Civ 5 sure takes a lot of your day

It's like you start playing, then 300 turns later you check the time and go "oh christ!". I'm really enjoying it though. Some of the leaders are really fun, while some can be frustrating if you get the wrong map. For example Iroqoi have an advantge being near tons of Forest tiles, and if you are playing on the Island-type map you lose a LOT of that advantage because there are very limited forest tiles. While leaders with naval advantages dominate.
I started my first Epic-length game on difficulty 5, and 350 turns in I realized that I'm way behind because I don't have access to the correct resources. So I may just abandon that one, though I THOUGHT I was playing pretty well. Then Washington and Ottomans decided to both attack me at the same time.
Multiplayer could use some sort of save function, because even a Quick-paced game is 3 hours. My friend told me there might be some sort of auto-save function in multi, but I don't know how helpful that is when trying to just continue a multiplayer game you and your friend were playing.
I'll definitely have to play it here and there and try to get better, but I think I'm finally coming off of the binge playing of that game. It is such a blast though.


Starcraft 2 1v1 is like taking an exam..

 We require more Vespene Gas.

I was thinking about why I don't necessarily want to play Starcraft 2 all the time even though I think it's a great game. It is because of how formulaic some of the matches tend to be, mostly on a one-on-one basis. The best comparison I could come up with is that it is like taking an exam in school. Each match requires to you to essentially answer a bunch of questions rapid fire and on time. Then later in the match you find out if chose the right answers and if you made those choices fast enough. If you didn't then you lose.
Saying it like that though makes it sound very tedious, when actually it's not too bad when you actually play it. The problem with it is that it's that exam like feeling you start to feel before you queue up to have a match against another person. I find myself constantly staring at the SC2 menu screen, not hitting the find match button only because I feel that strange anxiety over the match. Once I psych myself into it though I do enjoy the match. 
I find that playing 2v2 is a lot less stressful as you have someone there with you to take some of the pressure off. If you make a mistake generally your buddy can cover for you until you get back up to speed.
Skill might also have something to do with it. Being a beginner I feel like almost 70% of the matches I play I'm going to lose. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing either. Each loss teaches you something new almost guaranteed. All you have to do is ask yourself what you did wrong, or what you could have done to stop the enemy. The solution is usually pretty obvious unless the game is unbalanced (which I like to claim often, but it's really not too bad). 
So in short, I need to play more, but I just find myself playing less stressful games more than I do Starcraft. If I actually worked on my skill in the game it probably wouldn't be so stressful. That's almost one of the problems with the game, is that barrier for entry. Most new RTS players aren't going to want to stress out about the game for a few months until they get good. But maybe with the Challenge system fully in place to teach common tactics, people will feel more inclined to play.

Am I the only one Super excited for this game?


I remember first seeing the trailer for this game a couple E3s ago and was immediately interested in what this game was going to be. After a couple years go by I start wondering what the hell happened to this game. I guess it turns out that they were still working on it, putting the total development time at almost 6 years. They really don't want to half-ass this game, and arguably for a good reason: Making a mediocre " Survival Horror" game, does not pay the bills. You need to go all out and really capture the audience with the atmosphere and story. And I'm getting the impression that is what Remedy achieved here. 
   "Who the F*** is Alan Wake?" - my friend 
But the more I talk to people about it the more I notice that no one seems to care about this game as much as I do. Apparently everyone has completely cast off this genre of game from their radar thinking that the genre is dead. Which is really depressing to me. As long as someone does it right, this genre can be a LOT of fun to get into. Really taking in the environment and getting into the "thrills" it can offer can be a blast. Though if you're not one of those people who play video games for story, you probably just won't get it.

   Brad in Shattered Memories QL: "It's basically Gears of War with Monsters" 
Capcom really has taken Resident Evil in the opposite direction of what those games once were, and they probably feel like that was the best option. Are they right? Who can say... If Alan Wake does what I think it's going to do, my confidence in this genre will be completely revived. Which is amazing news for me, as it is probably one of my favorite if done right.  I'm kind of sick of people ridiculing this genre so much, and I hope the oppression will one day end! Any fans out there want to back me up?

A morning of boredum, thanks to Nero Burning Rom

Sigh, I was all set up to try and stay up this morning until at least afternoon so I can could try to re-align my sleep schedule this week and next. So my morning was going to consist of long hours of Xenosaga 3 and a Monster Lo-Carb energy drink. But that was all destroyed by one stupid program.

 My collection of Xenosaga. Top 2 are old and too scratched, bottom  are new.
I played Xenosaga 1 and 2 a long while back and was pretty fed up with what these games were. Excited that they were going to be related to Xenogears, I delve deep into that fiction hoping to be rewarded by tying into one of my favorite RPGs ever. But when it was officially declared that Xenosaga (made my Monolith, headed up by former Square Enix Xenogears creator Hirohide Sugiura) has nothing to do with Xenogears because of Square Enix holding the rights to all the characters, my heart sank a little. But here I was already absorbing tons of info about this universe, which by the way was an enormous amount, and I wasn't going to just abandon it without seeing the end of the series. So I hunted down some new copies of 1 and 2, and ordered 3 from someone off of ebay. I quickly pounded out 1 and 2(of which my rants about these 2 games will have to hold off for now) so I could get to 3. 
US box art
But alas not everything goes 100% perfect for me. My ps2 is pretty old and the laser is starting to "weaken" I guess? It has trouble playing games that are not in mint condition. So sometimes what I have to do is burn a new copy of it, and do a quick swap mid-load once the game has booted so that I can play the game without any freezing. Not owning Swap Magic, I have to do it this way. I had been thoroughly enjoying this game to a great degree, I was putting in some long sessions for RPG standards of which I have to take frequent breaks to not lose my sanity. Trying to stay on topic here, I'll hold off on my "review"-like thoughts about the game until another time.
I get to disc 2 tonight finally and go to put in the official disc 2, but alas it's a bit too scratched to play correctly on my system. So I get ready to burn up the disc 2 ISO and look up and realize I only have 1 DVD-R remaining. Not thinking too much about it, I put it in joking thinking to myself: "I hope this doesn't fuck up..", which has NEVER happened to me before with an ISO. I start up the burn, and browse the web for a little bit. I tab back and it's sitting at 77% and the Buffer bar turns gray and

It pops up a window: "Burning process failed at 18x. Save logs?" Nooooooooooooooooooooo. Of all the times for that to happen. I have no more DVD-Rs available at the moment, and may not even be able to get some this week. So here I am typing out this blog because I don't feel like playing Bad Company 2 right now, and totally awake from the energy drink.
On a side note: Who ever decided that Giant Hershey's Kisses were a good idea? They're impossible to eat, and just a solid block of chocolate. I'm about to throw these out..

Seems like every year that goes by, I like FFX more and more.

Final Fantasy X
When Final Fantasy X first came out it was the subject of abuse from nearly everyone. Even hardcore fans were bashing it for its changes to formula and "annoying" main character Tidus(pronounced Tee-dus). 'How could they do this to Final Fantasy?!' people cried once the game was released. I feel like I was maybe part of that crowd for a while there. I played it when it came out and thought it was an "alright" entry for the Final Fantasy series, and that was that.

Now fast-forward to 2007 when I purchased the Greatest Hits version of FFX while looking around at a Best Buy. Having just recently played through Final Fantasy XII, playing FFX again felt like an amazing breath of fresh air. Mostly everything that I missed from the Final Fantasy series was still present in FFX while a couple parts were being left out for newer mechanics in FFXII. I'm not going to get into it here, but FFXII had its own set of problems. Going back to the turn-based combat of FFX was a nice blast of nostalgia. I was really starting to warm up to this game. I even got more into the optional stuff like the Monster Arena and Blitzball games, though not that deep into them just yet. I did manage to get some of the character's final weapons, including Lulu's, the one involving dodging 200 lightning bolts in a row.
Fast-forward again to 2009 when I decided to pop it back in for another playthrough. Tons of info of Final Fantasy XIII was already flooding the internet showing off its impressive graphics, new combat system, and futuristic setting. The nostalgia for the old turn-based combat was never greater playing the game this time around. Playing FFX this time I was into it pretty hardcore. I got into the characters and started to understand why each one was designed the way it was. Writing Tidus off as 'whiny' is easy to do, and its still debated today. But what people never really cared to understand is his problems are part of the story and if changed, would cause the rest of the game to fall apart. I felt like the weird character designs finally made sense and help the game feel much more complete than I ever thought it was back in 2001.  
I was pretty obsessed with the game at this point, farming all those spheres from the Monster Arena, collecting every character's final weapon (yes I even got Lulu's again!), and beating every optional boss that was available in the NA release(sorry no Penance).  I spent an enormous amount of time re-writing the sphere grid with +4 spheres to max everyone's stats out. And also spent a great deal of time in Blitzball for a reason that I can't seem to remember at this time. Everything about the game was such an awesome experience this time around.
Now with Final Fantasy XIII nearly out in NA, I start to reflect again on FFX and wonder whatever happened at Square Enix for them to go in such a different direction with the series. Seems like today there is so much hate for turn-based RPGs, but for whatever reason I still enjoy a good turn-based RPG only if the challenge is great.(think FF4 hard-type, none of this Mario&Luigi super easy stuff). 
Will square ever make another turn-based game? Probably not. But I was thinking again about FFX recently, and it really does seem like I like FFX more and more each Final Fantasy game that is released.

WoW.. Ruined by Activision

I was recently linked this blog post about what WoW has become in Wrath of the Lich King:
(I'm kind of just hijacking the blog and posting it on mine, but whatever.. this expresses it so perfectly for me who was a hardcore raider for the better part of 4 years.)
It's a long read and I apologize and try to post the key points.

 ...But Blizzard realizes this expansion has been little more than a public beta for their B-team of developers to try to figure out how to make a dollar out of 79 cents. They know a lot of people are just hanging on to finish what they started many years ago with TFT. They want to kill Arthas, and as soon as they do, they're going to bounce and take their subscriptions with them.

.... Icecrown is the pinnacle of Warcraft. It's the connection from the end of Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, to World of Warcraft. It's what many people picked up wow to see. Ironically, it's also the pinnacle of Activision's taking over of Blizzard, and turning it into the cash focused beast it is. We've got race changes and faction changes for cash. Vanity pets for cash (which Blizzard is so big about, they give half the money to charity. Half. I guess the other half has to feed their kids, right? Without that panderan, kids all over california whose parents work for Blizzard would starve. Please, either go all-in with charity, or don't bother. It just makes you look duplicitous.).


Now we have Arthas *****d out for maximum return. The irony is a bit cheesy, and maybe somewhat obvious, but Icecrown represents a once good entity finally succumbing to a greater power it swore it could control, thus becoming that which was feared most. Blizzard has succumbed to Activision, and it's not long before we won't recognize the former anymore.

Theres also numerous "lengthening" devices for the upcoming raid content. But the specifics of that aren't going to be understood by most. Basically they're making it take months longer than it should, so that they maintain subscriptions.

doing a FF12 review was fun

Finally typing out all your feelings on a game that got mixed reviews is a lot of fun! After doing some nit-picking it feels like a huge weight lifted off my back, and now I don't think I'll have to go back to that game ever again. For the longest time I was trying to figure out why I liked it and why, for some reason, I just didn't feel like playing it each day. But now I think I can always come back a year from now and just read what I wrote again, and I'll remember all about it, and why I shouldn't play it again.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible game. It's just not for me, I totally understand why it can be a good game. It's just got some things I dislike. You can read the review to check it out if you want:


Xenosaga is haunting me

I finally stumbled across an unreleased track that was in Xenosaga episode 2, for whatever reason wasn't on the OST. And its making me want to play that game again.
E. S. Battle
But there's just one problem:
The combat in that game is: AHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.
You have(key word) to spend at least half a dozen turns charging up "Stock" in order to execute multiple attacks in one single turn. You have to do this because you only do any kind of real damage when the enemy's defense is broken. Which you do by attacking in very specific combo which sometimes requires more than one turn to do. So you finally break them, and hopefully you have enough Stock on your other characters to do some damage before the enemy's turn, which by then they recover from that Break.
So yeah... sit there basically "passing" your turn and healing through all the abuse you have to take from enemies while this happens. Not fun...
But part of me wants to play it again, probably because I'm a masochist.