Archive for the ‘Videogames’ Category

New Blog: Gamer Quest

I finally did it!

I always wanted to have my own gaming blog but I always thought it’s a quite hassle to manage two blogs at the same time. But I finally got the urge and the guts to do it. You can say I was motivated by my fellow friend and blogger, Mohammed who has his own gaming blog, which I find it very interesting and nicely focused (not to mention his other game-related responsibilities). I know it’s going to be hard but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be exciting as well. Of course, I will not abandon Final Haven. I’m still going to update it as I always do, but if you crave for more gaming-centric posts, then Gamer Quest is your destination; although, I’ll still keep posting reviews about videogames in this blog as well. So, don’t worry, nothing will be changed in terms of format.

I hope you have a wonderful time there.

Review: Silent Hill: Homecoming

  • Genre: Survival Horror
  • Developer: Double Helix Games
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Platform: Xbox 360 (Version Tested) – Playstation 3
  • Rating: M (For Mature)

Visiting the foggy town of Silent Hill, despite being the epitome of a living Hell, has always been a gaming pilgrimage that survival horror enthusiasts adore to the heart. For them (me included), Silent Hill games aren’t just games that aim to scare the hell out of people; it’s more than that. Each installment explores the darkest abyss of human emotions such as guilt, redemption, and atonement. Thus, we can easily marvel the varied topics that Silent Hill fans tend to share and contribute in gaming forums about the different symbolism and manifestations within the game. With the new inexperienced, American-based developer Double Helix taking charge of the 5th console installment, it is expected to report that there’s fear among Silent Hill fans as they are expecting a different formula that might ruin the series for them. After finishing the game yesterday and unlocking all the endings, I can confirm that the atmosphere remains true to the world Silent Hill, but the gaming mechanics, unfortunately, are far from perfection.

Silent Hill: Homecoming follows Alex Shepherd, a war veteran returning home from an overseas tour of duty to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his younger brother, Joshua. His travels lead him through the small, insular community of Shepherd’s Glen and eventually through the hauntingly empty streets of Silent Hill. Building upon the series’ trademark foundations of atmosphere, adventure and storytelling, Silent Hill: Homecoming introduces players to a frightening new experience introducing new monsters and weapons with a returning favorite of Pyramid Head (dubbed as Bogyman in this installment).

The most significant change comes in the character movement and combat controls; playing as Alex Sheperd (a veteran solider) you’re given abilities far outshining those of previous SH protagonists. This may be a sticking point for fans of the series’ previous, more helpless heroes, but putting a more combat capable character at the forefront feels like a positive evolutionary step for the series. Unfortunately however, that doesn’t seem the case. The game suffers from an atrocious low frame rate and unpolished combat mechanics that might entirely put you off and never touch the game once again. Other than that, the so called revolutionary “combat mechanics” will get old very quick as you will only dodge, attack, defend, and attack until the end of the game; you will certainly grow tried quickly. Thankfully, the camera, now far more in the player’s control, doesn’t aggravate these situations.

Puzzle solving, fortunately, is well implemented but less challenging. Most of them will require you to do simple puzzle mini-games such as sliding panels and rearranging wires and so forth. There are some obstacles that require you to decipher some messages collected in your journal, but in all honestly, there were quite easy and uninspired. Later half of the game will see you navigating a series of symbols and it is up to you to understand their meaning; it is appealing but slightly feels outdated.

When it comes to story and characters development, the game falls into a mixed ground. The premise of the story feels like a Silent Hill game with a mind-melting tale that will leave you hanging in there through the murky moments. In fact, for the first time ever with a Silent Hill title, I completed the campaign with a full understanding of what just transpired in the cursed town. And that’s my main problem with the story: Silent Hill games are deep and usually don’t follow Hollywood’s presentation of horror and thriller movies; there’s always some aspect that lingers afterward, and it is up to the gamer’s imagination and understating to fill that void with creative solutions. The good news is that the game gradually uncovers the twists and turns with each progression of the game’s twelve chapters, which thankfully will leave you coming back for more even if it means struggling with the game’s horrendous mechanics. However, since you will probably come to a full understanding of the story before the end of the game, the endings (all five of them) feel less rewarding and somewhat silly.

The presentation and the atmosphere is present in full blossom, but for some reason, it doesn’t feel the HD Silent Hill we have been asking for, and the reason is that the previous offerings of Silent Hill are considered technical marvels that pushed the PSX and PS2 to the fullest. For example, the characters design in Silent Hill 2 and 3 are much polished and detailed than Homecoming, but thankfully, the monsters and bosses remain as horrifying as ever, with few memorable ones that are bound to chase you in your dreams. The audio and the soundtrack still one of the most pivotal aspects of the game, with Akira Yamaoka returns as the main composer. The themes are memorable and daunting, which compliments the fear-inducing sound effects. In short, the music is a manifestation of dark magic and horror, which should gain the thumb-ups of Silent Hill fans even if they were a little shaky regarding the overall experience.

If you can cope with the atrocious and the slightly broken game mechanics, Homecoming will certainly provide you the fearful tour of Silent Hill that you have been asking for the last three years or so. The story is polished but forgetful, the presentation is beautiful but incomplete, and the overall experience will always leave you wanting for more, for good or for worse. The new developer Double Helix has stayed true to the series’ foundation while also taking steps in a brave new direction, but unfortunately, they failed to implement their vision perfectly. Regardless, the game deserves at least a single playthrough for those who are craving for a High-Def survival horror, because the game doesn’t disappoint from that aspect.

Overall Score

8.0 out of 10

My Weekend Pick-Ups

Another weekend, another show-off.  Since my Eid sucked ass, I decided to indulge myself with some purchases (and the idea that I have a limitless credit card access), so I bought some stuff that are bound to elevate my heart from the Eid blues. I wouldn’t lie to you, that actually worked and I feel much better thank you very much. Of course, it really helped that your family didn’t forget about you and the fact they transfer some dough to your bank account as an Eid surprise, or an Eideyah if you prefer. So, here goes:

  • iPod Nano (8GB): Even though my iPod Touch serves me very well in the time of need, I always felt the need for a smaller MP3 player, and I thought the new iPod Nano would fill that void quite perfectly. Initially, I wanted to pick up a funkier color (i.e. orange, yellow, green) but the silver was the one that resonated with my senses strongly; it looked sleek, sexy, and cool. Plus, now that I have Nano, I can finally get the Nano + Nike Sport Kit.
  • Men’s Health Magazine: Now that’s Ramadan is over, I can finally quit slacking off and hit the gym once again. And in order to get motivated, a Men’s Health magazine would do just that, but with Gerard Butler‘s excessive manliness and chiseled body on the cover, it seems I got intimated than motivated.
  • Edge Magazine: Another great issue with great articles. The Heavy Rain article looks promising and appealing, and the special report of “How Nintendo fell out of love with the hardcore gamers” should provide an interesting read.
  • Silent Hill 5: Homecoming: I’ve always been a huge fan of Silent Hill games, and I still am. With the American based ‘s “Double Helix” taken charger of developing the game instead of the original Japanese team, I was tempted, and hopefully the new direction of the game won’t fail my expectations or ruin the series for me. Expect a review anytime soon.
  • Tomb Raider Legends (Used): I missed this game when it released on the PS2 two years ago, and now, I wanted to play it before I move to the much improved Anniversary, and gets my hype up for the new iteration of the series. The game cost me a measly $15. It should be good.
  • Xbox360 Play & Charge: Now, that’s a purchase I won’t regret investing my money in. For the last month, the Xbox360 controller has been draining my supply of batteries, and this device should put an end to that.
  • Post Office (Charles Bukowski): Fellow blogger Purg published an inviting review regarding this novel last summer and I’ve been keening on purchasing one for quite some time now, but I’ve always put if off for unapparent reason. With a new bargain price tag placed on the novel, I couldn’t resist and I had to buy one. I’ll probably read if after I’m done with City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.

Can You Feel The Poke Power?

I’ve been meaning in purchasing a new Nintendo DS Lite for quite some time now, and kinda ditch the old one I have that almost was running out of battery power, but I was waiting for the right “limited edition” bundle to pop up so I can grab one.

Not until today when I was strolling over at Gamestop where my “Poke-Instinct” detected the fearsome power of legendary species of time and space. I swiftly asked the lovely lady behind the counter on what kind of hidden legendary power they have in the storage room. She knew what I meant, because she shared my passion for “Poke-Love”. After a few seconds, she came back with Pokemon DSLite bundle that has both Dialga and Palkia beautifully engraved on the led cover. I resisted but I finally succumbed to this powerful “Poke-Pressure” that weakened my body and soul, and seemed to quickly regain all my powers (and some) when I purchased it. Of course, I had to buy Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen and Final Fantasy IV to properly compliment the impressive power I have in my hands.

And finally, this is where kids we get to recap on the new vocabulary that we learned today:

  • Poke-Power
  • Poke-Instinct
  • Poke-Love
  • Poke-Pressure

Achievement Unlocked: Buy More Xbox360 Games

So, it’s been like more than 3 weeks since I got me an Xbox360 and so far I’ve been playing it like a madman. Almost, every free time I have after finishing school and doing homework, I find myself turning on the system and just playing like no tomorrow.

I’ve already seen BioShock to completion; with an impressive amount of achievements unlocked I may add. I passed the 80hours mark with Tales of Vesperia and reached the third and final part of the game but there are lots of side-questing to do and to complete. Blue Dragon is on a short halt for now, which is fine since I didn’t even get passed the first boss.

Not until the other day when I visited an independent videogame store near to where I live and witnessed the amount of games that were being sold in bargains! So, the geeky gamer I am, I went there earlier today, along with bunch of awful games I bought by mistake and trade them for (hopefully) good ones. I did have to pay the price difference at the end but it was like $90 (approx: 25KD). Seriously, take a look at what I got. With that price, I think I had a fantastic deal and saved a lotta money.

Those games should keep me in a pretty good shape (gaming-wise) for the next couple of months but I know I’ll be buying more games even if I had some that I couldn’t finish. The October/November/December period (i.e. the 4th Quarter) is seeing a massive amount of games released, so things are going to be pretty wild. Man, if only there’s a room or a chamber where time stands still so I can just play more and more without wasting precious time. Oh well, gotta go and play me some Eternal Sonata and get lost in its bursting colors and bustling soundtrack.

P.S. No need to worry about school. I usually finish all my work on campus before I return back to my apartment, and that’s probably due to the fact that my apartment has plenty of distractions that would avert my eyes from doing school work.

Review: Braid

  • Platform: Xbox360 (via Xbox Live Arcade)
  • Genre: Puzzle / 2D-Advanture
  • Rating: Everyone (10+)

If you take it purely as entertainment, Braid is nearly flawless. Taken it as an artistic work, it’s like an ambitious film that just overreaches its limits, flawed in an interesting and compelling way. As a whole, it is gripping and original far beyond conventional videogames, and is the perfect antidote for the current sequel-driven industry. At first blush, Braid seems like an exceptionally beautiful Super Mario Brothers knock-off, but there are numerous twists that extend its definition far beyond that.

To put it simply, Braid is a 2D platform game stars a guy named Tim. In this game, you can almost run through Braid‘s levels without a problem, but the true objective is to search out the puzzle pieces in each level, which you can then assemble into still photos that connect thematically to that level, and in order to do that, you control time. Simply by pressing the X button, the time rewinds almost everything, Tim, the enemies, the environment and even the music. This is the pivot point of some of the game’s best puzzles, and it becomes the primary tool you will be using until you reach the game’s shattering conclusion. As you progress through the six or five worlds, you will notice that you will have to think about time manipulation, and especially how to manipulate time with objects that respond differently to it, as each world produces a specific theme or mechanic for time manipulation. This consistent underlying logic ensures that you hardly ever feel cheated by the design. Braid certainly feels like a game that spent a year or two being polished.

By virtue of the imagery alone, Braid presents a true special experience. From the first moment you boot up it up, as it bypasses a title screen in favor of beginning play immediately; you’ll be struck by the look. Braid is like a painting in motion, with lush swirling colors and expressive caricatures. What’s most impressive is how effectively the visuals convey the mood of every area. From light and breezy meadows to disturbingly lifeless parodies of levels you have completed before, there’s instant emotional impact every time you enter a new area. It works as the bridge that gives you to a sense that there’s more going on here than just some tricky puzzles. You’ll also appreciate the soundtrack. Like the visuals, they capture the desired mood, though with it switching between being played forward and backward at the whim of the player, it never quite hits a rhythm. Still, the music is an appropriate mix of mellowness, melancholy, and nostalgia. An absolute musical masterpiece!

It’s pretty important to say that the puzzles can be incredibly frustrating sometimes to the point you would think there is a flaw in the game’s mechanics, and there are moments where will you reaching for GameFAQs every so often. My advice: don’t do it. Braid isn’t about the puzzles and the jigsaw pieces; it’s about the collective, emotional experience you receive at the end. In the later levels, you will absolutely have to think outside the box and try to reflect creatively to solve each puzzle you encounter because the game demands you to be creative.

Even though I usually don’t state anything about the ending of the games, but I’d like you to pay attention at what happens during the end, and also go through the books that were presented at each chapter because the conclusion that you will derive eventually will shatter any thought you might have had of enjoying Braid only for its gameplay. I won’t spoil the end, but do you remember all those times when you spent a great deal of skill and brainpower to finish a game, and were rewarded with a pleasant, tidy ending. Well, Braid‘s ending is the precise opposite. And it is powerful in such a way that you will more likely than not want to start digging into the story a lot more than you did. If you start digging enough, you’ll find out about an alternate ending, which puts an even more interesting spin on things. Without spoiling anything, what you must do to get it affects your understanding of the ending itself.

Life is short. Time is precious yet we waste plenty of it. There’s plenty of money in the world, and fifteen dollars worth of Microsoft Points isn’t much. With beautifully crafted and wonderfully realized mechanics, Braid is a shining example of the intersection between art and technology, love and loss, desire and despondence. In other words, Braid is beautiful. Beautiful is Braid.

Overall Score

9.5 out of 10

The Hell Has Frozen: I Got An Xbox360

If you ever told me that I’m going to buy an Xbox360 a year ago, I’d have laughed at you while bitch slapping you silly, and even deleted you from my gaming circa for not realizing my tastes in videogames. Now calm down, I’m not saying the Xbox360 is a bad console, not at all. Arguably, it’s probably the best console for this generation. However, the reason that made me avoid it all these years, it’s because it’s a very “American-heavy” console; that is, it is catering to the typical American gamer mentality. I’m more like a Japanese gamer; I favor RPGs, Adventure, and 2D-fighting games over Shooters, Action, and 3d-fighting games. I also enjoy the narrative, collective aspect of a story than being the central subject of the game.

But things started to change. The Xbox360 is getting some nice exclusive RPG games as a pointed out in one of my previous posts, and I cannot sit idle while witnessing those games being released one after the other. Not until last week that I made up my mind and decided to go ahead and snag me one and so far it has been a great ride.

Tales of Vesperia is just plain awesome and tons of fun and I cannot stop from enjoying every aspect of it. The Orange Box is really great, and Portal is simply a work of genius. There are so many great games I’ve missed and I cannot wait to play them. Don’t worry, I’ll be buying some Shooter games as well (i.e. BioShock), which should add a little bit of versatility to my reviews. In the mean time, here’s my Gamertag. Feel free to add me if you want.



P.S. Excuse me for begin a total typical Kuwaiti gamer by adding the “Q8” at the end of my Gamertag. I tried my birthday and stuff but they were all taken, so I had to settle down with this one.

The iTunes Shuffle Tag

I consider blog tags as one of the best and worst inventions in the blogosphere ever created. If you are lucky, you might get a tag that shows off your coolness to the world, and if you are jinxed like me, you get a tag that can completely devastate your entire readership in one post. This tag however, can be a little bit of both (i.e. a double edge sword). But In the end, I think my list has a whole “WTF” vibe going on if you asked me.

The premise of this tag is to simply answer the following questions by setting your MP3 player/iTunes (probably your iPod) to shuffle and then pressing next on each question. You have to jot down the name of the song for each question no matter how embarrassing or humiliating that song is. The tag also required the blogger to tag another 5 people, but I’m going to simply skip it because I’m a lazy bum.

It begins!

Q1: If someone says, “is this okay”, you say?

  • Song Title: The Battle For Everyone’s Soul
  • Album: Persona 3 Original Soundtrack
  • Artist: Shoji Meguro
  • Genre: Videogame

Q2: What Would best describes your personality?

  • Song Title: Candyman
  • Album: Back To Basics
  • Artist: Christina Aguilera
  • Genre: Pop

Q3: What do you like in a guy/girl?

  • Song Title: Legend of Zelda – Main Theme
  • Album: Super Smash Bros. Brawl Original Soundtrack
  • Artist: Super Smash Bros. Brawl Sound Team
  • Genre: Videogame

Q4: How do you feel today?

  • Song Title: Rise & Fall
  • Album: Rise & Fall, Rage & Grace
  • Artist: The Offspring
  • Genre: Rock

Q5: What is your life’s purpose?

  • Song Title: Kad Albi Ma’ah (She Took My Heart With Her)
  • Album: Lealy Nahary (My Night, My Day)
  • Artist: Amro Diab
  • Genre: Arabic

Q6: What do your friends think of you?

  • Song Title: Say Goodbye
  • Album: .hack//sign Original Sound & Song Track 2
  • Artist: Yuki Kajiura
  • Genre: Anime

Q7: What do you think of your parents?

  • Song Title: Kiss Me Goodbye
  • Album: Final Fantasy XII (Original Soundtrack)
  • Artist: Angela Aki
  • Genre: Videogame

Q8: What do you think about very often?

  • Song Title: Heavenly Star
  • Album: Heavenly Star – Single
  • Artist: Genki Rockets
  • Genre: Pop

Q9: What do you think of your best friend?

  • Song Title: Everybody’s Changing
  • Album: Hope And Fears
  • Artist: Keane
  • Genre: Alternative

Q10: What do you think of the person you like?

  • Song Title: Bosne Wa Salehni (Kiss Me & Forgive Me)
  • Album: Allah We’Allam (God Knows Better)
  • Artist: Fadl Shaker
  • Genre: Arabic

Q11: What is your life story?

  • Song Title: Free From Fear
  • Album: Biohazard 3 Last Escape Original Soundtrack
  • Artist: Masami Ueda
  • Genre: Videogame

Q12: What do you think when you see the person you like?

  • Song Title: Eyes On Me
  • Album: Final Fantasy VIII – Piano Collection
  • Artist: Nobuo Uematsu
  • Genre: Videogame

Q13: What do your parents think of you?

  • Song Title: The Tragic Prince
  • Album: Castlevania: Symphony of The Night Original Soundtrack
  • Artist: Michiru Yamane
  • Genre: Videogame

Q14: What will you dance to at your wedding?

  • Song Title: Feeling Good
  • Album: It’s Time
  • Artist: Michael Buble
  • Genre: Vocal

Q15: What will they play at your funeral?

  • Song Title: No Air
  • Album: Jordin Sparks
  • Artist: Jordin Sparks (Feat. Chris Brown)
  • Genre: Pop

Q16: What is your hobby/interest?

  • Song Title: With My Own Eyes
  • Album: Atonement (Music From The Motion Picture)
  • Artist: Dario Marianelli
  • Genre: Soundtrack

Q17: What is your biggest secret?

  • Song Title: Mareed El Mahabah (Patient of Love)
  • Album: Hind 2008
  • Artist: Hind
  • Genre: Arabic

Q18: What do you think of your friends?

  • Song Title: Distant Memories
  • Album: Eureka Seven Original Soundtrack Vol. 1
  • Artist: Naoki Sato
  • Genre: Anime

Q19: What should you post this as?

  • Song Title: Jayi (I’m Coming)
  • Album: Inta Menni (You Are From Me)
  • Artist: Yara
  • Genre: Arabic

Q20: What do you think of yourself?

  • Song Title: Give It To Me
  • Album: 3 Doors Down
  • Artist: 3 Doors Down
  • Genre: Rock

Preview: Tales of Vesperia

  • Platform: Xbox360
  • Genre: JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game)
  • Release Date: 8/26/2008 (USA)

This post marks my first real preview ever, and this is probably due to the fact that I’m afraid that Tales of Vesperia won’t meet great expectations in the sales department, and that would be unfortunate because Tales games are exceptionally great JRPGs.  The biggest surprise is that the game is heading to Xbox360 exclusively, a home console that is famous for catering to the hardcore, all-American crowd that usually favors shooters and action games over RPG games (just take a look on its 10 Top games and you’ll get my point). Although this is not a mockery but it’s more like a solid observation based on sales, however; things might change in the future especially since Xbox360 is getting some nice exclusive JRPG games such as Infinite Undiscovery and Star Ocean: The Last Hope. In the mean time, enjoy the write-up and the complied information for this promising game. It is also worth mentioning that the Demo Version is already available on Xbox Live, so go ahead and give it a try.

==================
Story
==================

The people of Terca Lumireis rely on Blastia, technology created from Core with a wide array of properties, to carry out their daily lives in peace. Most importantly, Blastia is used to create barriers. Because monsters overindulge in Aer and become powerful and dangerous, as a result, barriers are needed to hold them back from entering the cities. However, because Blastia protects and shelters people from the dangers of the world, it has prevented most citizens from exploring what lies beyond city walls.

Yuri Lowell, who he lives under the protection of barriers, longs to journey the outside world like his childhood friend Flynn Scifo. Flynn is a knight working for the capital, and thus is allowed to leave the city to protect citizens from harm. Yuri was once a knight with those same ideals, but because he hated the way the government enforced things, he retired and instead started up his own guild, Brave Vesperia, to serve the poor using his own sense of justice. When a Blastia regulating the water supply is stolen from the lower quarters of the capital, Yuri takes matters into his own hands, only to be landed in jail. There, he encounters the sheltered Estelle, who decides to help him capture the Blastia thief so that she can leave the castle that has confined her for many years and explore the world herself.

==================
Characters
==================

  • Yuri Lowell

The main protagonist of the game that wields a sword in battle. An empathetic young man, who doesn’t give a second thought about helping those in need, but he knows his limits. He is quite sarcastic and cynical but a nice man at heart. He was once a knight, which gave him the freedom of taking brief journeys outside his hometown, but now works as a bodyguard. Envious of Flynn, he decides to leave his city and see the world himself. He hates the nobility and the government. He also yearns for his older brother. He meets Estelle when events lead him to be imprisoned.

  • Estelle

The heroine of the game that wields swords and staves. Her real name is Estellise, but she is also called Estelle. She uses healing magic and has pink hair. In the castle, Estelle encounters Yuri. She separates herself from her sad world, and begins to speak out and take action. She was kept in her castle for a long time, where she took up training with the sword. The many things she encounters in the outside world also surprise her. She enjoys reading books and takes the knowledge or other info she gains from them very seriously.

  • Flynn Scifo

A knight that wields a sword and shield. Flynn shared his childhood with Yuri, though they contrast from one another. He has similar ideals of helping others, but chooses to work them out via politics instead. After Yuri retired from the knights, he began to gain many achievements and was promoted. He neglects those of the nobility, but is friendlier to the common people of the empire. He travels regularly to fend off monsters, a fact that makes Yuri envious.

  • Repede

Yuri’s loyal dog, who accompanies Yuri to places and fights with him using a dagger. He holds a pipe in his mouth, which is a memento of his previous owner. He is very close and friendly with those he accepts, but hates it when those he doesn’t know try to touch him. He appears to be the calmest of the group.

  • Rita Mordio

A brunette-haired girl who wears goggles. She is a researcher that studies Blastia, and hates to be interrupted during her research. She is eccentric and has a poor social disposition. In battle she wields a book and is capable of using various magical attacks.

  • Karol Capel

A little boy who wields a giant hammer and various other large weapons. He says that he is from the Hunting Blades guild. Due to certain circumstances he accompanies Yuri on his journey

  • Judith

A beautiful woman that wields a spear. She is a member of the Kuritea tribe, a minority race. She encountered Yuri while wandering the world with two companions. She is sensible and speaks of going ahead without taking measures. She appears gentle, but she decides without hesitation and pushes onward. She speaks strongly without delay, which makes it difficult to socialize with her. When she goes into battle, she becomes violent, which creates a feeling of mystery about her.

  • Raven

A frivolous and shady-looking man that wears long clothes, and uses a bow and a dagger. He appears before Yuri while he is traveling, and annoys Yuri and his friends through his persiflage. To step back from troublesome things his voice becomes high-pitched immediately, and he becomes defiant to answer with his worried personality. As might be expected of someone his age, he strangely implies of past hardships, but the actual truth no one knows.

==================
Basic Features
==================

  • A classic series returns: The newest installment of the Tales RPG series keeping the established gameplay formula that fans love
  • Next Gen sights and sounds: First Tales RPG game with high-definition graphics, broadcast quality animation, and Dolby surround sound
  • Evolved real-time battle system: New refinements and additions to the trademark Tales real-time battle engine making for dynamic, action-packed RPG fighting
  • Fan favorite character designs: Characters designed by famous manga artist, Kosuke Fujishima, responsible for popular series’ Ah! My Goddess, Sakura Taisen and You’re Under Arrest
  • Immersive look and feel: Detailed environments, animation and an artistic style so good, it’s like playing a cartoon
  • Dramatic story: Gripping tale of a young hero on a quest for justice, trust and friendship filled with unexpected twists and turns at every step
  • A decade of Tales: The first game celebrating the Tales 10 year anniversary

==================
Exclusive Features
==================

  • Titles are obtained through main story, sub-events, & mini-games.
  • Attachments are accessories you can equip and they change the appearance as we already know. They are obtained through synthesis, depending on the materials you have. Each character has different attachment and some characters even have ten of them. Keep in mind that attachments don’t have stat boosts or anything like that.
  • You can mix titles and accessories together, but some combination cannot be done.
  • Some titles and attachments can be downloaded via Xbox Live but they are definitely in the game as well.
  • The Xbox Live list is international, ranking from fastest clear time, highest combo, highest damage, highest mini-game points, arena, etc.
  • All kinds of transportation: boat, airship, flying creature, etc. It seems the boat will be used for a large portion of the game.
  • The world map is made of six continents.
  • Time and weather change: day, night, dusk, twilight, sunny, raining, etc. There are materials and monsters that would only show up at specific times and weather, in addition, different NPC at towns and dialogue at different times and weather. This also affects story events: one could get this scene during a sunny day, but someone else could get the same scene during a rainy night, etc.
  • Making the same recipe over and over again can produce out a new recipe.
  • There are three difficulties known so far. You will not succeed in secret missions if you beat the boss on Easy.
  • The gameplay time is around 50 to 60 hours (longest main scenario in the series supposedly).
  • After beating the game, you can unlock about half of the achievements. Then the “real” challenge begins.
  • Rare weapons, mostly made from synthesis, have the Special skill (5 SP), which is for Mystic Artes. Usually, you need Over Limit Lv3 to do so.
  • Over Limit Lv4 requires key items, made from synthesis. Many key items are made through synthesis. Sorcerer’s Ring, this time around, has levels. Lower levels allow to get rid off small items like trees and wood, but for stuff like the Gigant Monsters, the path will be blocked till you have a higher-level Sorcerer’s Ring. Otherwise, you’ll run into Game Over before you notice it.

==================
Video/Trailer
==================

==================
In The Mean Time…
==================

Go and pick up Tales of The Abyss for the Playstation 2. It’s one of the best JRPGs released in the last console generation. You will absolutely love the compelling characters, the diverse side-quests and mini-games, and mind-blowing gameplay. As a matter of fact, Jade Curtiss alone justifies purchasing this game; he’s one of my favorite videogame characters of all time, really. Read my review HERE.

==================
On The Horizon
==================

A Dreadful E3 2008

How to sum up the most awaited gaming convention that almost every gamer in the world was waiting for since July of last year?

It. Sucked. Major. Ass

  • Microsoft’s conference was flashy and hip just like last year, but it didn’t have as many surprises and announced titles as initially anticipated. The new Avatar system was a nice addition even though it was a clear rip-off from Wii’s Mii functionality. Gears of Wars 2 and Fallout 3 weren’t big surprised since it was announced weeks before E3. But, I guess the confirmation of Final Fantasy XIII coming to Xbox360 was definitely an unexpected turn of event. I always thought Metal Gear Solid 4 would squeeze its way to Microsoft’s cherished home console, but Final Fantasy XIII, not in a million years. I think I’m more surprised how Sony let this game slipped from their hands than anything else. And finally, Banjo-Kazooie remake announcement has definitely made my day and made me more eager to snag an Xbox360.

  • Sony’s conference was a snooze fest as always. The video renting service didn’t do a thing for me at all, and the announcement of God of World III was expected, unfortunately, the trailer that was shown wasn’t direct gameplay footage, but I don’t think the game would change significantly from its predecessors. The price cut however was nice; despite the fact it served the same function as the 40GB model (i.e. no backward compatibility with PS1 and PS2 games).

And that’s all she wrote folks. Click HERE to sink your teeth for more E3 news as it comes. Who knows, we might get a surprised announcement from some publisher since E3 still hasn’t closed its doors for its attendants.

P.S. Please, take off your fanboysim shoes at the discussion door before you chip in your 2 cents. It won’t be tolerated here.