: Ben's Week In Review: July 1

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Ben's Week In Review: July 1

It has been super hot...thankfully, I've got a super great cooling system. Good thing, too, because I despise the heat. Gimme the Arctic.

Since when is large-scale development a problem at Square Enix?

So the company says they plan to do more distributing and outsourcing because they can't seem to budget their time very well when it comes to internal large-scale development projects. ...what? Why? They took steps in the right direction with the creation of Final Fantasy XIII-2. When compared to FFXIII, which they admit took far too long and rumors abounded over what the team was forced to omit, FFXIII-2 development was pretty streamlined. They put it out fast and incorporated a lot of fan feedback. It's still not where FF should be as a franchise in my opinion, but it seemed like a positive thing. Saying you need to outsource more almost sounds like you haven't learned anything.

While it's certainly true that games these days require much larger teams and many more man hours, even when compared to the Final Fantasy classics, I refuse to believe that it's necessary to outsource just because internal teams can't allocate time well enough. There has to be other reasons behind it, and I fear the biggest reason is their drive to cater more to the Western audiences. It just doesn't make sense for one of the industry's veteran game makers to say, "Oh, we're not very good at big-budget projects so we need help." Just weird.

Not enough people seem excited about Dishonored

I always worry about this kind of thing: Promising new IP that just doesn't seem to be getting enough attention or exposure pre-launch. Dishonored is set for early October and although we get all sorts of great media - like those 14 minutes of stealth gameplay - the hype isn't even in the same universe as it might be for other Bethesda projects. If this was another Elder Scrolls or Fallout, I guarantee there'd be three times the number of headlines on a weekly basis. New IPs are getting harder and harder to launch, even if they clearly look a lot like established franchises. In this case, Dishonored would remind any hardcore gamer of a mix of The Elder Scrolls and Bioshock.

So I really hope they actually market the hell out of this one, because it has supreme potential and it doesn't have the name recognition factor, which is becoming increasingly important in this industry. New IPs can still flourish but they really need two things: 1. Top-notch quality that is acknowledged by most critics, and 2. A whole lot of exposure via advertising.

Personal gaming update

As usual, we're in the midst of another summer doldrums, where very few games arrive. I've been done with Max Payne 3 for a while, and I'm still slowly working my way through Shadow of the Colossus. I also spend more time with my Vita when there aren't any great titles I need to play on my PS3 or 360, so that means Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, Touch My Katamari, and Michael Jackson: The Experience HD. I'm still playing Lollipop Chainsaw, and I'm considering finishing Spec Ops: The Line, which isn't a bad game. I was just disappointed that the best concepts weren't fleshed out enough, and overall it feels too generic.

I'm also looking forward to Rainbow Moon and Quantum Conundrum; you can expect reviews for both. If you're an old-school RPG - or strategy/RPG - fan, you should definitely check out the Rainbow Moon dev diaries. Fair warning, though; they might make you cry. ;)

6/30/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (35 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 9:37:25 PM
Reply

I just beat FFXIII-2 today and I think it shows that they rushed it, there wasn't much care taken to fit things together. Also when the credits were rolling I saw that they had in fact outsourced some of it to Tri Ace. What a horrific ending! If they don't redeem that with an FFXIII-3 that is a complete love letter to old school fans then the whole thing was a wash.

I've got my pre-order on for Dishonored but I have the same fears as Ben, without name recognition these days it's a huge gamble. Bethesda didn't make it so maybe that's why folks are skeptical. People should know the lead designer has worked on Deus Ex and Thief franchises. All I know is I want it.

That leaves a hole in my gaming which will probably be filled by finishing ME2 (again) so I can play ME3. Also trying to sneak my way through I Am Alive (which only boots up if you turn off your internet) wtf is that about?

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/30/2012 9:39:36 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 11:03:08 PM

The only part that was obviously not right was the story. In terms of gameplay, they pretty much listened to about 75% of what the fans said after FFXIII. It also took nowhere near as long.

They can obviously do it. They're just choosing not to for some reason.

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Excelsior1
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 8:53:47 AM

Since when is large-scale game development a problem with Sqaure Enix? Well, like a lot of Japanese developers this genaration their game production has slipped considerbly. Last gen we had FF10, FF10-2, FF12, Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 2, The Final Fantasy 7 Spin off with Vincent in it, and Dragonquest. I'll even throw in The Bouncer for nostalgia's stage. I'm sure I'm missing others too. Sqaure definitely has made a lot more console games last generation.

This generation Square's large scale game production on Sony's home console(not handhelds) has dropped off considerbly. The have shifted more towards the handhelds this generation too.

I understand Square's saying they want outsource more large- scale productions in the futue. FF13-2's development team had 180 software enginees and 36 game designes tied up in the project. Sqaure has a little over 250 employees so no wonder they were feeling a maxed out.

Outsourcing to get help in terms of production doesn't have to be bad. My question is does Square plan on cutting back their number of employees? I could find nothing indicating Square is cutting back on their in house development team. In fact just the opposite. They plan on adding more software engineers and game designers acording to their very on website.

Now if Square is cutting their in house talent and farming it out to the west in an attempt to westernize their games much like we have seen Capcom then I woold loathe the idea. Outsourcing to bring in manpower to get production up in itself does not have to be a bad thing as long as they keep their A level in house talent. Yes, my friends talent still exists over at Square it just suffers from poor leadership and now it would seem we have learned they are too understaffed for multiple projects at once.

I see nothing wrong with Japanese developers wanting to increase production. They take a lot longer to make games than their western counterparts. There have been a few noteworthy games that have taken ages to make like GT5 which saw some drop off in quality despite its extended development cycle. Then there is The Last Guardian and FFvs13 who have almost earned themselves vaporware status.

We need more information before becoming too alarmed. The real question is who Sqaure is tapping to meet their outsourcing needs. Their is a JRPG talent pool right there in their backyard for Square to tap.

HELP from Resident Evil fans!!

The HD Umbrella and Darksider Chronicles are on the PSN store. I'm a huge RE fan but how well do these games hold up in terms of gameplay, and length?

Please let me know how you feel about these former Wi games. THAnKS.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 7/1/2012 9:04:21 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 9:15:32 AM

Not to belabor it, the game is okay, it just felt like the fan feedback got poorly grafted onto the skeleton of FFXIII and the good stuff that we need was pushed out. There were like 3 of those puzzles early on and then poof they were just abandoned, epic Boss battles vanished early and became optional fights that were impossible until a second playthrough, the world was a collection of used and reused maps that would have benefited from some portions of linearity to string the adventure together.

After I beat it I think the story actually could have been okay if they had taken the time to flesh it out and make us care about these characters early and often. Plus make it pass the 6th grade science test of course. I mean FFVIII and its time compression would have seemed goofy if it were done in this way too but they were careful with laying the groundwork.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 7/1/2012 9:17:46 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 9:55:45 AM

Honestly World, it sounds like you didn't put enough time into it.

There were no bosses that required a second play-through, just more power. ;) Finding good Monsters to capture and train is an extremely deep and intricate process, once you get involved.

Also the maps really ARE tied together by time. For instance, there are three or four Oerba maps and you have to unlock them all to understand what really happened there. You'll also learn more about certain characters from both FFXIII and XIII-2 on certain maps.

The problem maybe is that too much of it was optional. I don't know what it would've been like had I gone right through it without basically opening the entire set of maps.

As for gameplay, the changes were huge-

Not having the game end just because the leader died was basically a game-changer for me, as was being able to switch characters in battle. Plus, factoring in the Monsters, this could translate to an ever-changing third party member for most of the game. Later, you might want to stick with one and train him/her to full capacity but like I said above, that mechanic can absorb a ton of time. On top of which, they went from almost 100% linearity to almost 100% freedom. In this particular case, I'd rather have the latter just because of the way it's designed.

The story was disjointed and the ending sucked. That much is true. But the big steps were there, IMO.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 7/1/2012 9:56:19 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 11:47:27 AM

You're right I had to bypass some of the stuff to get through it, and the fact that you CAN bypass important things is pretty bad. XII had tons of freedom but also dungeons and areas where you had to go in one direction and I liked the mix.

I got my team to Level 99 with some great monsters but was still getting swatted down in one hit. And then after I beat it the game gave me some new special power that said I will now be able to defeat bosses that I couldn't before so I assumed that was normal.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 6:54:16 PM

Uh...what special power?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 8:02:09 PM

I'd have to boot the game up again to find out the name, it gave it to me after the credits were done rolling and stuff.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 8:24:24 PM

I don't think that's a power; I think that's the Paradox Scope. It allows you to close certain Gates so you can replay those story sections and do different things.

It's the only way to see the Paradox Endings...I think there are 8 or something like that.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 8:34:25 PM

Yeah that's it, I didn't know what it was, it just said I'd be able to whup some ass thanks to it. Hey Ben does the Lightning add-on finish the story?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 8:42:40 PM

Unfortunately, that's misleading. The Scope doesn't give you any extra power. Sorry. :)

I actually haven't had the chance to play the Lightning DLC yet.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 8:56:34 PM

Cool thanks.

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Kevin5
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 9:48:29 PM
Reply

PGU: Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown & also playing through Castlevania Lord of Shadows to get myself pumped for the sequel. Still can't believe how good this game was & still is.

I also have my eyes on DOA5 & the awesome looking new character Rig. He is looking like a new main for me judging from his brief reveal trailer.

On another note: I need to clear something up about Mass Effect 2 & Mass Effect 3. In my ME2 playthrough i let Jack, Thane & Legion live & when i imported my ME2 data to ME3 i never met Jack, or Thane or Legion. Even wierder was that Thane & Legions name were up on the deathlist in the Normandy whereas Jacks was not.

Wtf is going on. Did i do something wrong here? Anyone else having this problem?

Last edited by Kevin5 on 6/30/2012 9:52:39 PM

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Excelsior1
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 11:09:24 AM

@Kevin

SPOILER ALERT's

In ME3 you meet Jack again IF you quickly evacuate the Grissom Academy. There's a limited time to rescue her. You will be notified Grissom needs evacuated just make it a priority to do so. Jack wil be there assuming she survived the suicide mission. This hapens soon in the game.

Hmm. Thane. Right after Edi gets settled in you will get an email from Huerata Memorial Hospital stating Thane(he dies not use his real name) is very ill. He's checked in under an assumed name. It's Tannor Nuara and he's in the Citadel's hospital. I saved you the trouble having to read the new email when Thane see's you safely docked and gave you his name directly. Better hurry becasue he is very sick.

Legion can be found when starting the Dreadnaught Prime Mission assuming you didn't sell him to Cerebus or get him killed in ME2. Admiral Hewitt informs you the Quarians are attacking the Geth. Out of desperation the Geth have turned to the Reaper's for help. Talhia wants to help and thinks she can so off to the Planet Rannoch you are. I'm sketchy on the Legion details I just gave you but my description is close enough it still should be very hard for you to miss. Just watch out for the Admiral's message that comes over the com system that states there is a serious situation involving the geth. It's not an email....hard to miss it.

You want to have your Palidan super high and might even want to check some walkthroughs on how to broker peace between Tahlia's race and the geth or you are gooing to see a sad event if you have to pick sides between the two. Even if there is peace I still think somebody makes a a sacrifice for the greater good at the end.

I hope that helps. I know I got you reunited with Jack and Thane at least. Pointed you the right way when it comes to Legion too.


Last edited by Excelsior1 on 7/1/2012 11:11:29 AM

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Kevin5
Monday, July 02, 2012 @ 1:34:05 AM

@Excelsior,

Cheers for your help mate, i appreciate it

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Temjin001
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 11:08:27 PM
Reply

Dishonerd looks cool. it's just sort of wait and see what the critics say at this point. The trailer sold itself well. I'm sort of leery of doing a genre like this from the first person, but maybe that'll make it that much more awesome if it succeeds.

PGU: VF5 FS, ME3, and FF13-2
FF13-2 gets played in the day when I play in the day. The other two get played at night when I can 'zone' out without much distraction.

Other than that I ordered my uber computer. The computer that can do 2.5 TFLOPS in graphics operations 0_0
Anyway, while I'll run a handful of cool games on it it's time will be most spent doing other project related stuff. Can't wait for awesome render times and hyper fast viewport performance in my production apps.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 6/30/2012 11:32:01 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 11:52:55 AM

I'm cited, I think the first person perspective is good for this if you want an immersive experience in a unique world instead of having that extra bit of detachment that comes with third. Arkane will have to prove themselves here but whenever Bethesda backs a first person adventure you can usually bet on a certain level of awesomeness, and I'm not just talking Fallout and Elder Scrolls.

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___________
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 5:36:49 AM
Reply

in that case we need to swap.
i hate the freaking cold man, im starting to forget what the sun looks like!
i cant remember the last time i walked outside without a jumper on!
whole neighbourhood stinks because people have had the fireplace on non stop!

they want to outsource more because its cheaper!
seriously, dident you read the article you did yesterday?
out of all the JP studios there staff is by FAR the highest!
why dont they cut salarys then you ask, well, i dunno maybe its not that simple?
everyone wants to save money and latley the easiest way to do that is outsourcing!
especially in JP where development costs are through the roof!
why are all japanese developers outsourcing?

dishonoured really has not had much hype and push behind it.
especially for a bugthesda game, i mean look at how they pushed skyrim!
6 months before release you could not turn on the TV, turn on your computer, or look out the window without seeing something skyrim related!
hell i remember JB started putting up posters back in april!
dishonoured though we dont see much of.
it looks freaking awesome so its a shame its not getting as much push from bugthesda and media itself.
the press were tripping over themselves to write a article on skyrim, but dishonoured it almost seems like there disinterested.
allot of people are sceptical too simply because its from a new developer.
if it was from bioware, someone famous for awesome games it may be a different story.
i just hope it ends up being really successful!
it looks like such a awesome game, and its so unique and different we really dont get many games like it so i hope it does so well it turns into a blossomed franchise!
id be so disappointed if this turns into another enslaved!
f*cking awesome game, spoiled from lack of media hype and publisher interest.
release date did not help much either!

i feel like a kid in a candy shop ever since the R&C HD collection came out!
i spent 4 hours last night just running around and collecting sewer crystals in R&C 3!
sigh, they just dont make games like they use to!!!!!
dont get me wrong, the recent R&C games, well at least the future series were pretty good!
ACIT was by far the best, but nothing will ever stand up to the originals!
pretty depressing how we have to look back to old games to find anything with a sense of design and excitement!

i really want to start spec ops and the amazing spiderman but i just cant tear myself away from R&C 3!
nope, sorry not even ratchet himself with his wrench and captain quwark could not separate me from it!
as the saying goes, to death do us part!

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Solid Fantasy
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 6:10:34 AM
Reply

Can't say I'm a huge fan of -20 winter days but the humidity did show it's ugly face this past week.

I'm ashamed to say that I've never played Bioshock or Elder Scrolls, but Dishonored kind of reminded me of the Deus Ex mechanics. I just wish the game had a 3rd person option. It just looks like it would flow so much nicer with a TPS scheme.

PGU: Still can't stop thinking about Twisted Metal. Got Portal 2 for my birthday. With the PC copy of the game I'm going to resist the urge to finish it until I don't have access to the PS3. Worked my way through Metal Gear 1 and 2 for my MG conquest. 1998 MGS is awesome! It's nostalgia overload for me! MG 1 and especially 2 were light years ahead of there time (1987 /1990). No surprises there though.

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TheCanadianGuy
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 10:10:20 AM
Reply

haha B you sound just like me i hate the summer weather to. its been hotter than all hell here in southern ontario the past few weeks thank god for air conditioning!

btw Happy canada day to all my fellow canadians on here! :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 11:50:32 AM
Reply

Thank God for air conditioning. 95 here in Minnesota and when you add the humidity I'm surprised you can't just swim through the air.

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TheCanadianGuy
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 12:47:36 PM

ahh man thats rough. its been like 30-35 Celsius everyday here for awhile but factor in the humidity feels over 40 -_-

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 4:08:50 PM

Celsius does not compute :)

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BorrowedTime
Monday, July 02, 2012 @ 12:22:49 PM

@World

I'm not sure if I'm remembering my conversion formula correctly or not, but 35 Celsius is equivalent to 100 Farenheit... I think.

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Underdog15
Monday, July 02, 2012 @ 1:01:45 PM

@borrowedtime
close, but not quite right. Here's the formulas...

F= (9/5 * C) +32

C= 5/9 * (F -32)

So 40' Celcius is about 104' F and 35' Celcius is about 95' F.

So yeah, you're pretty close.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 7/2/2012 1:03:53 PM

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Teddie9
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 11:55:04 AM
Reply

I'm not commenting on anything sqaure enix related from this point on.

Concerning dishonored however - I just don't think it's that interesting. Most of the early trailers only focused on violence - and not even a slick combat system just the actual act of stabbing or throat slitting - which was unimpressive. I'll be honest the stealth gameplay was pretty cool accept the visuals are questionable for a game that if I'm not mistaken is linear.

PGU: Dragon's Dogma - Still exploring

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 12:37:51 PM

You're mistaken, it's open world.

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AcHiLLiA
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 1:04:27 PM
Reply

Can't wait for Dishonored looks good so far.

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Beamboom
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 1:22:32 PM
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If Dishonoured are as good as it looks to be, I'm not too worried. I think it will do just fine. No-one should underestimate a metascore of 85+ (I suspect we are looking at that here).

Kingdoms of Amalur ended up with a meta of around 81% and that one sold, was it 1.5 mill or thereabouts?

So yeah, I'm optimistic!

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Rogueagent01
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 2:45:53 PM
Reply

I don't think advertising is that important with games. So long as it is quality word of mouth is by far better and cheaper. From what I have seen of Dishonored I think it will do ok. I am happy they seem to be using first person with it as I absolutely hate third person, especially in a game like that because third person is just too fake and it allows you to cheat. Third person has its place I just don't like it in shooters or stealth games, I would rather have it in RPGs and platformers.

SE well yet again get rid of Wada, enough about that.

PGU: Kingdoms of Amalur and Dust. Having a lot of fun with both.

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Drake_RB3
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 3:59:10 PM
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Almost done with Xenoblade Chronicles after 89 hours. Then I can finish my replay of Suikoden which I took a break from. Then The Last Story in August, with some other games put to the side here and there.

Square Enix, I will still wait for you before I throw my bouquet of flowers off the top of the balcony...

Last edited by Drake_RB3 on 7/1/2012 3:59:48 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 8:24:55 PM

Is Xenoblade Chronicles traditional? Like TRADITIONAL traditional?

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Drake_RB3
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 10:09:18 PM

Its definitely got that JRPG feel I haven't seen on any console this generation. Since you're a fan of FFXII you'll definitely enjoy the battle system. I prefer the variations to this system better. You control only one character but you're very involved.

You've got great ways to manage your characters outside of battle. Leveling up various passive skills and battle skills, tons of equipment that changes your characters look for cutscenes and battles etc. You've got gems that each equipment item can have attached.

So yea, there is a lot packed in to this game not to mention towns with unique characters you build affinity with that give you a ton of side quests. There is also a fun way to rebuild a town throughout the game. Great Story and characters.

Don't want to go on forever but it's an excellent game with music by Kingdom Hearts composer.

So I'd consider it pretty traditional. Time to dust off that Wii!

Last edited by Drake_RB3 on 7/1/2012 10:13:24 PM

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Underdog15
Monday, July 02, 2012 @ 1:02:38 PM

@Ben

I've been watching gameplay vids and other stuff, and I've been SERIOUSLY considering buying a Wii just for this game.

And I'm not easily moved like that.

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JDC80
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 9:55:34 PM
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PGU: Only new thing I can report is I went out and brought "The Amazing Spider-Man" day one after making a few morning errands. I've been enjoying it so far, it has some spoilers from the movie but that's not stopping me from seeing the movie.

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