My early memories of disk swapping came from installing a multi-floppy disk game to my computer years ago. Barely old enough to have cognitive functions to be considered a child by definition, poping each floppy the computer asked me too.
With the advent of CD's this swapping process initially became more prominent. I remember the five disks that came with Riven, without a full install you were constantly popping each of those disks into the machine for just about each island you would traverse too. It came in a really awesome disk box with sleeves for each disk that had really cool artwork on each one. I saw it the other day at Half Price Books, and my memory of how cool the packaging was for Riven was completely legitimized.
What the hell does this have to do with Star Ocean 4? I'm trying to paint the picture: that I've known disk swapping for a while. I haven't even spoken about the four disk Playstation Final Fantasy's, disk swapping is nothing new to gaming and completely legit. But something happened between CD's and DVD's, HD-DVD's and BluRays. The size of memory drastically increased, as well as compression. Multi-DVD games were hard to come by during the Ps2 generation, usually only spanning around two disks in the most extreme cases.
Lost Odyssey last year was shipped on the 360 on four disks. There were two reasons that were immediate for why they were released on four disks, the main reason was an attempt to rekindal fond memories of JRPG's on the original Playstation generation, which it most certanly did. The second reason is a bit more debatable, the game shipped with an amazing five language options. Add in a large amount of uncompressed HD video versus in-game cutscenes and four disks becomes a bit more understadable.
Star Ocean 4 will be shipping on three disks, an issue I initially had little annoyance over. Why would I? The concept of having to get off your couch every ten hours to swap a disk is a hinderance to you is pretty rediculous. But these two quotes from the recent IGN review really blew me away: "There are no obvious compression artifacts and one of the climactic cutscenes at the end is downright awesome. However, the last disc is so packed with end-game cinemas that there isn't enough room for the universe worth of content. That means if you want to go back to a planet from the beginning of the game to complete a side quest, grab an item for synthesis, or look for bonus bosses and dungeons, you'll be prompted to insert one of the previous discs." ...
"There is no original Japanese voice track included. Again, these aren't game killing oversights, but they're still oversights.
It's truly a shame that the Japanese voice work didn't make it into the US release. The lip synching in cutscenes is painfully bad with English dialogue and the voice work itself is not good. Some of the characters are just plain annoying to listen to."
That's right. Certain locations are only on certain disks. The only thing that I can remember that is closley relatable was Riven. And that was over a decade ago. But no Japanese voice track? You have three disks but having two voice options is too much? I love cutscenes, but: My god, how many cutscenes are in this game?
The whole situation has rubbed me the wrong way. It's hard to nod your head in agreement when games like Mass Effect roam store shelves, brimming to sides of theier disks with audio. Perhaps someone here knows the technicalities to all this and can easily explain to me why this game had to revert to a decade old way of playing, making me have to pop a new disk in when I want to vist an earlier location. While me and my 160gb hard drive can easily hold all of those disks, most 360 owners I know still have 20-60gb drives. I'm more confused, and interested at the technicalities versus this being a "bad thing".
...Not having a Japanese voice track...is something else...(holds anger back.)
...A miraculous understatement I know. The level of patches required for this game is through the roof, I have seriously not played a game so incredibly...clunky...in such a long time. There are times of pure brilliance and other times in which I am absolutely convinced that there was no bug testing of any kind whatsoever. Or the bug testers were monky's....Monkey's without eyes...
So far the bugs have given me little...frustration... Instead these bizarre instances have brought another emotion.
Take the Big Town quest. During the end of the quest you can opt to protect the town via a variety of ways, each one corresponding on how you've created your character. Good with small arms? You could "train" the residents on how to shoot. Have high intelligence? Why not repair the dormant robots sitting in the junk yard?
Ya'know...the robots...C'mon...Go fix the robots! They're in the junkyard! The robots stupid!
After ten minutes of watching a plethora of gathered townspeople yelling and berating me to fix the robots in the junkyard, I finally realized what had happened. I went online and it was totally confirmed.
They're are no robots, it's a bug. They've de-spawned.
Instead the gathering of people just stood yelling over and over about how dumb I was just standing they're...Clearly not grasping the concept of..."spectral" robotics. I made a new save and showed it to a friend of mine. He just sat there. "This is in the final game?" I just smiled. "C'mon man! Go fix the robots!"
Training the group is even more hilariously robotic. Again we go to the junkyard. The one guarded by the broken ghost robots. And miraculously a shooting gallery of nuke-cola was assembled. The group began firing indiscriminately into the set up. I began getting into it, firing away. Until I realized that the group had turned and ran away.... To fight the super mutants that had appeared. With absolutely no announcement to me of an attack. Here I am still shooting bottles and the townspeople have decided to fight the super mutants without even calling to me. Thant makes sense.
My final moment of insanity was something that just happened a moment ago. After completing Oasis I returned to Megaton to do my annual "end-of-quest-stick-things-in-locker-victory-moment"(Btw, I've heard there is a bug in which items in you're locker will disappear.) I ran into Lucy the girl from the Bloodties quest. Without thinking I decided to talk to her, in which she immediately shunned me and told me to sod off due to my murder-spree in Arefu...A town I hadn't visited since completing the quest quite a while ago. Perplexed I immediately fast traveled to Arefu to understand what had happened...Just to find everyone slaughtered....By one of those Yaio bear creatures...Who showed up as a friendly in VATS because...You guessed it...I had the friendly animal perk....And thus...
I was responsible for killing everyone in town.
I don't know whether or not to be infuriated or to be laughing my ass off. A word to the wise: Make multiple saves. Did I mention the time I reloaded a save and re-spawned a quarter of the way in the ground...making me bounce up and down over the geometry of the ground...and the actual ground plane... No... Another time then.
Surely others can understand what I have been experiencing?
The general consensus from what I have read, and what I agree with is pretty simple:
Dennis Dyack, for the sake of the team in Silicon Knights working on Too Human, should have kept his god-damn mouth shut. He knew better.
Why? Watch on of their "making of" videos, the guy is clearly incredibly smart. So what the hell was he doing ranting and raving prior to this games release? I can't imagine being one of the many game developers to have been working on this title watching as their fearless leader continued to raise expectations of this game to almost Ion Storm level of absurdity. What would have been a pleasant, mediocre, diablo style hack and slash game experience, thanks to Dyack's continued statements, has been transformed via his hype into some undefinable new genre, with a story that's supposed to be the greatest thing to hit the industry. Unless you have played games in the last two decade's and realize your lofty game design and narrative choices have been done before, and better.
I agree with the 1up review. This game is all over the damn place. A "jack of all trades, master of none".
This whole experience must be incredibly demoralizing to the multiple development groups within Silicon Knights who have been working so hard to see this piece of software out.
I wrote a user review for Braid immediately after finishing it. I've read some absolutely fantastic forum posts regarding what the whole game is about.
The second episodic series from Telltale was released finally today. Homestar Runner might not be perfect adventure game material, but you can clearly see within the first moments of playing that TellTale understands wholeheartedly how episodic games are made. After doing such a fine run with the revitalization of Sam and Max, the immediate solid and focused game design in this first episode is far more apparent in comparison, to say, the first episode of Sam and Max.
Bionic Commando Rearmed comes out in a couple days. In preparation I booted up the original Bionic Commando and quickly realized a simple truth that I've been coming to terms with as I grow older: The games of my childhood were bitching hard. I wonder if Rearmed will retain the games original level of difficulty, how they will deal with bringing perhaps new gamers into the Bionic universe.
And then for the rest of this month... Pretty much nothing. Too Human will be released, I'm still not sold on it. I actually still have an old PSM magazine which covered the game back when it was in development for the original Playstation. Pretty crazy. I realized that the last Silicon Knights game I played was the 1996 release of the first Legacy of Kain game: Blood Omen. I didn't get around playing Eternal Darkness for gamecube, it will be interesting to finally see the finished product of this game.
I'm not a huge fan of the Tales series, but Vespiria looks phenomenal. I really enjoyed Eternal Sonata's fantastic art style but loathed it's convoluted mess that they considered a plot. I have pretty high hopes for this game too.
But I'm probably only going to purchase one of the two. Then there's all that Infinite Undiscovery/Last Remnant stuff which is completely off my radar. The next few weeks are going to be interesting indeed.
Pretty much sums up everything I feel. I was planning a multi page blog about the recent locked down, invite only, we will shoot you on site if you record anything, party. Or the absurdity that is the concept of a game demo, of a game that we don't even know how is played, that also has nothing to do with the Final Fantasy VII Compilation being a "big announcement regarding the Final Fantasy VII Compilation". Instead I channeled my confusion/anger/disappointment into something more humorous.
As I read it out loud there are some aspects that don't flow as well as I thought. Anyway, first review I posted on Giant Bomb. It would be cool for each review to get it's own page instead of a list of reviews. I wanted to add pictures and perhaps write even more, but as stuff is set up now I could see how giant walls of text wouldn't be as appealing.
It's at least a 9.5... I don't know what qualifies as "awesome", or even what a 9.5 is, I clearly didn't think that far. All I know is that there is now a highly complicated numerical system I have devised to rate things. My sandwich is at least a 6.3 out of ten thumbs which clearly means Giant Bomb is better than my sandwich. Because 9.5 is higher and it is rated in pure awesomeness. -vidiot- I have no idea what I'm talking about. This is an awesome sandwich. Go giant bomb!