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Xenoblade: Review

Posted: November 20, 2011 by lagunawsu2 in Reviews

Sometimes, in a great, great while, you play a game that is Legendary. One that, you know as you are experiencing it, people will talk about and play for years to come.

Xenoblade: Chronicles is one of these games.

It isn’t simple to create a masterpiece like this. Xenoblade’s staff have crafted RPG’s for almost two decades, and this fine polish shines like a diamond.

It is, firmly, a JRPG. You are here to watch a story unfold, an epic tale of battles between gods. The story will get you, and it doesn’t start out stupidly trite like most JRPG’s.

The graphics are, quite contrary to the Wii’s reputation, fantastic. It is truly breathtaking to be in the Lungs of the Bionis, surrounded by killer monster antibodies while blood cells whir around above your head. Or the view from the Knee, looking up to the head, it is truly immense and all rendered right there in front of you. Everything is gorgeous, the monsters look menacing, the dungeons ominous. The weather is rendered in real time, and changes dynamically as you wander. These areas, by the way, are gigantic, literally the whole of the Mechonis is one giant dungeon, which you travel to the top. I found myself progressing when I didn’t really want to, because I had to see Sword Valley or The Heart of the Bionis. It’s scale and size are mind blowing, and threw my expectations even from trailers out of the window.

The combat is an expansion of Sands of Destruction. Imagine that game in 3d, add a dash of MMO logic, and you pretty much nail Xenoblade. The triforce of healing, damage, and tanking is very much there, though late in the game the line begins to blur a lot. A certain character indeed can tank whilst doing a ton of damage, something I think should be more prevalent in game such as these.

If you are a fan of either Xenogears, or any of Monolith-soft’s works like Sands, you will find Xenoblade a beloved son of these. If you own a Wii and haven’t tried JRPG’s, I would highly recommend this to you, this is an immense project that really shows the genre in a way we won’t see again soon.

It is available in April at Nintendo.com and Gamestop.

10/10

Don’t sell your Wii yet!!!

Posted: April 9, 2011 by lagunawsu2 in Features

I know, I know, I speak insanity. In fact, many people I know have sold their Wii already. It just didn’t have the diverisity of content that a gaming console requires, regardless of the fact if it has a cool remote thingy. The only Wii I know of in person is at my girlfriends work, where it has been used to play only 3 games: Mariokart, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2. Nintendo knows their own system. But wait Wii owners! There is hope! Today I, Laguna, discovered twin kernels of golden gaming goodness…Behold:

Xenoblade Chronicles

If the first thing that popped into your head when you read that was, “Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod is it related to Xenogears???”  Then I am overjoyed to report that it is INDEED of the Monolith-soft origin. Directed by the same man who directed Xenogears (Takahashi Tetsuya).

By the way, that giant robot thing that keeps popping up is THE WORLD MAP.  Life, civilization and your character are all existing on a GIANT GEAR. I can’t think of words to describe the jubilation this causes within me.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Laguna, this can’t get any better! I mean, another Xenogears!?”

Oh my readers, it does get better. The great goes to the greater. Look now and gaze upon the wonder of…

The Last Story

Directed by THE Hironobu Sakaguchi, we have a game about relationships, action and romance. Feast your eyes upon A STEALTH ENGINE IN AN ACTION RPG!!!!   (Exclamations points = excitement about said topic.)

I thought the Xenoblade trailer was mind blowing but holy feckin hell Hironobu-san has gone over the top this time! Did you see the spellcasting? At about 50 secs in, you can see the main character casting spells. Little lines that  reach out to each target available in a very tactile, string like way. I think my 13 year old self just fell over dead from happiness.

TLDR; if your any kind of JRPG fan, DO NOT SELL YOUR WII. Two great JRPG by great masters of the craft are coming very soon.

I know the waiting is terrible, but unless you speak Japanese you have 6-8 months before it hits the shelves here. If not for the 2011 holiday season, then definitely early next year.

Laguna out.

The Tenchu MMO

Posted: March 28, 2011 by lagunawsu2 in Features, Off-topic

Okay, so I know Tenchu Z was going in this direction, but after playing way, way too much Homefront this game just has to come out of my head.

Okay, so, Homefront reference and some background. I play with an ability called “Now That’s A Knife” which increases your melee range, and, as every FPS has had since time immemorial, melee is of course an instant kill. So if I can can get to within a decent proximity of you, my 9-inch blade comes out and gives you an extra smile.  So here’s me, stealthing around on my belly, waiting for dudes to come around corners with huge AX-whatever assault rifles, and I think to myself, “Why can’t this be in medieval Japan and the worst thing he has is a katana?”

Like a sack of bricks it hit me, The Tenchu MMO. You and 32 other dudes log in to a Japanese ninja village. You can choose two sides, Ninjas or Guards. The gameplay would then be very much reminiscent of Splinter Cell. The Ninjas are stealthing around, trying to kill guards instantly or distract them into traps. The Guards for there part are shooting bows, throwing knives and shaking bells to get together and take out these masked evil doers. Ala Assassins Creed, I would have a list of “avatars” to choose from, each with unique stealth kills and abilities. Also, in addition to previous well thought out mechanics, I would introduce a Dueling feature wherein a Guard (or a Ninja, if they were so inclined) could “call out” a Ninja into a duel. Now most Ninjas will of course have abilities to deny these duels, but you could run out of smoke bombs at some point, and then the Guard has you and you have to fight it out for your life. This would be a fairly simple fighting game, with the ability to customize some abilities (Guards could have sick Iajitsu-like abilities, Ninjas can set traps on the dueling field, etc). You could even build a Ninja designed to duel, who walks down the street with a scar on one eye and a mean chip on his shoulder. Guards beware!

Anyway, this game in some form I’m sure will be here in less than 5 years, I just wanted to throw it out there that the Tenchu series has the potential for a pretty awesome revival.

Laguna out.

Power Creep, the Pansi scheme in gaming.

Posted: January 12, 2011 by lagunawsu2 in Features

After having a discussion with a friend of mine about Magic: The Gathering, I was shown that there is a severe lack in understanding about how some of these companies that produce games, video, paper or otherwise, make money and how you as a consumer shouldn’t be blind to the practice.

Understanding Power Creep:

Power creep is the inherent progress of a game that people will play for an extended period of time. Generally, these games start off with an amazing baseline, then release an expansion of some sort. Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, and Phantasy Star Online are all examples of this, with new concepts, great innovations in game-play, etc. Since all these games were amazing cash cows as well, publishers, of course, wanted to milk them as much as possible. To do this, they needed to release more content, but you have to make the player WANT that new content to sell it.  Here is where power creep comes into play.

What is Power creep then?

Remember playing your favorite game? One that you had played for a long time and really enjoyed all those great base concepts in? Then remember when they released that expansion? You know the one, with the better weapons, higher levels, better itemization. It was great wasn’t it? What you have just purchased, my friend, is power creep. You see, in order for the publishers to make you want this stuff, it has to be better in some way. Better all around. Better everywhere. Better than anything else.

Remember back again now, when you first tried PVP after that expansion? Or went into a new tougher dungeon? How all the balance had seemed to shift? How none of the real glaring mistakes were fixed? This is because the system these publishers have created is inherently imbalanced.  It will never be balanced. Balance would negate the whole idea of some piece of equipment being outright better than another piece. The idea another class being, at some point, better than any other. Warlocks at some point will always trounce everyone. HUcasts at some point will be the best damn physical class in the game. Mages with haste will be unstoppable. It’s not only inevitable, it’s planned into the system. The system of power creep. So that you have to buy it…so that the publishers make more money.

Now I’m not saying I’m opposed to all this, or that it’s necessarily a bad thing, its kind of the natural progress of an entertainment product. Yet constantly I hear, in every single one of these games, whining about imbalance. I have, of course, at some point in my own gaming done the same. Now, though, we must all realize: Tough luck. There is no balance. Nor will there ever be. So stop whining about how your paladin was killed by X, or that your fighter sucks now cause of Y. It happens, and it happens because publishers need to make money.

And there’s nothing I can do?
No, there isn’t, I’m sorry. Games need to make money to continue, after all. This, however, isn’t all bad news. After all, some of these games are all still being played, so there must be something to them besides their ability to make money. Just know that, at least for the foreseeable future, you’re not going to see paladin’s be “equal” to druids, or other some such nonsense.

Press space key to win!

Posted: January 10, 2011 by lagunawsu2 in Off-topic

Click this link to press space key and win!

I told you so…

Posted: January 8, 2011 by lagunawsu2 in Off-topic

Lord of the Rings Online doubles revenue by going free to play.

Real life superhero in Washington

Posted: January 5, 2011 by lagunawsu2 in Off-topic

I am not joking. I know it has nothing to do with video games, but this was just way too big to keep to myself.

A real superhero?

http://www.kirotv.com/news/26363364/detail.html