Sega thinks the world should be Destroyed!

And you are just the one to do it! In their newly revealed game, titled ambitiously “World Destruction”, you will take on the role of Kyrie who is recruited by a rebel group that wants to destroy the world. Why? Well why not! Well ok the real reason is likely to provide hours of reading text explaining how horrible it is to live life as livestock to the beastmen.

With Masato Kato doing the scenario there is little doubt that we will see an instant classic. From his work story planning in Chrono Trigger to script writing in Xenogears it is clear virtually everything he writes turns to gold. And that isn’t even the only name to drop, they have the composer from Chrono Trigger, Yasunori Mitsuda, doing the music.

The game itself will be presented in 2D/3D DS RPG style. The battle system is akin to Chrono Trigger’s with 3 characters fighting in turn-based battle using battle points to attack with special abilities or combo attacks. X-slash FTW!

No announcement has been made yet on a stateside release, and sega would be crazy not to, but cross fingers till they do just to be safe.


Blood & Guts! Requiem: Bloodymare – First Impressions

The closed beta for Requiem: Bloodymare started on 2/29. Being the MMO whore that I am, I snapped up a beta key and started playing. Horror games are not my usual cup of tea, but something about blood, gore, and mmo-style play thrills me. For example, there’s something totally awesome about killing those named mobs in Diablo 2 that explode into bits and pieces all over the place when they die.

There’s no NDA on this beta, so I thought I’d share my thoughts.

The premise is that there’s some kind of magical energy wreaking havoc on this world, so my avatar has undergone some kind of cybernetic enhancement to become a Temperion. I have to go on quests for the company that made me and help people out with problems. That, in itself, feels a bit odd to me, simply because when I created my character, I didn’t really feel like I was creating a hero. It felt more like I was creating a mercenary, at best. The NPC’s I help seem to view me more as a hero, though.

Regardless of what race you choose, the first 10 levels of every character is exactly the same. At level 10, you get to decide what your job will be. Each race can choose between 2 jobs, so there’s not a whole lot of choice. There’s a DNA system that enhances your character, along with skills that you can learn each level. I haven’t experimented much with DNA yet, though, as I only just reached level 10. Leveling is slightly slow when compared to World of Warcraft (and I’m only comparing the two because EVERYONE compares EVERYTHING to WoW these days), but I don’t feel that it’s THAT bad.

There’s a tutorial of sorts when you begin, but it’s not that great. It teaches you how to move, attack, use items, etc. But nothing ever pops up on the screen to say, “press M for the map.” I got all the way to level 10 before I stumbled on M by accident…lol. Not that I really minded. I’m used to EQ back when there WAS no map. And Plane of Knowledge? Hah! I walked everywhere or paid someone for a port.

The battle system is standard fare. Auto-attack, spells, skills, cooldowns, etc. You can enhance your gear with items and deconstruct old gear into items.

Graphics are very nice. I turned everything up, of course. And the blood and guts? AWESOME. Twitching, bloody corpses lie on the ground after you deliver the killing blow and usually a body part or two goes flying. I’m loving it.

The background music is meh. I turned it off after a day, although I kept the regular sound effects on. Every game day (which seems to be about 2 hours or so), there’s a period of time called Nightmare Time or something. It lasts for about 15 real minutes. During this time, nightmare creatures (like Elites) come out, which require groups to kill. I haven’t killed one or seen one yet, so I’m not sure what the benefits are if you kill them. I love when Nightmare time starts, though. The whole screen goes black for a second or two and there’s an ominous sound.

Probably my biggest complaint about the game isn’t really about the game itself, but the people who are playing it. I realize that this is an M Rated game. I expect profanity and stuff. Hell, I have a pretty foul mouth myself, sometimes. But just because you can swear, does not make it okay to treat people to verbal abuse or racist comments. I get the distinct impression that many people playing this think, “Oh, it’s M rated, so I can say whatever I want.” An M Rating shouldn’t give people the license to hurt others, you know? Thankfully, there is an excellent “Block” option and, believe it or not, I’ve only added one person to that list so far. (I have very high tolerance for stupidity, although I LOVE to complain about it.)

I created two characters: a shaman and a soul hunter. I’m looking forward to actually playing them now that I have their level 10 jobs. As to whether I will actually play this game when it goes live, I’m not sure yet. I don’t know anything at all about grouping or group dynamics. 1-10 is totally soloable. I have quests now that require me to group, so I’ll learn soon. It’s my understanding that the game will be free-to-play with pay-for-premium.

I can’t remember what server I chose, but if anyone else is playing, I’d love to have someone else to play with.


Gary Gygax Father Of The RPG Is Dead

Ernest Gary Gygax (July 27, 1938 – March 4, 2008) was an American writer and game designer, best known for co-creating the pioneering role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) with Dave Arneson, and co-founding the company Tactical Studies Rules with Don Kaye in 1974. Gygax is generally acknowledged as the father of the role-playing game.[2]

On March 4th, the Associated Press confirmed reports of Gygax’s death that originally were made by Troll Lord Games,[3] a small role-playing game company Gygax had been working with.[4][5] He had been in poor health, suffering multiple strokes and a near-heart attack. He died the morning of March 4, 2008 at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.


Ninja Reflex: A Psychology Experiment on a Disc

Remember when you got paid to sit in a room for an hour while images were flashed on a computer screen and a guy watched you try and distinguish the difference between a consonant and a vowel? Now imagine you’re doing the same thing, only instead of vowels, there are ninjas, and instead of getting paid, you shelled out forty bucks. Pretty bum deal, huh?

Suffice it to say that there isn’t anything special to Ninja Reflex. There are six minigames in which you are required to perform a specific task, be it hitting ninja cutouts with shurikens or catching flies with a pair of chopsticks, in order to advance yourself through the various belt colors. That wasn’t a very long sentence, but there really isn’t much more to it.

I would say that actually training to become a ninja is less of a chore compared to this game. To advance to the next belt, you have to play each minigame more than three times a piece, and if my math skills still serve me well, you have to play over 200 rounds of the same six minigames to get to black belt. That may not be that much compared to other games, but the sheer monotony of the task is an immediate turn off.

One of the things that gets me is that for a game called Ninja Reflex, your reaction times are not stored anywhere. Sure, they pop on the screen for that half a second after you click, but after that it disappears along with your sense of accomplishment. And during your quest for jewels that qualify you for your next belt test, you can’t replay games once you beat them, even if your times sucked balls. But I guess that doesn’t really matter when no real records exist.

Multiplayer is more of a formality than a mode. You can play one version of each of the six minigames, and then compare scores. That’s it. You’d be better off driving your friends to a Circuit City and letting them play the demo stands for ten minutes. At least then you could say that you did something.

There is, however, one thing that this game has that no other does. Meditation. Straight up, sit in silence meditation. You have the option of having the stereotypical old Asian guy talk you through all the steps, or setting a timer on the game for your own silent meditation. While you’re doing this, the screen shows a giant Ying Yang symbol gently rotating back and forth to the sound of nothing. Seriously, if you’re going to meditate, don’t let a video game be your first foray into it. Jesus Christ, I could only listen to 30 seconds of it before deciding that I would be better off just sleeping.

There are a lot of worse games out there that aren’t as well made, but that doesn’t mean you can make a game like this and expect people to pay full price. There is literally no reason for this game to exist by itself. Maybe, just maybe, if some sort of third person ninja shooter with a decent plotline and an array of weapons came out, then Ninja Reflex would be a decent side section for that game. As it stands now, wait for it to hit the ten dollar bin before rejecting it again on the grounds that your local college campus probably has something similarly interesting that pays five bucks an hour.


Watch TV with Your Wii! …in Japan

In addition to being useful for breaking windows, bashing people over the head, stabbing, driving, and other random acts of violence, you can now use the Wii Remote as a universal remote for watching television. Japanese Wii owners can download the TV Guide Channel, which will let them surf through channels, share their favorite shows with their friends, rate shows, view demographic data to see what other Wii users are watching, and receive an e-mail or SMS message 30 minutes before a show they want to watch is going to begin.

It looks like for all its “pure gaming” ideals, Nintendo is bowing to the multi-media desires of the masses with this. Still, if they were to implement this in the US, I’d be all over it. Unfortunately, I think that until cable television becomes nationally standardized (as opposed to only within a certain state or company), this cannot be a reality.


DLC and destroying the defenses of the indefensible

The past week or two has had a fury of new articles on the DLC for EA’s Battlefield: Bad Company. If you already know the story then you can just skip to the next paragraph, for the uninitiated; buckle up! EA revealed during the beta that in BF:BA (not to be confused with BF:Heroes wich is the free game) upgraded weapons would require a purchase for each weapon. Some game sites around the net reacted violently calling for a boycott on the game in its entirety just to send a message to EA that paying for weapons is unacceptable when it is obviously a completed feature and is already on the disk. A few days ago EA came out and said they would no longer be forcing players to pay for the weapons and that they could unlock them by playing through the game(or by paying).

Now when the news was first announced that EA “changed it’s heart” it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t about customer service or giving the players what they wanted. It was entirly a monetary issue. But since the boycott forced the issue it, contrary to what certain gamers may think, is a BIG win for gamers, as it shows that we do have the power to decide how our games will be. It comes as no surprise that people on the internet would want to rain on the celebrations, but the number of people actually defending DLC is shocking. Alot of points used to defend DLC in gaming are just wrong.

If you don’t like it just don’t buy it.
Fair enough. And although this isn’t necessarly an argument for DLC it is just as bad since it still allows for DLC. Even if there are plunty of people who don’t buy it that won’t stop companies from witholding content just to provide it as DLC.

DLC is just like expansion packs, only you can buy just the parts you like.
No it isn’t. First off no game has yet to offer enough DLC to equal what is typically included in an expansion pack. Second, given the prices for DLC, an expansion pack worth would cost significantly more than an expansion pack. Additionally, many expansion packs signifigantly change the game: to the point that it is nearly a new game. Developers ussually start working on expansions after the launch of their title. DLC is sometimes available from launch. If something was ready at launch why isn’t it included at launch? Now sure it takes some time to make content but even if DLC going gold is instantly available and a game takes about a month to see release after it goes gold, that means that launch day DLC has only been worked on for 1 month maybe less. If it has been done in less than a month there is a fair question of quality, if they have been working on it longer than a month then why didn’t they just include it in the game? It has been proven that companies withold content from the game to use as DLC. Expansion packs have never been comprised of content witheld from the original game.

Making games is more expensive, HD graphics cost a ton, DLC is just a way to recoup costs.

BS! If DLC is to recoup costs the why are the HD games sold at a 10 dollar premium? Wasn’t that explained as a way to help developers recoup the cost of making games in HD? Besides, it isn’t like gaming is the only industry where cost are escalating, hollywood’s production costs are also rising. Yet hollywood mysteriously seems to be able to maintain, heck 90% of hollywood movies actually make money (of course they will use hollywood accounting to claim otherwise but that is a different story). The reason hollywood is able to enjoy such a success rate is because they have people who are very very good at looking at an idea and knowing it will make about X dollars so they can spend Y. Just look at Uwe Boll, the man makes the poorest rated movies yet still gets hired. Why? Because, as Kevin Smith has said “If you can make someone even a little bit of money, you will be hired again.” Even with the negative reviews, Uwe’s movies make money. Obviously, this is due to budgeting and not success. This is what gaming companies need to do. They need to have guys who sit there and determine how much a game idea will make with fairly good accuracy. Really, game companies, and some gamers, need to realize that not every game needs to be presented in 720p! Not every game needs to have 10 million dollar CGI scenes! Not every game needs to have lifelike foilage! Would Halo 3 really have sold less without the fake HD? Would Lair, Heavenly Sword, or Warhawk have sold less? With those three it is likely that they would have sold less but the cost savings would have made all three games financial successes. And really what is more important; having beautiful games or having game companies that can make money without pumping out the same game franchise year after year?


Just days till Baroque finally hits the states

Since it is just 5 days before the classic gothic-horror rougelike RPG finally hits the states, let us whet our appetite with a video.

Fair warning for those watching the video: this game is not for the feignt of heart. With a dark storyline, slower paced action gameplay and a completely unforgiving death system where you lose it all; this game is not for everyone. But if you enjoyed the Shin Megami series and Azure Dreams or Izuna this is surely one to check out.


ThinkGeek helps you look like a Wiitard

From the creative insaine minds at ThinkGeek comes the most superfluous accessory since the WiiZapper; the WiiHelm. Now instead of flapping your arms around and possibly looking a bit silly you can wrench your neck. The website does little to convince that the product is needed, especially with lines like “…the average gaming geek is just not up to the strenuous task of vigorous arm movement for longer than 10 minutes. This makes those extended play sessions a thing of the past…” Yes it certainly would put a damper in one’s play time when they loose equilibrium from swinging their head around like a special ed kid. But at least that beats having the remote slip out of your hand and break your tv.

For those curious how exactly the helm would work with the motion controls, thankfully they provided a video of the product in action


New Valkyria Chronicles Trailer

Here’s a new trailer for Valkyria Chronicles. It showcases one of the main characters, Largo Potter, a gruff, ugly guy with a big gun. When I first saw screenshots for this game, I was rather turned off by the art style and the color palette, but I’ve changed my mind. It works and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s due out on the PS3 in Japan on April 24th and is slated for US release in the Fall.


WiiWare Starts 03-25-2008 In Japan

The service will launch with Dr. Mario, Pokemon Ranch Channel, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Little King, Star Soldier R and some random Japanese craziness that I will detail below.

Ping-Pong! 500 Wii points and you get a ghetto version of Wii sports tennis. Sounds like a steal to me!

A puzzle game by the name of Mojipittan that has been on many consoles.

Animal Panic is one that actually looks like a lot of fun. You basically herd all kinds of animals into pens. Simple, yet silly fun.

Oh boy Solitaire with two underage angels. Sounds like a steal for 500 points! Oh wait maybe I’ll just play solitaire on this computer…?

And last but not least is LONPOS which is yet another puzzle game.

Ok so all these other games are a bit underwhelming but Final Fantasy looks like a must have.