: Ben's Week In Review: December 28

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Ben's Week In Review: December 28

Christmas is over and we're all still recovering to some extent, but we're definitely looking forward to a great 2009! So, moving on...

Prince of Persia inspires controversy

So I have the Limited Edition sitting behind me (currently unwrapped as I opened Gears of War 2 first), but I played a lot of Prince some time ago when I did the review, so I know what it's all about. However, after a recent interview where the game's producer said not enough critics recognized some of the finer points of the title; that we didn't acknowledge the risks the developers took, I noticed the Comments. It's a common debate around the Internet, actually: because you can't really die in PoP, some people say this erases the challenge, and hence, a lot of the appeal. I'm on the fence when it comes to this issue. On the one hand, I can understand those who say it loses a lot of its "thrill-potential," because there's no real threat...no real fear. In short, you don't have to worry so much about the consequences of your actions. But on the other hand, what is dying in video games, anyway? They rarely punish you for dying these days. Think about it for a second...

With the addition of hard drives and checkpoints, sprinkled generously throughout most great games, all you really do is re-try a certain small section if you die. But other than that, there's almost never a direct consequence of dying. So in one game, you fall and die, reload, and run quickly back to that point to try again. In PoP, you fall, you don't have to reload and run back, and you can try again from where you fell. So in all honesty, I really don't see much of a difference, and the non-existent deaths in PoP don't bother me in the slightest.

Finally time to make choices, RPG fans

In some ways, it appears as if the dark days of zero next-gen RPGs are over, so the question is, which RPG released in the past few months do you choose? We already turned you onto the mostly unrecognized greatness of Valkyrie Chronicles, but there's also a legitimate Game of the Year candidate in Fallout 3 and another top-notch role-playing experience in Fable II. As I have played none of them just yet, I think it's a good idea to see what people think; which RPG would you recommend? And please bear in mind that I don't have a huge amount of time, which may immediately eliminate Fallout 3, if it's as long and epic as I hear it is. I'm still mostly in the dark regarding VC - after reading reviews, I just can't get a clear picture of the gameplay - and I'm fairly certain I'd like Fable II as I enjoyed the original. But right now, I just think we should recognize the fact that a few RPGs have indeed showed up, so perhaps the fans aren't allowed to complain quite as much.

I don't mind complaints, but as far as I can tell, three fantastic next-gen RPGs released in the span of only a few weeks, and of course, we can all look forward to the likes of Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. I still mourn the loss of the traditional turn-based RPG, but I suppose we have to take the bad with the good when it comes to advancement of any kind in any industry.

Personal gaming update

As you read above, I've started Gears of War 2 and it's just about as kick-ass as everyone says it is. I loved the first one and the sequel so far (after a few hours of play) is just as good if not better, although I've seen a couple cut-scenes freeze right up for a second or two, and I still think things get a little herky-jerky when dashing forward in that crouched run. But other than that, there's very little in the way of flaws and errors, as far as I can see. The graphics are amazing, the sound is excellent, the environments and detail is unbelievable, and the pacing and storyline are both very good. I'm sure I'll have a blast with it, and then I'll move on to Prince. After that, it's a matter of picking up either Left 4 Dead or LittleBigPlanet (or one of the three RPGs I just listed), so I'll have to make a decision within the next few weeks. Thankfully, it doesn't seem like there's anything giant on the horizon until Killzone 2, and that's two full months away. So I got some time.

As for the drama that ended with a dude in a tree, I'm still not sure what to do. She clearly wants back into the main fortress, and I'm just standing in front of the door, wishing we could go back to the barn for more guilt-free, fun-filled romps in the hay. Sadly, it's all going to have to end soon, I guess...

12/27/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (33 posts)

HighLife
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @ 10:58:42 PM
Reply

Good luck with whatever you do about the girl, kinda sounds like you are torn on what to do.

Gears is a great game, but as of a few hours into Fallout 3 I like it a lot more. Need to finish Fallout, deadspace, and LBP before killzone 2.

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N a S a H
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @ 11:31:01 PM
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Ben, you should give Horde mode on GeoW2 a try. (unless you've already done so) It's great fun :D

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @ 11:32:11 PM
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Um, Shouldn't Valkyrie Profile be Valkyria Chronicles?

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N a S a H
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @ 11:39:15 PM

No...

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TGG
Saturday, December 27, 2008 @ 11:47:53 PM

Yeah, Valkyrie profile is a completely different game.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 1:19:50 AM

Yeah, typo. :)

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Zaben
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 12:15:56 AM
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I've played 16 hours of Fallout and I feel I have done barely anything compared to what is available to do.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 4:25:53 PM

I've done like 6 and it feels like I'm gonna hafta play this for years (a very good thing).

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 12/28/2008 4:26:21 PM

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Fatcat3788
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 12:18:19 AM
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If you pick up left 4 dead Ben you gotta let me know! VC is also amazing. You should pick it up!

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shindelion
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 12:26:33 AM
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Hey Ben have you seen or heard about the gears2 glitch? where you can kill someone trough a wall or door. there was a few posting of it on youtube know as "Gears of War 2 Fake Walls". crazy! give it a try!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK1SbOWONpM

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MetalHead09
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 12:33:05 AM
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ive bin playing resistance 2 and its awsome! this game certainly has not dissapointed me at all. i havent tried the online yet, i wanna beat the single player first. graphics are really really good to. ive bin doing a lot of zombie killing with my friend in waw and i think the graphics in resistance are much better.

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MetalHead09
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 12:51:46 AM

oh yea and the best part about this one over the first is, its not giving me a headache or upsetting my stomach. id play the first one more if it didnt do that, and im dieing a LOT lol normal is a good challenge but not impossible.

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GoldenShadow
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 1:03:23 AM
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@Ben
"after reading reviews, I just can't get a clear picture of the gameplay"

I have been playing VC almost non-stop for the last 2 days so I can tell you what I know.

In most SRPGs the game is grid based and you select your fighter and they can move an allotted number of spaces. In VC they have replaced this with a more involving mechanism. Instead of a grid you have a map and your fighters are little icons on the map, until you choose to move them. When you choose to move them you automatically zoom into a 3rd person view and move them about the map in real time. However, when you choose to attack, you zoom into a first person view and aim at the enemy with various weapons. There are many variables to attacking, like headshots, team attacks, and objects that can be used for cover.

There are five different classes; scout, shocktrooper, engineer, sniper, and lancer. Each of them have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, a Scout can run long distances and see enemies from far away, but it has low HP and a weaker weapon selection. Whereas the lancer has a powerful anti tank weapon, but can't run long distances at one time and is susceptible to ground units.

At the beginning of each turn you are given a certain number of Command Points (CP). In order to move units you have to spend 1 CP, with the exception of tanks, which cost 2. You can move a unit as much as you can afford to each turn however, if you use a single unit in one turn too much they get tired, and won't perform as well.

VC also takes a different stance on leveling up. Instead of individual units gaining levels, one of the 5 classes level up. At the end of each battle you are awarded experience points which you can distribute to whichever class you want. When a class is leveled up, all units that are in that class level up. You can also buy upgrades for weapons, armor, and tank attributes with the money you get from battles.

Other than that it is like the traditional SRPG, for battles you have a certain objective that you have to carry out. For instance destroying all enemies or capturing enemy bases (they get very creative with the objectives, but at risk of spoilers I wont reveal them).

All of the these elements that they have incorporated into this game compliment the vivid story line, stellar voice acting, and wonderful graphics. Hope this helps paint a picture for you (semi-obvious pun).

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 1:21:29 AM

Thanks, that does help a lot. The only thing that usually stops me from playing real-time strategy games is that I don't have enough time to think and plan. With the grid-based SRPGs you mentioned (like FFT, my fav game ever), you can spend all day to make a decision, and I LIKE that. I don't enjoy being forced into fast decisions without fully thinking things through.

All that sounds very intriguing, but I guess the last question I have is, how much of it is REAL time...all of it?

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 12/28/2008 1:21:49 AM

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GoldenShadow
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 10:42:30 AM

The only part that is "real time" is when you choose to move your units. When you are in the map view there is no set time limit. Even when you are moving your units about, if there are no enemies around you can stop and think about what you are doing. If you are running with your unit near enemies they will start firing, but if they are in range to fire at you, you should already be ready for it.

There is no battle timer whatsoever, you have an action gauge for each individual unit. When you are running it decreases, if you stop running it stop decreasing. Also, when you zoom in to aim everything around you stops to give you time to aim. You mostly want to aim for the head because head-shots are about 5 times more effective. But if you want to get close enough to do so, you might take some damage. The accuracy of different units also factors in.


Last edited by GoldenShadow on 12/28/2008 10:43:43 AM

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Scarecrow
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 1:21:51 AM
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Might get VC, not sure yet, so many damn good games out there.....

I'm just looking for something like Legend of Dragoon again.

Something like Skies of Arcadia

Something like Thousand Arms or Tales of Symphonia

VC is nice and all but I'm not a big Strategy RPG fan.

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ec0li
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 3:48:18 AM

I agree...I give it 8.5 and definitely not above a 9.

XPlay peeps must have been smokin something to give Fable2 GOTY. It's just no freakin way this game wins. It's not even the best rpg in 2008.

Last edited by ec0li on 12/28/2008 3:49:01 AM

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Advent Child
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 1:58:51 AM
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Ben on the issue of Valkyria Chronicles. I am positive it is the game you will like the most. The game is entirely in a paused position until you start a movement. You can look around, gather your senses. Plane a strategy, change weapons, whatever. It is not until you actually move that your bar starts depleting, and after you move and you stop again your bar stops draining but if you are in line of sight of an enemy they will continue to shoot.

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ec0li
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 3:53:44 AM
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Gears 2 undoubtedly kicks ass but the default difficulty is too damn easy. Epic seriously made the default difficulty for wimps. If I were you, I'd start the game on hardcore.

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Buckeyestar
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 7:36:49 AM
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With the way you compared PoP to other games, it's not so different after all. I just never thought of it that way. Of course I didn't have any problem with the "no dying" part anyway.

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Zorigo
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 7:43:13 AM
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prince of persia: saw gameplay on a website, looked great. might pick it up next year, but i will probably replay uncharted for trophies and fun.
For rgp's i've got fallout3 and that's enuf. next year i will probably pik up VC, too expensive now. games are still too expensive and as for the recession, i'm not really affected but my parents don't believe in aimless spending. they don't like games as much as i do, so persuading them to get a new game can be quite hard.
as for fable and gears, no xbox for me so i'm not bothered.
as for my personal gaming update: i've got mirrors edge, pacific rift, cod:waw and fallout3 to play, along with replaying uncharted and gt5:p

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www
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 8:31:24 AM
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"They rarely punish you for dying these days. Think about it for a second..." Agreed!!!! PoP rocks!

Still waiting on my Gears 2 and Fallout 3,I feel i'll luv fallout 3 more cause it's a rpg.
Have u installed ya games on ya 360 hard-drive???Is it really necessary or significant??????

And about the lawyer lady,u sound like u want to give her a chance,u culd do that but if she's already gotten intimate with the dude-that-got-thrown-in-a-tree man,i don't think u shuld take her back.It's better not knowing who done slept wit ya woman already,that's why i wonder how Reggie Bush dates Kim Kardashian after that Ray-J incident,
those celebrities are incredible!!!.....not me i can't do that,i'd rather i never see the men who put my lady to bed first.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 4:35:47 PM

Fallout 3 is awesome, and I was very skeptical about it at first.

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Alienange
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 9:14:13 AM
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Ben, seriously, get Fallout 3. The game is only as long as you make it. The actual story mode is not that long. You could zip through it if you don't have that much time but at least that way you'll have played the best RPG to come out in years. I'd be floored if you're able to do that, because the game is so enticing that you'll wander off into the wasteland and waste hours just seeing and doing everything there is to do. Have you played Oblivion? Would you wish you hadn't played it? Of course not. The game was great. Fallout 3 can't be missed either.

As for PoP. You're absolutely right. That game is pure fun. Without the dying the game just keeps giving and never takes you out of the fun. Hard to put down...

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Sir Shak
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 9:35:12 AM
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should i get the new pop ?
i love ancient settings and love to play in a huge open environment . so does this game deliver in that sense ?is the art style good or is it the bullshit we got in warrior within ?

Last edited by Sir Shak on 12/28/2008 9:40:36 AM

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Skatejimmy5
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 1:45:30 PM
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Fallout 3 is definitely Game of the Year for me. But can say for sure that it will take time. Unless you just wanna rush through the story, it will take atleast 30-40 hours to get through it. Heck, I'm almost up to 40 hours in it and I'm not even done with it all. I'm pretty much halfway through the main quest, and I have a bunch of other things to take care of as well.

But I really is the choice of those three RPG's you mentioned. Fable II was cool, better than the first one, but not as atmospheric, if you get what I'm saying. And I didn't like Valkyria Chronicles at all, but probably just because I didn't get it. Fallout 3 is the one to choose. It's amazing, and I guarantee that you will enjoy it.

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kreate
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 2:23:37 PM
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READ:xbox lovers do not reply or comment

have u guys read the latest reports? 2008 was bad for ps3 according to the press. only mgs4 was a hit seller. and resistance2 making it to the top 10 in 9th place. while gears and fable rocked the charts.

and xboxlive countered ps3's HOME with their "new xbox experience" copied from ps3's HOME with their avatars and stuff.

does Sony care? of course.. it has nothing to do with this article but considering we are mostly playstation fans. i just wanted to know what u guys think about this situation.

can ps3 really make things happen in 2009?
are we cursed or something?
lets be realistic and swallow our pride.
i see God of War and Killzone the only promising 'hit' titles of 2009. White Knights Chronicles.... arguable.
not sure how halo recon will do for their xbox.

source:yahoo news

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tlpn99
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 5:06:58 PM
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Ben re the girl go with what feels best to you is the only good advice I can say on this matter.

Gamewise I would go for Fable 2 it is shorter than Fallout 3, Fable 2 is fun to play, heck even talkign about it is making me want to go back and play it again.

Oh yeah I just picked up Left 4 Dead today its a good game also if indeed very short 2 hours to complete it. But there are 4 different campaign area's to go through ok they all pretty much the same zombies. So 2 x 4is roughly about 8 hours of gameplay not the mention the online side of this.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 9:43:33 PM
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Well, thanks for the great comments everyone...but I'm still torn between my RPG choice. I'm fairly certain that Fallout 3 is the best of the trio, but I really didn't get into Oblivion...and I hear FO3 is a futuristic Oblivion. I dunno; I just like to have stories in my RPGs, and so-called freedom seems more like a dodge for the developers to completely avoid anything in the way of plot, script, or character development. Drives me a little crazy to wander around aimlessly...

As for VC, it's sounding more and more attractive. There's a demo online, but I've heard people say it's not anywhere near as good as the full game. Is that true?

The girl..............well, we'll see. I really have no intention at ALL of resurrecting the relationship, though.

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bigrailer19
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 9:44:38 PM
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well i really started playing the new pop today and i didnt even realize i could not die until about 3 hours in, i knew i was being saved but didnt realize i wasn't in danger i guess... the game is great and it keeps for non stop fun you really dont lose momentum and its almost like it never happened once your back on your feet your right back to what you were doing... i think its a good touch... as for FALLOUT 3 the game is sick i as well as others played for about 5-8 hours and felt like i was getting no where mainly cus i didnt want to finish the main objective right away and was searching for other stuff to do, locations, quests etc... but i soon realized the game is huge and there is tons to do, there is no wandering aimlessly, 90% of the time you'll encounter something new on your way to your destination that could either alter your decision to go on with what you were doing or catch up with it later, whether it be enemies, locations, new weapons, quests whatever it is there is so much to do, and theres plenty of character dev. as well as a plot in fact you basically live your characters life from birth til the time you finish the game whenever that may be, because they left the story open for you to decide makes it great considering nobody's character will be the same nor will everyone play the game and story the same! and i wish i still had the game sadly my ps3 broke with the game inside and they were unable to retrieve the game from my ps3 after i had sent it to them, thats odd to me cus if it wouldnt have voided my warranty i could have gotten it myself none the less 25 hours of my life is gone... plus i gotta buy the game again!

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 12/28/2008 9:58:58 PM

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K ASH
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 11:28:59 PM
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Ben you said it about Fallout3. I dont like wondering for hours,days a year just to finish a game no matter how good it is if its not going to deliver a good story or have great rewards like acquiring special item,beast,god,spirits,espers which also brings up that the story is sci-fi not fantasy. The gameply also seem to be akward, having to pause to shoot and whack ur enemy in an open world game seems stupid especialy the whacking part cause u still have to select a body part to hit.Strangely enough just realised that fallout3 battle system resembles VagrantStory's but it pales because there is not magic and combos. I hope S-E wil release a next-gen VagrantStory

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Aftab
Monday, December 29, 2008 @ 1:11:55 PM
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Last week was Metal Gear Week for me. I finished MGS1, MGS2 and started the fourth one (leaving the 3rd for last eventhough it was chronologically the first). Kojima-san is amazing. While tending to go off the deep end, his games consistently hit everything and do everything right. And it's extra rewarding to see the massive jumps with what he was able to do with each generation of hardware. MGS4 is the graphically best game of this generation for me, with Uncharted following, with Gears2 not too far behind Uncharted.

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bigrailer19
Monday, December 29, 2008 @ 7:31:21 PM
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i know im kinda beating a dead horse here but you dont actually pause the game lol i dont know why so many haters refer to it as pausing the game you simply enter vats which allows you to select a body part to shoot, or take a whack at, all in doing this you can still take damage the game does not stop sept for the brief moment you pick a spot to hit... also you cant do this all the time you have to add up points or wait a period of time for it to build back up before you can use it to your advantage again, also if you dont like it dont use it the game does not lose anything by not using it but it def. adds something, it adds a great cinematic affect to the game as well. i believe it was a great touch... and no no magic but there is plenty of guns ranging from baseball bats to pistols to laser rifles so its kind of like casting a shock spell! plus you can build or rebuild any weapon or armor you can carry even mines and grenades the game is great! and u get plenty of good rewards for each quest accomplished or you may just find some goodies along the way and u dont wander aimlessly either!

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 12/29/2008 7:32:29 PM

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