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349634 Posts in 14261 Topics by 2245 Members
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6106  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Final Fantasy XII on: January 13, 2007, 11:33:19 AM
I just started FF12 last night.  I'm not far into it at all.  I pretty much spent the first 3 hours just loitering around Rabanastre marvelling at its awesomeness before deciding to anything meaningful.  Now I finally decided to pay old Dalan a visit so I can crash a party.  I really don't want to leave Rabanastre because it's a desert out there and I loathe RPG deserts.  If other towns are as awesome as Rabanastre, I'll be in hog heaven.  Rabanastre's already trying to get a spot in my top 3 RPG towns/cities (which are currently Sumaru City, Solaris, and Esthar.)  

It's been years since I've played an FF game.  The last FF game I played to completion was FF9.  Yeah, that's how long it's been.  

So far my impressions are positive.  I love the music and voice acting.  Vaan was very well cast.  Penelo's actress delivers her lines flawlessly.  The only hiccup is that ethnic characters never really seem sure what accent they should be using.  I'm normally not a fan of Sakimoto's music, but the music is awesome in the game so far.  

The visuals are gorgeous.  I quite like the character designs; much softer than the Nomura stuff with far less goofball junk on the outfits.  Yeah, Vaan wears a tiny tank and all, but that's how I'd expect a kid in a desert town to dress.  

And the story?  I can definitely tell it's a Yasumi Matsuno tale.  It's like Tactics Ogre in that the pacing is quite deliberate and there's tons of layers and complexity.  The tight political intrigue surrounding the Archadian Empire, the conquering of Dalmasca, and what Lord Vayne's going to do next really has me hooked.  And I like that while others are willing to just accept life as it is, Vaan isn't satisfied and his actions are a vehicle to find out the hidden truth that nobody wants to tell.  

The battle system takes some getting used to, but fighting solo is not fun.  I can't wait till Vaan gets a party.  I'm glad S-E decided to go back to the ATB for FF13, because the battles here remind me of Contact's battle system and that was not the most intuitive battle system for me.  Though for MMORPGers or PC RPGers, it's probably more intuitive.  I do not know how some of you can play this game with battles in Active mode without dying every 3 seconds.  If it weren't for Wait mode, I'd be so overwhelmed.  

And one thing that others find annoying but I find interesting is that the interface forces me to think differently than I'm used to in an RPG.  The Shin Megami Tensei series has always found ways to defy convention and make me think differently in an RPG, so figuring out how to work this newfangled system in FF12 has me working the ol' grey matter.  

For example, given the scarcity of money and the structure of the license board, the standard practice of upgrading everything upon entering a new town is not prudent since you may not be able to equip it.  

Still, the game gives me the kind of warm fuzzies that Star Wars does.  I want to keep playing.
6107  The Rest / General Discussions / 4# lanruoJ emaG on: January 12, 2007, 07:51:22 PM
I've been playing FF12 for about 3 hours and I've basically done nothing.  I'm having way too much fun just walking around marvelling at the awesomeness of Rabanastre.  Rabanastre is vying for a top 3 spot in my favorite RPG towns (#1 is Sumaru City in Persona 2, #2 is Solaris in Xenogears, andmy current #3 is Esthar in FF8.)  If the other towns in FF12 are as awesome as Rabanastre, I probably won't finish the game for years, because I'll just be loitering around the towns.  

I'm supposed to meet Delvan or whatever his name is down in Lowtown to figure out how to crash the royal banquet, but I'm delaying that in favor of doing a hunt... which is kinda making me build some levels and try and get money for more antidotes.  I'll eventually see the guy, but I just want to fight a lot and get really used to the engine.  
6108  Media / The Soundroom / Song of the Moment on: January 12, 2007, 05:02:51 PM
I attended a local south Jersey metal/hardcore show the other weekend to celebrate a local grindcore band's CD release and tour kickoff.  The band is Doomsday Machine Schematic and though I don't really like their music, they're really nice guys.  Anyway, the first band who played (Mayfair) sucked donkey dick.  The next band, Total Ruination, was 100% hardcore, and I don't like hardcore.  I prefer metal.  Next up was this band Sheeron that some of my friends were hyping like crazy.  Those guys had talent, but I found the Cattle Decapitation style vocals rather generic and monotone.  Didn't live up to the hype for me.

The next band up was this band called Adder who have a more old school thrash sound.  They have been compared to Pantera (their bassist is definitely influenced by Rex.)  I was totally digging this band.  I was up in front headbanging for them, and I can't really say the same for the other bands.  I wanted to stay for the rest of their set, but my friends wanted to leave because some people they knew were getting into parking lot fights and they didn't want to be around if the cops showed up; they've already been threatening to shut down this particular venue.  

So anyway, my song of the moment is "Wear the Mark" by Adder.  Kickass song.  This is no frills, no gimmicks metal.  This is bang your head, pump your fist, fight the system metal.  This is rootsy thrash.  Their myspace is http://www.myspace.com/addermusic and while the sound quality of their stuff isn't great, they kick some serious ass live.  

We are the passion victims, Sewn up inside the system
There are no opinions, Just fiction and non-fiction
Accept fate - This is not in good faith, This is hate
Don't resist - Press your face against it, Raise your fist
Accept fate - This is not in good faith, This is hate
Don't resist - Press your face against it, Raise your fist

Life - inside a shell
We welcome - the abandonment for life
But we are not alone

We are a marching army of living, breathing, screaming grenades

The damned be driven by the dream, Symptoms say the want is the need
There's no means of controlling the hunger that makes us refuse to bleed
Accept fate - This is not in good faith, This is hate
Don't resist - Press your face against it, Raise your fist
Accept fate - This is not in good faith, This is hate
Don't resist - Press your face against it, Raise your fist

Life - will be reborn
Through nothing - but the absence of life
But we are not alone

We are an army of living, breathing, screaming grenades

Life - inside a shell
We welcome - the abandonment for life
But we are not alone

We are an army of living, breathing, screaming grenades

I will - Spare no one
The more you fight it - The stronger it will get

Life - will be reborn
Though nothing - but the absence of life

We wear the mark until death
We wear the mark until death
Fuck the rest
We wear the mark until death
Fuck the rest
We wear the mark until death

I worship the only gods that I know
From axe to pulse until uplifting sorrow
If when my heart speaks my soul were to bleed
I'd give my life for immortality

Calling out to the eyes, That are searching for mine
You will consume my reign
As you're under my sky
We were the mark until death
6109  The Rest / General Discussions / Sega threatens to shut down YTMND on: January 12, 2007, 04:37:21 PM
Quote from: "The Darkrider"
The YTMD that prompted this, if you're lazy:


I think it'd be hilarious if that little attempt at humor is the thing that finally brings that website down. :P

Well... at least Tails got some tail before the shit hit the fan.  

(Oh come on!  Can I not feel juvenile every once in a while?)
6110  The Rest / General Discussions / 4# lanruoJ emaG on: January 12, 2007, 08:31:40 AM
Just remember, Nuri
During the race, hug the left wall like your life depends on it, because that's where the secret entrance to the slaughterhouse is.  I must have raced a billion times before finding it the first time.  I had loads of fun with the races (I love racing games after all) but eventually I was like "so... when can I continue with the plot?"  
6111  The Rest / General Discussions / The writing/scripting topic. on: January 11, 2007, 03:19:26 PM
I wonder if a game would be a better medium for a fantasy playwright than a fantasy novelist.  I think in many ways, the games seem to function more like plays than novels in various ways.
6112  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Final Fantasy XII on: January 09, 2007, 09:03:40 PM
Well, for what it's worth, here's the official Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings site.  


And from what I gather from it, some RPGfan news snippets, and an RPGfan interview

it seems Vaan, Penelo, and others who didn't get big roles in FFXII may get some spotlight in Revenant Wings.
6113  The Rest / General Discussions / Foreign languages. on: January 09, 2007, 08:51:56 PM
I took German for about 5.5 years (half a year in 7th grade, and from 8th-12th grade.)  I even entered some German speaking competitions and took home a prize in one.  

I took Japanese for a year in high school and 2 in university.  Kanji was the bane of my existence.  Though I think if I had learned it via deconstruction (the radicals) I'd have done better with it, but I was taught it through rote memorization which wasn't effective.  

I've forgotten a lot of those, but I did have some opportunities to use German when I had a German speaking student in one class I was teaching and I have some Japanese friends here (but I don't talk to them enough, and when I do it's about grad-level stuff that I don't know the Japanese to.)  

I want to learn Spanish, though, since more and more I find myself plying my educational craft in more Spanish-speaking communities.  Definitely a useful language to have in my arsenal.
6114  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Final Fantasy XII on: January 09, 2007, 08:18:10 AM
Re: Vaan and Penelo's lacking backstory.

From what little I've read on the web about the upcoming Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings for the DS, that game will allegedly be centered more around Vaan and Penelo and give insight into both of them.

Let's hope this offshoot is good.  Square Enix hasn't had the world's greatest track record with main series offshoots.  Dirge of Cerberus was not very good at all, though it did give backstory into Vincent, whose was lacking in the main game (I thought.)  I kinda dug FFX-2, but many thought it was complete fluff and took away from the mystique of FFX's ending.  FF Tactics was a masterpiece but many thought FF Tactics advance was not as dynamic.  

But, yeah, it seems that Revenant Wings will give Vaan and Penelo the development they didn't get in the main game.
6115  The Rest / General Discussions / The writing/scripting topic. on: January 07, 2007, 04:31:53 PM
Maybe not sports or puzzle games, though.  I don't think those types really need much of a story.  

Although the story mode in Ridge Racer R4 was pretty cool.  Namco did a good job with the writing in that one.  And I will admit that among fighting games, Soul Blade had the absolute best story mode.  

I agree that there is always a way to make stories engaging.  After all, given the limits of the human experience, one can only tell so many types of stories in so many ways, but we still get really engaged by movies, books, games, etc. that may tell a familiar story in an engaging way.  

Either way, I think the conclusion we can draw is that bad scripting/dialogue can have a negative impact on the media experience.  It's just how much of a negative impact depends on personal factors.
6116  The Rest / General Discussions / 4# lanruoJ emaG on: January 07, 2007, 04:27:30 PM
I just beat Rocket Slime for DS.  I was surprised at how good the game was.  Definitely the most pleasant surprise of 2006.
6117  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Completed RPGs of 2007 on: January 07, 2007, 04:21:26 PM
First game I beat for 2007 was Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime for DS.  Most people have little to no expectations for mascot games (Chocobo Racing was crap and the Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon games were yawnfests), but this one is surprisingly good with interesting gameplay elements.  Tank battles are awesome.  

Definitely my pick for most pleasant surprise of 2006.
6118  The Rest / General Discussions / The writing/scripting topic. on: January 07, 2007, 12:06:12 PM
Kiem, do you play point-and-click adventures or visual novels at all?  Those games IMO have more involved and better stories than any RPG and always better writing IMO.  RPG tales are limited anyway because of their gameplay mechanics (there has to be physical combat), but some of the most amazing stories I've experienced in video games are in point-and-click games like The Longest Journey (the dialogue was incredibly good) or visual novels like Ever17 or Hourglass of Summer (again, excellent writing.)  

Thing is, those kinds of games rely on their stories to anchor them more than gameplay.  If the story sucks in a point-and-click, then even the most clever puzzles won't save it.  Case in point: Normality for PC.
6119  The Rest / General Discussions / The writing/scripting topic. on: January 07, 2007, 01:57:12 AM
I can sometimes be sensitive to technical errors.  I mean, I did work professionally as a proofreader for a publishing company at one point in my life (heh, and now I help proofread for the site:P)  But I've learned when to leave my job at work.  

But there are times when I can overlook the technical errors when the dialogue, scripting, and story are so good like in Hirameki's English translation of Ever 17: Out of Infinity.  That's become my favorite video game of all time.  It was *that* good, but the amount of technical errors present in that game would make editor types go insane.

Hirameki's gotten a lot better, though.  They really tightened things up for their localization of Yo-Jin-Bo: The Bodyguards.  

On the other hand, Working Designs did some of the most acclaimed localizations, but I couldn't stand all the stupid shit that Victor Ireland would insert into the English script (like the fart jokes or out of place pop culture references).

One way I see the whole thing is that all forms of media have limitations in terms of how they can convey a story, so storytelling becomes even more important than the story itself.  A monotonous storyteller can easily kill a dynamic story whereas a skilled storyteller can make a familiar tale seem fresh and sexy.
6120  The Rest / General Discussions / Hobby versus Lifestyle and the monies involved on: January 06, 2007, 09:50:42 PM
Jedi?  Nah.  That whole lifestyle isn't for me.  It's like joining a convent or monastery.  I'd have to dedicate my life to the faith and not be able to party, go out with the ladies, fall in love, get married, have kids... way too restricting for me.  

Though other lifestyles have the risk of restricting its constituents too.  Like if you find yourself playing in a jazz/funk/R&B band, as much as you like it, that environment will definitely restrict you from expressing your more aggressive speed-metal side, hence why many musicians take breaks from their main bands and do side projects.  It's not cheating.  Just a vacation to allow the mind to breathe in other creative contexts.  

That's one good thing about the gaming lifestyle.  Many genres to choose from.  And I think that's one reason why many RPGers are also great fans of intense shooters.
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