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106  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on: December 09, 2011, 09:35:17 PM
A lot of what was said in the podcast, and what folks are saying above, I think is valid: fetch quests are definitely the game's undoing in many respects.

I mean, that's what made me hate Fable III.

Also, I think what held true in the podcast about Fallout 3 having much more interesting characterization and style held true as well. However, the big thing to note, is Elder Scrolls and Fallout are completely different things and you shouldn't be looking for the same approaches in each game's development.

I certainly know I'll be playing this game in big spurts (largely Skyward Sword's to blame...) but I find taking a role-play approach will keep it interesting. Now, I don't go crazy hardcore and full D&D all up in this biz, but I give my character a bit of, well, character and make him stick to it. My bosmer is an awesome sneaky archer, but he's no thief. Regardless of how easy it is to steal things, he never will. He also won't follow through on quests that'll wrong the honest folk of the various towns. Finally, he's a hunter, and is now taking to hunting bandits (and goodness knows that population needs controlling) and dragons. He hasn't an ounce of magic in him, won't use a sword, thus I'm sticking to one type of role, regardless of how easy it is to be everything with one character. I'll likely do another runthrough in time with a completely different type of character, who'll take on different quests from the one this dude does. Dunno', maybe I'm too much of a tryhard or D&D kid, but that approach I think adds some better dimensions to the game instead of the initial ADD that Skyrim throws at you with, "OMG teh world are HUGE!" and you run around doing everything.

Pick a path and stick to it, says I *shrugs*

All in all, though, a solid title. The world is really quite breathtaking. I just came upon... uh... Solitude! Yes. Solitude. And it looked so epic, up on that outcropping stone formation? Awesomeness.

Anyways, that's my two cents, but nice reading what everyone else has to say. It's no Skyward Sword, but it still offers something pretty rad to the RPG gamer.

And does anyone else think some invite-only multiplayer would make this sweet?

P.S. Kim might appreciate this, but I can't help but think of how awesome a Harvest Moon with this much scope would be haha. So epic, farming all over Skyrim. Seeing the ranches and farms just planted that thought in my head (and yeah, I know that's also pretty close to Minecraft... but I prefer my Harvest Moon!)
107  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword on: December 09, 2011, 09:23:02 PM
A bit behind in the discussion, but man, I've been loving this game.

I'm dancing back and forth between it and Skyrim, and I find ever so much more charming. The art style is fantastic, the gameplay's fun so far (just got to lava land... I forget the name as I've not yet committed the lore to memory yet haha), music's delightful and the characters, both in design and, well, character, are awesome! It's just a great game that reminds of my youth and reinforces why I love this series so much.

Also, thanks for the bug headsup above!

And lastly, the CD that came with it... amazing. How incredibly epic is the Gerudo theme? Batman meets 70s cop show meets Legend of Zelda - fantastic.
108  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Bastion. on: July 07, 2011, 02:56:39 PM
I'm pretty psyched about the concept of this game, and I'm hoping the narration and storyline is strong enough to make me want to play it. Hack n' slashers are definitely not my favourite, same as some have mentioned above. They just get old quickly and really force me to play in spurts. I'll definitely hit up the demo first and foremost, then go from there. A part of me hopes to get hooked, and reward the developers for some innovation in the presentation, but if not... bummer.
109  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Design choices on: July 07, 2011, 02:52:09 PM
People are raising a lot of good points in here, definitely a good topic to jump in on!

I find it a little tough, though, since it's really all subjective to how well a game executed its particular mechanic, but I'll do the bandwagony thing and attack the biggest ones on my mind that umbrella everything.

Also, I almost totally agree with everything ZeronHitaro had to say in their post above, especially about Item Crafting. I think a lot of games can do it better. I like the idea of it, but it's so rarely executed properly.

Dislike

All-action, all the time: With a game like Diablo, for example. It is a fun game for a little while, but you really need to take a moment to step back from it and not play it cause, really, it's x amount of hours of grinding, and that's pretty much it. There's so little story involved, really, that what's making this a RPG is mostly the stat growth aspects. I just dislike when a game relies on this mechanic, giving me nothing else to change it up with now and again, or enough of an engaging story to make it worth it. Makes me really not interested in Diablo III because, well, I've played that game.

Easy Fast-travel: Now, I'm all about fast travel depending on the circumstance, like in Oblivion or Fallout 3 and such. If I have the time to do a full day game marathon, I like to walk everywhere, take my time, see the beauty of the world. But, if I'm just playing for an hour or so before work or another commitment, I want to maximize my questing time and get from one point to another without the waste of walking time.
Now, what I dislike about the fast travel systems is it's just too easy. I feel it should be earned or have a cost or consequence now and then. Like, in the old Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Fallout, random encounters could happen and disrupt your progress. Awesome. I think in Morrowind you could only fast travel via taking the Silt Striders (I could be wrong, though, as I didn't play enough of it to find other options). But it today's games, you can just go for it. Yes, I know the game accounts for in-game time as you walk the whole distance, but there's no consequence for doing so! "I need you to do this quest for me as quick as you are able. Can you?" "Yes, of course!" Then we decide we want to fast travel to x city to get something first, walking the whole way, then fast-travel walk to the site of the quest, and thankfully the object in question is still there, the horde of goblins has conveniently awaited your arrival to begin their assault, the old man hasn't died yet, etc. I don't think you should be able to fast-travel until you can find yourself a mode of transportation, be it a horse or an old beat-up future car you happen to get going again.

Tireless Heroes: Y'know, I get why this doesn't always happen, but still, it always bugged me as a kid as to why, say, Link never needed to sleep, no matter how many days and nights he spent running across the Hyrule Field fighting off skeletons and the like. How our heroes in Secret of Mana could just run for hours and not need sleep unless you wanted the benefits of insta-healing. I always liked the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale had the D&D mechanic of fatigue and exhaustion if you pushed your character for too many hours. In Fallout 3, you could perpetually keep walking and never need sleep unless you wanted to heal up. There's no penalty for wandering the wastes for the next 10 days if you wanted to. Like, really? I don't want super realism, but again, I'd like some accountability.

Automaps: I like having to explore things a bit, blindly, but I like to be rewarded for that in getting the map as I go along, or even finding a copy of the map somewhere, or purchasing it. I find FFXII did this right, if I recall correctly. I think that's the game I'm thinking of... Fallout 3 does this as well, when you look at your local map, and then back. Oblivion too. I just don't want it handed to me for nothing, pointing out exactly where I need to go.

Glowing Trails, Auto Waypoints, etc: Again, I see the practical, convenience-based application of this, but whatever happened to letting us figure things out. Like, I know you can turn it off in Fable II/III, but then you pretty much have no idea where to go without it. Like, whatever happened to hints? Whatever happened to gathering information? "Go to the town of Evensley, ask around for a man named Kole. Find him and he'll give you what you need." "Travel to the east a few hours, eventually the land will break into the forest and you'll see a cavern. This is the troll's cave, where your quest shall take you." As seems to be my theme above, I like discovering things for myself, earning it, not having the developers hand it to me. If I find it and choose to assign my own waypoint, awesome. Otherwise, give me some clues! Albion is not littered with GPS markers in the Industrial Age!

Like

Save Anywhere: I like how save points did make you strategize how you went about things, but times have changed, and games geared for late teens and adults need to take into account just how busy our lives get. We need to be able to drop the game at a moments notice and gtfo most of the time. I like that in some games it stops you if there's an immediate threat, but beyond that, you can save whenever needed, which is a great addition to any game, as Der Jermesiter said.

Grand, Open Worlds: Love having a big world to explore, that's interesting and captivating. Although it was lots of rolling hills, Oblivion's world was just plain beautiful to take in. However, I still think FFXII tops it for me. A lot of people like to rag on that game, but I think they'd have to agree that the world of Ivalice they fashioned is gorgeous. Every texture, every geographical formation, all of it filled me with a sense of wonder on every new map I stepped foot onto. On a much more narrow scope, but still filled me with amazement, is the likes of Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana. As a kid, I always loved exploring those worlds, and how pretty they seemed, how lush and colourful and different from my own world (Well, may the Future in CT wasn't so lush, but you get the idea...)

Genuine Lore: I like the idea a lot of games are taking nowadays in trying to flesh out their worlds by providing the player with a storehouse of background info. However, in some cases, it can be overwhelming, like in Oblivion or Morrowind, with all the books you can read. Hell, I I have enough books on my REAL bookshelf to go through, nevermind the dozens of paperbacks I steal from people's shelves in game. But, the codex system of Mass Effect offered a nice, concise location for it all, and it's never too too much to read, as long as you do it in bits here and there when something seems interesting to you. It's just cool to know there's more going on than just what you see.
110  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: RPGs with party commands outside of battle on: May 08, 2011, 08:49:45 PM
Fallout Tactics did this extremely well, in my opinion.

You have a stealthy sniper that you send ahead to scout while your explosives guy plants mines for an ambush, the medic hangs back, patching up from the last engagement. It's pretty sweet.
111  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: April 28, 2011, 06:19:12 PM
I agree with that, but especially this:
Re-playability is also a wild card in the sense that many games use the term (trying to make the game look longer), but there are some who just don't have it.

Borderlands was totally guilty of this, for me. It was a bit too long for what it offered, as they said in the cast, there was no real story to it, and as I was going through it the first time, I was thinking, "Man... I'm looking forward to doing this again as another class, getting some different achievements and seeing how they play" but as I neared the end, I started thinking differently. Upon the disappointment that was the ending, I found I had no desire whatsoever to go back through it again, and I feel like I'd only be forcing myself to do it, just because the closet perfectionist in me wants the last achievements. Really, that game has no real replayability for me, and it was drawn out too much for its own good, because really, you're just looking at skags, raiders and comic-book styled rocks on and on and on again, on a variety of fetch-quests.

There's no legitimate length or substance to a game like that, and I find that there're a lot of games these days that, once I'm finished, I can really take it or leave it, and mostly, I leave it. I finished FFT and I want to boot up another save and see how I'll play Ramza the next time, y'know? If they're going to boast replayability, then at least make it so the experience will differ enough to make it replayable.
112  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: April 28, 2011, 04:53:00 PM
So, I can finally say, I'm caught up!

I was always an episode or two behind since I started listening in on the RPGFan podcasts, but I just finished off Ep. 22 v.2 (I guess...?) before 23, which is a 'yay!' in my books.

Anyways, good cast, and it does inspire some thoughts.

I think... uh... Steven? (I think Steven said it...) was somewhat right in saying that games are too long, only in the fact that they're too long for people that are 'grown ups', also like myself. Now, being a serve/actor (which often goes hand in hand... ugh...) I do have a bit more free time on a regular basis than, say, Rob, who's a teacher and has that legit 9-5 (or... more likely 6-3?) so I can fully indulge in a 12 hr. gaming spree at least every two weeks, should I feel like it. But I also gotta' agree, that I do feel that guilt, sometimes, of having done "nothing" with my day, if that's the case. But I do prefer when a game's a bit more concise, and I don't look back on, say, my FFXII save file and go, "Oh my god, I just spent 127 hours of my life on this game! ... awesome" Really? Should that be so awesome? lol But really, I can certainly say, I got my money's worth, and that's sometimes what it means, but you guys are right, that it needs to be meaningful content. A short romp of game is fun, if the content's there, like Half-Minute Hero! However, sinking 12 hrs. into sleepless nights with Oblivion was also cool, because it was worth trekking about, exploring things and then saving the world. As long as you don't feel cheated with the time spent, I think length of games is fine, so long as it balances with your life style. I'm in no hurry to play games sometimes, and definitely go through phases, but for a guy like Steven, who needs to review these titles for a podcast, I can see why some amount of speed would be imperative.

However, Kim rationalized that pretty well, too, with her thoughts on characters and concepts not grabbing our attention and making us get invested. A part of me feels that sure, some games have been a bit lackluster of late, and perhaps that's because of the plight of humanity and its longevity and the speed at which we grow, that we're running short on 'good' ideas. However, a strong part of me thinks this: we're not kids anymore.

When we were young, it was easier for developers to wow us, since most kids playing were from ages 10-15, back in the days of the "great" RPGs like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI/III. I mean, yes, these were genuine, good games, but you go back and play them now, what is it that's really wow-ing you? Is it the gripping narrative, the wonderfully fleshed out characters, or simply that wondrous sense of nostalgia that washes over you, as you remember summer vacations when you had nothing to do but sit around and play on SNES, praying your mom didn't figure out it was too quiet and shove you outside for fresh air and such.

I think that's more what's happening: we're growing up. Kids in the aforementioned age bracket likely think many of the RPGs hitting the shelves are still super awesome amazing and will be the stuff of their legends, battles on forums years from now stating the FFX is was the golden age of RPGs or, heavens forbid, FFXIII for the slightly later gen. We're just, well, smarter now, and have a greater comprehension on all things life and thus our expectations have increased. We have grown 'refined', so to speak, haha.

I know games like Dragon Age: Origins/II aren't meant for kids, but still, those late teens eat that stuff up like porn on the internet and 12 hot dogs that does nothing to their youthful metabolism. I know my younger cousins who weren't exposed to the SNES classics, or really even FFVII or Tactics are finding their own gems, like I mentioned, and I have to scratch my head sometimes and go, "Really?" But, that's just the way it goes, I guess. We all have our generation. We will all have our, "Kids these days, with their black pokemans and Heavy Rains', and that stupid kid with too many damned zippers... really, who needs all those zippers? What's he possibly keeping in there!? Back in my day, Chrono was lucky he even got a bandana!"

What we saw as wonder is now archaic, or classic, or in some terms, art. Until video gaming gets its cool retro phase like fashion does at the moment, the current gen won't have that appreciation, we'll lack the same for the current gen of console games.

Holy shit did I ramble... I kinda' apologize and REALLY hope I made some sense in there... mostly seems okay... Ah, well, heat of the thought.

But yeah, great podcast, got me thinking.

Also, I want cookies, and to play ME2, in spite of people not liking Miranda for whatever reason... I've yet to play, but Yvonne Strahovski can do no wrong in my eyes... you leave her bunny teeth alone, Rob! lol

Thanks, guys, look forward to the next one!
113  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Nintendo announcing new console at E3? on: April 27, 2011, 01:20:39 AM
Rune Factory Frontier is awesome times, if you're a HM franchise fan. Just sayin'.

Anyways, I've owned a Wii for about 3 years now, and I've enjoyed it plenty. When I wanna' go "hardcore", I definitely look to my XBox 360, but I just love the Nintendo games for the Wii, and all the Virtual Console access. Plus, World of Goo was made for that system, as is Fluidity. I mean, I'm 26, and I know I'm not their target audience. If anything, it's more my girlfriend than I, but I still play it far more often than she. I dunno', between the DS and the Wii, I think Nintendo still had a lot going for it in the last console generation and shouldn't have any real problems in the future.

That being said, I do know most third party stuff sucks. That can't be denied. And, I think if they really want to compete more in the North American market, they need to put into place a more user-friendly online setup. I'm not asking for another XBL, but the Wii is just so lousy for networking with anyone. What I liked about that lousiness, is that it did inspire you to get people over and relive the nostalgia of childhood gaming, when there was three of you sitting on the floor, plowing through Secret of Mana, or four of you crammed on the couch, each with a different coloured controller, setting up a plethora of banana peels and item box bombs on your part of the block fort in Mario Kart 64, yelling that so and so was looking at other screens. I loved that aspect. I loved the insanity of playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii with four people in the same room, putting faces to the laughter and frustration and cries of, "That was bullshit!".
The Wii did that well.
But, then I moved across the country from my friends and can't really share it so easily. I want to be able to connect up with my best friends and play DKC Returns and such online, but can't.
And, today's North American market is much more geared to online play than on-couch-with-real-people play. I'm fairly certain that's just marketing fact. In Japan, the online thing isn't so big, but for the frat boys here, it is.

Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing what they do, since they have been the most innovative company in the past several years, even if they were behind graphically.
114  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: April 25, 2011, 04:50:07 AM
Skytrain? Smells like Vancouver.

You would be smelling correctly, good sir!

Of what... I'm not too certain...

P.S. It amuses me ever so much that Zach considers N64 to be "old Nintendo". *single tear of joy*

But yeah, keep 'em coming and I'll keep listening. It's also inspired me to dream up a podcast of my own someday, but for now, until I get a decent recording set-up, it'll remain at a distance.
115  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: April 24, 2011, 05:00:58 AM
First of all, I'm agog at the above statement, but enough of that.

Next, that's a bummer about the latest episode.

And lastly, I am really enjoying the podcasts. I've been a fan of the site for ages, but never looked into the podcasts until I recently bought an iPod, but I gotta' say, I likes them a lot. I posted a review on iTunes, so I won't reiterate everything I said there and instead just say, great work, keep it up, and you've definitely make me laugh allowed like some sorta' crazy person on the skytrain a few times, likely drawing concerned looks from other transit passengers...

For some reason, though, iTunes is giving me grief on ep. 21, though... not sure why... I'll have to try it through my computer instead of iPod.

So, uh, yeah! I realize I have no slick ending to this post whatsoever...

Let's default to a classic:

And they all lived happily ever after. The End.
116  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued on: April 17, 2011, 04:44:52 PM
First of all, Adapheon, awesome avatar. Such a great book in such a fabulous series. I'm SO excited to read the final book!

But, that aside, when I'm getting to reading things, I've dabbled back into my teen-hood and I'm reading some Dragonlance books. I'm reading the... Time of the Twins, I think? No wait... Test of the Twins, by Weiss and Hickman who are by no means Steven Erickson... But still, I did miss the misadventures of Tasselhoff Burrfoot, in spite of the 'okay' writing of their novels. I mostly just want to read them because I was always curious about Raistlin's history and what made him who he is.

After that... I'm hoping to read Margaret Atwood's Year of the Flood, since I got it at Christmas but haven't gotten to it, then devote the rest of my time to Erickson's latest. I am kinda' sad it'll be ending, though. I'll have Esselmont's works to look forward to, but I know I'll want more Erickson. I hope he has a new series planned.

Since we're moving shortly, I was packing up our books and I think I've decided I've run my course with the Wheel of Time series. It just... doesn't grab me anymore. I'll likely donate them to the library, or to friends who're missing some of them.
117  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: Front Mission Online on: April 17, 2011, 04:33:26 PM
Well, that was incredibly concise, and a shame. As far as anyone having played it, though, I'll wait to hear on that...
118  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Front Mission Online on: April 17, 2011, 04:27:12 PM
Seeing as there are plenty of folks from across the world who visit this site, I figured I'd ask: how is Front Mission Online?

I've always had a love for this series, and way back when I'd first heard of FMO, I was super-psyched until, well, I heard absolutely NOTHING about it... then learned it never made it to Canada, let alone North America, and never would.

But, I'm guessing some folks out there have been able to play in it, so I was wondering if there was anything in the FM Universe I was really missing out on, or should I be happy with FM4. I also haven't tried Evolution, but I've heard mixed things on it, plus that's not really related to the MMO end of things, so... enough with the digression.

Erm... thoughts?
119  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Re: Top 10 Freeware RPGs article & Links on: April 17, 2011, 04:22:00 PM
I can definitely recommend Realm of the Mad God in all its addictive splendor. It's definitely a good time to dabble in and can eat away the minutes and hours quickly. However, it can also sucker-punch you real good if you're not careful. Give it a try!
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