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1  Media / General Games / Contra 4 on: July 02, 2007, 12:55:31 AM
These are my favorite kinds of games for the DS. Like New Super Mario Bros, it brings a classic, old school feel back to a system that's perfect for it and doesn't tack on any unnecessary use of the stylus. While I sort of have an affinity for the 2-D/3-D hybrid graphics found in NSMB, I understand why Konami went with sprites for Contra IV--they lend themselves to that "classic Contra" feel. It looks like a really tight SNES game which...is really fine by me.
2  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 02, 2007, 12:48:59 AM
I can, too!

--Every Wild Arms after the original! :) And if that weren't enough, they went back and besmirched the glory of the original Wild Arms with an ass-tastic remake that incorporated that awful world map search... phenomenon...thing. I mean c'mon--the god damn town is RIGHT in front of you and you can't see it? Talk about suspension of belief. That kind of garbage takes me rightout of being immersed in a game.
3  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 01, 2007, 09:59:50 PM
Anyone here who knows me (or still remembers me) can tell you that it's pretty impossible to offend me, personally. I just don't care to see sophomoric behavior and the degradation of a perfectly viable topic. Not that it's my job to police these boards--old habits just die hard.
4  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 01, 2007, 09:08:40 PM
C'mon guys let's try to act our ages--or, if not, act in accordance to a mature age. Let's not have this discussion degrade into mudslinging and insults.

Alisha's topic was a valid observation and complaint, one that was able to be explored and discussed intelligent and brought to sound, factual causes for whycompanies choose to change up their styles despite previous success. It's called discourse, and I welcome it on Message Boards over "what's your favorite!" polls.
5  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 01, 2007, 05:15:01 PM
Or it's simply a matter of how much games costs.... and have cost. Wasn't Final Fantasy VII/VIII 7+million dollars to develop, and that was for the PSOne and the limited capabilities that console could provide? Multiply that to whatever power the PS2 or PS3 boasts. There's so much economics involved in any undertaking, game development included. You're paying various people for various services rendered based on various scales (hourly, salary, royalties, etc.) There's simply no way to skirt around atleast dropping a few million on developing a title given the complexity of video games (programming, 3-D modeling, art design, animation, audio, scripting, etc.).

At the end of the day, we all want to be reimbursed for our hard work accordingly. If making a game a certain kind of way is no longer profitable then it is time to go back to the drawing board. There is a reason the sort of comedy movies prevalent in the 70's, 80's, or early 90's are no longer being made today. Audiences grow up, their tastes change. New generations come into the picture with an entirely different taste then their predecessors. It's the nature of the beast. If whoever makes it possible for you to develop games--say, Sony with Insomniac games--knocks on your door and demands an outstanding First Person Shooter to debut the PS3 with well, you answer their call and just hope to god all the money you sink into the project can be made back.
6  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 01, 2007, 02:50:31 PM
Except in order for it to be a working discussion it has to be free of knee-jerk reactions caused by a contributor's inability to keep their emotions at check. It's one thing to have an opinion about something, which is inherently backed by emotions. It's another thing to breech the container withholding them and have it spill across these message boards in a show of vulgarity and tastelessness.

Attacking other community members in a burst of heated emotion is an exercise of poor judgment.
7  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 01, 2007, 08:53:32 AM
For starters, I don't appreciate being called an idiot. If you can't engage in intelligent discourse instead of lowering yourself to name calling then you really shouldn't waste your breath here. Whether the notion appeals to you or not, image sells and image is what most companies sink their dollars into. Even if they license the Unreal 3 Engine or an established engine, game development still costs way more these days then it did back in the glory days on PSOne. This is where my arguement of "the ass-backwards industry" comes into play. Despite being a vocal detractor of the Wii, I do feel it is the most viable platform for a developer to work with. If the Wii stopped pushing itself as "new gen" so hard and marketed itself as a standard console as well as a "waggle"console, more developers would be inclined to bring their action-adventure titles to the system. Cheaper development costs = quicker production time, which means you can make more games more frequently at less cost and--duh--make more. I don't see how my $400-$600 dollar console is justified when I spend 3-5 years waiting between each "stellar" game simply because developers are under pressure to make photorealistic graphics, animation, and effects over something stylized. I would rather have the PSOne days return, where companies were shitting out decent-to-great games twice a year, Squaresoft in particular. Not only that, but Konami and Capcom, you know, actually existed

And as far as exclusivity, well, if you eliminate their existence you eliminate the need for their being an XBox or a PS3 -- what can they compete over if they all sport the same library? This is a classic "Sonic vs Mario debate". There can be shared games between the two consoles, but ultimately one has to have a pile of exclusives that draw you to it (Halo 3, Too Human, Mass Effectfor XBox or FFXIII, MGS4, and Uncharted for PS3, etc.). This is the nature of the beast, and unless you find a way to get either Sony or Microsoft to drop out of the race--or better yet, get them in bed together, you aren't going to see the eradication of exclusives because it simply makes no sense.

We're sort of drifting off point here. Back to what I was originally saying - the reason developers don't adhere to the idea that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is because in order to survive in an ever-adapting industry one must change and keep up. While turn-based battle systems made sense ten years ago, they really don't so much anymore. This is one of the fastest growing, evolving industries there are. In the span of my short lifetime we've seen blips and bloops become sickeningly realistic models and such. While dredging up the classic Final Fantasy battle system may sell to the expected, established fanbase, it won't do much to broaden interest in their game. By changing things up and making it more user-friendly for up-and-coming RPG fans, or perhaps even gamers who have never given RPGs a chance you create an opportunity to A. Make more profit/success and B. Help expand the genre's fanbase.

Something that never ceases to surprise me is how single-minded gamers are, as if video games are developed just for them and their interests. As if all the work that goes into developing a game, especially one on XBox 360 or PS3, can be justified by a singular purchase. Obviously this is absurd, and with their already limited install bases developers need to make games as accessible to as many different types as audiences as possible to hope to make a sound profit.
8  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: July 01, 2007, 12:35:27 AM
Well, again, your examples are flawed. Not trying to attack you. Xenosaga was received poorly, and criticized very  ruthlessly over its battle system. As a result, Monolith Soft tried to retune the battle system in Xenosaga Episode II to address fan complaints. You may be one of the few unfortunate souls who actually liked the original battle system, but I'd say it's clear through Monolith's actions that the overwhelming majority of their already niche audience did not.

The same happened with Episode II. The battle system once again held the game back from realizing its potential, which led to III's more classic turn-based combat. Incidentally, that has been the most well-received incarnation of Xenosaga's battle system. It's certainly my favorite. I thought of the entire trilogy III was the most well-rounded in terms of story-telling and gameplay. I actually enjoyed playing it.

Final Fantasy X-2, though a sequel, is a unique take on both Final Fantasy as a series and Final Fantasy X's world/characters. They rebuilt the battle system to accommodate the class costumes that the developers wanted to give the heroine's. I never finished the game. I have quite the reputation for being the FFX/X-2 detractor. Although, in the recent years, I've actually gone back and replayed Final Fantasy X and changed my opinion of it. I have yet to give X-2 the same chance, but I've been told by most people who have played it that it is actually one of the better incarnations of FF combat.

My point is, battle systems are changed in order to accommodate to the type of game they are being designed for accordingly, as well as their popularity. FFX-2's unique style required an equally unique battle system. Xenosaga's big budget development and then poor reception required the most unpopular elements to be redesigned.

It all boils down to money. When you sink tens of thousands of millions of dollar's into developing a game--especially for these big blockbuster PS3 and XBox360 games-- you have to try and gain the largest install base possible to atleast break even, or preferably make a profit. Catering to niche audiences and genre enthusiasts isn't smart business.
9  Media / General Games / Tomb Raider: Anniversary on: June 30, 2007, 09:50:37 PM
I "grabbed" it for PC. Quite honestly, I'm interested in checking it out on PS2. I hear that the visuals are on par with its PC counter-part and that much like God of War 2, TRA really showcases the PS2's strengths.

As you said, Eusis, the game is a "much needed remake". Unlike Ninja Gaiden Sigma or some of the other ridiculous suggestions people have made, Tomb Raider is over a decade old now and has never really reached the same level the original did. Now that it's all dolled up and tricked out with a much better, more fluid control scheme I think it's truly an outstanding title. I haven't gotten too far in the game, but certainly far enough to say that it's worth renting or picking up. It's not as though anyone plays Tomb Raider for the deep plot and strong characterization, heh. It's a blast and certainly borrows from Prince of Persia in how acrobatic Lara has become. Then again, I think Prince of Persia probably borrowed from Tomb Raider during its inception. If that's the case, things have come full circle.

Whatever the case may be, while Legends was a solid game, Tomb Raider: Anniversary is a fully realized game and another good note for the PS2 to go out on in addition to God of War 2.
10  Media / The Soundroom / The Recent Musical Purchases Thread on: June 30, 2007, 09:45:49 PM
The Subways - Young For Eternity

I won't even lie to you guys--I've been watching a heinous amount of The O.C. both for character/dialogue research as well because of my man-crush on Adam Brody. Nonetheless, This group was featured in one of the episodes in Season 3. They have that "old rock" sort of thing going on and while it's nothing special it's a fun album. Definitely passes the time in a car ride. I'm not a hard customer to please when it comes to music, though.
11  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: June 30, 2007, 09:42:32 PM
This rule is fundamentally flawed, sorry. If you keep to close to the philosophy of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", what you wind up doing is creating a decade of stagnate, redundant gameplay. Case-in-point: the Zelda franchise. Although this is somewhat of a gray matter. I can play any 2-D Zelda over and over again, and they can shit out a bullshit "new" version and I'll embrace it with arms wide open.

Twilight Princess, however, earned my scorn. I felt as though despite growing in scale and being an improvement visually from its predecessors and adopting a more "dark" tone, it was ostensibly the same damn 3-D Zelda experience I've been having since Ocarina of Time. Go dawdle with ridiculous tasks, plunge into a dungeon, collect an artifact, fight a boss, rinse, wash, repeat. I've whooped Ganon's ass more times then I care to count now. I'm not asking for them to redefine Zelda as we know it. But it certainly wouldn't hurt to add to the series. Narrative and characterization, for one, would go a long way. Imagine a Zelda installment with some actual narrative. Imagine Zelda evoking emotional responses from Link in the same vein as Mary Jane and Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2.

If not in storytelling, then just expand Link's abilities. We know he's acrobatic, so why not let him perform more impressive feats ala Prince of Persia? It can remain true to the franchise in its core, but branch out uniquely.

The reality is that Role Playing Games are becoming stagnant, a dying genre. People want bang for their buck and the less-then-engaging turn-based combat system only appeals to a niche crowd. When you pour millions of dollars into a game that will be sold on a platform with a limited install base (XBox 360 or PS3) you have to cater to a wider audience then just the expected RPG Fanatic. This is why we've seen traditionally turn-based/strategy series like Shining Force adopt action-RPG elements. They're trying to expand their audience, and who can blame them? This is also what has killed system exclusives. There's simply no way Grand Theft Auto IV could break even if it released for one console or the other. Only by spreading out to every viable install base can they hope to make a profit. It's simply too early in the game to be putting out exclusive blockbusters on either "next gen" (now gen?) console. Price is the barrier for entry.

But I digress.

There's no way to please everyone. Create "the same game" and some die-hard fans champion it. Others, like myself, are turned off and feel like I might as well go back and replay the original. Balance is the key to everything in life, and that's not something easy to achieve.
12  The Rest / General Discussions / RPGFan Community Photo Thread: 2007 Edition on: June 30, 2007, 09:10:18 PM

Seriously, it's the best and most recent picture I have and it hardly does me any justice. I figured, sans a few of the Ladies of RPGFan, most people don't want any shirtless photos or anything all manner of creepy and pedophile so once I dig some normal recent pics up I'll post them.

Christ I need to purchase a camera...

This is the best I was able to produce, a few hours ago on the ol' shitty phonecam. Sorry folks.

**I borrowed a camera for a half-decent photo that's so new it's hot. Like me!

13  The Rest / General Discussions / GaGaGame Journal #5 on: June 30, 2007, 09:07:24 PM
I've been trying to drag myself through Odin Sphere from Atlus/Vanillaware, a review assignment I've given myself for one of the papers I write for, Play. Unfortunately, while I've found the game to be delightfully "nostalgic", it also suffers from some pretty unforgivable technical difficulties. Namely tremendous, crippling slow-down.

I realize the PSTwo is at fault for its heinously poor Video RAM, which 2-D games such as Odin Sphere draw their resources from, but I'm forced to pin the blame on Vanillaware. It is a developer's responsibility to know the capabilities and limitations of the hardware they are developing for. The PS2's Video RAM deficiencies are old news. Despite this, Vanillaware chose to create absurd scenarios involving screen-size dragon sprites, hordes of enemy sprites and animations all going apeshit against the player, who isn't helping with the slowdown. This shortcoming has ultimately caused me to lose interest in Odin Sphere, and will surely be factored into my final review of the game.

Otherwise, I've found the game to be moderately enjoyable. A worthwhile purchase at $40 for any RPG Fan looking for an "old school" nostalgic experience. I don't see it breaking into any new markets, unfortunately. Atlus never really has with there endeavors, though.

When this game drives me up a wall--and boy does it on a regular basis-- I escape to Ninja Gaiden for the XBox (I'm a late comer, sue me). The game really is solid, and despite Ninja Gaiden Sigma's impressive visuals I still feel that the original holds up well in this day and age. Then again I'm not much of an "HD" guy. I'm still cool with my 32'' SDTV and PS2-caliber graphics. Tomb Raider Anniversary and God of War 2 have done a great job at showcasing how powerful a system PS2 truly is. Anyhow, my only complaints with Ninja Gaiden are with the camera control and the stupid/funky First Person toggle with the second analog. Otherwise the game is candy, a delightful treat.
14  The Rest / The Bazaar / WTB: Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Party T-shirt on: June 30, 2007, 08:46:07 PM
This is a long-shot, but I'm hoping to find some community members here on RPGFan that live in or around San Francisco and happened to attend the official Sony Store's big Final Fantasy I PSP party the other day. At the event they were giving away some of these sexy shirts for free:

As an east coaster I was unable to attend the event. I am desperate for the shirt, however, and have not had much luck tracking it down on other forums (IGN, 1UP.com, SomethingAwful) or eBay. I'm willing to shell out $20-30 dollars for it--though I am open to negotiations. I'd also trade games anyone might be looking for since I'm no longer a collector. The catch is that I want a small. I actually want to wear this shirt, and contrary to Gabe Newell's belief not all of us gamers are fat-ass Triple-XLs. Maybe they didn't hand out smalls at the vent--I don't know, but I figure it doesn't hurt to try.

If you're equipped and interested hit me up here in PM or in this thread or reach me on AIM (you can find my handle on my profile).
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