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1066  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: July 09, 2012, 01:34:21 AM
I think this is the right place for this, but...

NEW SAILOR MOON ANIME!!!!

I am super stoked about this.... I am big sailor moon fan! From what I gather, the original voice actors of Darien and Serena return to voice the pair once again. Any-hoo..... despite my love of bad magical girl adaptations, I also really enjoy things that are in fact decent... that being said

I just recently caught a few I think are totally worth mentioning....

Tears to Tiara: If you are (as you know I am...) into the sword-sporting anime stuff, this is the ticket right here. Aside from the god-awful accent they gave alot of the main cast, this is just freakin' cool. Nothing particularly out of the norm. A brash and bad-ass main sword wielding hero, a overtly pure and innocent female lead, a "I'm way stronger the everyone else because I am the coolest looking and most mysterious with grey hair" archtype all come togeather to battle the sinister forces of an evil empire and deliver a very satisfying fantasy narrative. The narrative by the way is well done with enough twists and good pacing to keep you going episode to episode and just when you totally expect it to fall incomprehensibly apart at the end... it doesnt!!

Next Up......

Ghost Hound: I love psychological stuff... I love the twisted and macabre tone some series can achieve without become gruesome or relying too much on the a-typical.... One that immediately comes to mind that really pulled that off for me was Serial Experiment Lain. Well now Ghost Hound may just qualify as well... I'm only 6 eps in but man am I loving this one! If your in the mood for something different, sort of creepy and psychological without much down-time this one (so far at least) is right on point. Don't come looking for comic relief here though friends..... None to be found (and thats usually the way I like it...)

and now.....

Now and Then, Here and There: I finished this short short series up a few weeks ago and it is still lingering in my mind. I can't really say this series is akin to anything I've seen. It certainly reminds me a few different titles, but stands unique enough for me to avoid comparisons. I feel as though this one was just quality all around.... I can't imagine anyone NOT liking some aspect of this aside from the fact that it is pretty grim at points and the art isn't exactly worth writing home about. If you have not seen this one and don't harbor an aversion to having some heavy and serious tone to your anime, DO NOT miss this.

and last.....for a reason....

Fate Stay/Night: A few weeks ago I erroneously came on here and mentioned I was always under the false impression that Fate Stay in some respect reminded me a Pokemon so I never gave it a shot..... when in all honesty I never watched any pokemon either so I really don't have a frame of reference.... but that aside...... I was convinced otherwise and picked up the series..... Well I still don't have two legs to stand on when it comes to my opinion here... why? Because I didn't finish it.... Someday I may go back to it, yes..... but not soon.... This totally did not grab me in any way. It wasn't bad.... but it certainly wasn't good IMO... it was a mediocre title that (I hope) improved beyond the first third of show but even if it did, I honestly could care less in light of some of the other titles on deck I want to check out. Now for the ten-million dollar question..... Was it Pokemon'ish? Well... I still don't know....

On deck in the coming weeks I've got Shiki, a nostalgic romp around the isle of Lodoss, the 2nd season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A (of which they are now making a movie apparently), Tower of Druaga (2nd attempt... I didn't really dig what I sampled in the past) and Golden Boy (believe it or not, I never saw it as I usually avoid comedy like the plague)
1067  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Creating characterization through battle on: July 08, 2012, 09:54:34 PM
I really enjoy a subtle mix of the two flavors in question here.... that is, I really don't like it when all characters have equal potential application in battle.... but by the same token I hate it even more when static potential of characters make them almost completely necessary, or at the very least an obviously superior choice to your favorite gambler with a lousy freakin' "slot" speciality (hehe, I ALWAYS had setzer relic-ed out to be atma-equipped personally.... he was just too cool not to.....)..... as such I found FF6's system, while highly flawed, still great because despite the fact that one of my favorite characters had one of the worst job exclusive skills there was, with the right equipment and some quality time spent with a few select espers he kicked ass... PLUS HE STILL HAD HIS LOUSY SKILL AND JOB which kept him totally in character and unique.... In other words he remained a gamble, just a bad ass gambler whose prowess with a sword was 2nd only to Cyans for me..... This is an example of a good system..... IMO

Another great system was sported in suikoden. True Runes, combo attacks and positioning stengths made each character feel unique enough in battle to be themselves and coax me into their use... while even if I really dug a character who logically was a weaker link, typically switching up runes (if possible), keeping their equipment capped, and sometimes including someone whose use allowed me to exploit a killer combo attack made them completely worthwhile. Naturally there were quite a few characters who were lost causes in suikoden... but come on, out of a 108 characters of course your gonna have some that are unbalanced to an unreasonable extent.....

I typically run into the problem of not feeling as though characters are unique when the complexity of customizing things gets so great, any unique character potential is really an afterthought... this happens more so with SRPGs than anything else for me.... For as much as I loved Growlanser HoW this was a prime example of that flaw.... Placing those skill and growth plates made it so, while stat potential may have varied character to character, there was really NO reason you couldn't simply choose from the lot of em and cast em as any roles you saw fit with little to no reason to select them other than whether you liked em or not.

Then again, sometimes I really just dig the straightforward progression of linear skill sets and spells such as with Lunar. Lunar (well at least the original Lunars.....) battles proved tough enough where they never felt redundant or under-demanding of my cognitive faculties despite the fact that no real strategy at all went into character growth. I like this for the reason the OP made the thread.... Jessica will always in my eyes be a odd-ball healer, because no matter what, she is in fact a healer and priestess even though you get the impression she could be wild enough to equip a pair of gauntlets and beat the piss out of kyle for being a jerk. Now if I had the freedom to in fact equip jessica with said gauntlets, boost her attack whilst neglected her given affinity for the healing arts and have a "warrior priestess-type" she would lose alot of what makes her personally so unique and memorable in my eyes.

Great observation by the original OP about how the application of characters in regard to gameplay does, in fact, impact how fleshed out, complete and memorable a character proves to be.
1068  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Playstation 1 RPGs on: July 07, 2012, 10:26:09 PM
Going through all these games, and its pretty amazing how great squarsoft was for both the Snes era through the playstation 1. They where just non stop with classics, and even their less then stellar games, at least where interesting. Not to say that don't still make great games, they sometimes do, but simply dont do it at the same clip as they used to.




..... I'll be brazen and say it.... I haven't seen Square have a hand in anything on a major console that has been "stellar" in a LONG time... in fact, just speaking objectively, I think the only titles I can come up with that seemed redeeming in any sense were Deus Ex Machina (I may have spelled that wrong), XIII-2 and Nier.... I once again I speak from an attempt to be objective... in fact I speak from a perception derived from the majorities opinion there, because I myself haven't even given all of those three enough time to say "yay or nay".... why haven't I... well....... I personally haven't really liked ANYTHING they have put out on major consoles this generation.... The only thing that square has done right in recent history in the west IMO is a freakin' rhythim game.... that is a far cry from the epics that once wowed me in the past...


So you don't have to be bashful as far as I'm concerned... I'm JRPG nut... a tried and true Squaresoft, "The World is Square" fan-boy..... but no one is going to offend me by saying  Square-Enix puts out piss poor, gimmicky titles, having abandoned their best franchises in the interest of Lara Croft or something else equally as mundane to the typical JRPG fan they  themselves cast the mold to create....

I get waaaaay more excited to see the names Atlus, Aksyss, Namco, and even IF, Compile Hearts, NISA or Level-5 attached to a new title and have now for quite awhile.... sad as it is for me to say....
 
1069  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Agarest Wars 2..A thread about the game and NOT the fanservice this time.... on: July 07, 2012, 05:13:00 PM
So I got this game, and it really is a massive improvement. Most of Idea Factory's games make me wonder why they are picked up for release here, but this one could probably get a release on its own merits. One thing that made me laugh though was that after the super serious opening scenes, not offset by the relatively somber pre-menu opening sequence, we get a super happy and cheery opening with dancing right out of nowhere. Then right back to serious. The Agarest games tend to have an extreme amount of mood whiplash, but this is really pushing it. I am enjoying it though.

I love that ridiculous opening! I also enjoy the "whiplash" as you so appropriately put it... Its lovely to have some levity sprinkled in such a dire narrative here and there. I couldn't believe the upgraded quality of these FMV sequences in contrast to the prior titles too, I wish there were move of them then I've bore witness to thus far, but given my restart I'm still not all that far in....

Speaking of.... on normal this game is SO much more enjoyable than hard.... I liked it on hard don't get me wrong... but now I officially love it. I feel very comfortable in saying this game is totally NOT getting the attention it deserves right now.
1070  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Agarest Wars 2..A thread about the game and NOT the fanservice this time.... on: July 02, 2012, 10:42:22 PM
You convinced me to get it! I liked the first one, but the battle system was clunky to the point that I gave up midway through the third generation. When every single battle out of eighty threatens a total party kill, due to the mechanics, the game is too hard. Granted, I liked Ar Tonelico Qoga and I have a really high tolerance for flaws, so I guess I'm in the target demographic! ;-)

Eh? To be quite honest, I've no idea what you're talking about.  The first Agarest is easy until you start hitting the bosses in Generation 3 that wipe out your party in one attack.  Methinks you, er, didn't know the mechanics well. But I didn't either, not until midway through my first playthrough in Generation 4 (which says a lot for the game in general, that it takes some ~400 battles to fully understand the system).

This game  has a difficulty spike right at the very start, because the game does a terrible job of explaining everything, and once you get the mechanics down, it's relatively uneven from then on.  One battle I can pass with no trouble, the next the enemies toss my characters around like dolls. I'm assuming it's like the first one and eventually the bosses will butcher you if you position your characters incorrectly.  I find it more difficult than Agarest 1, but most likely because I do knows Agarest 1 so well.

Some things I definitely like, though.  They're expanding on the lore (one of the best parts of the series) considerably.  I love the new skill system, very interesting.

@ Zend- Good decision friend! I can't imagine you being disapointed here as your tastes sound similar to my own (I love the Ar tonelico series and can easily overlook flaws in light of what I like)

@Cyril- I'm finding the key not getting totally trounced one battle to the next is paying real close attention to enemies strengths and weaknesses vs my parties and swtiching out characters FAST if they aren't part of the "solution" if you will.... that is if an enemy can exploit my parties weakness or I am unable to exploit theirs and quickly build my ultimate gauge, well I'm screwed..... to accomplish this your almost forced to focus on the growth of team-mates outside your preferred 4 person party with an emphasis on variety. Being mindful of this coupled with heavy emphasis of the "extend" skills has kept me moving steadily and I'm playing on hard......

Additionally I've noticed alot of what I have percieved as being overtly difficult was me getting a little too ambitious and venturing paths I probably should have waited to blaze until completing some other stuff.... but having a game over as a real possibility has proven remarkably refreshing for me. I think it is actually part of this titles strength. They certainly don't treat the player with kid gloves by the end of the first generation, thats for sure....


EDIT: Well guys, when I'm wrong, I'm wrong... and I have to admit I was wrong about the difficulty..... I do NOT suggest playing this on hard.... it gets steep, let me tell you what.... normal may seem too easy for awhile but hard  becomes brutally frustrating.... I mean it becomes quite literally unfair, even with relatively maxed equipment and upgrades to the point were progression is literally dependant on A-LOT of grinding.... I actually decided to restart on normal.... what a chore....
1071  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Agarest Wars 2..A thread about the game and NOT the fanservice this time.... on: July 01, 2012, 01:11:02 PM
Ok so it is official... I will totally say this game kicks ass.... Yea it has its flaws.... Yes it took a full week of play-time for to get to the "kick ass" point... but if you meander your way (painfully at times...) through the first long leg of this game, you'll be pleasantly surprised by a real gem of an SRPG here..

The coolest pro of this title for me is the way they keep the narrative (which is waaaay improved over Zero BTW) in tact whilst allowing you to play in a VERY non-linear way. In fact, dare I say, I've never quite felt such a sense of open-world, non-linearity in an SRPG of this nature before.

The cons really held this game back for the first 8-12 hours for me though,  which is a shame because I can see alot of people putting it down and never giving it so much as another glance throughout its meager beginnings..... And to be completely honest, I still don't dig the skill system (too much random-ness in developing effective configurations of characters skills for the coming battles for my taste..... you'll find yourself thinking you've got a solid set-up for one battle and then completely dwarfed in the next without reworking things.... which requires a wee bit too much menu surfing IMO)...

But other than those two (albeit major) problems, this game is a HUGE step up for Idea Factory if you ask me.... I'll post more as I make my way through this title, but that is my final two cents on the first weeks worth of getting aquainted with this one.

1072  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Playstation 1 RPGs on: June 30, 2012, 06:01:39 PM
I really wouldn't call it an "upscale". It just blurs the sprites a bit to make up for the lack of scanlines and other magic old TVs used to use. I usually turn it off, I prefer pixelated sprites to the blurred blobs that they into with smoothing on.

I may have said it wrong.... when I said upscaling I was referring to the PSP.... "smoothing" is the Ps3 effect and, as I mentioned, while I have no experience with the smoothing of other newer models, the 60GB doesn't blur things out really at all, it just makes them look like they did on the ol' square tele's of yesteryear..... I have seen the smoothing of the 80gb and I agree in that regard, on some games it is a bit of a stepdown.... amazing the difference of Ps3's model to model with this effect (particularly with the hand drawn sprite stuff)...
1073  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: June 30, 2012, 05:54:05 PM
Bought FFXIII again this week (yeah I know I'm crazy) so one of these days I'll be playing it along with the sequel. Right now I'm fucking around with the Uncharted games seeing some things and also lately I've been in the mood to actually finish Grandia and Vagrant Story.

Dunno when I'll be going back into those two games though.

I got to the last chapter in FFXIII and it took me a full year before I had the desire/patience to polish it off.... I know the 2nd was well recieved but it still sits on my shelf untouched....

In other news, I made mondo progress in Agarest 2.... but I'm mad!! I'm in the top 100 on the leaderboards for max hits.... or at least I should be!!! I registered my max hits in at 67 and it still reads 42!!! I don't know when this updates or whatnot but I hope its soon... I've never been in the top 100 ranking on any game in any respect before..... I'm stoked...
1074  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: June 29, 2012, 06:21:25 PM
Breath of Fire III.

This game is turning out to be surprisingly difficult -- yay!!

I'm at the Arena.  I don't know who their fucking head would use Peco here... but he's hostage bait.
I really liked doing the "Fire Room" bit too, surprisingly involved a bit of tactics -- but the submerged-in-lava bodybuilders troubled me every second they were on screen because they were... submerged-in-lava bodybuilders.

http://spriters-resource.com/psx_ps2/breathoffire3/arenanpcs.png


Hot bunny girls.

Well Dice, ya got me.....

After the PS1 post over yonder in "single player" I had a BOF3 itch.... reading your progress sent me over the edge... I was really widdling away at my backlog whilst enjoying Agarest 2 via a neat and tidy game schedule.... and now I just had to add BOF3 into the equation and start a new game in it today.... so much for my neat and tidy gaming routine... looks like Hyperdimension MK2 and Earthbound are gonna be waiting a lil' bit longer to get any more attention from me.... and I think Dragons Dogma just totally fell off the radar... Classic gaming and backlog weekends have now just become in honor of the Dragon Clan for me...

Curse you Dice! Curse you for enticing me to indulge this ooey-gooey morsel of classic gaming goodness!.... This is all in jest by the way... this game totally kicks ass, thanks for sending me over the edge on this one :)

Just something quick to note.... (while I already posted it in the ps1 thread, I thought I would share here....) after a side by side comparison this afternoon of the first hour or so of BOF3 PSP upscaled on tv vs. the original ps1 smoothed out running on the ps3, the psp variety is totally the way to go.... way brighter visuals, better sound quality and most importantly the controls are far more responsive in regard to moving your beyond-awesome-old-school-sprites around....

EDIT:...... Ok..... so I went a nice 5-6 mile jog to think things over and I've come to my senses..... I must be disciplined... Breath of Fire has to wait until at least I finish Earthbound.... So don't worry guys.... Catastrophe averted....  I swear some days I feel as though I'm gonna explode from my excitement to delve into a new title (or old one or that matter....)....
1075  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Playstation 1 RPGs on: June 29, 2012, 06:06:34 PM
Gotta retract one of my earlier statements..... for anyone wondering the European PSP incarnation of breath of fire 3 looks (and feels) MUCH better upscaled on a TV as opposed to the original ps1 incarnation run via the ps3 with smoothing.... I just did side by side comparisons this afternoon to decide which I wanted to play (always wanted to do that-lol) and there is no contest here.... PSP Pal version is definately the way to go....

I had mentioned I ordered BOF3 to play smoothed on the ps3 in my earlier post  about backward compatability.... and let me tell you I feel like a fool now....that was totally 60 bucks that could have been better spent..... so for anyone else torn on how to indulge this classic, let my error save you some trouble... PSP upscaled is without a doubt the way to go (and cheaper)
1076  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Atelier Ayesha on: June 29, 2012, 05:59:30 PM

Oh, that is such good news. Getting the ending you wanted was such a pain in the Arland trilogy. A walkthrough was 100% required.

You can say that again... I just totally went waaay out of my way on my playthrough for a sterk ending and ended up with cordelia... I was sure I met all the requirements... I honestly don't know how it happened... well actually yea i do..... I didn't use a guide... thats what happened-LoL
1077  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Playstation 1 RPGs on: June 28, 2012, 05:09:45 PM
So my Suikoden order just came in and it actually looks like it is in really good condition, which I was really happy to see, since this is my first experience with amazons used stuff.

Now I just need to finish xenoblade before i start it, which could take like.. 2 years

Sick as it sounds, I actually have contrived "gaming schedules" to cope with such conundrums.... I have 2 current gen titles I switch between on weekdays depending on what I am feeling and usually 1 backlog or 1 classic I play starting friday til sunday. I actually just completed my 108 star playthrough of suikoden 1 via a month or so of "Suikoden Saturday's and Sunday's"-LoL

I find its sometimes hard to tear myself away from a title for a day or two to allow time for the other, but my completion rate has been much better gaming this way. If I plug away at one title long enough I find myself usually "just playing it to finish it" by the end....

While now that you all know how sick Klyde actually is, I dare someone to inquire about how I micromanage the rest of my time.... I'm so routine in the interest of productivity it is quite disgusting actually.....

lol I actually think thats a pretty good idea. I often get the "just playing to finish it" feeling myself after a number of hours on just one game, and that would be a good way to remedy it.

Quick question, I know some PS3s are backwards compatible with PS2 games, while others are not, what's the deal with PS1 games? I only have my PS3 with me at the moment, my PS2 is at my parents.

I have the 60gb launch model PS3 for backwards compatability myself. The 60gb launch model and 80gb models are the only ones that are ps2 backward compatable.

On that note, should you have that model, whenever you are playing a ps1 or 2 game, hit the PS3 button on your controller and go to "other settings" and set smoothing to "on".... the games will look 100x better than they do even with the best hdmi cables money can buy... they look so much better in fact I just bought breath of fire 3 to play on the ps3 this way, even though I own the psp european version.... it makes THAT much of a difference visually.  This "smoothing" option, may or may not be available on newer ps3's... I couldn't really tell you as I've no experience with them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: backward compatability is waaaay better with the 60gb model vs the 80gb to my understanding as well due to the fact that the 60 gb has different hardware to support the BC whereas the 80 just uses some cheap-o emulation chip. This is apparent when using the smoothing option as the visuals are enhanced notably better with the 60gb vs. the 80

1078  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Playstation 1 RPGs on: June 28, 2012, 02:39:50 AM
So my Suikoden order just came in and it actually looks like it is in really good condition, which I was really happy to see, since this is my first experience with amazons used stuff.

Now I just need to finish xenoblade before i start it, which could take like.. 2 years

Sick as it sounds, I actually have contrived "gaming schedules" to cope with such conundrums.... I have 2 current gen titles I switch between on weekdays depending on what I am feeling and usually 1 backlog or 1 classic I play starting friday til sunday. I actually just completed my 108 star playthrough of suikoden 1 via a month or so of "Suikoden Saturday's and Sunday's"-LoL

I find its sometimes hard to tear myself away from a title for a day or two to allow time for the other, but my completion rate has been much better gaming this way. If I plug away at one title long enough I find myself usually "just playing it to finish it" by the end....

While now that you all know how sick Klyde actually is, I dare someone to inquire about how I micromanage the rest of my time.... I'm so routine in the interest of productivity it is quite disgusting actually.....
1079  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Agarest Wars 2..A thread about the game and NOT the fanservice this time.... on: June 28, 2012, 02:31:02 AM
with most visually appealing sprites I've seen in a current gen title equates to godiva quality eye candy here...

I think you forgot Disgaea 4 exists.
A few more hours in and I am afraid to report things are becoming a bit stale... To expand upon my last post I'll get into gameplay a bit here....

I was mistaken.... it isn't that the systems are terribly complex or overwhelming... it is just that they are presented as such... the game does a horrible job of making things seem waaaay more complex then they need be...

So, in other words, it's a classic Idea Factory failure.

Well I certainly wouldn't go so far as to say that.... as I said, this is without question a cut above their other titles.... there is some definitive evolution to bear witness to here.... Most of IF's other titles I felt were borderline torture unless you were (as I am) part of that niche' demographic they are catering to.... I actually feel this ALMOST transcends that and stands on its own two feet as a really decent SRPG... Mind you I said almost.... The flaws do hold it back, to the point of failure...? No, I don't think so..... It has inherent IF flaws, but it has enough going for it that, unlike most other titles they have produced, these flaws are the type of thing that make you frustrated at points but not enough to quit playing....

So flawed yes, failed (in my opinion) no.

I actually feel if this is any indication of whats to come out of IF in the future they may prove to have some seriously decent games someday.....
1080  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Agarest Wars 2..A thread about the game and NOT the fanservice this time.... on: June 27, 2012, 04:58:39 PM
with most visually appealing sprites I've seen in a current gen title equates to godiva quality eye candy here...

I think you forgot Disgaea 4 exists.

Nah, I'll never forget Disgaea 4 :) I've been itching to get the post game content actually because its the only Disgaea title I didn't pour 100 of hours in after finishing the main story....

Anyhow back to more impressions of Agarest here....

A few more hours in and I am afraid to report things are becoming a bit stale... To expand upon my last post I'll get into gameplay a bit here....

I was mistaken.... it isn't that the systems are terribly complex or overwhelming... it is just that they are presented as such... the game does a horrible job of making things seem waaaay more complex then they need be... Now that I have the hang of it though, battles are getting a bit old (while still real pretty to look at). It seems each encounter is solved with the same repetitive strategy of combo attacks followed up by ultimate attacks... Just pay attention to the wait gauge, build up an ultimate/limit break styled move, let her rip and thats that.... Sort of is becoming "lather rinse repeat" a bit. I tend to think this may change more as the difficulty increases as I progress but we will see...

Now as for the skills and equipment systems.... The game once again bombards you with a 101 tutorials making things very complex to digest.... however much like the battle system it doesn't seem that trying once you get some hands on experience with it. Problem is, these tutorials come at the onset of the game and its literally hours before you get to actually put any of said instruction into application.... This left me feeling confused and baffled for no reason really. They make a souped up pseudo-materia system seem like quantum physics here.... at least that was the impression I initially got..

So another big con I feel need be reported in my humble opinion is how your introduced to everything within the first few hours... I can see it REALLY turning off gamers fast.... Coupled with the fact that first few hours are LONG.... you don't get your feet wet too quick in this title, let me tell you what.... in fact a few hours in and your still in the introductory phases, yet its still a good while before that which was introduced to you has any application.

So is this a perfect game? No, not by any stretch.... Is it an upgrade from the past Agarests? I would say without a doubt!.... I'll close now with this. I am actually pretty surprised with the quality displayed here by compile hearts and idea factory... I am a fan, but I'm the first to admit its because of my particular subjective tastes that I have appreciated their titles.  They have, however, definately stepped things up in a number of respects... I feel like if they knock up the gameplay a notch along with the production value they have going here we'd really see something stellar.... The long and the short of it..... Agarest Wars 2 will certainly be enough to tide me over til Growlanser IV, but I highly doubt its gonna prove something I feel a pressing need to burn through despite the decent narrative and eye candy.

But once again, these are initial impressions.... another week or so with the title and I think I'll really know where I stand with it.
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