M A M E of the Game: Nosgoth


In this episode of M.A.M.E. of the Game we take a small break from Retrogaming and try out Nosgoth the free-to-play multiplayer action game developed by Psyonix and published by Square Enix.

More on Nosgoth:

Nosgoth is a spin-off of the Legacy of Kain series and takes place in that fictional universe and puts you a player versus player system in which each match consists of two rounds. The teams are split amongst the races: Vampires, which are designed around hack and slash combat and humans, which are more styled after third-person shooters. Between rounds, teams switch to control the opposing race. The team which accumulates the most points by fighting their counterparts wins the match.

The 3rd Birthday

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The 3rd Birthday

The 3rd Birthday is the third game in the Parasite Eve series, I’ve already reviewed Parasite Eve 1, and Parasite Eve 2, so I thought I might as well finish off the trilogy, continue on to the review of this PSP game.

Parasite Eve- The Third Birthday

Original release: March 29th 2011 (NA)

PSN Price: 19.99

Developed by: Hexa Drive

Published by: Square Enix

Gameplay

This series has changed a lot through each sequel. The first game was a mostly straight forward RPG with some cool shooting elements, the second game was a Resident Evil style shooter, this third game in the series is different still, a 3rd person shooter with some light RPG elements. The most innovative part of the game is a body jumping mechanic, which does something completely new.

The body jumping works sort of cruelly on the part of other soldiers. You switch between these other soldiers fighting against a mutated enemy called the twisted (I’ll speak more about that in the Story part of this review). So you take over their bodies and if you health has been exhausted you just switch to another soldier while your old “husk” dies. Other than that cruelty it’s actually a pretty interesting mechanic, it was done a few times before but never as well as in the 3rd Birthday.

Parasite Eve- The Third Birthday

The shooting mechanic works well enough, especially if you’re playing the game on the Vita (the dual analogue sticks really help). It is a little repetitive though. Eventually you’ll get a cramp in your trigger finger. But there are a few things that make it a little different. There are some light squad controls where you can order your fellow soldiers to take on a target with you for instance, but you can really become them all with a quick switch, so if they aren’t in the correct spot (like not standing behind cover), you can jump into their bodies and get them back into place.

Parasite Eve- The Third Birthday

There’s a more magical/biological aspect to the gameplay as well, the overdrive mechanics, in this way you can jump into enemies to deal more damage, and if you build up a special meter you can go into “overdrive mode” where you deal a way more damage and your speed is upped for a short period.

The RPG elements are limited to upgrading your weapons and your DNA, you get new DNA pieces by diving into enemies through the overdrive mechanic. Upgrading your weapons are a must, starting out with only 180 bullets in your assault rifle puts your in a tough place, and eventually I ended up with being able to hold 900 at a time. The DNA upgrades were always a bit of a mystery for me though, the game doesn’t do a good job at teaching you what you need to do to take proper advantage. You can take a look at some online guides… but that’s really a detriment to the game.

Parasite Eve- The Third Birthday

Gameplay over all is decent enough, but every area is a grind, and other than a few new weapons and some light RPG elements, the gameplay stays the same throughout, making it tedious by the end.

 

Graphics

This game is actually gorgeous, it’s a PSP game but being released late in the cycle means that the game was really well optimized. Everything flows really well on screen even with a lot of enemies (and friendlies) on screen. The particle effects are actually pretty spectacular. The twisted are well designed, and their animations are pretty well done. Square Enix actually did a great job on the production side of all their PSP games, and the 3rd Birthday is no different. The music is done well, and the pre-rendered cutscenes are just as good as any game on a home console.

Parasite Eve- The Third Birthday

The art style in the 3rd Birthday is pretty interesting as well, there are numerous types of “Twisted” that show a decent amount of imagination. Overall the graphics in this game are excellent for a PSP game, and it looks even better on the Vita’s OLED screen.

 

Story

Usually I put the story aspect at the start of the review, but this game deserves a special mention on story.

The game starts with the Twisted attacking New York, and the humans lose. You spend your time going back in time inhabiting people’s bodies to change history. After every mission history is altered, so perhaps you get a new character who survived, they come back to life and wonder why you’re acting so strange. This is interesting enough, even if it takes a bit of time to get used to. Every mission ends with a huge boss battle, some of which are pretty tough, and you actually need to think out a decent strategy before you proceed.

Parasite Eve- The Third Birthday

You continue doing this right up until some of the final missions. At this point you’re looking for answers  as to what happened, why your character had lost her memory, etc. No matter what you think you’re going to get with the final act you’ll be disappointed. Out of almost any game I’ve played in the past few years, this game has the most disappointing and convoluted story. It seems like at one part they just fired the writers and just had the interns finish up the story. It might sound like a bit of a stretch, but you have to believe me on this one.

Parasite Eve- The Third Birthday

Also the characters in the game are mostly new (except two) and because they lost the rights to continue the original story (it started out as a Japanese novel), the ones that have stuck around, Aya Brea and Maeda are completely different. Aya changed from being a strong independent female to becoming an over sexualized and constantly victimized amnesiac. Maeda the Japanese scientist who helped out Aya in the other games has now become some sort of pervert who sends Aya creepy messages over radio. It’s just a tough sell to anyone that has played the other games in the series, and anyone who wants their game stories to make any sense. Even the translation of the script is badly done, I mean the voice acting is fine, but even the best actors couldn’t have made this story worthwhile.

 

Is the 3rd Birthday worth it?

Parasite Eve- The Third Birthday

Overall I would say no, the graphics and production values are top notch, the gameplay is decent too but it gets a little repetitive. The deal breaker is the story. It’s too bad that all the great production values were spent on this flawed story. Who knows if they’ll be another game in the series, but considering that they lost the rights to continue the original story, and they made their lead characters into one dimensional tropes, there’s no real reason to hope for another.

Jonathan Malave: Kuroato Media

Kuroato Media

Name: Jonathan Malave

Title: Founder, Game Designer & Producer

Company: Kuroato Media

Favorite Classic Game: Final Fantasy 7

Tell us why it is your favorite: It’s the only game I have ever played over and over again, and never got bored of it. I love Japanese Anime; Final Fantasy 7 always gave me the feeling like I was taking part of an anime or something. Also, who could deny how cool and bad-ass the main characters, rivals Cloud and Sephiroth were? I have yet to find another game with rival characters that could match their synergy. Overall I think it was the Characters and the Storyline that did for me. Final Fantasy 7 is one of the best games ever made! and I think Square Enix should remake it.

 

Skylanders: Giants

Skylanders-Giants

Whoever came up with the concept for Skylanders is a marketing genius.  The recipe is so pitch perfect it’s hard to believe it took this long for someone to execute:  Take the elemental centered and “gotta buy them all” appeal of Pokemon, mix it with the addictive RPG leveling and character progression that almost every game utilizes today, and then pair it up with a plethora of collectable figures that you can transport both between and across consoles.  The results are a franchise that has already grossed upwards of 500 million dollars between two releases with zero signs of slowing down.  But is the game any good or just a flagrant cash grab aimed specifically at children?

Skylanders-Giants

Actually it isn’t half bad.  I spent the majority of this past Saturday playing this with my nephew Jacob (he’s 8) and really enjoyed myself.  The game is akin to many dungeon crawlers like Diablo and Baldur’s Gate except it takes place in the uber-colorful and child friendly world of Skylands.   The interface is very simple and easy to understand; almost anybody could pick it up and play with little instruction.  Character leveling is extremely balanced and it has the familiar “just one more level” appeal as you constantly unlock better powers and upgrades for each of your individual Skylanders.   Jacob spent the better part of our lengthy session saving up hard fought treasure for a battle-axe made entirely out of bees for his favorite giant Swarm, and his joy upon finally earning the weapon was completely palpable.

Skylanders-Giants

Each Skylander represents one of eight different “elements” like fire, wind, technology, or undead.  The levels are divided with multiple gates and hidden areas that can only be accessed by certain elements, meaning in order to fully unlock everything the game has to offer you must own at least one character from every element.  If you are defeated, the only way to continue the level is by swapping out figures on the fly, making the game near impossible with only the starter set, but very manageable with a stable of Skylanders figures at your disposal.  (Defeated characters can be used again on the next level but not before)  The aforementioned starter set only comes with three characters, the game disc, and the necessary Portal of Power; so more characters must be purchased (Hey Mom!) in order to fully experience and enjoy what the game has to offer.  Some Skylanders are also much rarer than others (especially some of the newer Giants) making collecting these things highly addictive.  Again, sheer marketing brilliance.

Skylanders-Giants

Skylanders: Giants is also compatible with all of the toys released for the original game, and the level cap is increased from 10 to 15 for all of your previously purchased characters.  There are also new Series 2 versions of the original Skylanders that have more effective powers and different poses than their original counterparts, a very wise move by the developers to keep fans of the original excited about the sequel.   I’d be absolutely shocked if a third game wasn’t released this holiday season, right now the game has legs, something that Activision is notorious for exploiting on a yearly basis with all of their other major franchises.

Skylanders-Giants

It is also interesting to mention that the first game was titled Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, featuring popular gaming icon Spyro the Dragon who has appeared in almost twenty other titles.  Spyro never speaks in either game however, and doesn’t give you any sort of advantage over any of the other characters.  It almost seems like the developers were hedging their bets to get the game off the ground with a mascot familiar to the intended demographic.

If you are looking to enjoy some gaming with one of the younger people in your life you could a lot worse than Skylanders: Giants.   The title is certainly geared towards children but contains many of the familiar trappings of an addictive video adventure; I certainly didn’t grow bored playing it as I have with many other games.  Just plan to shell out a lot more than the initial seventy-dollar investment if you want to see everything in the game or actually get through it successfully at all.

Hitman: Absolution

Hitman_Absolution_gameplay-screenshot-1

After an unheard of six-year console hiatus, Agent 47 triumphantly returns in Hitman: Absolution.  This title is certain to please fans of the Hitman series.  Actually, any fan of a thoughtfully composed stealth action game should definitely enjoy what the  designers at IO Interactive offer here.  The familiar mechanics of the series remain polished and fluid, the classic kills are plentiful, and the level design is top notch.

hitman_absolution_crowd-chinatown

This adventure is set five years after Blood Money, the only Hitman game offered on current gen consoles, until now.  In the world of the game, your handler and best bud Diana has sold you down the proverbial river.  After you assault her in the shower with your trademark Silverballers, she reveals a bit of information that sends the tightly scripted narrative flowing through multiple varying locations.   One thing you will notice right off the bat is how gorgeous the crowd scenes look. I paused the game multiple times in the Chinatown level to marvel at how many different NPC’s were milling about the marketplace.   The abundance of careful detail gives all of the levels an extremely realistic feel.

Hitman-Absolution

One of the signature features of the Hitman franchise is freedom of player choice. There are always multiple ways to dispatch your targets, ranging from the extremely silent and stealthy to downright straightforward and brutal.  You truly have the option to go completely guns blazing, more so than you might in other entry in the series. Yet, this approach is not without consequence, as it increases the difficulty exponentially.   The silent and creative approach is often the ideal method (especially if you are going for a high score) and is certainly the way the game was intended to be experienced.

Hitman-Absolution

 

For instance, the game welcomes the player to arrange creative ways to pull off the hits. The first level alone features at least ten different ways to take down the target, and each kill method is coupled to a challenge that will increase the score on repeat playthroughs.  Playing the levels multiple times is downright encouraged, especially if you want to best the scores of your friends. The incentive for the best score is heightened by constant displays of rankings, friendly reminders that you (or one of your friends) could have done a little better.  This certainly adds value to an already chunky package. With so many choices and encouragement to replay, the campaign took me roughly 18 hours to complete.

hitman-absolution-multiplayer

Multiplayer (a first for the series) also feels very adaptable.  Campaign levels are opened up sandbox style; any NPC on the map can be chosen as a target and then sent to your respective friends list.  Gamers can place restrictions on the assassinations; you can compete with your friends to see who can complete the hits most efficiently based on the parameters dictated by another player.  This adds an even greater level of replay to the game, and it also welcomes the creative contributions of gamers.  Hundreds of thousands of player-made challenges have already been uploaded, giving play time a durability that previous entries in the series failed to achieve.

If you are a fan of the Hitman series then you likely picked this up on launch day and have already relished in brutally murdering your targets with well-timed sniper shots, convenient natural gas leak explosions, “accidental” chandelier mishaps, and of course Agent 47’s signature fiber wire.  Hitman  neophytes will enjoy this title as well, as it is a suitable springboard into the series.  In Hitman: Absolution, the series has never been more polished and the level design is impeccable. I certainly enjoyed the stealth mechanics of the game much more than in any other assassin title released this holiday season.  Hitman: Absolution is therefore highly recommended; it has certainly provided one of my favorite gaming experiences this year.

Final Fantasy 7: PC Download available today

Fans of one of the best Final Fantasy games ever made can now download the re-mastered PC version of the Square Enix hit.

Final Fantasy 7 Pc download

To celebrate the FINAL FANTASY franchise’s 25th anniversary this classic title will be available exclusively on the Square Enix Store at a promotional price of €9.99 / £7.99*.

“We’re really pleased to offer a downloadable PC version of the much loved FINAL FANTASY VII. It’s a great chance for fans to re-live so many memorable moments and a great opportunity for players who have never played the title to experience why the game has had so much influence on the industry over the years” said Larry Sparks, Vice President – Brand.

This new downloadable version includes a range of new features such as a Character Booster that enables players to fully power up their character, cloud saves, and in-game achievements to encourage players to explore various facets of the game. For full details please visit Final Fantasy VII PC.

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Released in 1997, FINAL FANTASY VII was critically acclaimed as the title that redefined the standard for role-playing games. Introducing the now infamous rivalry between Cloud and Sephiroth, it delivered an intricate and emotionally compelling storyline through cutting-edge pre-rendered cinematic cut-scenes, and set in a rich, diverse world.  The game features an acclaimed collection of musical scores and intense 3D battles, and is regarded as one of the most significant entries in the FINAL FANTASY series, and one of the most innovative videogames of all time.

This promotional price is available until September 12th 2012

Square Enix Steam Sale

Almost nothing beats Steam sales and if you are a fan of Square Enix games this is the time for you. Right now you can save a ton of a bunch of Square games and DLC packs.

Here is the official press release:

sqaure-enix-stream-sale


Greetings,

From today until Monday March 26, new and existing Steam members can grab Square Enix back catalogue and recently released games at a fraction of the usual prices.

The promotion includes 50% off all Square Enix games and DLC packs throughout the sale period with a number of additional Daily Deals running throughout the promotion.  Kicking off the Daily Deals, and for one day only starting today there’s a tempting 75% off all previously released Hitman games.  Further details of each Daily Deal will be revealed on the day via Steam and Square Enix members.

In addition Square Enix is offering a Hit Collection game bundle comprising over 15 classic games including Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Tomb Raider: Legend, Just Cause 2, Thief: Deadly Shadows and Hitman: Blood Money, all for one low price.

http://store.steampowered.com/

http://member.square-enix.com/na/

Robert Allen Peeler: Square Enix

Name: Robert Allen Peeler

Company: Square Enix

Title: Community Manager

FINAL FANTASY VI

What is your favorite classic video game: FINAL FANTASY VI

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Why is the game you chose your favorite: While not my first RPG, or my first FINAL FANTASY, FINAL FANTASY VI was just a great game overall that hit all the points that make playing the classics often superior to games today. The large well-developed cast, the amazing soundtrack, and the maxed potential of the SNES on this title are just a few things that helped it stand out above the rest. My favorite moment was just after the world changed and Celes spent her time recuperating on the lonely island with Cid. The game forcing me to relax after this cataclysmic event, when all I thirsted for was the next great battle, really matured my perspective on storytelling through video games.

Elevator Action Deluxe

Super spy Agent 17, or Otto to his friends, is rather suddenly back in upcoming Square-Enix release Elevator Action Deluxe.

elevator_action_deluxe

After a recent Japanese website tease the news is official, with the upcoming retro remake slated for a late summer release only on the PlayStation Network.

The game is a follow-up to the original Taito arcade hit of 1983 which later gained a second wind as a moderate hit on the Nintendo Entertainment System as well.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VheXWyCUSjc[/youtube]

Square-Enix has provided this space with the first officially released screenshots, including pics of the original classic, which is to be included in the upcoming release, and shots of it’s multi-player modes as well.

 

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus-Ex-Human-Revolution-PC-Gameplay Screenshot

I was looking forward to Deus Ex mainly because I like the stealth style of gameplay, but with the option of going guns blazing if I wanted to. The game did give me what I wanted out of a sci-fi stealthy first person shooter, but there were some let downs for me personally as well.

First off, I write this review expecting people to know about the game and for those who already played it or wish too. Right off the bat I liked the visuals in the game though it still uses static backgrounds for its backdrops, meaning the city you are in is fully 3D, but perhaps the mountains in the far background is just a picture, which really isn’t a big deal.

Deus-Ex-Human-Revolution-PC-Gameplay Screenshot

The gameplay itself can be either fast or slow depending on your style. However, cover from fire is very important because even though you are augmented you are far from invincible. The cover system is a lot like Gears of War where you can hide behind a structure and peek and shoot around it. This is how you will fight most of the time unless you are sniping someone from far away or my favorite sneaking up on someone from behind.

Now as said you can be more stealth based or more frontal assault and there are various weapons to go with each. I just have the feeling the game was made more for stealth so if you play that way it is a much better experience.  So when going stealth you spend most of your time crouch walking and hiding behind things and sneaking through air vents to sneak up on the enemy.

Deus-Ex-Human-Revolution-PC-Gameplay Screenshot

Now this is where I have to complain a bit. The AI is pretty stupid sometimes in Deus Ex. Here is an example. You sneak into a room via an air vent and sneak up on a guard and use your silent takedown move. Now if you are smart you hide the body and keep the other guards or the camera from seeing you, but even if they see you all you have to do is hide in that vent until they go away. I sat in one spot and shot guard after guard as they came to check the body and I was in no danger of them coming after me though the vent.

Deus-Ex-Human-Revolution-PC-Gameplay Screenshot

Let’s talk augments. Your character becomes pretty bionic and you can upgrade a variety of augments on your body for extra run speed, armor, aiming and so on. Now you earn points to upgrade either by gaining experience or by purchasing them at LIMB clinics. Now here is the thing. In my opinion hacking is the most important augment because it opens doors, gets you into computers where you can turn off cameras and turn turrets and robots on the enemy so honestly you want that first.

Another complaint, since they want you to upgrade and add to your augments they make it so certain things kill you that really shouldn’t. For instance, I jumped off a ledge a bit higher than a dumpster and died. A fall of that height should not kill anyone, but they want you to get the no falling damage augment so it does.

Deus-Ex-Human-Revolution-PC-Gameplay Screenshot

Back to hacking, so for some missions you need a higher hack rating to break into a door or computer so, again, it’s paramount to raise it first. However, many computers are completely useless and if you are like me who looks for everything you spend a lot of time just hacking computers, but it can be good to find codes or other information.

Stealing is also big in Deus Ex. If you want to have money, ammo and weapons then you need to steal everything and really you can even steal from your own company because they don’t seem to care and it can net you some good weapons. The same goes for hacking the doors and computers in your own company it nets you good loot so steal away.

Deus-Ex-Human-Revolution-PC-Gameplay Screenshot

There is your main mission and side missions in each “City Hub” which is the way the game gives you an interactive city, but keeps you in a sand box. You start in Detroit and go on to places like China and Canada, but it is pretty much the same once you get there. Just remember, for the most part, once you leave a city hub you cannot do any of the side missions there so hit those up first it won’t affect any time table dealing with the main storyline. The side missions can net you experience, credits and sometimes a special weapon, but overall it made little difference on the ending of the game.

Deus-Ex-Human-Revolution-PC-Gameplay Screenshot

Yet another complaint, there are minor consequences to what you do in the game even though it makes you feel like there are big ones. For the most part you can skip all the side missions and not really miss anything, which I guess can be good for people who hate side missions. The same goes with choosing to knock out over killing, it makes no difference in the end and only applies to a very few mission parameters.

Searching, stealing and information gathering is mostly what you are doing in this game. There are action sequences and some decent fire fights, but honestly, between going the stealth route and hacking everything you see the game is pretty easy except for maybe the boss fights. The key is to search everything and if there are two other augments you should do after hacking it is to upgrade your inventory space and to get the social perk for additional conversation options.

Deus-Ex-Human-Revolution-PC-Gameplay Screenshot

Overall, the game was fun. I wanted to keep playing and it kept me interested, but besides the lady pilot I did not really care about anyone else including the main character. I had the most fun trying not to kill people and instead sneaking up on them and knocking them out. With that said, the game is still worth a play through, but that is about it. I see no real reason to play it again considering you can save right at the end and see the alternate endings which I hate to say were disappointing.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA_-mhoksL8[/youtube]

Sword of Mana

Sword of Mana - Game Boy Advance

One of the more interesting games for the GBA is surely Sword of Mana. Supposedly this is the first Seiken Densetsu game in the Mana series but was for some reason renamed to Final Fantasy Adventure in its original release. I’m guessing it was more of a popular name to put into a title to raise sales. Either way, as much as I loved the original, this one is a great improvement over it. Of course, I can’t say I miss the classic gameboy colors but this is a totally different experience altogether. The game is a well done remake that proves yet again how Square kept milking their old games into “remakes” This time around though, they succeeded in a positive note. The game plays like any of the other Mana games(The good ones at least), and delivers a very satisfying gaming experience. You are able to pick from a male or female character which you will name whatever you want(Name advice, Petunia, Resputan).

Sword of Mana - Game Boy Advance

 

So here we go in a new grand adventure, you will probably feel at home with the beat em up style gameplay it brings as well as Mana cards you can use to summon your magical powers. Sadly, this game doesn’t bring a link cable gameplay option which would have made it an incredible experience(Some of you may remember Secret of Mana on the SNES, three players!). You can still connect two GBAs with the games but only for trading purposes, this isn’t Pokemon you know! The game does deliver you with companions who will aid you on your quest but won’t stay long with you, just like the original(Remember that mage that looked like a red mage?). The game also has a very interesting gameplay feature which involves finding items on certain days which is a big plus as it’ll make you play the game for a certain amount of time.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnE3e13z1LA[/youtube]

Overall, like always don’t want to give out too much so you can enjoy and find yourself yet another great gaming experience.

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

Final Fantasy IV The After Years - Video Game Screenshot
This time around we have a Wiiware title released in 2009. I know this is a retro gaming related post and it does hold true as the game plays like an oldie. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years takes you back to a world of great adventure! If you are a Final Fantasy veteran(Like me) You are going to enjoy this one as it’ll take you to events years later after the original Final Fantasy IV story ended. Wouldn’t you enjoy such a great blast from the past? I know I did!

Final Fantasy IV The After Years - Video Game Screenshot

 

The game starts you off in a quest to become a knight. You play as Ceodore, son of Cecil who is accompanied by Biggs and Wedge to help you on your quest. As usual you should know that when characters are named Biggs and Wedge, they usually hit the bucket real quickly(Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy VI did this). The game plays like its 1991 counterpart and delivers remixed music from the same with great success. It’s such a blast from the past listening to the battle music of Final Fantasy IV once more. The world of Final Fantasy IV hasn’t change much and there will be more than one familiar face I’m sure you’ll recognize with ease. Remember, it has been years after so some of these characters are either older or just grown up.

Final Fantasy IV The After Years - Video Game Screenshot

Moving on, the battle system delivers the same Final Fantasy IV experience although there may be times that battles just keep coming up over and over without letting you explore more than two steps. It’s bearable though mainly because fighting is so much fun. The game does have a very unbalanced gold to experience ratio as once you move further in the game, you will get over 3k of experience while only gain around 500 gold. It’s not surprising though as the original was somewhat like this. It’s helpful in the end as leveling up is quite easy. I was able to level up over fifteen times in less than an hour!

Final Fantasy IV The After Years - Video Game Screenshot
The game will have a very interesting story that mainly involves Cecil and this mysterious girl who is after the crystals. Kain also makes a big entrance and is part of the main story. I wish I could tell you much more but I wouldn’t want to spoil everything, it’s just a great ordeal! You will for sure venture into similar territory and might get confused for a second thinking you are playing Final Fantasy IV once more but you are not! This is The After Years after all meaning it’s not a new world but an older one.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8po__GDy5o[/youtube]
I do suggest this game for hardcore Final Fantasy veterans and retro RPG fanatics. I don’t think it’s for everyone as it contains a lot of old school gameplay that might scare some gamers off(Not me!). The game does deliver a fascinating experience and has many extras with it as well. Sadly, that’s the bad part of it as you’ll need to spend 800 wii points (8 dollars) For the first part of the main story and another 800 wii points (8 dollars) For the second part of it. Then you have all the side stories from all the characters of the original which will cost you 300 wii points (3 dollars) Each! And there are around five or six of them which means you’ll be spending a vast amount of money for it. But there is light at the end of the tunnel as there is going to be a release of all of this for the good old PSP with the Ultimate Final Fantasy IV Collection.

Saga Frontier

Saga Frontier - PS1 Disc Front

This week we have a game that is said to take 140 hours to complete! At least that’s what it says so on the box and they are quite close to it. Not only do you have to have a memory card just for that game but there are seven quests to complete in order to see the ending! Each quest has their own ending. Be sure to keep an eye on each ending as each is just bizarre. From all of them, I think Blue’s ending is the most bizarre but I won’t spoil that for you. Just play the god damn game!

Saga Frontier - Title Screen

Square released a whole line up of RPGs including Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy Tactics, and others during the 1997-1998 era. It was an era where the RPGs flourished and were finally respected and known by everyone especially due to Final Fantasy 7, you couldn’t ask for anything better. This is where Saga Frontier came in with their traditional gameplay and big battle system. You can have up to 15 characters in your party although you can only use 5 at a time. Before every battle, you can pick which party you are going to bring out so it’s quite interesting build your party for each kind of scenario. As for myself, I would only use one party filled with humans as they are the best race of all in the game at least. The game also has a very different level up system which only levels up attributes you have used up. For example, if you have taken a hit then your HP will level up and if you have used magic then your MP will level up. It’s very weird but it works especially for humans.

Saga Frontier - Gameplay Screenshot 1

The world is huge and the music is very catchy. You will be leveling up a lot and barely getting through dungeons as the difficulty is very moderate and sometimes frustrating but I’m sure if I was able to get through them, you are too. My favorite feature of the game is the combos with other members of your party. You can have up to five combined combos which means all the members will combine their attacks into one for massive damage. This is by far the best feature of the game and it’s what keeps the battles interesting. There are also villages you can travel to where you can get some new power ups and magic which is crucial for being able to advance in the game. The number one rule of this game is pick up Gen at the bar in the Junk city! You must add this bastard! He may be a drunk but he comes in handy in any quest. You also gotta love his victory action! He rocks!

Saga Frontier - Gen_Headshot
To conclude, the game is quite entertaining but not for everyone. The stories aren’t that strong but they are strong enough to make you wanna see what comes up next. Be sure you pick this one up when you have a chance as there is a lot to love about this game. You can’t beat 140 hours of gameplay!

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQTWMPLY4Ug[/youtube]

Final Fantasy II

Final Fantasy 2 - snes - Gameplay Screenshot
Final Fantasy II for the SNES is the reason why I started playing RPGs altogether. The storyline shocked me at times and gave me joy at others but I can say this is one of the best games for the 16-bit console. The game is your average turn based role playing game which were really huge back then and are still quite popular nowadays. Final Fantasy II is unique in a couple of things such as the ability to have up to five members in your party and the active battle system it withholds. When I say five characters is unique is because it really was unique since very few games would let you have five members in your party at any point. Most role playing games would let you have up to three or four. It was quite something to have five and I think it all helped demonstrate the power of the SNES in its early run.

Final Fantasy 2 - snes - Gameplay Screenshot

The active battle system is what it stands for. The monsters won’t wait for your turn to attack, they’ll just keep attacking whether you attacked or not so be sure to make your decision on an attack as soon as you can. It’s very vital for your survival to be able to attack quickly and successfully as fast as you can. So moving on, this game’s story line is also something to enjoy. There is betrayal, change, and love all put into one cartridge. What’s not to love? It’s one of the best RPGs for the SNES period! The game is packed with a lot of peculiar characters and the usual Final Fantasy touch although I have to admit the Final Fantasy touch died years ago especially if you have played the latest Final Fantasy. What a sad reality we are having nowadays, that’s one of the reasons I stick with retro gaming and there are more to talk in that matter but I’ll leave it for another time.

Final Fantasy 2 - snes - Gameplay Screenshot

 

The game starts you off on a mission with Cecil, the dark knight and Kain, the dragoon. These two friends will soon find out they were tricked by the king on destroying a peaceful town and then separated against their own will. Don’t worry though, they’ll eventually meet up again but I don’t want to give away any more spoilers, that would be just awful. Nevertheless, the game is packed with a long enchanting adventure and a wonderful music score. You know it’s a good score especially when you keep playing the tunes on your head hours after putting down the control pad. The difficulty of the game is moderate as there are parts of the game that you’ll need to level up in mega-old school style. It’s quite fun to this day as you learn new spells and increase your attack against monsters that used to beat you easily. The tables will eventually turn.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CH1oWbo7GZw[/youtube]

To conclude, this game is something to be a part of and it would be a sin not to play it. Give it a try, it’s quite good. If you aren’t into all the retro look then I suggest you pick up the remake for the Nintendo DS as it’s in full 3D but if you ask me, I prefer the original look. eBay is a good place to pick up the game although it’ll be quite pricey. You can also go for the cheaper alternative and get the GBA port of Final Fantasy 2 which they renamed it to the original number Final Fantasy 4. You have many different alternatives to this game so I suggest you pick them up and enjoy the awesomeness Square used to offer.

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday Trailer

Parasite Eve The Third Birthday

In this latest trailer from Sqaure Enix we begin with Aye laying just outside of a church bloodied wearing a wedding dress. We then dive into gameplay footage once again showing that this game is more run and gun, action oriented than the previous PE’s that were more action RPG related. Switching back to CG the trailer shows that Aye has to remember how it all started. Perhaps we will learn more about the backstory of PE. Keep in mind the Parasite Eve series began as a follow-up to a novel.

So for those who spent the cash on a PSP and are fans of the Parasite Eve series this game could still be worth the purchase.

Bust A Move for iPhone and iPod Touch

Puzzle Bobble App Store

Fans of the Bust-A-Move or Puzzle bobble series can now play this arcade classic on your Apple device. Today the Taito Corporation (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd) announced today that the 1994 hit will be available on the App Store for $4.99 USD.

Now as the screenshots, show there will be no drastic changes to the classic gameplay that we are all used to. The game will function the same whereas the goal is to match three bubbles of the same color to burst them. However, there will be some additions to the game including new level types and a brand new control method.

In addition to the Tap Shot, in which a bubble is launched in the direction tapped and the pull-and-release Sling Shot control methods, a new attack was added, the Jump Shot. The Jump Shot offers the ability to launch a bubble over interposing obstacles, landing at a point chosen by the player. Skillful use of this technique opens up a new level of exhilarating play and clever strategy, allowing players to drop clusters of bubbles from the ceiling, etc.

This edition boasts a number of features intended to give players new strategic options, including the Hold ability to save bubbles that have been loaded into the launcher for future use and explosive Bomb Bubbles capable of wiping out surrounding bubbles.

Another new feature is the Game Over Countdown. While in previous editions of BUST-A-MOVE, bubbles reaching the bottom of the play field instantly led to a Game Over result, NEW BUST-A-MOVE offers a three-second countdown, allowing quick-witted players to save themselves from defeat. Particularly helpful for newcomers to the series, the Game Over Countdown adds an additional dimension to play that can also be appreciated by veteran players.

In addition to the classic level style, this updated version includes a wide variety of stages that operate under different rules. The game combines the familiar bubble-bursting fun with new gimmicks and quirks that enhance the experience.

BUST-A-MOVE’s 80 Story Mode stages are divided into a number of themed areas, each concluding with an intense boss battle. Collecting special bubbles also reveals challenging hidden stages, adding to an already-packed game.

BUST-A-MOVE also includes a total of 55 Achievements that may be unlocked by accomplishing special in-game goals, creating another level of depth to keep players coming back for more.

To go along with this launch Taito will also be offering Bubble Bobble Double for only $2.99. This offer is good until February 14th.

POD: Crystal Defenders

Crystal Defenders Logo
Crystal Defenders Logo

Crystal Defenders is the tower defense game based on the Final Fantasy Tactics series from Square Enix. The game is very fun and easy to learn. In a nutshell, monsters will come in through one area and make their way down a set path. You job is to place characters along the side of the path to kill the monsters before they reach your crystal. You can place characters that do damage or slow the monsters among other things and you can pause the game in order to plan your defense.

The game itself has been on mobile phones for a few years now and was ported over to the PS3 and Xbox 360. Now the game is available for Android users. CRYSTAL DEFENDERS for Android will have two versions: W1, an introduction of the game, and W2, in which players can utilize the Power Crystal feature to play more strategically.

The cost of the game will be between seven and ten dollars. The pictures below are from the Ps3.

MMO’s Coming Out In 2011 Are Already Behind The Curve

2011 sure seemed like a year that would be promising us some exciting upcoming titles in the MMORPG world. With Star Wars: The Old Republic, Rifts of Telara, and DC Universe Online it appeared at first glance that there finally would be some promising games out there which fought back against the monster known as World of Warcraft. I, for one, was in this crowd of believers looking forward to something fresh and a chance to move onto to greener fields.

Rift MMO plant
Rift MMO plant

Unfortunately, from my time playing the beta for some of these games and then also playing World of Warcraft’s latest expansion Cataclysm, I have to say that World of Warcraft has trumped the genre yet again.

But Umar, how can you say that? Those games are in beta and things always change!

Yeah, okay. People said that about Final Fantasy XIV, Age Of Conan, Warhammer Online, and Champions Online. Where are they now? Age of Conan is struggling to show some respectable numbers while being considered another tally of fuck ups by Funcom, discussions about putting FFXIV on a free to play model are on the table with Square-Enix already boasting a whopping 2 million active characters (look closely at the bolded word), Mythic is essentially dissolving with employee blogs ranting about the horribly typical EA experience they are suffering from (WAR really needs a F2P model if it’s going to stand up ever again), and Champions is already on a F2P market and is shitting bricks from the upcoming DC title.

Beta did not change those games. They have remained garbage and will never be something worth a purchase.

It’s time to take off those rosy glasses of hope and look at reality for a minute. Nothing has come to close to taking a slice of this market no matter how much you whine.
For the longest time, you’d hear me complaining about World of Warcraft and its flaws and its lack of this and that, but those were the days of Burning Crusade. The game has progressed leaps and bounds from release. I honestly have no qualms about it. What were the typical issues people had with WoW?
It’s too easy, Umar!

Okay, you nerdy Sephiroth cosplaying queer. Have you played Cataclysm? A PUG can barely clear a heroic now if most of the people you group with have downs. Oh, and don’t say “The WoW community is filled with bad players.” That’s easy to say. Most people I know that say that and then either play WoW or another MMO with me are usually just as bad as any other idiot I could PUG with.

WoW’s graphics are out of date!

Yeah, they are but it works with their art style. You need things to look pretty to have fun? Plants VS Zombies wasn’t enjoyable? Mario Kart isn’t fun? Let’s go play something pretty like Final Fantasy XIV. I’m sure that’ll be a great experience. Or let’s play Age of Conan where even the most high end computers at the time were struggling to display some of the graphics. Graphics shouldn’t be on the top of your list for playability as opposed to the actual style of the game.

I think you’re stupid and gay, Umar! Star Wars is going to be awesome!

Thanks, asshole. Enjoy Star Wars then. I’m not telling people to not play it as much as I’m saying that future upcoming MMORPGs are already behind what Cataclysm has presented. Star Wars will have what? Epic dialogue and a story? That is fantastic. Cataclysm already makes your character feel like they were part of a story, maybe not on the scale of Star Wars with all the cinematics, camera angles, and voice acting, but they did make your character more involved in the storyline.

Bioware already claimed that they won’t have much endgame and that they encourage people to roll alts to see the story from a different perspective. This is a “Choose your destiny” book in virtual form. All you’re getting is a story and not many innovative mechanics. They barely ever talk about actual gameplay and mechanics as much as they talk about the story portion of the game and the classes. “Hey guys we’ve got spaceships and Jedi! Cool shit, huh?” This is a niche game and once your story is over that’s it. Bioware isn’t known for making difficult games that require strategy and skill. Putting Mass Effect 2 on harder difficulties just meant you took more damage. Wowzers!

Rifts of Telara has already thrown in the towel by conceding the fact their game is more like Vanilla WoW than WoW in its current state. Vanilla WoW was one of the most raw and broken starts to an MMO. Gamers today are crying for innovation and polish. Not a throwback to olden times. Rifts is going to be what Vanguard was to Everquest 1. An old school reincarnation that will fall flat in the present.

The only game I think that can even grab a slice of the MMO market is DCUO. I’m not talking about a game that will take subs from World of Warcraft but a game that can fill that super hero niche that Champions failed to quench. City of Heroes is already too old school and bland even with all their amazing patches. DCUO has that opportunity to grab the market from those games and even pull in more people who cream to “Smallville” and “The Dark Knight”. It isn’t competing against the elephant in the room but against the carrion dogs roaming about.

If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. You can think what you want and I can still think you’re a bag of dicks. What am I saying is going to come to true because my word is not only correct but absolute. These MMOs will fall flat with the exception of DCUO if Sony actually markets a game this time. Time will allow you to see the truth and your bottled-up, unbridled nerd pride will nourish me when you fail to accept my prophecy.

Obsolete Intros: Final Fantasy Tactics

Final Fantasy Tactics logo
Final Fantasy Tactics logo

A true fan favorite, FFT incorporates a battle system that is not found within the RPG. While the turn base battle system is still in place the world is a series of tiles where the player moves toward the enemy.  Your actions are based on your class and you can choose various roles from the Final Fantasy world including black and white mages, summoner’s and thieves.

Your story takes place in Ivalice after a long standing war with its two neighboring nations. Not only are you dealing with rebuilding, but economic and political issues as well. After the death of the king a regent is put into place splitting the kingdoms allegiance in two which leads to the Lion War. Your main character is Ramza Beoulve a highborn cadet who finds himself in the middle of the war.

Olivier Vermeille: Zallag

Zallag logo
Zallag logo

Name: Olivier Vermeille

 

Company: Zallag

 

Profession: Marketing & PR Manager

 

Favorite Classic Game: Final Fantasy Tactics (PlayStation)

 

Quote: The first game I remember playing was a game called “Sorcery+” on Amstrad CPC. I can’t quite grasp what it was like but I remember it as something amazing with beautiful graphics. It would be quite painful to look at it today so I’m not going to dwell on this and will rather talk about the two games that took me away for hours and hours: “Ultima VII” and “Might & Magic 4&5”. These amazing game made me love RPG but I only played on PC at that time so I only knew about “Western” RPG ; up until the PlayStation and the famous Final Fantasy VII. This was another revelation yet it’s not my “Favorite Classic Game”. I’ve kept this spot for “Final Fantasy Tactics”.

 

It came out around the same time as Final Fantasy VII yet it was completely different. As the name suggest it was a Tactical RPG and the graphics were mixing 3D elements (for the battleground) with 2D (characters’ sprites).

 

What I liked about this game was how mature it was (despite its “cute” character design with noseless characters and funny Chocobos). It was about politics, religion, betrayal, love, murder, friendship…all mixed perfectly with a near-perfect gameplay experience. I won’t go into detail about the mechanics but let’s just say that it was extremely motivating to level up your characters. All thanks to the “jobs” system which lets you change jobs and still keep some of the abilities you previously learned.

 

All in all “Final Fantasy Tactics” is one of the greatest game I’ve played from beginning to end with accessible yet challenging difficulty as you progress. The team members that will join you as the story develops are also particularly memorable (they even included “Cloud” from Final Fantasy VII and explained his presence in the game in a very clever way as well!).

 

I can’t wait for the iPhone version to come out (which will be the adaptation of the PSP version as far as we know).


 

Optional) Bio/Current Event:

1° We release in December 2010 the Minis version (Playstation Network) of the amazing iPhone game “SHIFT”. Called “SHIFT extended” and compatible with both PS3 and PSP, this version will offer twice the content from the original game.

 

2° We have just released Gods vs Humans for WiiWare and PC. A nice mix of a Tower Defense game and a God Game with adorable characters 😉

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday

Parasite Eve The Third Birthday
Parasite Eve The Third Birthday

Oh look, another game from a series we love on a game system we don’t. While it was true many fans of the Parasite Eve series did not think part two was a proper follow-up they were still chomping at the bit for another installment. Unfortunately, the next PE is only going to be available on the PlayStation Portable and to add to that the game is going through some… changes.

The story this time starts with an assault on Manhattan by creatures the police call the Twisted. Within a year a task force called CTI or Counter Twister Investigation is formed and our favorite supernatural superpower heroine is part of that squad.

The gameplay will have a bit more third person shooting elements, but will still have a little survive horror and RPG aspects to it. You will have a number of new abilities including one called Overdrive which allows you to not only control team members, but jump into the minds of the Twisted to do some major damage.

As you can see in the video most of the gameplay is from a behind the back or over the shoulder view and you spend most of your time running and gunning which could turn off fans of the slower but more interesting RPG and puzzle style. Most of Aye’s power-ups will be there including liberation which gives her a burst of super energy to mow down her enemies.

Personally, I am torn because while a run and gun game can be fun it is not Parasite Eve. Yes, there was a lot of action and shooting in PE, but the RPG aspect of the game really made it worth a purchase for me. In addition, being forced to buy a PSP just leaves a sour taste in my mouth and it is the reason I did not buy the latest Final Fantasy 7 game.

Sony needs to wake up and realize that while the PSP is not a bad system it is not a winning system and they should spend their time focusing on the PS3. If you want to go the Nintendo route and release new versions of fan favorites fine, but do so for your main console and stop trying to ram this system down our throats.

The Third Birthday is set to release today in Japan and Q1 in the US and EU.

Free to Play. If You’re Going to Fail, Get Better At Failing.

Everquest 2 F2P lol
Everquest 2 F2P lol

For the past six years, MMORPGs have been failing. Be it because the companies believe releasing beta quality games, far-fetched mechanics, or releasing a game that has the savory indulgence of a stale piece of bread, the genre has seen some gloomy days. World of Warcraft has created a boom for many money hungry companies and jaded developers that think releasing a game in this genre will garner them fame and money. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case and nothing has been able to compete at the level that Blizzard is currently at.

Let’s face it. Very few MMORPGs have had amazing launches and it is because of this lack luster grand opening that a lot of people just get turned away. How can these companies salvage their investment? How can they bring in money to a sinking ship? How can they increase their gaming audience?

The answer lies to the Far East. It is in this land of Zerg obsessed gamers and mob-grinding gurus that holds the key to America’s salvation in the MMO Market. Asia has been using a model known to many as Free to Play for a very long time. Players are allowed to download the game from a website and jump right in. Sure, there are some restrictions that hold them back from unlocking the full potential of the game but it is a better option than a 14 day free trial.

“But Umar”, you may find yourself pondering, “I know Asia is known for crazy people but this sounds insane! How do the Crazians make their money?!”

Very simple, Little Billy. Crazian MMO Developers make their money from an in-game market place where players can unlock classes, races, potions, cosmetics, and content for real life money. While not every player’s going to feed cash to companies for a game they play for free, they do garner in more money than $15 a month. Some players are so into power gaming and/or cosmetics that they’ll easily throw down more than $15 a month in purchases via this market place without even thinking it through.

Why adopt this model though? The answer is simply because it seems to actually work.

Turbine’s Dungeons and Dragons Online was far from being considered a true MMORPG by many of today’s standards and it was on the brink of extinction. However, unlike the dodo bird, DnD Online was not ready to leave this world. In one last hurrah, it released a Free to Play model and quickly flourished. The game’s income reportedly jumped by double and it felt a chance to thrive. Life began to ebb back into this would be abortion and deliver it salvation.

To follow suit, many MMORPGs began to jump onto the bandwagon. Lord of the Rings Online, while not a failure by many aspects, saw a chance to increase its player base with this new subscription model. It held back many features to free players but the market place allowed them to expand further into the world.

Around the same time LOTRO adopted the model, Everquest 2 wet its feet in the F2P world with Everquest 2 Extended, which included 8 classes, 4 races, 80 levels, and 5 expansions for free.

Now, companies like Cryptic, probably persuaded by Atari, are hitting the F2P model to save their abortion known as Champions Online and also the acclaimed Star Trek Online. Some may know my dislike for Cryptic in general and I don’t want to bore anyone with my vendetta but these games were Free to Play quality on release and never should have been Pay to Play, but I digress. They are now hitting the high road and going F2P.

Those seem to be some of the bigger MMOs released in the past couple of years that really need this chance to boost their communities. One MMO that I am waiting to take the dive into this model is Warhammer Online. The game has been a downward spiral since release and while I doubt EA even cares about the game still (they have been systematically dismembering Mythic) a F2P model for WAR might be able to save it from its dying breath.

Sadly, though, some MMORPGs that haven’t even had a year to fix their abominations are already looking to hit the F2P market as well. Yes, I’m talking about Final Fantasy XIV. It has been reported that they are currently seeking a chance to hit into this model to save their plummeting shares and overall consumer backlash.

I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about this model and some find it “greedy” that companies are willing to push out virtual stores but I don’t find a problem with this at all. Most of these games offer a chance to unlock the full game for the standard $15 a month and no one is forcing you to purchase anything from the marketplace to begin with. Most of the items these games offer aren’t game changing and aren’t required to excel in the game so there is no reason for some of the criticism. However, regardless of whether it is a good model or not there will always be people who will complain.

The Free to Play opportunity that has raged through the past two years seems to be giving players many chances to see more of what is out there than WoW. While it is good for companies to regain their money and enlarge their player base, it also gives players a chance to expand their horizons onto what is out there without feeling guilty for dropping 40-50 dollars on a game that could be releasing in beta quality.

How do you feel about the Free to Play model many MMORPG’s seem to be taking? Would you like to see future games continuing with this setup and if not, why?

The Interview: Steve Gray

Steve Gray
Steve Gray

Steve Gray

When you have a gaming resume with names like Electronic Arts, Squaresoft and THQ there is little doubt that you know gaming. Obsolete Gamer was given the opportunity to talk with Steve Gray about his gaming career that started with EA Canada his time at Squaresoft and his work on Parasite eve. From there he created his own studio (Heavy Iron) which he sold to THQ in 1999. From there he returned to EA where he worked on many games including The Two Towers, The Return of the King, The Third Age and Tactics. Currently Steve Gray is the executive in charge of production at Tencent who is China’s largest developer and publisher and operator of online games.

We wanted to get a behind the scenes look at his time in the gaming industry and his many accomplishments from his work in Video FX to building the first Motion Capture Lab at EA Canada.

EA Canada logo
EA Canada logo

Obsolete Gamer: When did you know you would want to work in the video game industry?

Steve Gray: I originally wanted to be a Rock Star (just like Tremmel) and I played the clubs a lot in LA and up and down the California coast.  At that time I also worked in the feature film special effects business.  Which I continued to do until the early 90’s when I was VP Technology at Digital Domain (that’s when we made True Lies, Interview with the Vampire, Apollo 13, …).  When the PS1 came out I decided I really wanted to get into video games instead.

Obsolete Gamer: What was your first exposure to games?

Steve Gray: Asteroids in the arcades.

Obsolete Gamer: What was the first video game that hooked you?

Steve Gray: Asteroids in the arcades!!

Obsolete Gamer: Now before beginning work in the gaming industry you had quite the career in Visual Effects and working in television and movies can you tell us about that time?

Steve Gray: I worked at Robert Abel & Associates when I first moved to LA (to be a Rock Star).  Entry Level Rock Star doesn’t pay very well, actually… not at all.  RA&A worked on Tron, Star Trek 1, and a ton of really cool CG TV commercials.  Also with Omnibus and Digital Pictures we were really the first big CG effects house.  It was a great place to work, everyone was really young and crazy… we worked super hard, partied super hard.  It was a good time… late 80’s in LA was a fun time and place.  Guns and Roses was playing the clubs, the Sunset Strip was rockin’.  Then I went on to work at Rhythm & Hues as head of the Software department.  We wrote all our own CG tools then, because there really weren’t any commercially available packages yet.  I mostly wrote partical systems and rendering code, along with managing the team.  After R&H I moved over to Digital Domain, which was a lot of crazy house.  But we worked on really great movies… and working with Stan Winston and Jim Cameron was pretty amazing.

Obsolete Gamer: So you began the video game part of your career at Electronic Arts Canada, how did that job come to be?

Steve Gray: Digital Domain wanted to get into the video games business… so me and Chris McKibbin (then CFO of DD – different Chris than Chris Tremmel) went around to all the big game companies in the US and Japan trying to get someone to do a project with us… no one really wanted to do that because they (rightly) said we had no idea what we were doing.  Don Mattrick offered me and McKibbin both jobs at EAC.  So we thought about that and both took his offer.

Obsolete Gamer: What was it like working at EA Canada?

Steve Gray: It was really interesting. I learned a lot there.  A lot of really talented guys.  But unfortunately I discovered that making sports games wasn’t really my thing.

Obsolete Gamer: What did you think of the changing in video game technology at the time with the PlayStation One and the use of full motion video in games?

Steve Gray: We all though FMVs in games were super cool.  And actually I eventually built a game at my own company Heavy Iron that used FMV backgrounds in a “Resident Evil” type of game… except our backgrounds were pre-rendered videos instead of pre-rendered stills.  But that was on PS2.  It was the first Evil Dead game that THQ released.  But fundamentally I now think that FMVs kind of suck.  Or at least over use of FMVs kind of suck.  I like what we did in “Lord of the Rings The Third Age” with the transitions from FMV to In-Game Cinematic to Game Play.  And I’m definitely more of a fan of in-game cinematics now, especially if the player can customize his or her avatar, and that customized avatar shows up in the In-Game Cinematic.  But in general, I’m not a huge fan of linear content in games anymore.  Of course, working at Square we made tons of FMVs… but Square’s console RPGs are almost more of a big movie with some game play bits squeezed in there.   Which I still like.

Obsolete Gamer: What were the day to day activities of running the software tools group at EA Canada?

Steve Gray: Not really that interesting.  Just managed the tools group, tried to make sure that we really built things that were useful for the projects right now… no “ivory tower research” allowed.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about building the first Motion Capture Lab at EAC?

Steve Gray: In the beginning the EAC guys didn’t believe in it so we had basically no budget and had to rent out the auto-repair stall to use as our capture studio.  The guys in the auto repair shops around us all through we must be shooting porno movies because we brought in all this high-end camera gear… they kept wanting to know when the girls were going to be there.  Unfortunately it was just a bunch of geeky game developers.  Later we got a bigger a much nicer warehouse to work in…

Squaresoft logo
Squaresoft logo

Obsolete Gamer: How did the transition from EAC to Squaresoft take place?

Steve Gray: I knew some Square guys from various places in the past, plus I’ve always been a fan of their games.  When Sakaguchi-san asked me to join the company I couldn’t say yes fast enough.   Some of the other guys at Square invited me to Tokyo to meet Sakaguchi and we were in a private booth overlooking the massive dance club called “Welfare”, he asked me to join square and put out his hand… I shook it and the other Japanese guys asked me “do you know you just signed the deal”, to which I answered “yes”!!

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time at EAC?

Steve Gray: I think the day we installed the flying-faders audio mixing board in the sound lab was the best day.  Back then those things were super crazy expensive, and as a musician I’d always wanted to have one to play with.

Obsolete Gamer: What was it like working at Squaresoft?

Steve Gray: Working at Square was the best of times and in some ways the worst of times.  Working with Sakaguchi-san was extremely challenging because his standards are insanely high.  Which is a good thing, but it can be tough.  Also the cultural and language differences between the Japanese and Western teams we not really understood or managed very well.  I’m sure we were one of the first projects to be developed by a “mixed” team.  Of course now this is happening more and more, and people have gotten much better at managing those situations, but we were really on the bleeding edge, so to speak.

Obsolete Gamer: What were some of the challenges in directing Parasite Eve?

Steve Gray: The biggest issues were really finding consensus and understanding between the Japanese crew, many of whom had been at Square for many years and were used to their style of working… which was actually very “agile” though they didn’t call it that.  The Western team was much more into what’s now referred to as Waterfall project management… which we didn’t call it that either.  We didn’t really think about this sort of thing, and didn’t understand the differences, and basically made a big mess.  But the game did quite well when it came out, so that’s great!

Obsolete Gamer: Now the game was a sequel to the book correct?

Steve Gray: The game wasn’t a sequel really, it was based on a Japanese novel.  There is also a Japanese movie based on the same book… with some cool VFX from Toyo Links (Japanese VFX company).

Obsolete Gamer: There are many fans who loved that game, but some felt it did not get the attention it deserved, do you feel that way as well?

Steve Gray: It sold over 2.5 million units world wide I think, and sold something like 1.6 million units in like a week in Japan or something crazy like that.  Not quite Final Fantasy numbers, but pretty good.  I’m happy with it.

Obsolete Gamer: What did you think of Parasite Eve 2?

Steve Gray: I think the graphics and FMVs are probably better… I haven’t really played it all the way through, so I don’t have a lot to say about the game.  I was a little bitter with the way things ended up at Square, so I cop’ed an attitude and only played it a bit.

Obsolete Gamer: There were rumors of making a Parasite Eve 3 but it did not happen would you want to see a part 3 made?

Steve Gray: Only if I make it!!!  I don’t know.  Don’t really care.  I don’t think the franchise really took off enough to warrent a whole long series of games.

Parasite Eve box
Parasite Eve box

Obsolete Gamer: You also contributed to Final Fantasy 7 while at Square, can you tell us about that?

Steve Gray: Mostly I just helped another team at Square LA work on some maps.   Square LA did a bunch of maps for FF VII.  I don’t remember how many or what percentage of the total maps were done there.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time at Square?

Steve Gray: Ha.  The stories I have to share involve other Square employees, cute Japanese girls at various locations in Tokyo at night.  They are not fit for public consumption… so I’ll let you guys imagine some of the trouble we got into.

Obsolete Gamer: What made you want to open your own game development company?

Steve Gray: After we finished PE1 at Square, a core group of us thought we were super badass game developers and that publishing companies would fall over themselves to give us projects and money.  That was not entirely true.  We worked on a bunch of games that never saw the light of day, and then finally landed the gig with THQ building Evil Dead 1.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about Heavy Iron Studios?

Steve Gray: It was originally called Chemistry Entertainment.  For a while we partnered with the Canadian VFX Company called Rainmaker.  Heavy Iron didn’t really 100% work out as we hoped.  But a bunch of really great people worked there, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the game industry… for example my partner Marcel Samek went on to be CTO at EALA for many years.  Shiraz Akmal ran the central outsourcing group at THQ… Matt Coohill continued to work at Heavy Iron for a long time, and is now up in Seattle at Microsoft working cool stuff there.  And many others…

Obsolete Gamer: How did it differ from running your own company than working at EAC and SS?

Steve Gray: We had no money.  I didn’t really like running my own company that much… I thought it would give me the freedom to work on the kinds of projects I really like.  But instead I got to be an administrator and was always managing cash flow and trying to make payroll.  Not cool.

Obsolete Gamer: When did you make the decision to sell to THQ?

Steve Gray: When we were starting on Evil Dead 1, it was going to be one of the biggest projects THQ had ever done… and they really wanted to have us be part of THQ so that they would be building equity in the team.  And honestly, Marcel and I were a bit tired of managing the company instead of making games, so we decided to join THQ.  Of course, we also got paid some money (stock).  When I left THQ, their stock was at an all-time high… this was a good thing.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time with Heavy Iron Studios?

Steve Gray: When we were finalizing Evil Dead, I was basically living at the office.  We had a group of THQ QA guys in the first floor, and they would find bugs, we’d fix them… I’d burn new test disks… they bang away at them.  It was a crazy project.  But then many things I’ve worked on have been crazy and hard… but that’s what makes it fun.

Obsolete Gamer: Then it was a return to EA what was that like?

Steve Gray: I came back to EA to join my original Digital Domain friend, Chris McKibbin, to help run what was called the “Worlds Channel” in EA.com.  We were all the entertainment products, meaning all the MMOs.  I guess younger readers may not know about EA.com – EA.com was EA’s first big jump into online games, and think we were a bit ahead of the times… EA.com didn’t work out, and got closed down, and many of the people merged back into the other EA Studios.  That was pretty rough because many people were also laid off, and as one of the senior guys there it fell to me to do a lot of layoffs.  But it’s lame to feel bad for yourself in that situation because it’s 100x worse for the people getting laid off.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about the development process with creating the Lord of the Rings games?

Steve Gray: We kicked some serious ass on Lord of the Rings.  First out at Stormfront, then internally at EA Redwood Shores.  Those were great games, beautiful games, built on very tight schedules under difficult circumstances and they were really good.  I credit my time and Square and my experiences working with Sakaguchi for my ability to really focus on quality… and of course, Neil Young was a great EP on the first two, I learned a lot working with him as well.  I have very happy memories of that time… though I did get diss’ed pretty hard in the infamous “EA Wife” blog.  I think our FMV->game play transition stuff which I mentioned earlier was a first for the industry, and we really set the standard for quality in movie games… a standard that has rarely been met since, in my opinion.

Heavy Iron logo
Heavy Iron logo

Obsolete Gamer: How did your experience with EAC, Square and owning Heavy Iron Studios factor into your return to EA and working on those games?

Steve Gray: I really credit Sakaguchi-san for helping me understand how to build great games.  I have to say that at the time, when I was at Square, I didn’t really agree 100% with how he wanted to do things… but in the following years I came to really appreciate how his approach to game development is able to consistently create such high quality product.  Now I’ve rarely (never) had the freedom he has as a developer, but his ideas fit into development even if you have to pay more attention to the schedule.  Heavy Iron gave me a lot of respect for how hard it is to run a business… and at EA I learned a lot about why publishers work the way they do, and why publishers make what seem to the developers like evil and unwarranted decisions.  That changed my understanding of the game business a lot.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about your work on Neverwinter Nights 2?

Steve Gray: This is a mistake in some profiles on me… I never worked on Neverwinter Nights 2.

Obsolete Gamer: With all your time in the gaming industry which prior of your career did you enjoy the most?

Steve Gray: I really really enjoyed working on the Lord of the Rings games.  The team was so fantastic.  Everyone was great to work with and super talented.  We may have had our struggles and moments of anger with each other, but I wouldn’t trade that time with those people for anything.  I am also really enjoying working at Tencent…

Tencent logo
Tencent logo

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about what you are working on currently?

Steve Gray: I am currently Executive in Charge of Prodution at Tencent in China.  Tencent is China’s largest developer, publisher and operator of on-line games, we have a huge IM client (over 1 billion accounts), we run China’s largest portals, etc…  I work with all of our Studios, of which we have 9… with about 3500 employees across all of them.  But there are some projects I’m particularly focused on.

Unfortunately I can’t really tell you about them, because most are unannounced.  However one I can mention is NBA 2K Online, which is a co-development project with 2K Sports in the US.  It’s a bit weird because I didn’t really like working on Sports games at EAC… but this is really more of a Sports RPG or something like that.  It’s really cool… it’s going to be a monster hit here in China.  Working with Visual Concepts (the 2K Games Studio that builds NBA2K) is really great, working with 2K China is great… our team in Shanghai is great.

It’s really fun.  It’s amazing how Tencent builds online games and how big we are (we have 4 games that have more than 1 million people playing simultaneously every day).  We get to work so closely with our customers… in a way you can never do on a console game.  Also the scale we operate at is just stunning… QQ IM (our IM client) routinely has over 100,000,000 people logged into it every day.  Yes – that’s the right number of zeros… 100,000,000.

Obsolete Gamer: With all that you do you must have little free time, but when you do if you play any games what are they?

Steve Gray: I rarely play any games other than the games I’m working on, or directly competing product… which I can’t say what they are, because that would be a dead giveaway of what we’re building.  I don’t really play games for “fun” in my free time… well, what free time, for one thing.  But I have a lot of fun playing the games I’m building or those few other games I play to understand what the competition is up to.

POD: Parasite Eve

Parasite Eve logo
Parasite Eve logo

Making a few changes to the picture of the day and focusing on games that are a little bit more classic. Today we bring you pictures, screenshots, wallpapers and artwork from one of my favorite games, Parasite Eve. It was developed and published in 1998 by Square Enix and follows the story of Aya Brea a New York cop that witnesses an entire opera house spontaneously combust. It is up to her to find out not only why it happened, but why she wasn’t affected.

And as a bonus here is the trailer for Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday

Final Fantasy I: OST

Final Fantasy I: OST

It all began here with composer Nobuo Uematsu who created so much of the great music found in the Final Fantasy series. Fans and critics alike agree that the music in Final Fantasy has been excellent and even starting with the first one the quality of the sound was ahead of its time. The music drew you in, it was powerful when it was supposed to be and made you feel the emotion of the game.  The music could make you laugh, make you cry and drive you to kick the bad guys ass.

Final Fantasy I and II cover

How it all began

The story goes that while working in a music rental shop Uematsu was approached by a woman working in the art department at Square. At the time Uematsu didn’t consider it a career move in fact he thought of it as a part time job, a place to make a little extra cash and in the end would not last long. When he took the job Uematsu met Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi who asked him to compose some much for his games. In the end there were only a few requirements which included adding “battle” and “town” music, but besides that Uematsu had free reign to create the music as he saw fit and we all experienced and enjoyed the results.

What video game(s) do you wish would be made but were not?

Lost highway fog
Lost highway fog

As gamers we always want more, even when we claim a game was a masterpiece and should never be redone secretly most of us hope a great follow-up will be done so we can enjoy it all over again. This goes for remakes as well. Many may rally against the idea, but if done well can easily become yet another classic hit.

Then there are those games that everyone was waiting for. It was a given that a sequel would be made and gamers were chomping at the bit eagerly waiting for its release. Unfortunately, some of those games never made it to light and worse yet, in some cases the fans would never know what happened unless they dug for information in the few gaming magazines there were at the time. So what happened to these games that were to be released only to disappear?

In many cases the games were remade for the next generation of consoles. The problem with this was many fans never knew their new favorite game was the old game they were waiting for. The reason for this was normally because the name was changed and the game slightly tweeked to take advantage of the more powerfully system. In other cases licensing expired or there were behind the scene troubles that prevented the original title from being used.

Sometimes the game was just scrapped and never came to light. There were many reasons for this from money to contract disputes to the creator just walking away. It happened more often in the PC gaming market, but was certainly there in the console gaming market as well.

Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy 4 NES
Final Fantasy 4 NES

Now we all know that FF4 was released, but originally it was to be released for the Famicom (Japanese name of the NES). In this case it was decided to make FF4 for the Super Famicom (SNES) instead. Originally FF5 was going to be the SNES title with FF4 being the last Square (Now Square Enix) title of that series on the NES.

Sonic Crackers

Sonic Crackers
Sonic Crackers

You can actually find this as a ROM file under the name Sonic Stadium. Now there is a lot of information on Sonic Crackers and a lot of missing information as well. What we do know is supposedly SC was to be released as the last Sonic game on the 16-bit platform. Reports indicate the game was in the development stage with a few zones and sprites. In the end the game was redone and became Knuckles Chaotix on the 32X Sega Console. Though Chaotix looked and played different it is believed that was what became of Sonic Crackers, to bad most did not like the game or the 32X for that matter.

Star Fox 2

Star Fox 2
Star Fox 2

This was another great game that was to receive a direct follow-up. Star Fox was a hit on the SNES and fans everywhere held their breaths waiting for SF2. In the end the game was remade into Star Fox 64 and it was the N64 pending release that was the reason for Star Fox 2 being put on the shelf. The game was highly covered at the time and according to Star Fox 2 lead programmer Dylan Cuthbert the game was fully completed and ready to go.

This is just a taste of many games that were to be made, but never saw the light of day. Over the next few months Obsolete Gamer will be taking a look at more of these “lost” games and bring you a report on them. For now we asked our panel of insiders:

What video game(s) did you wish would be made but were not?

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

There are a couple of games high on my list that were in development, but never made it live or were just killed in the production stages.  Sadly, all of these games were being made, but didn’t make it to the end.

Stargate Worlds is at the top of my list. While I’ve heard rumors it is still “in production” I don’t have a lot of belief in that with the side projects the same company is working on.  I just don’t think they have the funding to make the game what they promised us it would be in the past.

Ultima Online: 2 I think that’s what they were calling it.  Either way, it was supposed to basically be an Ultima Online sequel, but with huge improvements on the current Ultima Online Game.  The game never had a chance, despite a lot of the community standing behind the game for it.

Wish Online:  For those of us that played in the beta, the game was simply amazing. The game engine created a wonderful playing environment.  It was lush, in-depth, had a great crafting and fighting system, but unfortunately was not meant to be.  Unfortunately it was a problem of money available verses development time and money ran out.  I know a group of us had looked into purchasing the game engine, but we couldn’t afford the price of it.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote:

If I answered that about the current market, I would be giving away my secrets! I always wanted there to be a massively-multiplayer version of Star Control, and that’s why I made Starport! (www.starportgame.com)

What about you, what game do you wish would have been made?

Bust a Grove OST

Bust a Grove OST

Known in Japan as Bust a Move the name was changed when Puzzle Bobble was released in the U.S. under the same name. Bust a Grove showed up on the PlayStation video game console in late 98’ and was a rhythm and dance game in the vein of PaRappa the Rapper but it added fighting game elements such as special moves.

Bust-A-Move OST

Made by Enix (now Square Enix) you could go up against the PC or another player and as you pressed the correct moves on the direction pad you would “attack” your opponent. Honestly it was like You Got Served meets Dance Dance Revolution.

What made the game for me personally was the music; it had memorable tracks with awesome beats that really got you in the game. I still play the tracks often on my media player.

As always Obsolete Gamer supports the original work of the artist, you can purchase the full soundtrack here.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Fantasy I Want No Part Of

FFXIV online logo
FFXIV online logo

E3 2009 took us by surprise when Square-Enix opened up with the trailer for Final Fantasy XIV. It wasn’t expected to be announced and was rather hush-hush until the presentation. What really blew people away, in my opinion, was its suggested release date. When an MMO is normally announced to be in production you expect 2-3 years from that date or more for the game to be complete and released. Releasing such a big brand name in such a short time made me insinuate that this project must have been in works for quite some time in silence. As with most utterings of a Final Fantasy game being released, high expectations are hoped to be met by their fan base. Can Square-Enix bring out a AAA title in such a short time frame? The company certainly has not released anything close to AAA quality in quite some time and this MMORPG must have occupied many of the company’s resources for its production.

Final Fantasy XI was a highly acclaimed MMORPG in Japan and did moderately successful worldwide. With the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft, a company like Square-Enix seemed like the most powerful competitor to steal some WoW’s players. The time to capitalize on the market of people waiting for the next big MMO was netted in by this announcement. With Star Wars: The Old Republic not ready to debut until Spring 2011, Final Fantasy XIV had a chance to pull in a strong player base of MMO nomads.

As the release date began to draw near, open beta was announced and it was time to check out what Square-Enix was hiding behind the curtain. After getting my beta invite email I decided to follow the instructions. I was taken to a link that I had assumed would have a registration key and login section to get this fixation underway. Instead, the link took me to a portal with the “requirements” to play the beta. There were no links to sign into my Square-Enix account and the page was outright inadequate. Their “System Requirements” section on the page just directs you to another page with the information on the minimum system requirements. This portal page was completely and utterly useless and vague at best.

I finally decided to just go to the Final Fantasy XIV official page to login and see if I can find a registration code. Finding any reference to this code in my account page was impossible and adding Final Fantasy XIV to my service only asked me for a code anyway. When I finally did find the code page, they had closed registration codes for the time being and will release more at a later date. After spamming the refresh button a million times I eventually did get this code for my wife and myself to play.

Finding the download section for the game was another hassle as it wouldn’t open up the torrent file at all. I eventually had to find it off another site to begin the patch. My download time for this nearly 8GB file was 5 weeks. My wife’s download time was an hour and thirty minutes. After some surfing on the internet I saw a ton of people were having a problem with the game patching in a reasonable time frame. I guess we got lucky my wife’s download was speedy. When her download finished I just transferred a copy of the completed files to my computer so we could get started.
Now, onto the meat of this review. The game itself.

Performance: My machine is fairly new so I’m not even going to rate the performance based on that. My wife’s unit is older and has an Intel quad-core clocked at 2.40GHZ, 4GB of DDR2 memory, and an ATI 5870. The game ran beautifully. There was little to no chopping even in the populated cities with the settings set to max. Particle effects offered zero lag and the game probably ran the smoothest out of any next-gen MMORPG we’ve played in the past 3 years. For an open beta, this was highly impressive. Any midrange computer can handle this game at full settings with just a bit of tweaking if a hitch ever came up.

Controls: Developers of this game came out straight and said this game was designed to have the UI revolve around the use of a controller. Just like in Final Fantasy XI, this unrelated sequel of sorts incorporates the use of a controller even for the PC. It is not keyboard and mouse friendly at all. For God’s sake, you can’t even hotkey anything. For some of the most simple tasks you have to take a journey through a plethora of menus for miniscule options. It is ridiculous, cumbersome, and ill planned. Yes, the game is releasing for the PS3 and these controls must be comfortable for them but guess what? They aren’t releasing the PS3 version until sometime next year. What is the purpose of releasing the PC version with this horrid UI and control scheme if the focus of its movement isn’t even releasing until the following year? It makes little to no sense. It seems to me they are releasing this version of the game just to make the deadline “promise” they made at E3 2009.

LOL Wut Pirate Final Fantasy XIV
LOL Wut Pirate Final Fantasy XIV

Sound: Classic Final Fantasy sounds make their appearance in this game. It is clear and sounds great. The music really puts you in that role-playing mood if you’re into that sort of thing. It shoves you into this world and makes it come to life. As always, Nobuo Uematsu knows how to compose some grand and fantastical musical choices. Unfortunately, all this goes to hell the moment the voice-overs pop in. The studio that handled the voice acting must have hired the student’s from Ms.Spifz’s High School English Class. The actors sounded as though they were involuntarily picked to read aloud to the class the next section of The Great Gatsby. The voices are uninspired, bland, and lacking any emotion. The music sets you up for this grand adventure and then the actors from Twilight decide to make an appearance as voice actors and ruin the entire mood. I felt blue balled.

Gameplay: I know this is what you all have been waiting to hear, so here it is. The game immediately tosses you into this adventure to go kill whatever furry monstrosity is waiting for you in the newbie area, the inauguration for every great RPG adventure. If it isn’t stomping on giant rats, its killing boars or bunnies. After going through a thousand clicks to accept the quest, I opened my map to see where I should begin my journey. The newbie zone was right on the edge of town. Guess where they started me? At the OTHER side of this 5 mile city! Not only was it difficult to find my way around but I couldn’t leap down staircases to make shortcuts. And with that we bring up my biggest peeve in anything ever!
I hate games that don’t let me jump.

I don’t care how good it is.

I hate not jumping.

Walls that were two feet high were preventing me from crossing the fastest way possible. I had to trek all the way across the wall just to get around. I can shoot fireballs from my hands and cleave through the sturdy flesh of an Orc but I can’t hop over a small bump in the ground. I hate being bored in groups and not being able to prance around the dungeon as we continue onward. I hate not being able to cancel my spells with a small little hop. The lack of a jumping feature takes away from the gaming experience for me. I can’t even vault over the damn thing like in Gears of War.

Go To Hell Taru Final Fantasy XIV
Go To Hell Taru Final Fantasy XIV

Finally reaching the newbie area was probably the most frustrating part of the game. The mob I needed to kill sparsely speckled the newbie zone and the amount of new players looking to kill this mob were outnumbering its spawn rate. The hotbar techniques only correspond to the number on your NUMPAD. I couldn’t find any other way to map it elsewhere for more convenience. After spending maybe an hour searching for three of these mobs without any luck I decided to uppercut a Dodo bird which kept running by me constantly. Instead of considering its level, I shoved my lancer’s spear into his face and I was quickly dismembered in only a few seconds. As I laid dead on the ground I began to wonder when my release timer would come up so I could respawn. After a minute of waiting I began to realize why I saw so many dead players that hadn’t released their corpse earlier in my adventure. There is no release button. You have to excavate through your menu and find a “Return” button to get released to a spawn point. Nicely done, Square-Enix. Your vague manner really helped me there.

After calming down and letting my heart rate return to a safe set of beating, I decided to return to town and try out the crafting professions. I always liked fishing in an MMO so I decided to take up Fishing as my career choice. I needed some money to buy some of the equipment needed to pursue my profession so I sold some vendor trash and went ahead on my new path. After equipping my pole and bait I went ahead to begin the process of being a bad ass fisherman. After spending 4 minutes wondering how to even begin fishing since the keyboard controls were complete garbage, I got on my way. The whole fishing endeavor was much more complicated than I thought. I had to choose my depth, the quality of the water I was fishing from, and the casting point. When the message that something had bit my line appeared, I had to begin a struggle with the fish to drag it out of the water. You have to constantly “Jig” with the fish back and worth as it tries to take the line till the fish is too tired to struggle and you capture him. It’s basically the combat mechanics of a Pokemon battle. I found fishing way more enjoyable than the actual game’s combat since I spent most of the time running around with my spear trying to find rats to poke. I could easily see someone making their crafting profession their main source of entertainment in the game as it is rather enthralling.

The fatigue system was something I didn’t really experience as I gave up just way too soon on this game from sheer lack of enjoyment. From what I’ve been told by friends and from other sources, you can’t barrel through the game. Powergamers will not find any euphoria in this game as the fatigue system penalizes you for using one class for too long. After 8 hours of gameplay, your character will hit a block in progression that will offer them no experience points. They will have to change classes and try something else for another eight hours. Each week the debuff is cleansed and you are allowed to continue on with the class that was previously penalized. What does this sound like to me? It sounds like this game is probably two-thirds complete and they are putting roadblocks so they can successfully complete their endgame. By the time the PS3 version of the game releases, I prophesize that this system will be scrapped since the game will be officially completed.

Final Verdict: This game falls short in so many places. It is beautiful and quite breathtaking. It isn’t as user friendly as one would hope. Newer gamers to the Final Fantasy Online universe can easily get lost in the complexity of its interface and mechanics. It does require a bit more patience than most MMOs and getting the hang of it right out of the box isn’t something that will come easily. A small fraction of brain power is needed to solve the puzzles of the menu and to get used to some of the mechanics for the crafting professions. If you’re looking for something to dive into right away, this isn’t the game for you. If you’re looking for a powergaming experience, this game isn’t for you. If you enjoy excelling in one area, this isn’t the game for you. If you’re looking for beautiful graphics and dream inspired settings with an enjoyable RPG experience filled with the wonder and adventure of killing large rats and Dodo birds, this is the game you’re looking for! Overall, the game failed to grasp my attention for longer than five hours.

For something that was expected to take the MMORPG genre a step forward, this title took two steps backs and one step forward. What was expected to be a monsoon of intrigue and JRPG adventure ended up becoming nothing more than a minor swell lost in a sea of upcoming MMOs.

Super Mario RPG OST

Super Mario RPG OST

What can I say I fell in love with this game. I was always a big Mario fan and shortly before its release I got big into Final Fantasy so when I saw a Squaresoft (Square Enix now) RPG built around Super Mario Bros I had to get it and was not disappointed.

Super Mario RPG OST

The gameplay was fun keeping the humor and character of Mario and adding in the role playing and battle elements of Sqaure. The story was well done as were many of the boss battles and puzzles and the music, some of the best at the time.

Check out the Classic Gaming Profile for Super Mario RPG

As always Obsolete Gamer supports the artists and composers of our favorite video game music. Support great work by purchasing the original soundtrack.

GAMES COMING OUT SEPTEMBER 2010 FOR CONSOLES

Halo Reach trailer
Halo Reach trailer

Ah September the time when many go back to school and fall is just around the comer. Nah, forget about that, you can’t tell the seasons are changing if you are locked onto your television screen now can you? This month there is actually a good reason to succumb to your gaming addition.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Fans of the Kingdom Hearts saga can rejoice the Square Enix hit is back. Here’s the story: Long before Sora was chosen by his Keyblade, the worlds’ safety lay in the hands of the true Keyblade Masters. Three youths – Terra, Ventus and Aqua – have been training long and hard under Master Eraqus to prove that they, too, exhibit the Mark of Mastery. But they will soon find themselves in the middle of a crisis affecting worlds far beyond their own – just as another Keyblade Master, Xehanort, goes mysteriously missing. Three friends, three destinies. Everything will link back to the beginning. I really was hoping to see some Marvel characters since Disney acquired the studio. Maybe next time.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Quick, what’s better than Spider-man? If you said four Spider-men then you are correct. Activision releases Shattered Dimensions which has Spider-man fighting to reassemble pieces from a shattered tablet and along the way he runs in the different versions of himself. Hey, as long as it’s not as bad as that awful clone saga this one could be interesting.

Halo: Reach

Seriously, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about this game? Simply put, if you like any of the Halo’s you are getting this game and if you don’t well I guess this awesome trailer will mean nothing to you.

Dead Rising 2

So there is this gameshow where you battle against a city full of zombies and if that isn’t enough other human players. Dead Rising 2 is a zombie slayers wet dream and with thousands of ways to take out your undead foes it is guaranteed to keep you interested this fall.

Now there are more games being released, but honestly with a line-up like this you are going to be booked this month. Don’t worry though October is looking good to with games like Castlevania: Lord of Shadow so stay tuned.

Nicolai Dutka: Archon Games

Archon Games logo

Name: Nicolai Dutka

Company: Archon Games

Profession: Producer/Project Manager

Favorite Classic Game: Final Fantasy  (The original for NES)

Quote: The original Final Fantasy was the very first role-playing game I had ever played.  I was instantly hooked into the genre and have been a die-hard RPG fan ever since.


Japan, I Left Your RPGs On The Sidewalk And Changed The Locks. We’re Through!

Chrono Trigger cry
Chrono Trigger cry

Japan, I Left Your RPGs On The Sidewalk And Changed The Locks. We’re Through!

Dear Japan,
My dear and sweet Japan, it breaks my heart to write this message. I hope this tear stained letter lets you know that the way I felt about you… about us was something I will always cherish. While the flickering flame on the candle that represented my love for you has been snuffed, the moments we shared will always be emblazoned into my mind and heart.

Do you remember when we first met, my childhood friend? I was seven years old walking through the SNES rental section of Blockbuster looking for a new game to rent. My little childish sticky hands were all over the Aladdin rental box, a smile stretching from ear to ear as I imagined taking the fight to Jaffar. I skipped down the aisle looking for my mommy so that I could go home with Aladdin and enjoy the adventures of an Arabian night. The other games looked on as I gleefully took flight down towards the register. I was blind to their laminated glare.

Like a rifle’s laser scope, I could feel the pressure of a presence weighing down upon me. This entity’s gaze was fixated on me, reaching out for a friend. Slowly turning to my left, my heart went a flutter. Behind the plastic wrappings of the case was an unknown creature holding a wicked sword. Its white fur and pink nose were innocent yet it held a darkened tormenting blade that screamed out to me like a van with free candy. My grip on Aladdin loosened as he fell to the ground face down and like a handicapped older woman was unable to get up without my help. That is where Aladdin would remain though, living away his last breaths as I stepped closer to examine the enigma in front of me. My fingers raced against the title as I dared to utter the name, your name…
Final Fantasy III.

At the time I was ignorant to your true identity. How could I have known? I was only a child and you offered me the ambrosia of adventure. I brought you into my home and for the first time in my life, I learned from a game. I read, I established connections with a game’s characters, I felt remorse for a fictional struggle, and I…

Well, you know…

I fell in love.

Yes, I said it. I fell in love with you, Japan and your RPGs. I still wanted to take that magic carpet ride but not with Aladdin. You engrossed me into your adventures and made me actually care about story and my characters. I chose characters who statistically sucked but because I felt for their background, I strived to turn them into weapons of perfection so we could see their adventure through to the end. I never thought I would experience anything like this ever again. I thought our love was a once in a life time voyage, a one night stand that left me laying in my motel room bed dripping like a used whore.

I was wrong. You kindled my heart through and through for the years. You invaded my life like a powerful militant country raping and pillaging my childhood for resources. You attempted to take them by force but you didn’t expect one thing, Japan. I welcomed you with open arms.

Like Teth-Adam meeting his Isis, your power and my love for you flourished for years to come. Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Suikoden, and the others. Month after month, year after year, it seemed like an eternity that our love would last.

Then things changed…

You became predictable. Another story about a hero who has amnesia? Another villain who dresses like David Bowie? What was that? Someone wants to destroy the world for no fucking reason? Wait, what? The hero can’t speak and can only express themselves by exclamation points and question marks? This is what you bring me?

Like a disgruntled woman on her anniversary, discontent with the predictable present of flowers and a dinner at Bennigan’s, my loins yearned for more than what you had to offer. I had seen too many movies on Lifetime. You were the villain in all of this. You were the man who didn’t lust for me and you know what, Japan? I stopped lusting for you. I went back home. I went West. I went to America.
The West showed me something that you couldn’t show me. They showed me how my actions can change the story. They showed me how my hero was capable of the greater good or the most unspeakable horror. America wasn’t one dimensional. They let me choose.

You forced me into this linear adventure with the same old characters. You took away the tragedy that I loved in you. There wasn’t any drama. You filled your games with twelve year old heroes who from the very beginning accepted their role as a savior. You are nothing like America and I’m sorry for that.

I love my complicated and deep storylines. I love my free reign in the events to unfold. I love not playing as a clean shaven emotionally complicated hero. I love The West’s Clint Eastwood attitude. It makes me feel like I’m in control. Not you! Me!

Knights of the Old Republic, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age have yanked me from your grasp. I didn’t secretly leave you. The evidence was there the whole time. They took what your wrought and pushed it to another level… a level that I’m afraid you won’t reach.

Japan, you are the clean shaven boy with flowers who took me to the prom, the one who promised to bring me home before 11pm. America is the boy I want to leave with after 11pm. He has tattoos, he smokes, and his motorcycle is fueled by the blood of kittens. At the end of that night, you hope I give you a kiss but America hopes they can pop all my cherries in one session.

I’m sorry Japan, but for now this is good bye. Your lack of creativity, your undying urge to force me into a position I don’t think I want to be in, your inability to manifest a story that hasn’t already been done, and making me play as a he-she has forced this.

Is this the life that you want to lead? Will you take the road that has been laid out before you or will we meet again somewhere else in our lives?

Good bye Japan…
Your Umi-kins.

Games Coming Out August 2010 For Consoles

PS3 vs Xbox 360 vs Wii
PS3 vs Xbox 360 vs Wii

It use to be August was the last change to get out and do what you really wanted to do for the summer before school started up again. Today, many of us stay inside because the sun burns. (It really really burns) Good thing the console market knows this and releases a ton of great games for the last summer push.

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair – Aug 1

It’s like multi-player dungeon crawling. True in this version of the famous Castlevania series you do see the entire map, you know where the traps and enemies are and you know where the boss is, but the fun it making your way to it. HOD received mixed reviews original and now in its XBL form it’s still receive mixed reviews, but even with the gameplay changes it still has the heart of Castlevania and is still a fun play.

Earthworm Jim HD – Aug 1

If you don’t know who Earthworm Jim is turn in your classic gaming card. This remake of the 1994 side-scrolling classic as been updated graphically and in its gameplay including a four player co-op mode. It still has all the cow loving, earthworm eating fun of the original with a fresh coat that will bring a smile to any XBL arcade fans face.

 

 

Madden NFL 2011 – Aug 8

Full disclosure I never liked the idea that EA had a monopoly on the NFL gaming franchise, but with that said it looks as if the simpler, quicker, deeper plan behind Madden 11 might bring in the few fans that aren’t playing it. Some may think it a step back, but let’s face it people don’t want to need a degree to play a game and in our instant gratification world the fast we get to the good parts the better. The improved online play and animation is also a nice touch and really shows that EA wanted to make important changes and improvements to their game. As I said I prefer competition as well, but Madden NFL 2011 looks pretty good and even I might give it a go.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days – Aug 15

Guns, bullets, a girl and a dog it seems. Dog Days is the sequel to the original and features improved gameplay over the original as the boys are on a mission to save a loved one. I agree with what Kane said; “She better be worth it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Mafia II – Aug 24th

As one person put it; “It’s GTA4 with class.” Mafia II immerses you in the world of the 1950’s criminal underworld with an open world map meaning you can go pretty much anywhere you want at any time. However, by sticking to the storyline you move your way up the ladder as you complete missions from drop offs to raids on rival gangs.

Metroid: Other M – Aug 29th

One of the best games of all time is back and fans of the Wii couldn’t be happier. Samus is back and she brought some cool additions with her like the morph ball and her visor which can scan the new lush environments found in this latest game. Everything fans of the series love is still there from careful puzzle solving to menacing boss battles. Simply put, if you have a Wii you have to get this game.

Dear Game Industry, Hire Some Real Writers

Dragon Age Origins bitches
Dragon Age Origins bitches

I don’t want to sound bias but do video games lacking story make you want to play the sequel or even finish the game? I think a well-established story can motivate you to playing a game to its full completion. There are so many video games that I have picked up that I just can’t finish because the story and game play are so bad that I don’t even want to bother completing it. Do game companies just think of a good game mechanic and just say “Ya know what? Let’s just build something decent around this engine and hope it sells.” I honestly believe that even a game with a shitty engine could sell well if its story is captivating.

I used to be part the creative team for an online forum text based role-playing game. The game mechanics were simple. Write a 1,000 word role-play depicting what you’re doing that day in your adventure and myself or one of the moderators will come in and grade your writing and let you know how much damage you did if you were fighting, what you would be fighting, or how you should proceed given the options you are left with. Sounds tedious doesn’t it? Writing over 1,000 words just to illustrate what you were doing is a bit obnoxious but we did it this way so we got players to make actual stories and not just “NATHANIEL WALKED INTO DA BAR AND PUNCHED MACARTHUR SO HARD!” and then we’d have to moderate that. Instead we got a short story about the character’s adventure. You may ask yourself why anyone would play this game if it was obviously so tiresome to make a post this long just to advance. Well, compared to other message boards of the same category, we were the largest with around 150-200 active members. What made people keep playing and want to part of this world? It was our story, the world, and the characters within it. It ran for about three years with constant activity until we finally shut it down because we couldn’t handle the work load with our current staff and also come up with more stories since we spent way too much time moderating. The story overtook game play and also made a lot of people much better writers than they were when they first began at the site.

Lets take Final Fantasy for instance. Very few people actually anticipated the sequels to Final Fantasy because they needed their turn-based action. People kept playing Final Fantasy because the story made you want to fulfill the accomplishment of beating the game. You wanted to be that hero with the help of your ragtag group of adventurers, which saved the world. Stories make the game memorable and even make loyal fans keep playing. I still played Final Fantasy 13 even though I thought it was one of the worst stories in any Final Fantasy or RPG ever. I continued to play it because I believed that Square-Enix would turn the story around somewhere and make this an experience that was worth enduring the bland characters and adventure. Alas, ADD addled maniacs wrote it and it ended being a total piece of shit. I did think, though, that the game play was better but not worth the agonizingly retarded story. But you get where I’m going with this? I loved the Final Fantasy franchise because of the story and STILL completed this abomination of a sequel just because I loved previous stories and believed in the game’s track record.

There are games out there with good stories but are horribly paced. Red Dead Redemption has a good story from what I can tell by my six hours of game play that I put into it, however, I’ve had the game for almost 2 months now and I haven’t bothered to keep playing it because it is astoundingly drawn out. I don’t feel I’ve made a dent in the story because of all the “filler” non-sense in between pivotal moments in the game. The initial taste of story you are given doesn’t give you an urgency to want to see what happens next because the game takes so long to introduce you to anything worthwhile and intriguing.

Then, you have games that have a story that is apparently fleshed out but it sounds like a SyFy Channel Original Movie. I know it was a blockbuster game, but Assassin’s Creed’s story was horrible. The game play is atrocious and the story is almost vomit inducing. You know how in the Matrix when they upload the knowledge of Kung Fu into Neo’s head and it only takes a whole 5 seconds for him to be a total badass? Ok, imagine Neo learning Kung Fu but it requires him to deal with some past master’s life over the course of a few hours. That is Assassin’s Creed. The introduction to the sequel had me turning off my 360 almost instantly when they mentioned the word “Templar Masters.” For villains who take place in the modern era, aren’t masters kind of a childish thing to call them? That sounds like something a five year old who couldn’t think of a creative name made up while playing with his action figures. The main character himself looks like a chump and is way too foolish to be a hero, which is what this series is setting him up to be. He has to learn from his French ancestors how to fight better or something but if memory serves me right didn’t he learn how to be awesome in the first game? Apparently not, because he couldn’t even handle security guards who lacked batons or guns on his own. He needed a GIRL to save him. Good job, nerd. A chick had to back you up against rent-a-cops. I lost interest in this game within 30 minutes.

Some games have too much story. Think about Metal Gear Solid 4. Were we playing a game or an interactive movie? From what I recall, I got to sneak around some hallways for 5 minutes before being interrupted by 30 minutes of cinematic and dialog. If you’re going to make a game heavy in story make it interactive so I have something to do while you’re blabbing about your military and science bullshit. You know what I remember about the MGS4 story? Not much at all due to the fact that every single time the game would take control away from me I left the room to make tea or I put a pillow over my face and woke up when I noticed the talking ended. The story became way too encumbering and I only finished it because it was the finale to the series or so it was believed at that time.

If the gaming industry needs someone to look to in order to make games with decent game play but highly engrossing stories there is a little company called Bioware that completely decimates the industry with its captivating stories and player involvement. Dragon Age and Mass Effect are their two hottest franchises right now and it’s hard to argue that either has a monotonous story or boring main character. Commander Shepard is a bad ass and they sway from good or evil but the ends always justify the means regardless of the decision. The nameless Grey Warden leader in Dragon Age does what needs to get done despite the situation he/she is placed under. While I love both franchises, I dislike the villains and I feel they could do more than just have a villain who wants to shit dicks all over the world because they are evil. In Dragon Age, Loghain was a rather interesting character but they didn’t focus much on him. I feel if they did it would’ve been much more difficult to stomp on his dreams and kill him when it came down to it. The game always leaves you thinking that he is possessed by a demon or somehow working for the enemy, but he isn’t. He’s just a man with an opposing view and you aren’t really given a chance to understand his action because you get the option to decapitate him, which any reasonable person will do. Only a total pussy wouldn’t chop off someone’s head if given the option. Do note how I compliment the story so much in these Bioware games but I don’t even mention the game play experience. That would be because it is rather simple and nothing introduced has been revolutionary. It’s the story that kept me playing over and over and over.

So video game industry, this is what I’m demanding from you from now on. There will be no “ifs”, “ands” , or “buts” about this. I want a hero who isn’t a metrosexual and has a beard. Yeah I said it. I want more heroes with beards. I want a villain who has a really good reason to want to do the things they do other than just being a total chode. We need someone we could see siding with if given the appropriate circumstances. I don’t want “The dark forces of” to be part of a story anymore. I’m sick of one-dimensional villains. Why can’t it just be an opposing country or something? Sephiroth wasn’t born evil. He went bat shit when he found out how he was made and wanted to destroy the planet for his mama. See? I can side with that. He loved his mom so much he wanted to make her proud. I’m sick of Ganon being a total dick for no reason. I want likeable party members. I don’t need anymore Wakka’s or Snow’s who think they are hot shit but are incredibly obnoxious. Do the creators even play the games? Do they not notice how annoying these kinds of characters are? Get rid of them. If you want a fun loving side character make him a happy drunk or something. Don’t make the game a movie by leaving us on the sidelines with lack of interactivity. I don’t want to sit through dialog that I have no say in for thirty fucking minutes. If this scene really has to happen make it worth listening to. Don’t get all scientific and shit. I’m playing this game for entertainment, not to learn how to fucking make a clone in real life. This is all I demand from you. In return, I will give you my money if you don’t somehow fuck this up.

Do you guys think that the story matters in a game or are you fine with stories that are as bland as Tetris?

Obsolete Intros: Parasite Eve

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Obsolete Intros: Parasite Eve

Aya Brea - Parasite Eve

Parasite Eve is one of my favorite RPG/Action games. It was developed and published in 1998 by Square Enix and follows the story of Aya Brea a New York cop that witnesses an entire opera house spontaneously combust. It is up to her to find out not only why it happened, but why she wasn’t affected.

Final Fantasy XIV: Release & Pricing

Final Fantasy XIV concept box
Final Fantasy XIV concept box

Square Enix announced that the PC version of FF14 will be released on September 22nd and 30th respectively. Currently there are two versions available the standard edition which will retail for $49.99 and the collector’s edition which will cost $74.99.

The collector’s edition will be launching first on the 22nd of September and will come with an early access code that will give you a six day head start. In addition you will receive a Behind the scenes DVD, Buddy Pass Insert, “Right of Passage” voucher, In Game Item, Branded Security Token, and Travel Journal and of course the game disc and 30 days of gameplay.

The subscription cost is $12.99 per month and an additional $3.00 for every extra character on the account up to eight in total. You will receive however a “retainer” character that is non-playable but can hold additional items and be used as storage, the term “Bank Alt” comes to mind here. This feature is free for the first one and a $1.00 for each additional.

The beta is set to go live sometime in July and pre-orders begin today. When you pre-order you will receive Garlond Goggles with the standard edition and an Onion Helm for the collector’s edition.

Now some bad news for PS3 fans, the console version will not be released until March 2011. Sorry guys.

The Obsolete Gamer Show #1

J.A. Laraque from Obsoletegamer.com
J.A. Laraque from Obsoletegamer.com

After an exciting week at E3 Obsolete Gamer is back and we brought a podcast with us! It was a wild week in L.A. starting with a late arrival to E3, a Hummer rent-a-car, getting caught in the post Laker win riot and tons and tons of games. We learned a lot being our first time at E3 and yes, we made some mistakes too, but all in all it turned out great.

We’ve already posted a ton of pictures from E3 on our Facebook page and you can find a series of E3 related videos on our YouTube channel. Our first podcast brings you interviews recorded at E3 from various companies including; Alienware, EA,Square Enix, Origin, Bigfoot Networks, Indicade, En Masse Entertainment and a special one and one interview with Arthur Lewis, president of Alienware.

In the future we plan to bring you more podcasts with interviews, videos and more but for now have a listen and tell us what you think.

P.S. We have a bunch of swag to giveaway so stay turned to our Facebook and Twitter pages for information.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light logo
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light logo

We all knew sooner or later Lara would settle down and find herself a nice man, in Guardian of the Light she found the man, but doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. Taking a different direction this time around Lara teams up with the Mayan warrior, Totec as they shoot, jump and swing their way to relic treasure.

In GOL we switch to an isometric camera angle giving you a top down perspective. Here teamwork is key in fact this game was made for co-op be in via two players in your home or online. You will need to work together to solve puzzles and fight against spiders, natives and even a T-rex.

The Trailer Theater – Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

The game is set for a summer release on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC for $15.

Final Fantasy VII Trailer

Final Fantasy 7 cover Playstation
Final Fantasy 7 cover Playstation

A blast from the past, arguably one of the best Final Fantasy games out there. Created by Square in 1997 this role-playing game brought new visuals and music to the series that American games had not seen before. With an engaging story and memorable characters it sold millions not only in Japan, but across the world.

It was much more than just the gameplay or the graphics even the music captivated fan leading to impressive sales of the soundtrack. From there the movie Advent Children was made and still today fans beg for a sequel. Like it or not FF7 redefined not only the Final Fantasy series but role-playing games itself.

ActRaiser

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A fine blend of an action side-scroller & Populous-like god game rolled into one game. ~Honorabili

ActRaiser

In ActRaiser, you take the role of a sleeping god which has just woken up after thousands of years to find that in your absence the whole world has gone to utter crap.

ActRaiser Title
ActRaiser Title

There are multiple stages (countries) in the game and the first stage consists of you manifesting an avatar in an action side-scroller game to fight your way through some monsters, kill a boss and liberate the land. After doing that you enter a god-mode game similar to Populous where you control a little angel cherub and you fight cute monsters and help guide the civilization level of the people of that country. Some plot device happens and then you must fight the final boss in order to free that land from monsters completely.

Once you’ve done that, so long as you met all the other objectives regarding you gifting people items/technology, that country will grow to its max population/civilization level. The more population you have in a country, the more followers you have, giving you the ability to level up (you only level up that way, not by killing stuff).

The game was written by Quintet, published by Enix (Square Enix) in 1991. There is a sequel that sucks, so just stick to the original. The game originally came out on the Super Nintendo, in 2004 released as a game for mobile phones, and in 2007 re-released on the Wii.

Fun Factor, Replayability, & My History With This Game:

I’ve played this game over 30 times since the early 90s. Although the game is rather simple, it has its own style and I play it at the bare minimum once or twice a year. It only takes me about 2-3 hours to play and beat the entire game. I keep coming back because I consider it a classic.

The action side-scrolling reminds me of a simpler Castlevania or Lionheart kind of game. The god mode game is like Populous except that it’s simpler but it’s fun watching terrain blow up and having your followers find stuff around the map.

After years of playing this I give Fun Factor a score of 7 out of 10. If you are playing it fresh, you’d probably say it’s worth an 8 out of 10. Replayability for me gets a score of 6 out of 10 as well.

Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility:

Overall, the game is rather easy.

ActRaiser Ending
ActRaiser Ending

It could be that I’ve played it too many times and I know all the spots that enemies in the action game will attack from as well the attack patterns of all the bosses but even when I first played the game in the early 90s, the game was not too challenging. You can ignore most enemies in the action levels and there’s only really one challenging boss, the Dragon. Two of the other bosses are not so much hard but more annoying and the strategy to beat them is simple.

The god game part is super easy so long as you listen to what your followers want and shoot mainly the bats and white dragons they auto build everything themselves.

Difficulty gets a score of 3 out of 10. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 3 out of 10 as well because some parts get tougher slightly but the overall difficulty is the same throughout most of the game.

Value:

Most people will now be playing this game on ZSNES, the SNES emulator, probably playing a ROM they downloaded off the internet. If that’s the case the game is then free, giving Value a score of 10 out of 10.

Sound:

The sounds are rather simple in this game but they are satisfactory. For me, the best sounds come in the god mode when you kill monsters and blow up their lairs. For some reason the sound that happens when your population expands has stuck to my head all these years. Sound gets a score of 7 out of 10.

Music:

The music for this game is really nice and although it’s not as popular as let’s say the music of the Final Fantasy games, it still does get remixed quite a bit. If you want to check out some of the remixes, click here to download some at ocremix. The best songs are the main action stage song that happens in the first levels, god mode town song, and the song that gets played when one of your followers invents “music”. Overall, I give the Music a score of 8 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

On the original SNES, I’ve never seen this game crash. I’ve never seen the emulated version crash either. Nothing to complain about here. Stability/Reliability get a score of 10 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls are pretty straight forward. The arrow keys/thumbpad move you in the direction you want. In action mode, one button makes you attack with the sword, another jumps, another detonates your magic attack. In god game mode, one button fires the cherub’s arrow while the other brings up the god powers interface screen. The only real problem I have with the gameplay and controls is that your avatar in action side-scroller mode can’t block. A lot of the gameplay comes down to just sheer chopping and jumping out of the way. The game I find easy, so it’s just me complaining, really. Controls get a score of 8 out of 10.

Graphics & Performance:

ActRaiser was well coded and both in the original and emulated version you have no problems with the game engine not being able to catch up to the action. The performance is fluid. Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Since there are different modes to this game, let’s talk about the graphics for each one. The action sequence has really nice graphics for a 1991 action side-scroller. In the god-mode, the graphics look cute, even for the monsters as well as the little flying cherub that kills stuff for you. For 1991, this game gets a Graphics score of 9 out of 10.

Conclusion:

ActRaiser is a classic game for the SNES. If you are a fan of side-scrollers, you should check it out. If you also like games like Populous, although it’s very dumbed down in ActRaiser, you should also check it out. Overall, if you consider yourself a loyal SNES player, you should play this game as people who grew up playing the SNES are all very fond of this game.

Final Fantasy 7 Remix for 360 and PS3

Final Fantasy 7 intro
Final Fantasy 7 intro

After years of fans asking for a revamp of FF7 and the anger fans felt over getting only a small changed to the game in the PSP version Square Enix announced today the Final Fantasy 7 Remix.

Everyone remembers Cloud, Tifa, Aeris and of course Sepiroth well take a picture because it will last longer. None of these guys are going to be in the remix, in fact the remix we are talking about has nothing to do with the game and instead have to do with one of my favorite subjects, cos-playing.

So without further ado I am proud to present Obsolete Gamers first annual April Fool’s Day cos-play photo shoot staring character from the beloved FF7 RPG.

Cloud cosplay
Cloud cosplay
Vincent cosplay
Vincent cosplay
Sephiroth cosplay
Sephiroth cosplay
guy Tifa cosplay
guy Tifa cosplay

I would just like to thank all the fans of Obsolete Gamer for this chance to pull this April Fool’s prank on you. You guys rock! Thank you for the support!

Thanks to FANTAPANTS for the video!

FINAL FANTASY XIII – Launch Trailer

Final Fantasy XIII Box Artwork
Final Fantasy XIII Box Artwork

Today is the day. Final Fantasy XIII is released in the U.S. and the reviews are already pouring in. First up is the official release trailer from the Obsolete Gamer Youtube Channel in full 1080p!

In Final Fantasy XIII, players will embark on a journey through the cityworld of Cocoon and the outerworld of Pulse, encountering and fighting alongside a diverse group of allies.

In the official release trailer you will see many of the cut-scenes as well as game-play.

Game releases in March for Consoles

final fantasy xiii box artwork
final fantasy xiii box artwork

So Honorabili brought you some of the top PC games coming out in March, now it’s my turn and I pulled consoles duty so let’s do this.

Final Fantasy XIII – March 9th

Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition – March 9th

Mega Man 10 (XBL PS Network) – March 11th

God of War III – March 16th

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening – March 16th

Supreme Commander 2 – March 16th

Red Steel 2 – March 23rd

MotoGP 09/10 – March 23rd

Prison Break: The Conspiracy – March 30th

Final Fantasy XIII – I’m not a fanboi, honestly I did not like the way 12 played and the MMO had a lot in it I did not like, having said that the folks over at Square Enix have come back with a pretty awesome looking game with a battle system that looks really fun to play. We know it will have the great graphics and music, but the story and gameplay elements are what looks to be a excellent as well. Is it perfect, no, but I think XIII will be a winner for not only square but fans of the series.

Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition – Yes, this game came out already but this gold edition will bring you not only the full game, but all the downloadable content as well as new playable episodes. If you haven’t played this game now is the time to get it. The single player is well done from story to action even though I personally felt the aiming speed was a bit slow. However, the mercenary’s game is excellent and is almost worth the price alone. Overall this is a five star game and with the added content it is a must play title.

Mega Man 10 – Keep in mind this is a XBL/PSN game and is the old classic style gameplay. Then again it is mega man and if you don’t like mega man or have beaten at least part 1, 2, or 3 you are not a real gamer and should be (threatening words towards our fans removed)

God of War III – Ever since Kratos unleashed his bloody beat-downs on the PS2 fans have been hooked and when the PS3 was announced the calls for a new God of War game came pouring in. If you played GOW 1 or 2 you have to get this game and if you never played the series before then come on in the blood is warm. They did the game right, they kept the things people loved from the series and added cool new features like using enemies as a battering ram and switching weapons on the fly. The graphics are incredible, the gameplay is bloody as ever and if you have a PS3 and you don’t pick this title up, you suck, there I said it.

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening – This is an expansion to the popular monster slaying game and like God of War the BioWare gang decided to give the fans more of what they wanted and none of what they didn’t. They didn’t try to reinvent the wheel and instead kept to what they did best by bring you a good story and characters you care about. What you do get is a ton of new items, an expanded level cap and new members to join your party. In Awakening you can import your old DA character or start as a totally new one. A solid game and what looks to me to be a solid expansion.

Supreme Commander 2 – Supreme Commander is RTS and if you played Total Annihilation you will see the evolution of full-scale, full-size high tech war. In SC2 the strategy comes even more into play as you tackle the three different game modes, assassination where your goal is to kill the opponent’s Supreme Commander, supremacy which tasks you to wipe your enemy off the face of the planet and infinite war which lets you fight it out until you are sleepy and turn off the console. In face infinite war is good because it lets you try out various skills and tech trees without a time constraint. The game will feature 21 multiplayer maps and you can play with up to four people on the 360 along with XBL support for ladders and stat tracking. If you like futuristic RTS games then Supreme Commander 2 should be on your buy list.

Red Steel 2 – We have talked about how some games kept to what they did best, in Red Steel 2 the Ubisoft team decided to totally remake the game and not just because it is a Wii title. No longer are you in a modern day world, in RS2 you find yourself in a wild-west type world mixed in with ninja’s and computer hackers, if this sounds crazy well it is. This game is pretty much a hack and slasher with some pretty nice combos thrown in. Using the Wii remote you can swing to your heart’s content slaying anyone stupid enough to step in your way.

MotoGP 09/10 – Maybe motorbike racing isn’t for everyone, but Moto GP is a long running series of great racing games and with Monumental Games taking over they have the task of giving fans the greatness of the classic games with an updated feel. Some of the changes we will see in 09/10 are a time attack arcade mode and 20-player online matches. One of the biggest changes is incorporating the full 2009 and 2010 seasons into the game. There will be tons of customization from your bike to your gear and of course downloadable content for new bikes and features. Honestly if you like racing games in general then this is a game to check out.

Prison Break: The Conspiracy – Look I’ll be honest I put this game in the list because I liked the show (well the first two seasons anyway), but really this game doesn’t look to bad. It runs parallel to the first season of the show where you play Tom Paxton an agent of “The Company” and your job is to follow Michael Schofield into Fox River prison and find out what he is up to. The game mixes stealth and good old prison fighting and best of all it is voiced by all the original actors except the sexy Dr. Sara Tancredi (awe), but hey we get to hear T-bags awesome accent. The game price is worth that alone am I right?

So there you have it, now keep in mind there are more games coming out than what I listed and I am not saying that the ones not on the list aren’t good, but these are the ones that I believe will be fun to play and worth at least a rental. (yes, even Prison Break)

Games coming out March 2010 for PC

Supreme Commander 2
Supreme Commander 2

Games coming out March 2010 for PC by Honorabili

A lot of people were interested in this kind of article so here are my picks for what might be good coming this March 2010, for PC.

Supreme Commander 2, March 2 for PC

Battlefield: Bad Company 2, March 2 for PC

Sam and Max 2 Beyond Time and Space, March 9 for PC

Assassin’s Creed 2, March 8 for PC, March 16 via Steam for PC

Warhammer 40k Dawn of War 2 Chaos Rising, March 11 for PC

Command & Conquer 4, March 16 for PC

Metro 2033, March 16 for PC

Dragon Age Origins: Awakening, March 16 for PC

Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom, March 23 for PC

Just Cause 2, March 23 for PC

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, March 30 for PC

Mount & Blade: Warband, March 30 for PC

Description/Feedback/Why do we care?:

Supreme Commander 2
I want to see what sort of influence Square-Enix will have on the development on this RTS game. I also wonder if I will need to buy another PC just for this one. ;-]

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Battlefield always competes (on PC) against Call of Duty. Will this take the crown from COD:MW2?

Sam and Max 2 Beyond Time and Space
More Sam and Max insanity and humor, which most adventure gamers crave.

Assassin’s Creed 2
Will Ubisoft remove the online only DRM that they claim to have implemented on this PC release? We’ll see. That will dictate on whether I will buy it or not. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here.

Warhammer 40k Dawn of War 2 Chaos Rising
I’m looking forward to this expansion pack making up for all the downfalls of the first game that many purists of DoW1 complain about. I have no beef with DoW2 so if they don’t, I’ll still probably enjoy this.

Command & Conquer 4
The C&C series is a money maker for EA. Let’s see if they will have the action of the first game. I didn’t like C&C 3 that much. I find the Red Alert titles more fun.

Metro 2033
Stalker, Fatherland, and Iron Storm come to mind when I saw the trailer for this game. Let’s see if it will blend the atmosphere of those movies and games correctly.

Dragon Age Origins: Awakening
I didn’t like the first game because I found the dialogue to drag on and the A.I. to literally be annoying and retarded. However, a lot of people like this game. Just giving you a heads-up on it and maybe, just maybe, the A.I. will be fixed on this one.

Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom
People in the States don’t know Settlers much but this is a huge series of classic RTS games that are very popular in Europe. I’ve played the original on Amiga a lot and Settlers 2 and 3 a lot back in the late 90s.

Just Cause 2
More GTA clone with a Tropico/Mercenaries 2 twist to it? Sign me up.

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City
Kind of sad that this is finally coming out for PC but since I didn’t play this one on console and a lot of people like it, it might be good.

Mount & Blade: Warband
A ton of multiplayer functionality and more has been added to this expansion pack for Mount & Blade.

Final Fantasy on the iPhone

Final Fantasy for Iphone
Final Fantasy for Iphone

Oh my God, oh my God you guys! Ok, it is clear I like the Final Fantasy series all you have to do is look at my gamer profile, but this is pretty cool just for fans of any old NES and SNES RPG game. Square Enix has released both Final Fantasy I and II on the iTunes Apple App store. For $8.99 each you get not only the full game, but upgraded graphics as well.

Keep in mind that these are the Japanese release numbers meaning FF II in the U.S. was really FF VI in Japan so with these you are getting the original FF I & II. (There will be a test on this on Friday)

Now the guys and gals over at Enix realize this game my not appeal to new comers of the FF franchise, but us old school RPG’er should be chomping at the bit. Even if FF isn’t your thing if this is successful you could see more titles down the line like Chrono Trigger and something I’d love to see, Parasite Eve.

Final Fantasy for Iphone 2
Final Fantasy for Iphone 2