A survey of 2007s role playing games

Last year was a fairly interesting one for RPG fans. Some of the biggest names in the genre finished their PS2 swan songs long ago, and went off in search of new platforms. This left 2007 as a year for new ideas and lesser known series to take root and grab the hearts and money of fans. 2007 may not have had a big new Final Fantasy, but perhaps that is a good thing, as it allowed these other games to stand out, rough edges and all. While it comes a bit late, the following is an assessment of some of 2007’s biggest RPGs from both Chris (vl’s resident RPG expert) and Christian (who continues to look for the genre’s masterpiece). We also included FF12 in the mix. It may be a bit old to us modern folk living in 2008, but it is such a major departure from Square’s usual offerings that it deserves a bit more discussion on the site. →  Read Read Revolution: Disney Channel Edition

Gamestop and the Classics

Despite the title, this blog post is another update on the (awesome) shenanigans going on with Atlus USA. About two or so weeks ago, Atlus quietly reprinted some copies of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. It was so quiet that not even Atlus employees that often float around the Internet knew the details. The only reliable retailer that seemed to have it was Play Asia, but now we know quite differently. Turns out that a reprint was done for both Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga, and according to some Gamestop employees, almost every store was getting one copy of each game, brand new but labeled (and stickered) as used. Naturally this caused much rejoicing among the Atlus Faithful, and both games as well as Persona 3 FES are the top selling PS2 games on the ‘Spot’s website. →  Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Gray Post

Non-Review Footnote – Persona 3:FES

Last week marked an interesting release on American shores, as Atlus shipped out Persona 3:FES. FES is both an expansion pack and a revision to the original P3 – it mainly serves as an epilogue chapter to the story, but was also served with the original game as a “director’s cut” that added new goodies to the entire quest.

This kind of release is very rare on consoles. For example, whenever Square releases an International Edition of a hit RPG, you can be sure this nation won’t see it. Yet for whatever reason (likely due to success of P3 last fall), Atlus decided to grace us with more of this excellent game, rather than leave Western fans out in the cold as happens so many times. Not only that, but the price is only $30! →  Castle Readigami 2

Review – Spider-Man: Friend or Mere Acquaintance

In another installment in my untimely series on finding something to hate while surrounded by the best games in years, here’s another look at games that ate shit in 2007.

Until recently, the Spider-Man franchise had been the only comic book license that somewhat translated into an enjoyable gaming experience. Next Level Games, a company that specializes in cramming a licensed properties into games that have nothing to do with the license they are based on, must have won some sort of raffle to be awarded the development of Friend or Foe. Any company that works solely in licensed games is going to suck worse than a circus put on by disabled veterans. Anyone who tells you different is Next Level Games.

Now That's Amore!

With hands full of cash and laps full of stripper, Next Level Games didn’t waste time on relating this game to the movie or even comic when they had already developed what I can only assume would have been called Mario Strikers Love Corndogs if Nintendo had called them first. →  SaGa 3: Shadow or Write

Vic Ireland selling off all his games?

So it would seem. He will even sign them for you but they don’t come cheap. From the eBay auction for Popful Mail:

“Still cleaning out my closets, and I’ve found this brand-new, still sealed copy of Popful Mail for the SEGA CD. As the USA Director/Producer/Writer, I can even autograph it if you wish, making it truly collectible. It’s your choice, with or without the autograph.”

After seeing what a sealed copy of Chrono Trigger fetched on eBay recently, these sealed games may be a good investment. Popful Mail and the Lunar’s are solid titles, but Albert Odyssey, Sega Ages and Shining Wisdom are hard sells, and this is coming from a Sega/Camelot fanatic. Vic must’ve already sold off Vay to pay his electric bill.

This is not a good sign for Gaijin Works, the company he founded after closing niche jRPG house Working Designs. →  When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a game.

Are you ready to rock? … well you can’t.

Way to go EA / MTV. Way to f up the launch of what should have been your biggest title this Christmas season. Rock Band launched today, or so gamers were told. In reality it seems like there were only a handful of units shipped to retailers with little or no warning about the shortage. The only press release I’ve seen even hinting at production shortages was unearthed yesterday, in which the EA spokesman said that there might be a little supply crunch … until MARCH OF 2008!

Best Buy held midnight launch parties at about two dozen locations across the US and reports are coming in that a large majority of those stores got shipped a paltry number (one store in Kentucky received two PS3 bundles, and that’s it) or no games at all. →  Fear the old posts.

Time to Give to a Good Cause

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We all know Gary Coleman. How could you not love a 4′ 8″ guy that appeared in one of the 80s most iconic shows, Diff’rent Strokes? Back in the day, he was a veritable one-liner machine, churning out gimmicky quips in the blink of an eye. Lately though, it seems that Gary has fallen on hard times and is forced to part with his Gamecube. Hard times for Mr. Coleman means an Ebay auction for us and an autographed Cube for the winning bid, which is currently just over $500.

Just looking at that pitiful mug makes me want to bid a few bucks just to help the guy out. I mean you know he is in trouble when the very table he is signing away his Gamecube on is littered with a bottle of pills, an empty beer bottle, what could either be another beer or cough syrup, and a US passport. →  A reader is you.

Do bad games get better as they drop in price?

Game Revolution gave Excite Truck a C, partly because it wasn’t worth 50 bucks. Does this mean that when the game sells for $20 they will change the review score to a B?

Factoring cost into a game’s review has always been something I try to avoid. It is very difficult to do. As much as I pretend games should be considered as stand-alone pieces of art and should not be compared to other things you could do with the money, this is at least partially idealistic bullshit. If a crappy $10 downloadable game is a waste of time, maybe it wouldn’t be at $1, and part of the reason it’s a waste of time is because an episode of Sam & Max is only $8. Clearly, on at least some level, it makes sense to consider the cost of a game when deciding whether you should recommend it to potential buyers. →  Xenosaga 2: Jenseits von Gut und Pöst

Retail Woes

In this post, I must air some grievances I have with certain retail companies. Someone call me a waaaaambulance, because I might need it.

– Why does Blockbuster suck so much when it comes to game rentals? Every store I’ve encountered always seems to be cleaned out of its new, and even 2-3 month old releases. It took me a good month or more to find God of War 2, and at a trip to my brother’s home, we couldn’t find any Wii games aside from the absolute dregs of the licensed pit. We couldn’t even try Chicken Little out if we wanted to.

The reason I find their game shortages so odd is that I can always find the same games without trouble at Hollywood Video, and for a few dollars cheaper on the rental. →  Tony Hawk's Posting Ground

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 2.23.07

New Virtual Console consoles
It looks like Wii owners will now have the chance to download Neo Geo and MSX games. I’d like to see the original Metal Gear, which is supposed to be significantly cooler than the NES port, and Master System favorites (that were ports from the MSX) Miracle Warriors and Golvellius. Of course the West may never get the MSX emulator because most (or all) of the system’s games are in Japanese. Maybe after Nintendo translates Fire Emblem 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 I will believe there’s a possibility they translate super obscure Japanese computer games on a system 99.8% of Americans have never heard of.

Speaking of Master System, why not give us a Wii emulator for Phantasy Star, Wonder Boy, Zillion, Alex Kidd and company? →  Imagine all the gamers playing for today

Wii Component Cables, Where Art Thou?

Man, not having component cables for your Wii is just gut-wrenching, let me tell you. A composite picture is so crappy when compared to component. I’ve been using an HD setup for about 6 months now, and I seriously hate looking at a composite signal. It’s way too muted and blurry.

You know when people say the colors for a game are very bland and boring? Yeah, that’s because they are looking at the game through a composite signal. The colors through component, however, are extremely vibrant and beautiful, even when they use realistic colors like gray and brown. And you don’t even really need a TV with progressive scan. From the untrained eye, progressive scan just makes things sharper. Component seems to bring out a better picture concerning colors and contrast. →  Phoenix Write: Just Posts for All

Wii Midnight Madness

In the last 24 hours, people have been beaten, robbed, and shot for their PS3’s. The demand for the system is at an all-time high right now, but, amazingly, for all the wrong reasons. As has been stated all over the Internet, a lot of the people waiting on a line for the PS3 have now put their new warez on eBay, hoping to take advantage of little Billy’s moronic parents. They’re definitely going to get their money, but some of those lucky sellers thieved their way into that rather large bonus.

I’m writing this blog in hopes that the Nintendo Wii launch this Saturday night goes a lot smoother. Please, everyone, don’t act foolish or selfish. Nintendo has promised a huge supply of Wii’s, and there should be no problem when walking into your local Wal-mart, or what have you, to pick one up. →  This better not be as bad as everything else here.

Random PS3-related News:11/13

Here’s a few things that are going on in the world of Playstation 3 today:

PS3 Backwards Compatibility Less Than Stellar
Reports coming out of Japan are saying that a few PS2 titles are having trouble being played on the super-duper (and extremely rare) PS3. Notable titles are Namco’s Tekken 5, Squenix’s Final Fantasy XI, and the awesomeness that is Guitar Hero.

Yes, you heard right. Guitar Hero’s guitar peripheral is having trouble working on the system, with some buttons being totally ignored. The world has just let out a collective “WTF!” aimed directly at Sony’s crotch.

Tekken 5 has problems running its background music properly, while Final Fantasy XI can’t register the hard-drive that the PS3 has. Sony has already planned to supply a firmware update for the hard-drive issue soon, but no word on when the other issues will be resolved, if at all. →  Uncharted Waters: New Horeadin’s

Biggest losers in the world wait for the PS3

According to Games Are Fun, a line for the PS3 has already formed in front of a Best Buy in Burbank, California. People have been waiting since at least Wednesday for a console that launches next Friday. If these people can afford to miss over a week of work for a PS3, can’t they just get one on eBay for $2000?

As someone who may end up waiting in a line for a Wii despite having no intentions of purchasing one, I may not have much right to insult these stupid people. If it makes a difference, I will be waiting for three hours against my will (stupid friends) and not for 216 hours.

Weekend Spotlight

After reading about the 10 anniversary of the Nintendo 64 over there at Infendo, I decided to play… my SNES. My urge for nostalgia went a little farther, I guess.

Anyway, after dusting the ol’ SNES off and finally figuring out which controller worked completely, I popped in one the greats: Final Fantasy VI. One of the best, if not THE best, RPG of all time.

Incidentally, I’ve never actually beaten the game before, and this is after I bought the thing for like $50 on eBay last year. The game is great, but it’s hard to find time to play all these 40+ hour fantasies, now that real life has reared its ugly head. The last time I left off, I just completed the famous Opera scene. I will say that that scene was truly amazing. →  Castle Readigami 2

Where to sell your classic games

Today while looking for a deal to trade in my old DS for a new pink one (it matches my nail polish) I came across the tremendous SellVideoGames.com. The site is run by BRE Software and is an amazing deal for anyone interested in trading in their old classics. And by amazing, I mean they are taking advantage of anyone stupid enough to take them seriously.

Looking through their trade in prices for Saturn games left me speechless. $6 for Bomberman when on eBay you could get five times that price. $7.10 for Dragon Force instead of around $50 on eBay and $8.20 for Guardian Heroes instead of about $60 on eBay. Surprisingly, Suikoden 2 nets you $48.11 from BRE Software. This is a tad shy of the over $100 eBay would yield, but I expected worse. →  If you die in the article, you die in real life.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 6.16.06

Round 1: Uwe versus Alien!

Uwe Boll challenges his critics to a boxing match
The sad thing is my borough president challenged his competitor to a boxing match so whatever I say about Boll directly applies to someone with much more power. Actually, that’s not true. Guy Molinari may be as stupid as Boll and may think that punching people makes you smarter, more capable of governing, or more capable of directing than your opponent, but Molinari is not responsible for the Alone in the Dark movie. Uwe Boll is, and should be beaten up for it.


Blizzard denies working on MMO versions of Starcraft and Diablo

This means nothing other than Blizzard won’t officially say they’re working on these titles now.

ARR! Pirate DS carts
Want a game that doesn’t require your progress to be saved? →  It’s dangerous to read alone, take this.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 5.19.06

Get it? It’s hacked? With an axe?

Xbox 360 hacked to play pirated games, err backups
That didn’t take too long, but it won’t work for everyone and if you get caught Bill Gates will devour your soul.

Analysts worry PS3 price will hurt the game industry
While somewhat obvious, it’s good to see analysts voicing thoughts that not everyone has had. The reasoning behind the suspicion Sony is hurting the industry is such a high price point for the PS3 will prevent growth. Installing new users each successive generation is very important if game development costs are going to continue to grow and a $500 price tag prevents this. When thought of in terms of accessibility versus cost and hardware versus software, the gap between Sony and Nintendo seems even larger. →  Think outside the post.

To buy or not to buy?

The Xbox 360 is now abundantly available at whatever retailer you choose to support.

What I’m saying is, right now, you can walk into your local wherever and purchase a brand new Xbox 360. No eBay, no scalpers, no friend of a friend. Just plain old retail. The question right now, is of course, should you buy an Xbox 360? Is availability enough? Do you climb Mount Everest just because it’s there?

That’s a question you’ll have to answer.

Also, there are a few things you need to consider before you buy your 360.

Look at the games, first of all. Is there anything there that you have to play? Anything there that isn’t already multiplatform. Will you no longer possess the will to live if you cannot play RockStar Games presents Table Tennis? →  Lame is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

Best Game Ever – Dynamite Headdy

Developer: Treasure
Publisher: Sega for the Genesis
Released: 1994

Our hero soon escapes…

A few days ago while looking for a game to force my girlfriend to play I popped in Dynamite Headdy. I knew it would be too hard for her but figured she may appreciate how strange and creative it is. It was and she did, and more importantly I was reminded of how great the game is. That very night while surfing game forums I read of the Treasure Box for the PS2, which was a collection of Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier and Dynamite Headdy. Wait, what ever happened to it? I remembered reading about the collection months ago but then forgot about it. Did it come out already and if so why wasn’t it out here? It turns out we got the shaft and only the Japanese are able to enjoy Treasure’s best Genesis games (or as they would incorrectly refer to it, the Mega Drive). →  You fool. Don’t you understand? No one wishes to read on…