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1  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: How's Resonance of Fate on: April 20, 2013, 11:45:22 AM
Actually, presumably that you're referring to the Bezel Gauge (the red things at the bottom of the screen that power your super attacks and shatter when you get too high on scratch damage) there are a couple of ways to help out with regenerating it. Charge up your handgun attacks high enough (or use Smash Grenades) and you might "Break" an enemy's gauge into sections, which will give you a Bezel back every time you get to one of the break points on the meter, not just when you empty it entirely. I actually really enjoyed the resource management game, calculating hero actions vs. anticipated Bezel return on successful attacks. Also, two characters with machine guns (only possible later in the game) and one handgunner or grenadier mopping up afterward is quite effective (particularly if one of the MG'ers is Vashyron, who gets Full Scratch earlier than the others).

Resonance of Fate is one of my favorite RPG's of the current generation. I love the steampunk-y aesthetic, the combat system, and (of all things) the ability to change character wardrobes. I can see why people wouldn't like it (I hated it for the first five hours or so, until things started to click) and it's not perfect by any stretch, but it's a solid, unique game and I think it deserves a shot if anything about it sounds appealing.
2  Media / General Games / Re: Ratchet and Clank: All for One on: December 13, 2011, 03:17:01 PM
Thanks very much for confirming my decision not to purchase this one.  Longtime R&C fan here, even loved Deadlocked, but I'd only play this one single player and it doesn't seem worth it if it's so stripped down in terms of leveling and control.
3  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: May 17, 2011, 08:44:00 AM
Very true- I had forgotten about Kaylee.  That bit wrecked her character for me too: could be why I repressed it? :P
4  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: May 13, 2011, 06:39:22 PM
Oh, don't get me started on Joss- I could write pages. :P  Firefly and Buffy (haven't got through watching all of Angel... I know, for shame) are my gold standard of film/TV characterization.  Buffy, Willow, Zoe, River, Inara... they were all very realistic women, and the fact that they lived in patently unrealistic scenarios didn't detract from that.  If anything, it highlighted their humanity.  Most importantly, though, when their sexuality and gender came into play, it was in a way that coexisted very well with the other aspects of their characters- it didn't throw their character development to that point out the window just so they could be another swooning female.  It's all about balance.

I'm looking forward to the podcast even more in the wake of this discussion. :)
5  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: May 13, 2011, 11:09:15 AM
Yes, I did indeed stray from that point- my apologies.  I definitely agree- the more poor examples of female characters that we have across all media, the more that people will feel it's okay to create new ones and the more desensitized we tend to become to it, I think. 
6  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: May 12, 2011, 08:47:47 PM
Oh, there are definitely plenty of examples of sexism and negative representations of gender roles across all media.  Unfortunately, I think that video games get a free pass much of the time, perhaps because people don't expect much better from them.  Even among the portion of the population that takes a critical interest in the content of video games, I feel that there's a certain ambivalence toward poor characterization, almost as though we've been led to believe that demanding characters who embody, among other things, realistic representations of gender roles is too much to ask from a game.  I think that ties in to Kim's point about how there's a terrible lack of originality in many games these days ("Girls have always gone into battle in dresses and gotten captured four times before the finale, so why not in our game?"), as well as your point about how the characters are seen as "something some artist whipped up in Paint".  Everyone can agree that video game characters aren't real, and the fact that they're computer-generated images separates them from verisimilitude by another degree.  I disagree, though, as I'm sure most of the gaming community would, that that means that they can't be constructed as and behave like real people, and used to tell resonant stories.  It's harder to do so that it would be with live actors and actresses, of course, but a lot of games do manage it, and I suppose that I'd like to see a lot of other games at least put an honest effort toward doing so. 

Thanks for the heads-up about your topic- I'll be sure to look it up.  And yes, speaking as a male gamer myself, I completely agree that this sort of thing is equally insulting to gamers of both genders. 
7  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: Rift on: May 12, 2011, 01:04:41 PM
Hm... I'm nowhere near leveled high enough to speak to that yet, but I tend to be against difficulty nerfs on principle unless the encounter(s) in question are legitimately unfair.  Perhaps they'll adjust the difficulty once again in another patch to push it back if it becomes clear to them that the dungeons are now too easy?  I certainly don't want to give anyone excuses, but Rift is a relatively new MMO, and balance can be a very touchy thing (particularly, I imagine, in light of all the possible class and spec combinations in this one- I imagine there must be significant variance in group makeup and abilities, even in the endgame).
8  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: May 10, 2011, 08:36:02 PM
Thanks, Kim- you're too kind. :)  I'm in complete agreement with you that I'm finding less and less RPG's that really make me want to sit down and spend time in their world, and that the issue with poorly-written female characters is just a part of that.  In all fairness, some of that could be RPG burnout from having saved the world hundreds of times, but that's not the whole story.  After all, I still get wound up for and revel in the best exemplars of the medium (the Mass Effects and the Personas and even the Super Paper Marios), but if anything, those games just make me less tolerant when I sit down to play something else that turns out to be a bit less amazing.  Sometimes it almost seems like developers don't really seem to think it's important that characters be compelling and human, or that their stories be resonant... which is very unfortunate and disappointing, because those are the things that I've always loved about RPG's.  Take those away, after all, and you're just telling pretty clusters of pixels to swing their swords and cast Cure for the thousandth time. :P
9  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: May 10, 2011, 02:43:15 PM
Ah, sanity is overrated.  And I'm glad I'm not the only one who can't really articulate just what exactly makes Rift so great despite the derivative-ness. 

Really looking forward to the episode about female characters (also really loved the recent feature on that topic).  I think that "women in video games" is a big topic that gets a lot of attention from a lot of different angles (objectification of women, moral guardians outraged at their outfits or lack thereof, the fact that women are so often in need of rescuing, or that they're often pigeonholed as healers or "staff chicks" if they get into battle at all...) and yet despite the general consensus being something to the effect of, "Yes, of course, a Celes Chere beats a Princess Peach any day", we're still seeing characters like Madison Paige and 3rd Birthday Aya.  It's pretty surprising that so many of the people responsible for creating these characters tend to prefer caricatured females to more realistic or balanced portrayals of women, when I can't see anyone seriously defending the position that the caricatured girls make for superior characters. 

Wow, I apologize for the ramble.  Very interested to see where you guys go with it.  I'm glad the comments brightened your days/months- it's the least I could give back in exchange for all the entertainment. :)
10  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: Rift on: May 09, 2011, 04:09:55 PM
I picked this one up a few days ago and am loving it so far.  I did play WoW for a couple of years and definitely agree that there are many aspects of Rift which are derivative, but Rift does feel distinctive even though it doesn't win a ton of originality points.  The customization is the big selling point for me- control over the avatar's appearance is nice, but the amount of control that you have over your abilities is a godsend.  One of the things that I hated about WoW, especially in a roleplay environment, was how I often just felt like "Night Elf Discipline Priest #4674", and I really don't feel that with Rift so far. 

I'm also really enjoying the public rift/invasion quests- from what I'm reading these sound like they're cribbed from Warhammer, but they're enjoyable nonetheless.  I love the element of randomness that they bring to the world, even though they can sometimes get in the way of standard questing.  Weaving in and out of groups with perfect strangers so seamlessly has its appeal too. :P
11  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: FFIV Complete Collection for PSP on: May 09, 2011, 03:57:06 PM
I've just cleared the base game in about 12 hours, thanks to Auto-Battle speeding up everything but boss fights.  That was including some grinding before the end boss- got to the last dungeon around 10-11 hours in.  I actually like this version of the game quite a bit- the DS one was good too, but I didn't care for the Augments or the 3-D graphical style, although the difficulty level and voice acting were nice additions to that one.  Very much looking forward to the After Years- never got around to getting that on the Wii. 
12  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: May 09, 2011, 03:41:42 PM
Still loving the podcast here, especially the last two episodes- Kim is fantastic. :D  I also owe John a huge thanks for the segment about Rift- I've been looking for something to take the place of WoW for months now, and Rift sounded like it might have potential.  I cancelled my WoW account on the day I bought it and do not miss it one bit.  You guys even have me psyched for the Witcher 2, and while I love the books, I really couldn't stand Witcher 1 (although I haven't made a run at it in quite some time). 

I'm very much looking forward to the next installment (and I very much wish that you had indeed had the record button going for the post-last-episode bits).  For now, though, I'm excited to have discovered that Kim and John appeared on the Sexism in Games episode of RPG Sanctum, which is holding me over for now. :)  Thanks to everyone involved for putting together such a quality piece of work, episode after episode; listening to you guys is always a high point of my day.
13  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: December 19, 2010, 06:46:49 PM
I've only just recently discovered this podcast, and sadly, I've nearly run out of episodes to catch up on.  I've loved every minute of it so far- the coverage of particular games is interesting, the news segment is informative, and the discussion topics are often thought-provoking.  One quality of the podcast that really stands out is the atmosphere: it feels very much like sitting in (or perhaps eavesdropping, but with an invitation to do so) on a group of close friends discussing everyone's favorite hobby.  The episodes seem to go by so quickly that I'm starting to distrust my iPod's insistence that they're over an hour long. 

On the subject of discussion topics, I've been wondering recently about those elements of video games, particularly RPG's (since this genre is where it should be most applicable), which contribute most strongly to a feeling of immersion into the game world and/or the psyche of the characters.  Personally, I derive the most enjoyment from an RPG when it creates the illusion that I'm fighting as, or perhaps alongside (a la Fire Emblem 7's Tactician) the characters, but the exact qualities that a game uses to help create that illusion can be difficult to pin down, and of course are different from game to game, and player to player for that matter.

In the same vein, I've been giving some thought to what it means to "role-play" within the confines of a scripted world.  Some games offer more customization and freedom than others in creating a character, which makes role-playing easier for those who are so inclined, but I recall fondly the days that I spent role-playing characters in Diablo II, which doesn't offer much customization at all compared to games like Dragon Age or Fallout.  In the case of Diablo II, roleplay was often achieved at the cost of power (melee Amazons or Necromancers, bow- and spear-wielding Sorceresses), and I've often remarked on the fact that a game will often punish you for roleplaying too completely (to use a more recent example, focusing on non-combat skills in Fallout or Oblivion).  Then again, is it punishing you for taking a role too far, or rather for disregarding an implicit role, namely that of the fighter/warrior/killer?

If the podcast team is so inclined, I'd love to hear the panel's thoughts on either of these topics in a future episode. 

Thank you all for taking the time and energy to create such an enjoyable show.  I'll be looking forward to future episodes with eager anticipation. 
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