sorry for the word "twat"...I usually don't get that upset...it's just that I think it's very important that we don't think other people can't "get" us because they're different. I think, in their writing, it's what they choose to display as what gets us. They do it to be interesting, and the fact that they generally don't allow God to be a *good* sentient being...I dunno...but I guess that's a good point (though Romancing SaGa has God as good and sentient! Great conversation you can have with him at the end of the game!).
2638  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 13, 2006, 02:15:35 AM
It'll get too confusing if I continue the trend of responding to each and every statement with a counter. Though it's more thorough, we'll both end up getting lost. Though, Bogatyr, I do appreciate you doing so!

I'll just make a few quick statements, mostly in defense of myself:

Exactly. All about Xenosaga is average. That hardly accounts for such marvelous experience as you implied it was.

Actually, reading your post now, which is far more restrained then the previous ones, I really don't know why you made such a deal about the game. Yourself seem to agree everything smells average and shallow in this game.

Just because something is deep - which Xenosaga isn't, and youself said in the beginning of your post that it is shallow, which confuses me now - it doesn't mean it has to be serious all the time

You've definitely misunderstood me on this point (inference/implication problems). I said that the characters had everyday-style conversations and conflicts (though they're in these inflated fictional settings), and I admitted that some of them may be mediocre. Now, you claim that I've done a 180 and gone from calling Xenosaga an amazing work of art and actually arguing that it is "average" and "shallow." The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

My love for the series comes primarily from its surprising contrasts in who finds humanity worthwhile and who likes to use humanity as toys. Speaking of!!!!

You example of a "Nietszchean" villain is Voldemort?! I take HP is another deep and dense story? You got to be kidding me?! Do you think just because someone thinks along these line: "There are those too weak to attain power, and those who are willing to make sacrifices to hold it" he is an übber Nietszchean character? You think his philosophy was that shallow? You think it all comes down to "there is no good or evil, so everything is allowed, as long as you are willing to do what you must"? Dude, there are all kinds of lowlife, small-time criminals out there who think exactly the same, and they are not in the least Nietszchean".

When I call Voldemort a Nietszchean Villain, I do not mean to say that Voldemort thinks and acts like Nietszche. That's pure nonsense, and that is certainly not what I meant. From the bit of lit. crit. that I've come around, when people talk about "Nietszchean Villains" or "Orwellian Dictators," they're refering to characters from stories written by those authors.

Nietszche himself argues, I believe in his essays Der Wille Zur Macht and/or Jenseits Von Gut und Boese, that a mankind freed from the shackles of religion will produce two generic kinds of people. Guess what those two were? "Those with power, and those too weak to grasp it." Voldemort says this, and hence is a Nietszchean villain. That doesn't mean I think Harry Potter is some immaculate work of art--there's plenty of interesting stuff in it, though I am worried about how it will end (endings mean A LOT in my mind)...but yeah, HP to me is not nearly on the level of depth as Xenosaga.

So do you get my point here? I wasn't even praising the HP series, I was just pointing out that "pop culture" references back to classic statements can help make "pop culture" ... well ... art!

You are right that there are all sorts of lowlife criminals who thought the same way Voldemort did. Nietszche saw that and wrote about it. It's just a part of his writing...not who Nietszche himself was. I know that, you know that, we don't need to argue that.

Dude, to someone to sympathize with Allen, he needs to be a complete and total loser.

Look a-fricking-round. That's the world we live in. I worry that, indeed, you *are* too high and mighty to see the plight of the common man. There are lots of "total loser" guys out there, agreed? And I bet a few of them played this game (don't take the easy jab at me: I'm happily married with a son on the way).

Dude, you said this game had an AMAZING plot, so deep and complex that some "morons" probably couldn't get it and trashed it. I expect a little more other than archetypes - the ones most recurrent even - from such a game.

You should be pleased to know that you're probably fairly more cultured than the writers and cast of the TV show XPlay. I wasn't calling you a moron, as we've established. :)

And Xenosaga certainly does more than dish out archetypes. For starters, it blends and intertwines them in a way that is beautiful in its own way. You seem to have this extreme dislike for modern Japanese pop culture, as though "older" equals "better." It is one more culture, and its blending with these older themes not only make it more palattable to today's audience, but also make a new perspective for us to consider the cultures and religions of the past (and present...not saying any religions are *dead* per se).

Xenosaga, along with the archetypes and their blending, ALSO makes solid use of emerging scientific concepts: ones that go well beyond "popular science." With the dual blessing/curse looming upon us that is genetic engineering, the talk of the intrinsic worth of cloned individuals is another topic WORTH considering. What are *these* creatures worth to us? To God? The novels of the past can't do much to touch on that (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein goes into it a bit, since man creates its own creation there...)...so we needed something for now. I'm sure others have said plenty, but I was startled to see the subject treated so well in the game.

Yes, you can ascribe meaning to all sorts of things, but meanings are dished out in layers of complexity, no doubt about that. So far, games - JRPGs are no exception, quite the opposite - have been in the lowest layers.

A true elitist you are. Though plenty of JRPGs *are* on the lower (dangerous to use superlatives here) layers, I don't think Xenosaga is, for the reasons I've tried to convey. At the end, I think I'm missing it. There was a feeling, an inkling, a premonition, that there is something very "right" about this story. When you beat it, tell me if you share this inkling. It's so hard to describe, I'm probably incapable of doing it without mapping out all my thoughts ahead of time. To me, that suggests the meanings here ARE dished out in layers of complexity, and the layers stack medium-to-high with Xenosaga.

Haha. Ethnocentric little twat? Aren't we getting angry?

Yup. I got angry. Unfortunately, reading the rest of the paragraph, I didn't get much happier...

Well, if Takahashi is any indication, I don't think they can.
Anthropology course? Well, if I wanted to write a book about the theme I surely would; just like this Takahashi fellow should had taken some classes on western religion and philosophy so he would not make a total fool and pretentious "twat" out of himself.
And I am saying some BASIC knowledge, because the intrincacies of one's culture - as you call it - can't be understanded by an alien after a few introduction lessons. I dare say, it can't never be comprehended, unless you spend some long years living with this people to truly know it "wholly".
In his case, and that is truly unfortunate, he lacked even the most basic knowledge, which can be enough to fool some Japaneses who know nothing about it, but when the game reach our shores, it's hard to keep the farce.

No, no, and more no. The fullest, most deep understanding of a culture is certainly only held by those native to it...partially because they are what DEFINE it (I am with the school of, say, Clifford Geertz on the definition of culture). However, even the "armchair anthropologist" who gets his knowledge from books and discussions can pick up plenty of basic knowledge and wield it in a way that is fitting to foreign cultures.

My suspicion (I could be wrong) is that you don't like the Judeo-Christian symbolism particularly because it does stray from an authentic, orthodox understanding. I also suspect that Takahashi was and is well-versed in the now-dead (or renewed in a masked guise) GNOSTIC understanding of Christianity. The third episode, certainly, would assert this. As for Takahashi reading the DaVinci Code, I'd remind you that Takahashi had this whole thing planned out before the book was published.

The man knows absolutely NOTHING about my religion and my culture - maybe he thinks so inside his head.
I could sweep the floor with him. I would gain nothing discussing with him for any ammount of time.

What Takahashi doesn't know is merely your perspective on your religion and culture. What he DOES know is factual history and plenty of literature on the subject. That goes a very long way, whether you'd like it to or not.

I think the difference between us is that you believe Voldemort is the utmost Nietszchean villain, and I take this for the BS this is.

Contribute to the betterment of humanity? You are on drugs dude.

I didn't call Voldemort the utmost Nietszchean Villain, quit putting words into my mouth. As for contributing to the betterment of humanity, I cite an oft-quoted motto from Episode III: A single human thought can change the course of history. Unless you're a fatalist, it's probably a worthwhile statement. As for being on drugs? Yeah, I'm on happy-pills (Paxil, Xanax, whatnot) because I had a nervous breakdown near the end of college. I hated taking them because I thought it made me weak-willed. And maybe I am weak-willed, and maybe I only think this game's amazing because I have some glossy sugar-coated perspective of the world now. But I'd LIKE to think I find Xenosaga to be an amazing game because, despite its "awkward" bend of JPop Culture and religion/philosophy, it has a strong truthful statement about the nature of humanity and the universe that many other stories don't even dare to tackle. I don't think it's pretentious: I simply think it is good.

Well, besides the obvious fallacious nature of your "point", let me assure you why games won't ever be pieces of art, in the manner of the ones mentioned above: It is a huge industry, concerned solely about making money. First aim is to make money, second - far behind - is to pass on a message, maybe, if "we are really inspired to do so". None of the great geniuses had making money as their priority, meaning their pieces was 100% genuine. The message was the one and only aim.
Ain't that ironic that the game we are discussing is a winner example for my point? What happened between the development of the first and the second game? In fighting, money vs creativity. Do I need to say how it all ended, and who had the last word on it?

You're right, it's an industry, and it is a SHAME that money was the last word on how this series played out. But the man behind it all, Tetsuya Takahashi, was clearly *not* interested in the money, but rather his story-telling. I think that may be why I find so much more in Xenosaga than I do in most RPGs.

So, leave your illusions aside and wake up to reality.

No. I refuse. Your reality sucks because it doesn't give anyone a chance to find the good in what may be quickly tossed aside as garbage.

So you need to offer me more to convince me games are as much art as literature is. Otherwise, you just have a half assed sophism, which can be easily twisted to prove many other things.

Okay, fine. How about this: I don't think the content (and, more importantly, the meta-message) of Xenosaga is made to simply construe a point that seems veracious but is ACTUALLY just twisted crap. This isn't propaganda, nor is it a persuasive sophist speech. Finish the series and see what I mean. As an Orthodox Christian, you'll likely agree that the nature of the entire story is "true" within your worldview.

This, of course, is only what makes it capable of impacting how others think...and helping them see things "rightly" may only be one such bonus. I still argue that if literature is a form of art, than videogames, or at least their scripts, may be added to the ranks as "art" for the same reasons.

Books basically. Or my Churchs theology. Those are my sources. You want me to list all of them? I mostly read Russian literature, but I am not all that much ignorant on western classics either. That should give you a fair idea.

It certainly does. I have plenty of in-person and online-only acquaintances who are Orthodox Christians. Nearly all of them show your level of intelligence, but you are the first to be so keen on stubbornly arguing against the things I've had to say. Dare I say it...I respect that about you a lot.

Other than the standard Dostoyevsky that's required reading in many colleges today, I haven't read much Russian Lit. Orthodox Christian theology, on the other hand, is something I love, though I still struggle to understand it compared to any other sect of Christianity. I've found myself strongly attracted to Catholicism, though I remain Evangelical Protestant.


Well, I screwed up. I ended up responding to each one of your statements (pretty much), though I said I planned not to. Looks like it's egg on my face now.

With all this writing and thinking, I'd like to see you submit a reader review (or heck, apply to staff if you like talking about videogames a lot) to counter my Xenosaga III review (which will be up any day now). You can pull me off my high horse and expose the Xenosaga series for the "pretentious" show it really is. Go ahead, do it. Most people will probably agree with you anyway. I still stand by my claims, and my extremely high scores I gave it.

2639  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Completed RPGs of 2006 on: October 12, 2006, 01:39:52 PM
For anyone who's finished Enchanted Arms: is it a game worth buying? I haven't played a decent RPG in a long time, and I'm looking for a new 360 game.


I gave it an 84%.

I think it's exactly what you're looking for! A "decent RPG" and a "new 360 game." The game took me about 45 hours to complete, and that was with minimal subquest completion. The developer, From Software, has a track record of making totally awful RPGs, so this game was a big surprise to me.

Everyone who bashed the game did so because it didn't do anything revolutionary. Big whoop. It's a standard RPG.

Keep in mind that most launch titles or early-console-life RPGs have absolutely sucked in the past. Enchanted Arms is the first Japanese RPG for the 360 (except FFXI, which is a port), and it's a great game. Definitely give it a go.

As for the topic itself, here's what I've completed in '06 to date:

Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny (PS2)
Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories (PS2)
Enchanted Arms (360)
Final Fantasy XI (main plot) (PC)
Final Fantasy XI: Chains of Promathia (PC)
Kingdom Hearts II (PS2)
LostMagic (DS)
Shadow Hearts: From the New World (PS2)
SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars (PC)
Steambot Chronicles (PS2)
Stella Deus (PS2)
Tao's Adventure: Curse of the Demon Seal (DS)
Xenosaga III: Also Sprach Zarathustra (PS2)
2640  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Baten Kaitos Origins on: October 12, 2006, 02:37:03 AM

funny that I just spent a whole hour arguing with you about the merits of one MonolithSoft-developed title, but we're both going to (hopefully) be fully enjoying another one.

Within the first hour already, the plot looks to be very fast-paced and exciting. Hopefully it doesn't have the almost mandatory slooooooooooow middle section.

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