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Everything posted by Zipp

  1. I make free CDs for Yoga Classes around Portland, and I use OC music all the time. A lot of students will later ask me for copies of the music, so there's a percentage of Oregon wandering around blasting OC.
  2. Fellow submitters, I'm honored to be competing with you. I especially like 7 lbs. Very good.
  3. i further the notion that it had a lot to do with what was available, the overal length of games, the number of terrible games, and how few games were released and how long it took for them to be released. It's why many of those games don't hold up today.
  4. My thoughts on this one are... not so good. Certainly not as good as I'd hoped. The game plays like a painfully simplistic fighting game, yet lacks the charm of a Smash Brothers. I find the controls to be awkward, the on-screen attacks confusing, the graphics disappointing, and the fights to be simultaneously unpredictable and repetitive (if you can fathom that). The gameplay uses mostly two buttons, one which raises your attack at the expense of your enemy's attack, and one which uses said attack value to deal damage. Each of these attacks changes based on which direction you're holding the analog stick, a style of move differentiation that I was never too keen on. It worked on the 2-D plane for Smash Brothers, but this is a fully 3-D game, and it feels awkward and clunky. Dodging, too, is a bit of a connundrum. It's easy enough to do, you hold the right trigger and move the analog stick. In fact, it's almost too easy, as you can spam it any time the opponent gets near and almost assuredly avoid damage (they can do the same thing). But it also tends to get messy when you're trying to focus on pulling off various specials by already moving the analog stick around. To then have to also concentrate on moving it for a dodge gets confusing fast. Hit detection is very difficult to figure out, as many of the attacks have strange patterns (Cecil's got one he uses in mid air which flies all over the fucking place before doing a usually useless downward diagonal strike). Many was the time where I found Terra standing right next to Kefka and both of them using attacks that hit spaces twenty feet behind them. There's very few straight forward strikes and combos are difficult to figure out. Some moves seem to have them almost as an automatic effect. Others you have to be standing in the right spot and do some sort of quick time event. That said, combos are pretty cool. I actually wish more of the game had been based around them. I think every hit you pull off should activate some sort of fast paced quick time event or button mashing sequence. It'd be a great way to show case cool FF moves without all the confusion of having to jiggle the analog stick while already using it to dodge and run around a 3-D environment. More importantly, it would be fun, the kind of fun we had playing Parappa the Rapper and other such games. As if, the only thing that truly excites me about the title is seeing some of the older Final Fantasy characters (Cecil and Terra in particular) portrayed so accurately on a 3D scale. It's also cool to see the signature moves make a return. Seeing Kefka use Trine was a moment for me, as was seeing Terra transform into her Esper form. But once the nostalgia wears off, I fear there's little here that recommends this title. On the plus side, it means less that I feel obligated to buy this Fall. I'm already on the band wagon for the following: Scribblenauts (sept) Uncharted 2 (oct) Batman: Arkham Asylum (oct)
  5. Thank you. I can't really recommend WotS, no. Part of me wants to, because it did some very cool things with free-form gaming at a time when no one was really doing that... but no, it's a terrible game.
  6. The first night was a much less video-happy crowd. They had them, of course, but there wasn't clapping for famous scenes or anything! @ Overcoat: I'm not sure about any Salmon... of course the reason Nobuo gets a huge cheer is because he's the composer, and it's a concert. If it were an art show, Amano would get more cheer. Too bad you didn't get to hear the love theme. That was played the night I went, and it was fabulous... except for the guy behind me who couldn't stop telling his girlfriend how much he knew about FF4. I beat him up and stole his lunch money later, though, so it was cool.
  7. Thank you very much! I'll take a look at this later today. Thanks again!
  8. Information on upcoming concerts, plus downloads for some of the music featured, including the opera.
  9. Distant Worlds is playing all Weekend. If you can go, you should totally do it. Seeing Nobuo bounce around in the One Winged Angel song is an experience all its own.
  10. In any case, the concert was amazing. They did so much music, including the FULL Opera from FF6, and an Encore performance of One Winged Angel with Nobuo singing in the choir. Ah, Nobuo. The guy was great. Came out in a dirty shirt and a bandana. He was so happy.
  11. Seriously. If you can get there, you should go to this. I just got back from meeting Nobuo Uematsu. He sat in the audience.
  12. I think I'll throw in a piece this year. How about a review? Way of the Samurai I picked up Way of the Samurai many a year ago in one of those impulses that causes you to browse games at Target while you’re momentarily distracted from buying cheap T-shirts with pictures of Bob Ross on them. These impulses occasionally lead to solid gold, more often lead to disappointment, and can on rare occasion result in eternal damnation, like the time I found one of Satan’s toenails at a lazy seaside pawn shop. In this case, it led to a mediocre video game. My experience began well enough with character creation which was basically choosing a face, slapping it in a kimono, and naming it. I made a guy with massive sideburns and a pony tail who wore a bright yellow kimono. I called him Menji. I envisioned him as a renegade samurai from a well respected house who had been forced to flee after having a night of sexual freedom with his lord’s daughter. Now, tortured by his shame, he wanders the countryside looking for his own death. The game proper opened with Menji coming into Rokkutsu pass, a free-roam environment made up of a menagerie of Samurai Western staples including a shrine, a dusty little town, a mountain pass, and a railway crossing. The first scene saw Menji at a small bridge where lo! a young woman was being chased by a group of vicious thugs. After a quick look at the woman’s face, Menji saw she was uglier than a horse’s rear-end and decided to pass across the bridge without helping her. The ruffians knocked her out, their tattooed leader hoisted her over a shoulder, and they prepared to make off. Things might have ended peacefully there. But then the miscreant had the misfortune of bumping Menji’s arm. And he didn’t apologize. Blades were drawn. The ruffian tossed some tough words Menji”s way. Menji decided to show this country bumpkin the way of the Samurai. Fifteen seconds later, Menji was dead. Okay, I thought. So the game has a learning curve. I have to admit, though, I was a little perturbed. I had played through the tutorial, after all. I’d kicked the ass of the peasant my sensei sent against me. I knew how to guard and parry and use a couple special moves. So what had gone wrong? I started up the game again. This time I avoided the bridge encounter altogether and instead went into town. Here I was enjoying a quick meal of rice and sake when some thugs came into the shop and starting busting shit up. I wouldn’t have particularly minded if they hadn’t spilled my sake. As it was, that was an unforgivable slight and blades were once again drawn. This time I stayed far away from my opponent, studying his moves. I knew my own arsenal of attacks fairly well. I had a thrust, a couple down-swings and side-swings, and a sort've feint that looked more like a dance move than an attack. After watching my opponent shuffle around for a while, I thought I had his pattern down, so I came in from the side with a quick swing, planning to follow it up with a combo that would bring him to his knees. In response, he blocked, pushed me off balance, slapped me in the face with the butt of his sword, kicked my feet out from under me, and stabbed me in the spine a few times while I lay defenseless on the ground. Now wait a minute, I thought. My most powerful ability is a basic thrust. How the hell do I learn THAT move? The answer, it turned out, was to claim my opponent’s sword (and thus all his moves). This meant I had to actually defeat someone, though. I eagerly rushed out into the countryside and murdered a peasant. All I got for my efforts was a stupid dull sword with crappy moves. It seemed that I was going to be forced to kill one of the real samurai if I ever wanted a better sword. So began a long process of Menji getting his ass handed to him, no matter who I fought, whether it was a black samurai with an afro and an Italian name, a giant retard who attacked me with what looked like a street-lamp, or a man with tight red pants and spikes on his arms. It seemed that the only people I could kill were the inexperienced and innocent peasantry minding their business in the pass’ various locales... and then only if they were alone. You see, combat has all the makings of a simplistic system. There's two attack buttons and one block button. Attacking while blocking leads to a kick. That's not so bad. But none of this is useful. The enemies have the ability to block, too, and they do it all the time. Now, you're SUPPOSED to be able to throw a blocking enemy off balance, but this only works about half the time. And if you fail to make it work, then YOU'RE the one off balance and vulnerable. To make matters worse, enemies often have attacks which instantly break blocks. This leaves you with two options. You can try to dodge, but this requires psychic powers, as attacks are fast and often change direction before striking, so you never know whether to back up or side step. The other option is to hit the block button at the exact moment the attack connects, which is about a window of .05 seconds. The game calls it an "awase." I call it "a chance in a million." Fortunately, while I had learned nothing about how to fight well using the unintuitive combat system, I HAD learned the fine art of dropping to all fours like a dog and begging for my life, so although I was defeated many times, I never actually died. I just got spit upon by everyone and slowly lost sight of that originally grand character I had envisioned at the start of the game. This was no longer the adventure of Menji: bad-ass samurai, but of Menji: boot licker and petty thief. Which is ironically a fairly accurate depiction of the real samurai era in Japan. I can only assume it wasn’t very much fun living in that period. And it wasn’t turning out to be much fun playing Way of the Samurai, either. The game does deserve a shout out for its excellent free roaming nature. Every one of your decisions has a profound impact on the plot, and the characters all have little secrets that you can strive to uncover. While in one play-through you might be off helping a lord re-establish his domain, in another you'll be tracking his wife to a secret rendezvous with the local law enforcer. Since events are happening at the same time all over the pass, it takes multiple play-throughs not only to get all the endings, but to even see everything there is to see. So though Menji had utterly failed to change anything with his blade, I became vastly interested in seeing what he could change through his interactions and alliances, and kept playing. Fate eventually caught up with the disgruntled samurai, however. During one of his usual muggings, he accidentally attacked someone who was no peasant, but a retainer of one of the local samurai houses. The retainer was quickly joined in battle by three other men, and none of them seemed to show much interest in Menji’s profound apologies for having tried to take their friend’s scalp as a trophy. Whilst trying to run away and forage for some life recovering radishes, Menji was cut down... in the prime of his career, I might add. By this point, I had won a few tough combats by luck and random button mashing and had actually gotten hold of some pretty nice blades. I’d even souped them up via the local blacksmith so that they'd last longer in combat without breaking. So I figured the play-through, while maybe a bit of an ego castration, wasn’t all wasted. When I started again, I’d be more powerful from the outset, actually able to use enough moves that I might stand a chance at playing, if not a super samurai, then at least a competent samurai. But no. Because when you die in Way of the Samurai you lose everything. All of your weapons. All of your moves. And a good two or three hours of your actual life. You can’t save, so it was back to the very beginning with me, with starting inventory and absolutely no future. I suppose if I had the patience of a Zen master, I could memorize the move sets of all the enemies and learn that split second for each attack when you can dodge it. But that’s not why I had bought Way of the Samurai. I had been attracted by the notion of being Yojimbo or Zatoichi, bringing honor to the countryside with the sharp end of my blade. I assume that’s why most people would be looking to play Way of the Samurai. Be warned, you’ll more likely end up playing the eternal Grasshopper... in a world with a lot of lawnmowers. Rating: 4/10
  13. Tomorrow I'm off to Seattle to see Nobuo Uematsu and the Seattle Symphony perform two hours of Final Fantasy music in the Distant Worlds tour. I'm gonna be in the same room as Nobuo Uematsu. Awesome. If I wanted to pay an extra 100 dollars, I could be in an even smaller room with the man, but alas I cannot afford such pleasantries. In any case, tickets are still on sale, though limited, so if you're in the area, you should check it out.
  14. I wouldn't say there's that many games that haven't held up for me... some of the early Castlevanias aren't near as good as I think we all thought they were. Mostly, there's a lot of games I simply played too many times for them to now hold the same interest, such as Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, and Soul Blazer. I'm replaying FF7 off the PSN, and that one still works, though.
  15. Read title. I really like the music for the game. I'm not necessarily asking for a handout, here. If Jonathan Mak has made a CD available, I'd be happy to pay for it. But I don't think he has, so I'm wondering if there's any place I can download these songs? I found a decent remix the other day:
  16. A truly sad blow to four generations of people and music. You know it's weird... people that I grew up with are starting to die. It's no longer the people from my parent's childhood.
  17. Ah good, there's a topic for this. Yeah, Scribblenauts has been added to my Fall shopping list of Heavy Rain, Batman Arkham Asylum, and Uncharted 2.
  18. I think the end sold me. Sure, it's a gimmick, but it's a well thought out and realized gimmick wityh an actual game attached.
  19. There's a few more scenes with the FF7 cast, but they're still mostly cameos. It is, after all, a story meant to tie up Cloud's hang up over Aeris. The added scenes, in brief, are as follows: - much more on the plot and what Shinra's been up to - much more on the past of Denzel - scenes of Zack and Cloud, and more tie in between them and Aeris - every fight scene is a little longer, excepting the one between Tiffa and Loz - different ending for the Sephiroth fight - much more explanation on Kuja's goals and much more development of their characters - much MUCH more scenes on Geostigma and how it brutally slaughters people - more gore in many of the scenes, plus some new scenes that really show people getting beaten up by Geostigma or monsters - new translation that is much clearer than the old translation
  20. Zipp

    Uncharted 2 Beta

    We have Uncharted 2: Online Beta. Um... two words. FUCK. YEAH. I wasn't expecting this to be good. I groaned when I saw it was a third person online shooter. Then I noticed the controls were awesome, it employs a cover system that works, and it looks great. Let me go over this in a bit more detail. 1) controls Usually when I play online games, I feel that a good quarter of the deaths are due to stupid things, like not being able to tell who my team mates are, or poor aiming controls, or graphical issues. In Uncharted 2, the game is so willing to work with you that if you die, it's your own damn fault. No question about it. The game controls so well it's like telepathy between the gamer and the game. I just think what I want to do and my fingers make it happen through simple intuitive button control. 2) Cover system Finally a cover system that actually provides cover. That everything can be used as cover encourages action play, where you rush and dodge, hide and heal, and blind fire to keep guys pinned. But it also is a boon for the sniping crowd because FINALLY you can actually hold down a sniping position without guys killing you by shooting at your hat. When you're behind cover, you're BEHIND cover. Cover actually forces people to use tactical movement to improve their firing position. That's what it should do. 3) graphics Not so much the graphics as the animation. Uncharted 2 is the first game I've played which uses multiple animations for each action. So every time you duck behind cover, it's going to look a little different. Every time you get up and run, you run a little different. It gives the game a real movie quality, where you feel like you're watching actors taking your direction. One cool example is I was playing co-op mode (yeah, it's got a great co-op system, too) as a rugged adventurer type, and the female on my team ran past me. As she did so, she reached over and patted my ass. This wasn't done by the player, it was just a randomly activated animation. Makes the whole thing feel alive and immersive. Anyways, it's good, I highly reccomend getting in on Beta if you can.
  21. First of all Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete. Alright, I'll be the first to admit that Advent Children was a disappointment. I had all these ideas for what they could've done better... then I found out that we were lacking 45 minutes of film for no good reason. Complete re-inserts this footage and... you know what? The movie is now awesome. You care about the characters, the translation is solid, the plot makes sense, the action is more dramatic, there's more death and blood and that... people who haven't played FF7 still won't care, but now at least fans of FF7 can be happy. Oh, and it looks awesome on Blu-Ray. AND it has a very long video for FFXIII which is sweet. I can't wait for that game to come out. Better get me an HD TV fast.
  22. Zipp

    Metroid: Other M

    If I rebuy the Wii, it will mark the first time in history that I've bought a system for myself twice. I didn't think any game could make me consider that, but... fuckin' hell... a Metroid game set during Samus' past? We know that it's her past because that's Adam-what's-his-face from Fusion, the guy who calls her Lady. The guy who's dead by the time the main series commences. And a mother brain re-emergence... ah, that would be awesome.
  23. Wow. Just... wow. So far, the Ico team is 2 for 2 in games I've given perfect scores. I doubt that they'll be ending that record with Last Guardian. It looks incredible, just from style alone. I LIKE the giant horrendous bird.
  24. I know we have a great remix in the form of Transformants and Brevity, but I'd like to hear something more along the lines of what Randy Brown was doing with it for the unreleased PMM tracks. Anyone know what happened to his version or how to get in touch with him? Anyway, a new Vincent mix would be really appreciated.