Review – Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles My Life as a King of the Jews

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King is a simulation game. When I first saw the name, I thought it would be another delightfully (?) simple RPG. Instead, here we have a delightfully simple sim; in fact, MLAK is hands-off nearly to the point of annoyance.

In MLAK, you build your city structure by structure and converse with your citizens (when they are willing to talk to you, that is). That is just about it. The city is composed of empty green glowing spaces that mark where you can place buildings when you have the resources needed for their construction. These buildings range from houses to various shops for your citizens and adventurers. You commission these adventurers to explore the surrounding wilderness to get more resources and advance the plot, and occasionally they will actually do so. →  Sounds mildly entertaining, I guess.

ZOMG! Moment – Nintendo Acquires Monolith Soft

In a stunning move, Nintendo has purchased Xenosaga developer, Monolith Soft, from its previous majority shareholders, Namco Bandai. Nintendo, now the majority shareholder, owns 80% of the company’s stock, while Namco Bandai still owns 16% of their previous 96% shareholdings.

Holy snap. Wii gets itself some RPG pron.

For Nintendo fans, this is a moment for much rejoicing. Previous Nintendo consoles (N64-era and up) have had very little RPG support, with many RPG fans jumping ship to Nintendo’s rival, the Playstation. By bringing on-board one of the premier Japanese RPG developers, Nintendo is poised to take back the RPG crown that it lost after the SNES days. Monolith Soft is currently working on Disaster: Day of Crisis for the Wii, but one has to think (and hope) that they will revisit their RPG-powerhouses, the Xenosaga or Baten Kaitos series at some point. →  The King of Articles 2002: Unlimited Match

Looking forward to a good Brawl

Nintendo still hasn’t announced anything solid on Brawl, and the closest thing we have to release date is still “Later this year”. Regardless of the release date being pushed back, however, I’m still eagerly anticipating it.

Super Smash Bros Melee certainly isn’t my favorite game single-player, but in multi-player it is an experience to be reckoned with. It’s not perfectly balanced, but the game’s major hallmarks are being easy to pick up but difficult to master. Advanced techniques such as L-canceling and some engine side-effects such as wave-dashing lend the game more depth than most other fighting games, which is why SSBM is the only fighting game I still enjoy years after playing it for the first time.

If only narcolepsy were really this powerful.

Three years ago, there was a Gamecube in my college dorm’s lobby. →  READ3R

Is Wii screwed?

Amidst all the recent articles on how the Wii is creating gamers out of grandmas and still out of stock around the nation, there are murmurs of doubt. Few people doubt the control scheme; it works well and is a lot of fun. But it remains unclear if Nintendo will be able to satisfy either their hardcore fans or their new casual gamer audience. Detractors are already labeling the Wii a repeat of the Gamecube; a platform for Nintendo games but little else.

As expected, the Wii will have a solid lineup of first party games:

Animal Crossing
Battalion Wars 2*
Big Brain Academy
Disaster: Day of Crisis*
DK Bongo Blast*
Fire Emblem
Mario Kart (not officially announced)
Mario Party 8
Mario Strikers Charged*
Metroid Prime 3*
Kirby
Pokemon Battle Revolution
Project HAMMER
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Paper Mario
Super Smash Brother Brawl

* Published but not developed by Nintendo

This move looks unfair.

 →  Silent Post 2

Let Us Cling Together: The joy of playing games cooperatively

Imagine you’re delving into a dark labyrinth. You’re exploring the endless hallways, looking for a path leading deeper into the ruin when you’re ambushed by a dozen demons both ahead and behind. You’re certain this is the end… but then you realize your partner was trailing a ways behind you, and by now she should blasting her way through the enemies attacking from the rear. Thus assured, you unsheath your sword and charge on ahead… This is the magic of cooperative gaming.

I find it hard to get into any competitive game (with the exception of Smash Bros). The idea of playing against other people just isn’t as fun as playing alongside them. I tend to find cooperative games much more enjoyable, but it’s a much under-appreciated genre. Before the release of Half-Life, Valve promised cooperative play in the game but never delivered, instead creating only an online deathmatch mode. →  Fine, but this article then no more.

Eulogy for the GameCube

What can I say, GameCube? You had a good run these last five years, but your last exclusive release was Baten Kaitos Origins, back in September. Not even Nintendo themselves stuck it out until the end, moving Super Paper Mario onto the Wii. I’m sorry GameCube, but it’s time to say goodbye.

But let’s not look at your failures too much. Let us remember you as you were: a console that was home to some truly great games. You deserve it. And don’t worry about all those haters on the Internet, calling you a failure. In time, they’ll begin to understand.

You were released on Nov. 18th 2001 to a somewhat muted launch. In a surprise attack, Microsoft’s Xbox and their Halo stole much of your spotlight. I remember watching the video review of Halo on GameSpot, where the reviewer couldn’t sleep at night because he was playing Halo too much. →  I’ll read you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!