Ben's Week In Review: March 22
Spring is finally here - even if it's still below freezing outside - and I really can't wait for the warm weather. This winter has really taxed me.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2...another chore?
I loved Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox. It was easily one of the best games of that generation, and I was proud of myself for beating it on the normal difficulty. It was ridiculously hard, especially for someone who isn't so great at such hardcore action games. However, while I certainly got that ol' familiar thrill of satisfaction, I knew I'd never touch the game again. It's why I don't own Ninja Gaiden Sigma and I probably won't own Sigma 2. I didn't get a chance to play NGII on the 360, but I think I've gotten to a point in my life where I really just play games for the sheer entertainment value. I freely admit to a time when I would tackle high-quality yet challenging games that would annoy the sh** out of me, but I wanted to play them simply because I've always wanted to play the best of the best. I'm past that. I got past it when I played God of War and realized that action titles didn't have to feel like a chore in order to be considered excellent.
GoWIII is gonna rock, and I still love to play all different sorts of games. But if there's one thing I'm not interested in any longer, it's playing something I don't find enjoyable. And as great as I'm sure Sigma 2 will be, I can pretty much guarantee I'll want to throw the controller at a wall a hundred times during the play-through...and I just don't find that entertaining anymore.
Goddamnit Square-Enix, don't you screw this up
Okay, so you've opened your new studio...what are you gonna do with it? I stand by my prediction that they're going to produce a Western-oriented RPG of some kind, but if they do, they're going up against the likes of Bioware and other well-established WRPG developers. It's always risky when you step outside your comfort zone, but I strongly believe some of the most talented guys in the industry work at Square-Enix. If they just apply themselves and create something ambitious and exciting, I'm relatively certain the final result will be most impressive. I'm just a little worried that in their new attempt to cater to the Western audience, they'll overshoot their goal and slip into the cliched and tacky. Furthermore, with their comment regarding the fact they've "fallen behind on multiplatform development this generation," there's the possibility they could just ignore the PlayStation 3. They might just think, "well, we're making a game for the Western audience so it should just go on a Western console."
But that's almost too logical for S-E. They put The Last Hope only on the 360, which makes zero sense, so who knows what these people are going to do next? All I'm saying is, they had best not mess it up. I've already given up hope that my beloved Squaresoft is dead and buried; don't make me lose more faith in this publisher. Oh, but P.S. FFXIII will still rule all.
Personal gaming update
So anyway, I'm about four hours into Star Ocean now and I have to say, I'm enjoying myself so far. My only gripes center on certain aspects of the gameplay and the general exploration movement. You can either walk, run, or sprint for short distances, but when indoors or getting close to a wall outside, you switch to a weird first-person view where you lose all your bearings. Also, walking is too slow and running is too fast and erratic...it's really weird. In battle, I think Edge takes too long to recover from an attack - I want to dodge not stand there like a dope - but I suppose that's a nod towards realism. Outside of these minor drawbacks, I like the game a lot. It's very, very pretty, the environments are large and immersive, the enemies pose a decent challenge but the battle is almost always fun, and the overall depth is excellent as expected. Item Creation, Synthesis, Battle Abilities, and tons of different skills ranging from Smithery to Harvesting to Engineering launches this game's longevity through the roof. Oh, and the voice acting can be horrendous, but thankfully, the main characters aren't bad at all.
I'm definitely going to get some enjoyment out of this one. As for the rest of life...well, there's a waitress (no, not that one; another one) that kinda knows me and we've spoken casually here and there. She wasn't our server when me and a friend were at the restaurant today, but the place was almost completely empty, and while we were there, she came and washed two tables...the one directly behind us and the one directly in front of us. No others. I also caught her looking in my direction more than once. She's adorable. Oh, so cute. Eh...maybe I'll do something about it this week. Maybe not. :)
3/21/2009 Ben Dutka