Something went wrong. Try again later


This user has not updated recently.

413 1101 33 43
Forum Posts Wiki Points Following Followers

Ignorance is Annoying!

Hello friends and foes,

The GDC came and went and it brought along some interesting announcements.

GDC After-thoughts

I would start with what I was referring to in the title of this blog. IGNORANCE.

I am talking about Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 on PS3. Obviously,everyone saw this coming after Itagaki's departure. And there's a little doubt in my mind that the future NG and DOA games will be multiplatform as well. But that's not my point. What I am saying is that I did expect NGS 2 to include some extra playable characters. And the inclusion of Ayane (scantily-clad,typical Team Ninja) and Momiji (whoa...cute looking  ) came as no surprise. There's also a co-op mode which is a HUGE addition as well,IMO.

But then, I am asking what about those who already own the 360 original? I am not part of that group yet (although I want to play NGII so BAD), but I have seen quite a few sad gamers who are moaning about why they are not getting those "extra" features? In today's world of gaming where we have a little something called Downloadable Content (DLC), I don't see why developers aren't buying into this? When there is a lot of chance to generate revenue through all those DLCs which will be downloaded by those who want the "added features" of Sigma 2 in their NGII game on the 360 as well.

I think the same case applies for some other games which were "ported" a year later to another platform.BioShock on PS3 had "challenge rooms",Eternal Sonata on PS3 had additional content in the form of characters and a few more that come in mind. It could possibly happen to ANY game that gets ported to another console a year or so later. So it still doesn't make sense that when your original game is popular and you're making a revamped port of it on another console,why not make a DLC for the original console as well? 

Anyways,I still hope that Sigma 2 turns out to be a fantastic game so that some of the skeptics of Team Ninja-without-Itagaki can be silenced.  You know me,I admire Team Ninja's games! 

On the other hand, I am VERY excited about the prospect of seeing Max Payne return in his third game. I was expecting it to be announced sooner or later after Rockstar said they were reviving the series last time. Both the Max Payne were some of my favorite games especially Max Payne 2 which IMO even beat The Matrix in "bullet-time" action-sequences. Plus it's comic-book $tyle of narrating it's dark-themed story was amazing! It's being made by Rockstar Vancouver as well,and they're quite a talented bunch of devs.

I think there were few of us who were expecting a Zelda game on Wii to be announced but it's turned out to be a DS game! Anyways, another Zelda game is always welcome! Although Spirit Tracks(where you have the ability to run a train??) sounds like a little strange,but hell nobody is complaining.

Talking about a DS, my interest in this handheld has recently skyrocketed after all the rave reviews,GTA Chinatown Wars is getting. I was quite shocked to see a GTA handheld being innovative. Rockstar surprises us everytime I guess. So,now I am thinking of getting a DS over a PSP (I need one to replace my broken one). PSP seems to be largely having a poor show,IMO other than a few games like Dissidia that I am looking forward to. DS seems to have a better library with countless amazing titles that I would want to play, TWEWY,NG Dragon Sword,Phantom Hourglass,Pokemon Platinum,Hotel Dusk to name a few. Oh well...we'll see.

Modern Warfare 2 got a cool,slick trailer. There has been some silly debate in the forums over why there is no mention of the words "Call of Duty" anywhere in the trailer and whether Infinity Ward and Activision have had some kind of falling out. I say,Call of Duty or not. As long as Infinity Ward is on this,it's going to be great. 

Hideo Kojima gave an interesting interview as well and hinted at a new MGS game (surprise!surprise!). He's a talented chap,IMO. But since I haven't played MGS4 and haven't seen those "stealth mechanic facelifts", my opinion on the "gaming" part of MGS is quite poor. I think Kojima is a genius of a storyteller and could have done wonders in movie industry,but well he has given gaming industry some memorable stories as well...Ahh nevermind!

Other Stuff

I recently bought U2's new album "No Line on the Horizon". Well, I haven't been the biggest U2 fan but I think they've made some impressive albums over the year. This new one doesn't stand amongst their best though. Although it does have some amazing songs like, "Get on your Boots", "Magnificent", "Cedars of Lebanon", but the album otherwise is filled with filler tracks. Skip this one and return back to the good ol' days of the "Joshua Tree",U2.

I also managed to watch Juno on DVD and it was my first time watching this movie. Pretty good movie. I liked the witty dialogue and how the director tries to send the "positive" side of the message of the quite delicate topic of teenage pregnancy. Ellen Page acts amazing though! 

I am planning to watch Watchmen (do I smell a repetition? ) over the next weekend after my finals are over. I think I might go through the graphic novel once more before I do that. Just for the purpose of clarity,y'know. 

Alrighty,that's enough for now I guess.

C ya



Resident Evil 5 Impressions

Hello to all the fellow zombies of the living world, 

So as you can guess from the title itself I made some gaming purchases finally and it was high time that I did. It's been December (Mass Effect was my last purchase) since I have got myself any game to play. So I decided to shell out some cash.

Let's see. It was a fine Monday evening. I strolled into the game store expecting to see loads of Resident Evil 5,freshly shipped in. And imagine my surprise when I see only two copies lying on the rack and I am like WTF!! I purchase the copy and while on that I ask the cute-looking cashier girl that where did all the RE5 go? I was expecting a shortage of supply. But she said,they were sold! In a country where gaming isn't THAT popular at all,this made me feel proud of the "change". 

So yeah,I bought Resident Evil 5. So here are the impressions of the games then...

Resident Evil 5 Impressions

Coming at the back of a sequel of the stature of RE4, it was not surprising to see people expecting a lot from RE5. After all,it was THE follow-up to the game that single-handedly revived the survival horror genre and refined many of the shooting mechanics in third-person shooters. So it was no surprise to me as well when I listed RE5 as my second-most anticipated game of 2009 in the list I made earlier this year. say,that was BEFORE I played the demo. RE5's demo was impressive but not what I was expecting from it. It played too similar to RE4....TOO similar...

And the same goes true for the actual game as well. One cannot call it RE4 2.0, but at times RE5 makes us feel like so. But then being like a game like RE4 isn't a bad thing is it? Well...maybe and maybe not.

To get things straight with, RE5 fails utterly as a survival horror for me. For a series that was renowned for it's thrills and chills seems to have just lost it's "fear" factor (there were signs of it in RE4 as well). Even the light and dark areas indoors and the blurring of vision due to it makes it look like a gimmicky way to create tension in the people. I would rate it as the least scariest game I've played in recent times with only Doom 3 and Left 4 Dead (wasn't supposed to be scary I know) topping that. If you're looking for scares here,then go look somewhere else.

And once again, my chief complaint with RE5 lies in it's control scheme. I know a lot has been said about this already but let me say this that if for even a single moment Capcom though that putting an archaic control scheme that doesn't let you move while shooting and reloading to create fear and tension then they were TOTALLY WRONG. Standing rooted to the spot while you take your aim at the zombies (called "majini" in African native language) might get you tense and adrenaline pumped firstly, but ten minutes later and this cheap trick to increase difficulty and create fear wears down on you. Sure,the game does make sure that there aren't events where this control scheme will make killing a boss totally impossible but nonetheless it's annoying.

So after all that ranting about how terribly RE5 fails as a survival horror,does it mean that RE5 is awful????

The answer is no it's not.

The numerous places where RE5 truly shines is in it's action. Despite the constant efforts of the control scheme to get to your nerves,the on-screen action is too good at times even superceding that of RE4. In fact it would be better to call it an action game than a survival-horror game.

The boss battles are majestic,huge and exciting. Not as kickass as the Jack Krauser or El Gigante Brothers in RE4 but still fantastic.Most of the bosses are the usual expected lot but some of the bosses appear strangely out of place. I don't know but Resident Evil didn't always have over-the-top bosses. Strangely,it seems like it's getting some influence from Capcom's other game Devil May Cry in the boss design section. The inventory system has been revamped a little and I didn't find it to be either particularly helpful or bothersome,so I am not complaining there.

Sheva,the hot,svelte,squadmate of Chris stands as an AI partner throughout the game. Now I found myself drawing comparison's of Sheva's AI to Dom's AI in Gears of War 2. For most of the part,they are closely matched and while Sheva's AI is definitely the brighter amongst the two,she has an annoying habit of shooting with her pistol (even in boss battles) even when she has got better weapons. In situations as those,she becomes a liability. But her ability to revive you is a great boon indeed. 

One of the things I have to praise is it's story. Despite not affecting the series much, I really loved it's connections to the series past and my favorite moment was when Jill Valentine made her comeback. Yes!!!! It would be interesting to have her as the protagonist of RE6!! 

So at the end of the day, RE5 doesn't really move forward the series forward in any revolutionary way like RE4 did. It just brings back the things we loved and hated from RE4 back with few revamps to make an action-heavy RE title whose high production values and amazing graphics (one of the best I've seen in this gen,tied with Gears 2) make it a must-play,but it's annoying control scheme might put many people off. Still if you're a fan of RE,don't miss this one! 

Estimated Score : 8.5/10

That's all for the impressions blog.

C ya



2009 Games I am Looking Forward To..

Greetings friends and foes,

So another year has arrived and with it comes a whole deal of arrivals,confirmed or unconfirmed and our varying expectations on them. As far as the gaming world is concerned, there have been many who have said that 2007 and 2008 have been two ofthe best years in gaming's history and in many ways they are probably right.

2007 had undoubtedly the single best holiday season line-up and every game delivered upto it's expectations. 2007 was also the year where the shooters particularly the First-Person Shooters ruled the roost.

2008 was a little more balanced year (albeit a little less grand year for some) than 2007. Each of the three home consoles did have their own share of good games although (IMO) Wii had a quiet year after April. The handhelds did a great job with both DS and PSP giving some of their best games out yet in 2008. PC had a milder year but then you couldn't blame them could you (more on that in a few weeks). But now that those two years are past it's time to look forward and see what can 2009 do?

I have laid down some predictions on what could possibly happen in 2009. A note. These predictions might sometimes be related to what I am hoping for as well.

Predictions in Gaming for the Year 2009


  • I'll be straight with all of you from the first. I do NOT expect 2009 to be as great a year as 2007 or 2008 was for any platform. First is that despite every home console (360,PS3 and Wii) having their own share of interesting exclusives, many of them are a little too unreliable for me to be putting my money on them.


Examples? Ninja Blade. A downright Ninja Gaiden rip-off that is doing such a terrible job concealing it is ripping it off. Killzone 2. No matter how "potentially revolutionary" (a FPS with Gears like cover and peek system) it might look Guerilla Games has a bad reputation of drawing all the pre-release hype towards it's games and then horribly messing them up (like Killzone 1 and Shellshock: ' 67).


  • Also I expect a Legend of Zelda game to be released this year. This has already been rumored by Nintendo and I don't think many Nintendo fans can be patient if they go through another year without a Nintendo "mascot" game coming out. This Zelda will be as usual popular (no doubts on that) and will most likely feature an experimentation by Nintendo since it's the second game in the series from this gen (remember Majora's Mask).
  • There have been rumors of another Metal Gear Solid as well and I think there is a likely chance of this to happen as well. What will surprise me (and Kojima is known to surprise the gamers) is that the Metal Gear series might be going through a revamp and it's traditional "stealth" gameplay (awful shooting mechanics you mean? Yeah right!) will be replaced by a Gears of War-esque cover and shoot mechanics. Hmm....perhaps the Metal "Gear" will have some meaning,eh? :P
  • Tecmo and Team Ninja will announce another game this year hopefully Dead or Alive 5 or the long time work-in-progress Project Progressive or even the "fan faithful" DOA : Code Chronos. How the quality of these games stands without Itagaki remains to be seen.
  • I am quite confident that Alan Wake WILL be released this year (FINALLY!!),mostly in Q4 2009 and will be worth the wait,IMO. While doing so Remedy might drop a few hints on Max Payne 3 as well. :D
  • BioWare may perhaps drop in a few details on the release date of Star Wars :The Old Republic as well as Mass Effect 2 (can't wait!). I say both will release next year.
  • Square Enix will HOPEFULLY release an English demo of FFXIII on PSN and XBL this year as well as confirm it's release date as Summer 2010. I am hoping for aFFVI remake in 3D similar to what FFIV and Chrono Trigger (not exactly a remake but you get my idea ;) ) went through this year. Also, I have a feeling thatVersus XIII might become multi-plat either this year or next year. I just have the feeling. Don't hit me you PS3 people *runs and hides in Gears-$tyle ;)




My Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2009

10) Alpha Protocol (X360,PC,PS3)

Normally I don't like judging games on the basis of their trailers but well Alpha Protocol is an apparent exception. This game is being developed by Obsidian (made KotOR 2 and NWN 2) who are particularly known for their ridiculously buggy and glitchy games (read NWN 2). But despite this Obsidian is a good developer and Alpha Protocol looks promising. It's a Bourne-like spy-thriller with Mass Effect-esque interaction. COOLZ! :D


9) The Sims 3 (PC)

Alright I know Will Wright,the creator of the series isn't on works for this game but despite that I do believe that this mostly-wacky and absolutely lovable and hilarious virtual-life/strategy game oozes potential. With a little more seamlessness into neighborhood interaction, Sims 3 could become even more better.


8) Final Fantasy : Dissidia (PSP)

I think this is a dream come true for every Final Fantasy fan. Call it Super Final Fantasy Bros. :P

This is a Final Fantasy crossover featuring the protagonists and villains from all FFs I-XII and this combination is bound to ignite some heavy fan excitement (it already has!) and craze amongst it's fans. Squall versus Terra? Sephiroth versus Kefka? Every character beating the hell out of Cloud? This is a dream come true. :lol: :P

7) The Witcher : Rise of the White Wolf (X360,PS3)

It goes without saying that The Witcher on PC back in 2007 was one of the best and highly under-rated role-playing games of this generation. At times it even beat the likes of Oblivion. But what stopped the original Witcher from reaching glory were the dozens of glitches and bugs in it's programming. I've heard that the console versions will be glitch-less and bug-less (hopefully) and will feature new quests and an extended storyline (Wow!).

6) Street Fighter IV (X360,PS3,PC)

It's like welcoming back a long-lost war hero back to the battlefield. That's the feeling I am sure many old SF fans get upon seeing SFIV coming. It has very much retained it's combo-and defense-centric fighting which I love as well as it's good to see old characters retaining their famous move (Sonic Boom!! HELL YEAH!! :D ). And I TOTALLY dig to see Rose and Cammy back again. :D

Time for some Ryu-butt kicking. :P


5) BioShock 2/Halo 3 : ODST/ Call of Duty 6: Modern Warfare 2

All these three biggie FPS tie at the same place for me mainly because I have played very little of their predecessors. In BioShock's case, I played the first for only 6 hours on PC. But it were enough to give me the taste of it's excellent shooter-RPG mechanics and it's awesome setting Rapture.

I haven't played a single Halo game yet (and I badly want to do so,more on that later) so I don't plan on playing ODST until I play the first three.

Well actually..I DID play CoD4. And it was an excellent FPS through and through. But the problem was that I only played the multiplayer through LAN so I never got a "proper" taste of the EXP points system of it's so-much-talked about multiplayer component. So,since this is going to be an Infinity Ward game set in modern day I might give this one a try.


4) Alan Wake (X360,PC)

Remedy's long-time work-in-progress game that is as mysterious as it's actual setting might be finally dropping at this year's end. It's a psychological action-thriller and one can expect Remedy to be at their story-telling best. Although it would be interesting to see what kind of game mechanics they introduce for this one.


3) Dragon Age : Origins (X360,PC,PS3)

BioWare's next RPG is going back into the old days of CRPGs. This game is being termed as the "spiritual successor" of Baldur's Gate II (one of the greatest role-playing game ever!!) is high on my expectations. I will definitely be getting this although the question remains whether for PC or for the 360. I am leaning more towards PC since it's interface is made for PC and playing a Baldur's Gate-esque game on consoles might be a little too awkward for me. :P


2) Resident Evil 5 (X360,PS3)

Well this is going to be on nearly everyone's list isn't it? So I needn't say much other than this game is looking set to be as popular and ground-breaking as RE4 was. Hopefully a little more creepy as well. ;)


1) Diablo III (PC)

By now you might have seen this coming. The click-fest and a hack-and-slash beast has finally returned after almost a decade. The world has changed and now it's throne is being taken by it's distant cousin,World of Warcraft.

Jokes aside, Diablo III was going to be my No.1 for 2009 from the moment it was announced. I mean I don't care how much Blizzard has changed about it's graphical design (it still looks fantastic,IMO) and it's good to see that Blizzard is intent on keeping the setting as maturely themed and dark as the original. I am expecting a whole lot of clicking ad nauseum in this one.

That's it for now.

C ya



My Best of 2008

2008 was a grand year. Just like every other year.

Don't know why but each and every year thousands of people like me say the same thing about that year as they stand at the dusk of it. Looking back at all the things we appreciated in our lives and the ones we may have over-looked. Looking back at all the things that became an integral part of our lives during the past year. Entertainment is a strange thing. It can inspire people and it can waste people's lives. But for most of us,entertainment is a day-to-day necessity the one without which life seems hollow and a little empty.

2008 was a special year for everyone in some or the other way. Not always in the good way. The entire world continued to suffer under terrorist attacks and financial meltdowns didn't help people's lives either. Many died,many more were born. The life continues...and at the end of the day I think the only thing that matters is we all have survived to see the sun rise for another year. I for one have gone through a lot in 2008 and I needn't go through all that again as most of you are familiar about that. I may not have lived to see 2009 at all so I guess I am really thankful to whosoever was related in making me a happier person I was once again. 

Of course no year can be given a farewell without first honouring and remembering the great achievements of the people of this world....


Here all the things (well atleast most of them) that occured under the sun and which drew deserved attention and praise from across the world and from me of course have been given a mention here.

Each category has ONE winner and ONE runner ups. So no ties at all.


A lot of things happened in 2008 some of which were important for us and some of us which weren't important to others. stopped the activity in their nuclear weapons facility and evaded a probable war. challenged the "West" to dare them to stop their nuclear weapons production. US and the others tried but didn't listen to them. Hopefully we won't be having another war there. Terrorists attacked India a couple of times early on the year but the gruesome attack of 26/11 shocked the entire world and gave the entire humanity a sense of the power these terrorists had. In the aftermath to the attack,terrorism was given a tough answer by our once-vote bank politicians and all.

However the most important event of 2008 probably stands out to be the rise of someone who at first might seem unimportant to the rest of the world except US. I am talking about the victory of Barack Obama. Sure his victory broke a social stigma and all but why is his election so important to the entire world is because his ideas especially the ones about the current financial crisis has the potential to reduce the damage it does to the American economy and hence to the world economy as well.

Now for the category awards..

First the rules...




Best Book of 2008


Prisoner of Birth (Jeffrey Archer)

The Castle (Franz Kafka)

Brisingr (Christopher Paolini)

The Three Mistakes of My Life (Chetan Bhagat)

Smiley's People (John Le Carre)

Runner-Up : Prisoner of Birth(Jeffrey Archer)

Winner : The Castle (Franz Kafka)

I read some great novels in 2008. I haven't finished reading Brisingr still but it seems like a good enough novel to qualify for my nominee list. But however, two of the books really stand out for me. One is Archer's brilliant re-interpretation of Dumas-cla$$ic, Count of Monte Cristo.He not only re-tells the revenge saga in a modern-day setting but he does so without drawing any comparisons with Dumas' novel.

However the winner is more than obvious. It goes to the mystical,intriguing and convulated story all set within a simplistic plot of The Castle. Last year,I got a taste of Kafka's infamous Metamorphosis and since then I've been a huge fan of his "dark humor" and his $tyle of "broken writing". I tried writing a short story in Kafka-esque $tyle but failed miserably. Guess there was one and only one Franz Kafka.


Movie of the Year

The Dark Knight

Burn After


Get Smart

Runner Up : Burn After

Winner : The Dark Knight

I think it is a pretty obvious choice in the end. Dark Knight was the most talked-about movie of this year and for a very good reason. It made people believe that superhero movie aren't always senseless plots with sub-mediocre action and CGI. Dark Knight is memorable for two things-- It's action and of course,Heath Ledger's performance. I haven't watched many movies of Ledger but I might have to being so impressed by his portrayal of comic world's most infamous villian.

Burn After Reading surprised me with it's dark humor,over-the-top violence and the Coen Brothers picture-perfect editing. Brad Pitt's most unique performance since the legendary Fight Club.


Special Category of 2008 : Most Disappointing Comeback

Death Magnetic (Metallica)

Black Ice (AC/DC)

Chinese Democracy (Guns N Roses)

The Cosmos Rock (Queen + Paul Rodgers)

Runner Up : The Cosmos Rock (Queen + Paul Rodgers)

Winner : Death Magnetic (Metallica)

2008 was a year of comebacks. And most of them fell head over their feet. Metallica continued their abysmal run with Death Magnetic. This album has got varied opinions from many sections but as far as I am concerned I just can't seem to like this album. Most of the songs are fillers and all the singles are awfully bad except the lead single,"The Day That Never Comes". This single gives some hope that Metallica can do something hopefully good enough in the future.

Oh..and I forgot that the Queen made their comeback replacing the late and great Freddie Mercury with somebody called Paul Rodgers. Where are the feet-tapping,jaw-snapping,head-banging music of the old Queen? I dare say The Cosmos sucks.

Album of the Year

Viva La Vida (Coldplay)

Dear Science (TV on the Radio)

(The Verve)

In Rainbows (Radiohead)

OK Computer (Radiohead)

Runner Up : OK Computer (Radiohead)

Winner : In Rainbows (Radiohead)

Radiohead was the music of 2008 for me. For what I went through during 2008 and for what I became in 2008. The moment I was introduced to them courtesy to Neon, I loved their unique "arid" $tyle of music that brought calm,comfort and solace to even the most depressed of the beings. OK Computer is a very good example of that. It perfectly defines the solitude and isolation that living in a big city could bring in one's life. In Rainbows is a perfect album where I like each and every of it's 11 songs.

Song of the Year

Cemeteries of (Viva La Vida--Coldplay)

Rather Be (--The Verve)

Halfway Home (Dear Science--TV on the Radio)

Paranoid Android (OK Computer--Radiohead)

Nude (In Rainbows--Radiohead)

RUNNER UP : Halfway Home (Dear Science--TV on the Radio)

WINNER :Paranoid Android (OK Computer--Radiohead)

If you read my blog header on my profile page that is enough to tell you how much I love "Paranoid Android". All I have to say for it is : "I May Be Paranoid But Not an Android." 


Without any further ado...let's move onto the thing we've all been waiting for. 

Game of the Year 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV (X360)

Gears of War 2 (X360)

Final Fantasy VIII (PS)

Super Mario 64 (N64)

Left 4 Dead (PC)

Dead or Alive 4 (X360)

Braid (XBLA)

Metal Gear Solid (PS)

Runner Up :

Grand Theft Auto IV

I think if it wasn't for the winner this game would have most definitely one my GotY. Never before do I remember a game developer silencing it's critics by giving them a dose of their own medicine. GTA IV did that. It silenced most of it's critics by sobering up into a mature,action-packed and moreover a game that had it's heart in the right place. It doesn't intend to be brash or brutal about anything at all. It just tells an honest tale about an illegal immigrant trying to make ends meet by the only thing he knows--crime.

If it wasn't for it's humane protagonist Niko Bellic and his pals and foes that one encounters nor was it for the memorable then perhaps the game might have been forgotten. But Rockstar created a world sketched out of the heart of someone who knew New York City well as did he understand the anomalies of American culture and human sentient. The ending leaves a bitter-sweet taste in the mind but it also leaves a definite and moralistic impression of the game upon any human's mind who perseveres and plays this game.





Final Fantasy VIII

I think there wasn't any one of you who didn't see this coming. It's the most probable,most ideal,most logical and the easiest choice to make. It simply boils down to this. Final Fantasy VIII is a game I have dreamt of playing since the moment I stepped into the realm of gaming. The game's every moment is the every moment I dreamt of living one day. No single game has had this much expectation from me. I expected Final Fantasy VIII to be nothing short of a masterpiece. And it amazed me...when it exceeded such impossibly high expectations and went on to become quite possibly the greatest game I have ever played,or ever will.

So that's it for now,folks.

Catch all of you next year,which is in a couple of minutes. 

So until then,Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year and a Good Luck to all of your future endeavors. May everyone get everything they wish for (don't wish too much though. )

C ya



The Christmas Effect

Merry Christmas to all pals and pal-ettes ( not the art ones  ),

The festive season is here and it's always the time to nicely lay back,relax and have fun with family and friends. A time everyone wants to come so they can take one well-deserving break from the grueling and grinding of daily lives. I can certainly say that I wanted to Christmas to come fast not only because I was sick and tired of all the studying (thank GOD! That wretched test is over!) and I wanted to spend more time gaming and doing some "creative" writing.

About the creative writing, I wrote some more character templates for my novel and shockingly...well I wrote a poem.  It's a shock because I am terrible at poems and I can't rhyme or make brief sentences to save a bread's life from being buttered.  So yes writing a poem is quite an achievement but well you see....the poem is a romantic one.  Not inspired by anyone of course ( ),but seeing how the world can do a lot more with the love I wrote it. I will post it when I feel it's ready.

A couple of weeks ago I had prepared myself a wishlist of what I would like to have for Christmas so that I can send the letter to Santa (A.K.A The Parents,Grandparents,Aunts and Uncles of the Known World). Now as the Christmas approached I was wondering whether any of my Christmas gifts would be from the wishlist or not. Now,I am not a Christian so Christmas isn't a huge festival for my family but we still enjoy it every-year by giving each other gifts,and baking and eating Christmas plum cakes. But seeing how big my Christmas wishlist was I am honestly surprised by how I got all of them.

My Christmas Purchases

Dear Science (TV On The Radio) [PURCHASED]

To be honest I have been willing to give new bands with different musical approaches a try this year. Especially those recommended by my friend,NeonNinjaI tried out Radiohead earlier this year upon his recommendation and they are one of my favorites now. So yeah, I have heard a lot of praise about TV On The Radio from him and I have wondered about this relatively-less known band. But when it topped nearly EVERY end of the year top album-lists I couldn't stop myself from buying it any more.

Popping in Dear Science for the first time,mildly impressed me. But after giving the whole album a good listen of two-to-three times I really began to like two or three of their songs. Especially Halfway Home,Golden Age,Crying and Family Tree.Definitely one of this year's better albums amongst Coldplay's Viva La Vida and The Verve's Forth.

Brisingr--Book Three of The Inheritance Cycle (Christopher Paolini)[PURCHASED]

I have been a huge fan of Paolini's Inheritance Cycle (earlier planned as a Trilogy) and I find it a better alternative compared to Lord of the Rings (no offense to the Tolkein fans but I prefer The Hobbit MORE). Eragon was a book which immediately one me over with it's raw charm and innocence as well as it's rich world full of unexplored mysteries. Eldest was a little too long but enough to make it a good read,IMO. I have heard similar things about Brisingr but I plan to read it and hopefully enjoy it. 

The Dark Knight DVD (Normal Edition) [PURCHASED]

Alright I don't have blu-ray and so I can't enjoy all those cool features in the Blu-Ray edition of Dark Knight. Laugh as much as you want,you PS3 and Blu-Ray owners!  But I am more than glad I found this one on the shelf (it was picked up by me before other hungry shoppers found it ) So yes it is definitely one of the best movies of the year and what else can you expect. I am going to watch this in the theatres again when it re-releases (if it does so here that is).


Now let's rewind back a little. During April when I made a blog creating two "split-personalities" of myself one called Fan and one Gamer and self-debated at which console I should get. Those who remember this get a 10G Achievement/A Trophy(rejoice all you,Achievement and Trophy whores!)

One of the main reasons why I wanted PS3 was because of FFXIII. And now of course I am thankful I DIDN'T get a PS3 since I would have been extremely angry if I had purchased it only to know it would also come to 360.

Anyways I didn't get a PS3 and instead got a 360.If anyone remembers why I took that surprising decision despite the fact that I never played a Halo or a Gears of War before to be it's fan. The answer was simple. I got 360 because of it's RPG's. Go on! Be shocked. Sure I wanted to play the Halo's and Gears as much too but one of the primary reasons I bought 360 was because of games like Lost Odyssey and Eternal Sonata (the latter did get ported to PS3 now) But most importantly I went for a 360 because of one game. That game was Mass Effect.

It might surprise some of you who know me as a JRPG fan. The truth is I am not that much of a JRPG fan as you might think. Of course I consider JRPG's as my favorite genre but over the years I spent PC-gaming and discovered the hidden gems relatively unknown to the ignorant console-crowd (more on that later) like the Baldur's Gate,Diablosand the KotOR and Neverwinter Nights of the world...WRPG's has steadily been rising upon my popularity ranks since then. I think I call myself a RPG fan (both JRPG's and WRPG's) than a JRPG or a WRPG fan alone. And before you ask I consider Square Enix and BioWare as my favorite developers in gaming right now.

Quote that and don't ask me that again.

And that said it is of a little disappointment to me ever since I bought a 360 that I haven't been able to find Mass Effect in ANY of the stores here (curse MS for shipping so less copies of it here). And while I know Mass Effect on PC is available I still wanted to go for the 360 version (NOT because of the achievements. I am NOT an achievement whore.  )

But to my extreme luck (thank you Santa) I found a copy of Mass Effect in the same store from where I purchase all my game CD's and I was LIKE "WTF!! Where had you kept this game for a year? Under your *** or what?" 

So yes...this is a reality NOW!!

Mass Effect (Xbox 360) [PURCHASED]

So yes arguably the most "next-gen" RPG of this generation is now with me. Being a frequent BioWare fan (in case of Baldur's Gate II,NWN and KotOR) and critic (in case of Jade Empire). Since I don't want to get into the details about what I've felt about this game (HINT: Every breath of this game is equivalent to a moment to cherish for a RPG fan) but see what I think about it in one of my following blogs. A thing I can say about putting 4 odd hours in Mass Effect is that it's ideas are so refreshingly brilliant and to a greater extent the gameplay,and the dialogue is like a dream-come-true for every RPG fan (and that includes the JRPG ones as well).

There was more to this Christmas Wishlist but unfortunately the final item couldn't be purchased because it just couldn't be found. The missing list from Christmas Wishlist is....

Chinese Democracy (Guns N Roses)

Okay. I know this isn't a REAL Guns N Roses album. For me Guns N Roses died the moment Slash,Izzy and McKagan went away from it. Sure I liked Axl Rose's music and his voice but I didn't think he had it in him to make another album. It took him a good deal of his life and a lot more money and sweat to make another one. I am not that big of a GNR fan since I think they are a highly glorified-and built upon publicity kind of band. I began hating Axl Rose more after his "feud" with Nirvana's Kurt Cobain (an icon as a musician,IMO). Still I like a lot of GNR's older work especially from Appetite for Destruction.

I have heard mixed opinions on this one but I guess it wouldn't hurt to get an album that features a paranoid rockstar. 

Until then,

Ho Ho Ho

C ya



Mini Review Blog and Something's Come Up..

Hello dudes and dudettes,

Sorry it took a while for this to come up. I had been suffering from something called a "blogger's block" which was mainly due to my lethargy and not because I had run out of ideas.  Don't worry there are more bigger "write-ups" coming up soon.. 

As usual I am following a two-section blog for this one. The first comprising of the Mini Reviews section where I will be giving you a brief review (more of a final verdict) on some of the games whose full-fledged reviews I can't make myself right. (Not because these games are bad but simply because I just can't write a full review on them). The second section is an update to my gaming life.

Part 1 : Mini Reviews (Clearing Up the Pending Work)

Need For Speed Underground 2 (PC)

A generic racer that sticks too closely to the tried-and-tested formula and comes out to be anything but new.

Underground 2 pretty much sums up what I have always hated about the Need For Speed series in a single bland racing game. It tries to look flashy,tries to look cool,tries to make the gamers feel as if it's *insert a useless gameplay element* will be the selling point of the game and will revolutionise the genre. Far from revolutionising the genre Underground 2 often has problems focusing on what it actually should be doing. Racing. The racing when it does come down to it isn't half-bad but the lack of sense of speeds at even 300 Kmph really takes away the thrill of racing.

Underground 2 has different racing modes which test all the different abilities of a driver from drag races,to "sharp-cornered" street race,to a circuit race there is something for everyone. These racing modes do give certain amount of variation to the racing to an extent. Damage-Modeling is non-existant and your car will appear shining new after dozens of crashes. Damage has no effect on car's performance re-establishing Underground 2 as an arcade racer. However no arcady feel to racing since it lacks speed. It even has a GTA-like free-roam mode which is a burden since to participate in races you need to go from one corner of the city to other.

To distract you from visible flaws Underground 2 has a "duh" story told through Max Payne esque comic book $tyle Voice acting isn't bad and one must give credits to EA for the flashy graphics. However the game suffers from frame-rate issues that's a negative point as well.

Underground 2 isn't a bad racer. But it often loses focus from what it should do courtesy to unnecessary cutscenes,even more unnecessary driving around the city. Even the racing is nothing special. Best avoided unless racing isn't your main priority in a racing game.

Score : 6.5/10

Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES)

Undoubtedly one of the most important and influential fighting game of it's era...SFII Turbo changed the way people began looking towards fighting games. This was really where fighting genre REALLY got mainstream. One of the things which made SFII such a delight to play through were it's tight control scheme and it's excellent combo-mix which was unique to every character.

Plus SFII had an amazing roster with cult favorites like Ryu,Ken,Guile,Chun-Li along with couple of others. The power-finishers were easy to execute and the fights were quick with good doses of strategy involved in them. The Story Mode was unique to every character and had an ending cutscene too another revolutionary aspect for fighting genre. This game also had an amazing amount of replay value and 2-player matches were challenging and enjoyable.

SFII was a game that left it's mark upon the genre and such a deep impression did it leave upon the genre's fans that it took quite a while for a game to surpass the legendary status of SFII.

Score : 8.5/10

WWF No Mercy (N64)

Wrestling games had little stand of their own against the much popular 3D fighting games until this game arrived on the N64. Boasting of new Rumble Pak and Multiplayer modes,No Mercy is a mammoth-equipped wrestling game on all fronts that teaches it's future successors of exactly which path to follow. Introduces a unique stamina/momentum based fighting rather than the "life-bar" and button mashing of the older ones. Wrestling includes a lot of strategy and it's oft better to balance between one's offense and defense so that one doesn't end up lying down on the mat.

The enemy AI is quite sharp and often reads some of your moves cleverly dodging them. There are couple of counters too which can be activated upon certain weak grapples. Different game modes further add up to the spice. Besides the customary Championship and Exhibition Matches there is a King of the Ring tournament, a Special Referee match,a Cage Match and the ultimate mayhem of Ladder Matches.There are issues with outdated graphics but that can be forgiven considering the worthy gameplay.The roster also is quite updated for it's time and the ability to create custom-superstars right from scratch like from filling their details,to their entrance,to their move-set everything about No Mercy is highly influential to the previously-uninspired wrestling genre.

Score : 8.0/10

Ninja Gaiden (NES)

The game which popularised the concept of speed-runs on the gaming front and introduced the cutscenes on the technical front has gotta be awesome. And it sure is. Ryu Hayabusa's first outing on the NES is a side-scrolling action/platformer. What makes this game such a thrill to master and play is it's insane amount of difficulty level. With only three continues and no extra lives available Ninja Gaiden becomes a tough mountain to scale if one sees the amount of enemies thrown at you and the kind of damage one hit of theirs can do to you.

Add to that some huge odds set up against you. Like in one of the levels in NGII, the blizzard changes it's direction once in a while so you need to be careful you time your runs and jumps otherwise you can end up with a Game Over. Another level is absolutely pitch dark other than the occassional lightning which illuminates only for couple of seconds the entire level. These not only make the game immensely challenging but completing them gives you huge satisfaction something even it's Xbox successor retains.

The boss battles deserve another mention since they are pretty much on a large scale itself. Not only are these bosses number of TIMES harder than the usual enemies but the circumstances in which you fight them along with the death penalty being to repeat the entire stage can be quite intimidating to some. Story of Ninja Gaiden is stylishly told through cutscenes and add some tense retro music and you have a well-flavored plot experience. Ninja Gaiden is an amazing experience in whichever perspective one looks it from.

Score : 8.5/10

Full Review of Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time or Terranigma coming next blog. 

Section 2 : Gaming Life...

Firstly. Final Fantasy VIII. Completed. Thrilled to the death at the ending and just can't find words to describe the roller-coaster of emotions I have went through this epic game. Plus it's probably one of the very few JRPG's where I had an equal amount of fun with the gameplay as well as the story. That's right I completely dig the Junction System and Draw System complements that. The fact that the under-leveled characters can just kick the final boss's butt is something which the genre needed to learn a LONG time back. It TOTALLY removes the concept of level grinding.

To top that all up the game has some emotional crescendos...and holds the rare distinction of being the only entertainment stuff to have made me cry. Hell ya! It had that kind of effect on me. And to little surprise to all...I give Final Fantasy VIII a...

FFVIII Score : 10/10 (Would give it 11/10 if I could. It's not perfect...but HELL man it's MY KIND of game. A review will come when I feel like it) 


I got a.. BRAND NEW XBOX 360 (REPLACEMENT UNDER THE WARRANTY) Took less than a week. 

AND............GOT THIS COUPLE OF HOURS AGO.....(drums)



Hell ya

C ya



A Tryst With Destiny

I have been having the time of my life for past week. Really call it the Seventh Heaven or Cloud 9 but those are a few words that describe how I have been feeling. It's not got anything to do with the happenings of my real life actually (everything's fine on that front.Fam On the contrary it's related to my gaming life...a life that has finally met with it's destiny....Gamers old and young constantly await for the day when they feel as if they have finally met with the game that was made "specially for them" *if you get what I mean*.

Sorry for getting a little emotional there but that's what has happened to me ever since I have got "absorbed" (literally!) into a game called Final Fantasy VIII. The Final Fantasy series has always been special to me in more than one ways I could define. It defines me as a gamer. It defines my taste in gaming and as to what I have loved and adored in the twelve years I spent gaming. Sure there have been dry spells between me and FF but when my love for it did get rekindled (after playing Final Fantasy VI) then it was almost that my gamer self had got married to it.

The highpoint of my Final Fantasy fanboyishness was during last year's summer. FFVII dragged me into it's world,made me care for each and every character (including it's foolish protagonist) and all I did for two weeks was eat,sleep and breathe FFVII. I was literally jumping with joy when I kicked Sephiroth's butt for the last time with an Omnislash...gosh sweet memories of then.

However, neither FFVI nor FFVII wasn't "my game". Tbey were awesome,kickass,fantastic and a sheer masterpieces. But those two (despite being one of my all time favorites) weren't "my ideal game". They weren't the game that I felt was made specially for me. I don't know but when I look back at those two games I always find moments where I feel I could have liked it more if it were done this way and that. If I look back at FFVI there were moments especially during the second half of the game that I felt were a little over-stretched ( I am referring to the gathering of the party members after Kefka takes control over the world).

Looking at FFVII I disliked the character development of Cloud and the ending. I have complained often about the "open-ended" ending of FFVII and how poorly a plot as epic and grand as it's was concluded in my FFVII review.

All that criticism aside those two games deserve the top honors by any gamer who has played them for the lone reason that these games are amongst the finest ever created by humans.

Which brings me to FFVIII. The game which I think is made for "ME". The game which can so far do nothing wrong at all. I can't find a single thing to complain about the game's plot,it's characters,the gameplay,battle system,the setting....NOTHING! I can't find any flaw in this game no matter how scrutinous I try to get. Probably, that is because I am so in love with this game. It's just fricking awesome. The best of the best............. *A Paragraph Was Deleted Because of Excess Liking Towards A Game*

So yeah I like completed Disc 2 hours ago and now my mind is completely dizzy with thoughts,questions,emotions,and what not...

Disc 2 Impressions

  • It began with a flashback sequence featuring our very own Laguna. I was hoping to know more about him as Laguna's character had got a little attention in the first disc. Turns out to be that this would be the only flashback sequence in the entire Disc 2. But what an awesome sequence it was. Nothing melodramatic,nothing epic. Just plain old sequence related to Laguna's life after the Centra escape. By the end of this short sequence I felt as if I really knew Laguna well.
  • Another sequence in the game, the FH Concert was equally memorable and likeable. I liked the idea of getting to form a rock band with our party members and performing on stage to cheer up Squall. I had Selphie on guitar, Quistis on piano, Irvine on violin and Zell on the bass guitar. But what I liked more about the FH Concert was the amusing conversation between Rinoa and Squall. It's like everytime these two begin talking you can be sure that it's going to be one hell-of-an entertaining one. But this one surprisingly didn't have Rinoa teasing Squall or flirting with him. Nor did it have Squall grumbling in his was a strangely personal scene where I finally came to know the reason of Squall's self-seclusion from the society. Why he likes be with himself more....why he wants to be a loner...
  • This for me was the key moment in the game as I feel after that FFVIII switched onto the emotional track.
  • The highpoint of Disc 2 easily came in the form of the basketball court scene...I don't know how to say this but in this scene where the five orphans (Squall,Zell,Quistis,Selphie and Irvine) recollect their past memories on a war-torn basketball court moved me onto the verge of tears... I can't say this proudly but I nearly did cry when watching that scene. I was shocked that I was actually getting all emo as I don't remember when I had ever cried in my life while watching a movie,or reading a book,playing a game etc. NEVER! And FFVIII made me do that....

Enough said about FFVIII and it's awesomeness. I must be boring you with all this but please bear with me. This game has already got a special place in my heart halfway through the game and I am wondering that perhaps by the end I will really be crying and laughing both at once.

As I said earlier,FFVIII is a game that struck all right chords for me. It can't do anything wrong. Every disc,every sequence,every scene,every dialogue seems totally perfect and amazingly real. I would definitely call FFVIII in a single nutshell as, "An odyssey of human drama through emotional crescendos...Perfect!"


General Gaming Stuff...

Couple of games got reviewed by GS a few days ago. Far Cry 2 and Fable II being prime amongst those. I wasn't surprised by either of their scores really. As far as Fable II is concerned, I think this game is definitely looking like a vast improvement from it's mediocre original and I might give this game a try. On the other hand, I liked Far Cry a lot but that was before Crysis came in. Somehow after playing through the sophistication of gameplay design I am not sure I can go back to Far Cry again. They are literally clones but still there is something distinctly different about them.

Bad news...Fallout 3 isn't coming to India. It was recently announced by MS India that they aren't going to release it here due to "sensitivity reasons". This was because the game supposedly has a three headed mutated cow which is called "Brahmin" (a community comprising of religious people in India). Now isn't that plain frustrating. I mean no offense but are Brahmins really going to play a game and that too Fallout 3 and look for a monster called "Brahmin". It's just plain foolishness. I won't forgive MS for this.

So since Fallout 3 isn't coming to India that probably removes it from the equation of a new purchase anyway. So....yeah I am going to get Gears of War 2 as soon as possible.

With the remaining amount of "gift money" (it's festival time here and family gatherings means lots of gift money ) I plan on getting a brand new PSP. Yup! I have finally decided to discard my old PSP whose UMD drive is totally crashed and out of warranty and replace it with another PSP. Don't expect a PSP-Slim or something I might just be able to scrape with a normal one and save enough cash to get Final Fantasy Dissidia and Crisis Core : FFVII .

That's it dudes and dudettes

Until next time.........Whatever!

C ya



Some Things Never Change...

...Like, nuking every bit of common sense that can be rammed into a human's brain and getting yourself a dose of ultraviolent,nonsensical and still somehow "fun" game.

I am a gamer. I understand that as gamers, we are subject to lots of stereotypes and misconceptions. Much of the general crowd has a mental perception of a core gamer as that of an overweight teen whose butt is stuck to the couch in front of the T.V. And THAT is a misconception mind you.However there is something which even I have to agree with. Much of the core gaming crowd especially those addicted to more of the ultraviolent action games have become insensitive towards violence. And that's natural.

When you play games in which all you do most of the time is killing bad guys then immunity towards violence comes as a natural trait. However getting immune to violence doesn't mean you are becoming violent yourself. No. That's a completely different thing. I don't feel like jumping on the old violence debate right now so I will skip this.

So what's wrong with violence in games? Nothing at all, I say. Violence is a medium of expression. It is as necessary in action games like emotions and tears are a necessity in "epic" games and humor is necessary in wacky games. Without, violence and blood the cruelty and the gruesome circumstances under which many of the action games take place just cannot be described. This is a point which many fail to understand when they hop onto the anti-violence in Videogames bandwagon.

I used to love violence in video games whether it came in form of gore (Quake,Half Life) or in form of wacky humor (post-GTAIII and pre-GTA IV games). But all this was to change. My perception and my stance that violence should have no boundaries were completely turned over it's head when I played a certain game couple of months ago.That game was Grand Theft Auto IV .

And that's fact. The very series which glorified violence in video-games in it's over-the-top sandbox games actually made me tone down my views on "mindless violence". (Note here that I use the term "mindless violence" which refers to violence without any necessity nor any implication on the game. The sort of violence which occurs without logic). I never imagined that the series that actually gave birth to this "violence in videogames" debate in mainstream media would actually shut it's skeptics up with a thoroughly mature and sophisticated game.

There were certain situations in that game where I had to decide whether to kill a certain character or not. Having the life of a person at gunpoint in your hands was never realised to that much level of importance as it did in GTA IV. In one of the late missions in the game I actually locked-onto the person to be killed but just couldn't press the trigger that comes from a guy who has fragged AI players thousands of times in Quake. That is something completely different from previous installments of GTA and some of it's rip-offs (more on that soon).

And thanks to GTA IV I have changed. Don't know whether it's for better or for worse. But I have changed. I still love action games. I love the "meaningful" violence within it. But I don't find any fun in mindlessly violent games any longer.

LIKE! Saints Row II . I have been in a particularly anti-Saints Row mood ever since I found out that it's going to be the same old mindless piece of gangsta action that the first one was. No offense but I am a thorough supporter of a certain thing called video game progression. I love to see video games progressing from game to game,series to series,generation to generation and so on...

And that's exactly what SRII DIDN'T do. It stuck true to it's promise of delivering the same old Saints Row fun to it's fans and hell it did. But that's just a mere excuse on the developer's part on not coming up with anything new. Not coming up with more substance than style for a genre that got an entire revamp earlier this year (read GTA IV). Not observing the changing trends of gaming.

I don't blame people who like SR2. It's a fun game no doubt WAY more fun than GTA IV ever was. But in terms of maturity and the amount of sheer class GTA IV showed in both gameplay innovation,plot narration and character development is a true tour de force of the genre.

While watching Saints Row II gameplay videos I feel so nostalgic. I can see that it's crazier than ever. Throwing people twenty feet far is cool. Driving around in a monster truck that blows everything that comes in it's way is uber-cool.Grown up men running around in ladies bra's and rocket launching cars. So funny isn't it? WELL IT'S NOT FOR ME!! There is violence without any sense. In GTA IV, Niko killed people because he had to. Here in SRII the lead character, Johnny Gat or something does it for gangsta pride and cash. *****!

I understand that SRII was in development well before GTA IV became a benchmark for the sandbox genre but seriously to people at Volition. WHAT'S THE USE OF MAKING A GAME IF YOU DON'T WANT TO DO ANYTHING SERIOUSLY NEW WITH IT!!!!

While SRII may be releasing in 2008, it's still stuck in 2004. Why? Because it hasn't got rid of it's San Andreas hangover yet. Saints Row 1 was truly a next-gen San Andreas. And Saints Row II is exactly the same. WELL, SOMEONE has forgotten to do SOMETHING in between those TWO YEARS!! People are like "Ohh..God Bless Saints Row. GTA IV was so boring. So real. It felt as if I was watching a real-life story and not a video game." Does it mean that people don't want videogames to improve? Does it mean that few gamers want games to remain the same old,immaturely fun that they always were? Fun has become the motto of the day. Future is just chucked into the bin.

In a lower ring to SRII , Mercs 2 and Crackdown are two similar games which I rate in a similar category as SRII. I have to say that I fail to understand when some people keep raving about Mercs 2's explosions,"Mercs 2 is like so freaking cool! The explosions are so large and there is like unlimited ammo for rocket launchers which is so UBER-COOL!! Well again "IT'S A WTF ARE YOU MAD!?" moment. For God's sake, it's only an explosion. People seriously like a game because of it's explosions?
And don't get me even started on Crackdown. That game is just so full of itself. I can't resist laughing everytime I see the central guy jumping. It feels as if he's diving into a pool of vanilla or something. (WTF!)

I am not against fun in games. It's as important or perhaps even more important than sense and logic in videogaming. But my stance is strictly against such games which are made for the sole purpose of pleasing it's fans just because it is *insert a favorite trend in videogame*. I would love to play Saints Row III if it has progressed the "San Andreas-ish" gameplay forward. I wouldn't bet against the fact that SRIII if worked with true hard passion can even better San Andreas.

C ya


P.S: My terminals are finished. I am off playing FFVIII now. I am starting from all over again to experience it's awesomeness again.


This Is Perfect Timing...NOT!!!

(NOTE : With this blog, no lag exists between the posting of my blogs on my GS and GB profiles. Both are at equal level now. )

NOTE 2: Part of this blog I felt that was unnecessary was deleted. So this is the bridged version...)

Talk about the moment you had been awaiting for a long time in your life and when the moment does arrive at your doorstep it does so at an inappropriate time!

And that's exactly what happened yesterday....with me and FFVIII.

Alright seriously the moment I had FFVIII in my hands, I forgot that I had terminals that afternoon. I forgot that I hadn't prepared much for the Botany test. I forgot I was even going to college that day. All because in my mind there was nothing besides playing FFVIII. Hooked up my PSone. Opened the FFVIII box,the CD's were in mint condition with absolutely no scratches . Wouldn't want a KotOR repeat here again,would we?

And so hence began the journey with another fantasy. I played I f***** played till my mom was shouting at the top of her voice. I went to the college unprepared forthe Botany exam BUT still managing to do way above my expectations in the end. I avoided all my friends on the way back to my home. When asked why I was in such a hurry, I simply said "I am going somewhere far...".

So here's what has happened between me and FFVIII so far. I played for a NON-STOP 7-hour gaming stretch. The last time I remember playing this long for any game was FFVII (14 hours in a day but that was during the summer holidays). Back to FFVIII, I finished the entire Disc 1 during that playthrough. And at the end of it all I was left heavy with all sorts of wild emotions running through my brain...

Here are the detailed Disc 1 impressions.....(this is going to be a long blog)

Disc One Impressions

As the Squaresoft logo vanished I awaited for one of my favorite credit sequences in a Final Fantasy game. I really like the musical score which sounds typical-Uematsu. Anyways after that was done,I pressed on "New Game" and took a deep breath. I was about to watch what many FF as well as non-FF fans call as "one of the greatest intros to a game". And what a damn impressive intro it was! The graphics were shocking. I mean how could such graphics be created on the PSOne!! It's utterly amazing what Squaresoft has done with the game. I also truly enjoyed the "Liberi Fatali" (I guess) background score which reminds me of FFVI's famous "Aria di Mezza Caraterre".

Anyways, I will cut the long story, a "little" short.

Area Wise Impressions:

NOTE: Comparisons to FFVII are natural...

I will start off with the most "hotly debated" topic amongst FF fans-- the FFVIII gameplay. I had never ever heard so much criticism as well as praise for a battle system for a Final Fantasy game. I was keen to see how would FFVIII's gameplay gel with me.

  • I must say that FFVIII is clever by introducing so many tutorials in it's way which makes the learning and understanding of the Junction system a lot better.
  • I am glad that the modified-Esper system of FFVI was recalled for FFVIII in the form of Guardian Forces which is a lot better option than the "Summon Materia",IMO.
  • I am going to be one of the very few of the FF fanboys whose thinking that the Draw system of FFVIII is a fresher alternative and a more innovative approach to the MP system. I have no complaints with the Draw System so far.
  • The limit system IS A LOT BETTER than FFVII's limit system in a logical sense. I mean they remind me of DOA 2's desperation attacks when a weak character makes a critical hit. The idea that Limits will only be activated when a character's HP is below 10% of the total HP therefore makes sense.
  • The fact that weapons remain constant throughout the game and they can only be modified with the help of items and money was hard to swallow in the beginning but I eventually had little probs with it.
  • The controversial Junction System was the pretty confusing and hard to understand despite the tutorials but by the time I reached Timber,I had gotten the hang of it. It isn't as bad as people describe it. In fact,it ain't bad at ALL. I even grew a little liking towards it and found that it actually gives room for more variations and modifications.
OVERALL, I think the gameplay is fantastic. I find myself at home while playing it and haven't had any sort of uncomfort or difficulties as some FFVIII skeptics told I would. In fact,I like FFVIII's gameplay as much as I did to FFVI and FFVII's gameplay. In some aspects in terms of innovation,I would rate FFVIII's battle system even higher than FFVI and FFVII's.

The plot (possible spoilers)

  • So far from Disc One the plot is utterly unpredictable to say the least. It started off at a slow and breezy pace (compared to FFVII's frenzied pace). The game took it's own time in settling down with the characters and the setting, though it never once got me bored as even at it's most sluggish moments,FFVIII's plot was endearing and engaging and entertaining.
  • However after the one-hour mark it really started to warm up with things getting a little bit interesting.
  • The Dollet chase sequence is fantastic not because of the thrill it provides but because of the sheer brute force technology SquareSoft used. The seamless transition between the enemy robot's sprite and pre-rendered background was marvellous.
  • I still so love the SeeD graduation dance between two absolute strangers- Squall and Rinoa.
  • The first flashback sequence involving Laguna and Julia was pretty amusing. Though not in the same amusing way that the "Honeybee Inn" was in FFVII.
  • The Great Train Heist was one of the most thrilling "action" sequences in a JRPG. Stimulating stuff,dudes. Some of the ideas were borrowed right out of MGS and were brilliantly implemented. My heart beat was really beating high at that time.
  • The part involving President Deling's broadcast being interrupted by Seifer and then Sorceress Edea entering into the picture was quite creepy. Especially with the "evil version" of Liberi Fatali going in the background.
  • Easily the highlight and one of my most favorite sections in a Final Fantasy game from now onwards is the Deling City Assassination Plan. The plan is cleverly hatched and seems to be perfect. However nothing goes to plan and somehow in an over-dramatic way everything goes right (typical FF) and in the end something goes wrong and BANG...the Disc Ends with a heart-wrenching scene sprinkled with hatred. Man I can't get those freaking eyes of Sorceress Edea out of my mind.
Characters: A JRPG without a cast of great characters is incomplete.

  • Squall: If you didn't know before, FFVIII is a character-centric game. It is mainly told from Squall's point-of-view. I knew from the demo itself that here was one character that felt human. He felt strangely real. And I wasn't wrong. Squall certainly ISN'T the mindless jerk so many describe him,IMO. He is a teenager. A troubled one just like every other teen. If you call Squall a mindless jerk,then every teenager should be called that too. I perfectly understand some of his behaviour and can see the emotional depth that lies beneath his cold and emotionless personality.
  • His thoughts which are vividly described during conversations gives the gamer a deep insight on Squall's character.
  • Rinoa : I can tell she ain't the foolish type of girl who gets in trouble (though she still got in trouble once) and there is a rebellious part within her. Her conversations with Squall are amusing.
  • In one of the scenes where she reveals that she and Seifer were in some sort of romantic relationship last summer and she has happy memories of it, Squall feels strangely jealous. Somehow,I felt jealous too...I don't know why. Perhaps I didn't like the thought of Seifer and Rinoa together.
  • Laguna: The game's second protagonist,it's clear I have much more to see of him. He appears pretty immature but a good human at heart.
  • Sorceress Edea: She tries to look evil and sometimes even does but I just don't find anything really evil about her. She's more scary than evil. She ain't as evil as Sephiroth was. She ain't as twisted as Kefka was. She kinda reminds me of Golbez and the older FF villains.

End Point :

To be honest, I am finding FFVIII to be one of the most refreshing yet one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I have ever had. I have had so many of memorable "Final Fantasy" moments from this game already and DUDE,it's only Disc One. There are three more discs remaining!!

All I can say is that FFVIII is shaping up to be one of the best FF's and therefore one of the best games I have played. It's already standing toe-to-toe in comparison with FFVII and FFVI (my Top 2 games of all time) and it's only Disc One.

I had been awaiting for FFVIII for so long even calling it the "Most Wanted Game of All Time" a couple of blogs back. I had mammoth expectations riding on it and was at times scared that the game wouldn't stand up to these expectations. However,FFVIII has so far matched up to my expectations and with a few more things it would even exceed those.

In short, FFVIII is the sort of game that a gamer gets only once in his whole life.And I seem to have got mine...


Now for the Bad News for which this blog was written.....

My terminals last for two weeks. They end on 17th October after which we have our Festival Break until 8th Nov. Since I am serious about achieving my promised goal of getting straight A+ (scoring above 94%) in all subjects, I have taken a decision.

The addiction to a FF game is something which only a FF fan can understand. The time after I finished FFVIII I couldn't think of anything but it. Of what could happen next and stuff like that. Just couldn't concentrate on my studies. It was then I decided to do this.

I locked up my PSOne along with the FFVIII CD in a drawer,told my mom to hide the key somewhere I couldn't find and to give me the keys on 17th Oct after my terminals are completed.

I think that's a mature decision I have taken which though will prevent any more FFVIII for two weeks. To start a FF and to somehow not be able to play it for two weeks,is going to be something terrible. It's like you've left an adventure incomplete.

But I know I have taken the decision in my own interests.

So once it's 17th,it's gonna be a non-stop Final Fantasy VIII mania. Yoohoo!!

C ya


This Is What We Live For...

Hello dudes and dudettes,

Sorry for not blogging for quite a while (been only a week) but been busy..y'know the usual stuff-studies,games,music,movies in the descending order of the time they occupy. Firstly I must convey a tragic news....

Tragic News...

As you well knew I got Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic from my uncle a week ago and I was damn excited about playing my GotY 2003.Surprisingly it was this same CD I played back in 2003 and as you might have realised the CD is quite old and ahem...used.

As a result from the third day I began playing KotOR I noticed that my CD drive was apparently having trouble reading the KotOR CD which showed it's presence when the gameplay became choppy,the load times became more extensive and ultimately the worst thing which every PC gamer fears- The game would hang after every 20 odd minutes just because the CD was too scratched for the drive to read. I tried head cleaning the drive a couple of times but in vain. I even tried other relatively newer CD's like Doom 3 and Quake 4 and they all worked perfectly well.

This utterly depressed me. I was immensely excited about getting an oppurtunity to play KotOR after such a long time and it had to get shattered by this generic problem.

I had reached Taris as well,one of my favorite places in KotOR. I decided to get a brand new KotOR someday for PC or Xbox...or hopefully it will come on Xbox Originals someday so I can directly download it off for 1200 MS points.

Oh well with the unfortunate demise of KotOR all I can wait for is my FFVIII to arrive which should be coming by this weekend most likely.

A Little About Books If You Permit...

I am actually quite surprised I have lost my interest in books for quite a while and the last book I finished reading was Jeffrey Archer's "Prisoner of Birth" and John La Carre's "Smiley's People". Both were excellent books though being an Archer fan ever since reading his cla$$ic revenge saga "Kane and Abel" I must say I was disappointed by the overall plot of his new book.

Firstly for those who don't know Prisoner of Birth is Archer's modern-day version of the Alexandre Dumas "Count of Monte Cristo". I loved the original and considered it way better than some of Dumas' other works like Three Musketeers (highly overrated,IMO). Archer's version is only basically similar to the plot and he makes his variation including the trademark shocking ending though I was not able to attach myself to the characters to the level I was able to do in Kane and Abel. None of the characters strike instantly memorable which is something rare for an author of Archer's quality.

A week back,Brisingr-- the third in the Inheritance series. As many of you know, I consider Eragon as a generic yet one of the best fantasy books I have read. Better than LotR,IMO. Yes,I love Tolkein's "The Hobbit" and I think it is much more of a trend-setter and staple in fantasy genre than LotR. Back to Brisingr then. Despite the fact that I am a fan of the series, I did not buy the book for couple of reasons : 1) No free time. 2) When I do get free time I dedicate it to games,music,movies etc. I will definately get it someday though.

Onto Gaming Then...

I took a break from playing GTA IV. C'mon dudes and dudettes,I have been playing that game non-stop for nearly month and a half and now I have reached the most tedious part of a GTA game. All that stands between me and 100% completion is 191 hidden packages [or pigeons or "flying rats" (WTF)] and 29 stunt jumps. This means it's time to print out the map of Liberty City from one of the game guides and do the f***ing donkey's work.

Oh I also have to beat the high score of QUB3D. For those who haven't played GTA IV,it's a mini-game- a parody of Tetris 3D which is dubiously titled as "The Puzzle Game You Have Played Before".

I would also like to take this oppurtunity to talk about some of GTA IV's humor. Those with previous experience to GTA games will know that most of the humor is based on parodies and oddball jokes based on American culture. In GTA IV,it's more prevalent than ever. Listening to some of the shows on radio stations which they call as "radio soaps" makes me half want to laugh and half to frown. Why?

Coz some of GTA IV's radio shows like Judge Grady,Bastion's Buddies are as anti-feminist,promote anti-liberalism,call every other immigrant a "terrorist" and in short make fun of American pop culture. Listening to Judge Grady sometimes make me wince...

For example in a divorce case involving a man and a woman the Judge gives final decision in favour of the man (after a long speech about how men are better than b****es) and to prosecute the lady he burns her. All this is radio of course,but seriously dudes and dudettes, despite the fact that I am a dude doesn't mean I can swallow all of this. Rockstar has often crossed the line with the Hot Coffee stuff in San Andreas and IMO,they have done it again albeit in a less controversial manner.

Okay...after reading Gears of War 2 Hands-On I have only one view BRING IT ON DUDES!! Seems like Gears 2 is winning the battle against Fallout 3 so far for me.

Onto Music Then...

As you well know I bought Death Magnetic last time and also "promised" NeonNinja to listen to In Rainbows. Here are my thoughts

Death Magnetic (Metallica)

There was lots of hype surrounding this album. It even had a grand reception in Mumbai as well where this CD was officially launched. The music channels here like MTV and VH1 showed the leading single "The Day That Never Comes" over and over again. It was after listening to this track which sounds quite similar to "One" in some places I finally believed that Metallica would restore fan's faith on them after a series of flop albums like Load,ReLoad and St.Anger (don't even get me started on how bad this was).

So yes,I loved The Day That Never Comes. Suddenly,James Hetfield was sounding a decade younger,Lars Ulrich was like the old devil on the drums and Kirk Hammett..well he always rocked even in St.Anger. Even the newbie bassist Robert Trujillo played bass guitar quite with all expectations I bought Death Magnetic believing that this would be THE album Metallica would make....OR SO I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE....

Each and every...each and every song of the album shows tremendous signs of Metallica ageing...and ageing badly. They sound like they have just lost the defination of metal and are just banging drums and shouting at top of their voices. Hetfield sounds like he has an acorn stuck in his throat whereas Ulrich keeps hitting the drums so awfully that it feels as if this dude has taken an overdose of laxative.

Cyanide,The Judas Kiss,My Apocalypse are mediocre at their best. Only the lead single,"The Day That Never Comes" is something worth listening and is strangely nostalgic to the time when Metallica owned every other metal band in every boulevard of L.A

Final Verdict: Better than St.Anger,though that's not saying much. A single glimpse of Old Metallica otherwise it's all the same old crappy metal. Like the lyrics in the song even I will say in anticipation of Metallica to make another hit song like their 1989 song "One"....,"Waiting for the One!"

Final Score: 1.5/5

In Rainbows (Radiohead)

My good ol' pal,NeonNinja raved about this album half a year ago. I remember a line from his blog saying,"Listening to Radiohead will change your life." I didn't ever believe music could have such influence on life. So I bought In Rainbows, Radiohead's latest album. I couldn't get out of the Led Zeppelin groove until recently and then I finally managed to hear In Rainbows....

And I was going to have an experience of a lifetime. It began with "15 Steps". A song marked with the unique percussion beat rhythm of drums with chorus claps. It was here I heard Thom Yorke's voice for the first time..and literally it was fantastic. I loved 15 Steps no doubt. Then came a noisy odyssey titled "Bodysnatchers". It sounded like typical stuff dudes like U2 would make but what were those weird "out of world" noises. I would come to know that this was a trademark of Radiohead. They were really like a band from outer space that knew how to touch hearts with music. The noisy Bodysnatchers took an abrupt turn into a void of melancholic orchestra piano riff which intermingled with Yorke's voice like some sort of a voodoo spell.

All I Need is one of the highlights of the album. Hell,every song is a highlight of this album. However, All I Need with it's dark bass line sounded offbeat and the intermittent interruption from the bass felt to be breaking rhythm however when more instruments joined the noise turned into a wonderful music. House of Cards has an out of heaven voice that will raise everyone's hair for the first time. It's also got a strange melancholy of solitude upon which the album is supposedly based upon. Jigsaw Falling Into Pieces is the centrepiece of the album IMO. It defines In Rainbows the best. Fast,slow music accompanied by atmospheric orchestra-esque music,Yorke's falsetto and damn good lyrics. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi is definately a weird name for a song's title but it's so f***ing amazing that it will make someone wet their pants. Especially the part where Yorke's voice fades away and then a loud piano riff enters. Videotape is another amazing song that manages to do something quite original.

However, my fav song from In Rainbows is Nude. It looks like a strange title for a song upon the first observation but it somehow suits the mood. Nude is a beautiful word for Naked. Similarly the song itself is a beautiful interpretation of Radiohead's already beautiful songs. And beauty adds with beauty to produce one of the most stimulating endings to a song EVER.....Stimulating stuff truly!!

Albums like In Rainbows are few and far between in our generation. Any music fan will know that most of the albums released in music history have mostly had only two to three good songs (mostly released as singles) from the catalogue of 10 odd songs on the album CD. There are very few albums I have heard to in my life so far where I have liked each and every song from the album. Examples like Led Zeppelin's albums like (Led Zeppelin I,Led Zeppelin IV,Physical Graffiti). I can finally add In Rainbows to that list.

Final Verdict: In Rainbows is in short words a journey every individual should undertake. I am not saying that everyone will like Radiohead's music. I can understand why some of you may not admire Radiohead's post-OK Computer work calling it too electronic or too experimental but In Rainbows includes Radiohead's finest works packed into one awesome album.

Final Score : 5/5 (Third album to get a score like that from me after Led Zeppelin I and Physical Graffiti).

And Neon pal...You were right. Every word you said was damn spot-on. "Listening to Radiohead has changed my life..."

Thanks,dude. I owe you one. I will make sure I will make you a fan of one of my favorite bands. How about that I make you a Metallica fan someday...oh wait Metallica sucks right now Led Zep doesn't exist...hey about Linkin Park?

C ya


  • 16 results
  • 1
  • 2