Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gran Turismo 5 & Black Ops

So this little game called Gran Turismo 5 just came out. Maybe you've heard of the series?

Sarcasm aside, the Gran Turismo series is very important to me. It's the game most directly responsible for me getting into the PlayStation platform, and I've happily purchased every new version (well ok, except the PSP version. No Career Mode = No Sale, sorry guys.) since the original, usually on the day of release. In fact, the day before Gran Turismo 4's release, my original fat launch PS2 gave up the ghost. This sucked extra hard because I had actually gone as far as to pre-order GT4 (the end result was my purchasing of one of the new slim PS2).

In any case, after 5 long years of development and delays, the king of CarPGs (as I like to call 'em) is finally here in all it's 1080p glory. Even though this is not the first taste of GT on the PS3 platform, this is a complete game at last. GTHD, GT5p were at their cores, demos. Expensive demos at that. Demos that wouldn't let you tune your cars until you've cleared everything bone stock...

So let's talk about game play.

If you've played a GT title in the past, the only thing that will jump out at you as being new and different will be the game's main menu system. Under the hood (heh heh), the core game play is exactly what you'd expect from a Gran Turismo title. You start the game with 20k in credits to purchase your first car and some upgrades. GT5 then eases you back into the game by tossing you into some familiar, but challenging courses. It's almost like a mini-greatest hits from prior games used to get you back into the flow of things. The tuning experience isn't all that different from prior games, but I've thus far noticed a lack of options for brakes. I don't understand this change or it's removal, but with a game this large I wouldn't be surprised if it's something I haven't found or unlocked or something - so for the time being I'll avoid making this an official nit-pick.

Online racing is also a rather big selling point for GT5 - however I have yet to try this myself (what can I say, I'm very into the career mode at the moment).

At the end of the day, GT5 is the sort of game that fans will probably automatically buy even without a review - and if you are a long time fan you really should not hesitate with this purchase.

While writing this post, I had a realization that the GT series is one of those rare titles that has wide appeal in all the major gaming markets (JP, NA, EU). It's a game series I can talk about with any of my PlayStation friends from anywhere in the world, and we can all mostly agree that this is a very fine series of games. That said, I do feel that at some point the gaming world will reflect upon the GT series and agree that this is one of the best video game series to ever come around.

Oh also - I completed the Black Ops single player game. My hat is off to you Treyarch. I've never been happier to be so wrong about a game and a studio. That was a hell of a story, and a HELL of an ending. I'm looking forward to their next COD title.

Until next time...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Xbox Live, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and where the hell have I been?!

*taps the dust off the mic*

Yeah so I kind of got married.

But, like every other red blooded gamer this past week I picked up Black Ops. This time however, a first for me - I purchased the Xbox 360 build.

Up until this point (due to the fact that I owned the PS3 prior to the 360), I had purchased all my console COD adventures for the Sony platform. To be quite honest, I wasn't planning to even bother with Black Ops due to the drama over at Activision over payouts to Infinity Ward for Modern Warfare 2. Really, I mean it, I wasn't going to buy this one... But then everyone starts talking about it. And then the reviews praised it. And then i found myself with $60 burning a hole in my pocket.

Yeah and I also happen to have some land in Florida I'd like to sell you....

Anyway - Let's cut to the chase here. The single player game with Black Ops is pretty damn spectacular. Treyarch, i have to hand it to you guys - you killed it. This is leaps and bounds better than World at War. Bravo - i was wrong, very very wrong. Graphically there is much to like - lush landscapes that you'll at some point get caught looking at, resulting in a death. But that's not what I'm dying to write about today.

Black Ops multiplayer is exactly what you would expect from a title called Call of Duty. There are new maps and a few different guns, but really, if you have played a COD title in the past say... 4 years, you should know what to expect. Xbox Live on the other hand? THIS is what shines from this experience. Yes, Treyarch could barely keep up with the player demand so it was pretty hairy actually getting into a game at points, but the high-level Xbox Live experience was flat out beautiful.

I'd like to remind you dear reader - my prior COD experience has been on the PS3 (and on the PC if you want to go all the way back). Joining groups, sending game invites, the party voice chat system... made playing with my friends, and their friends so easy.

The PlayStation Network can't even compete. I'm sorry, it's true. Sony has been attempting to tack on live-like features, but to be honest the overall feel and use just pales in comparison. The system-level party is superior to the in-game party systems found on PS3 titles - your friends are not required to already be in-game for it to work (xbl also allows you to send game invites to your entire party with a single click on the xbox blade menu - this was INVALUABLE. Trust me, manually sending invites to more than 2-3 people is a pain in the ass).

It does pain me to say this on some level. I've been a loyal PlayStation gamer since the PS1, and to see Sony truly and fully bested like this is somewhat shocking. But... I gotta give it up to MicroSoft's Xbox team... You guys know what the hardcore online gamer wants and needs.


'til next time...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Current Gaming and such

Hello there everyone - it's been a while since my last update and i am sorry for that.

Anyway i am currently playing Blur on the 360 and having a BLAST. I was a part of the beta test for this game's online play, and to be quiet honest i've actually yet to even crack open the single player game. The multiplayer is simply addictive and fun - and when you get a full lobby of 20 racers the game gets flat out INSANE.

For those unaware, Blur is at it's core a clone of Mario Kart. You're racing realistic car and collect power ups along the track. Blur has the benefit of being able to leverage XBL/PSN thus making online play with friends a snap. Blur also differs from Mario Kart in that you're allowed to hold up to 3 power ups at any given time, and may toggle between them with a press of a button.

The only thing holding Blur back from being practically flawless is the lack of split screen support over XBL/PSN (something Mario Kart Wii has and imo is an amazing feature). That said, i feel this game is a solid 8/10. If you can get a good deal on the game, don't resist!

In other news... as some of you may have assumed, i have taken the plunge and upgraded to Playstation Plus.

I then promptly cleaned the PSN out of this month's free content ;)

Until next time!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Twisted Metal E3 Trailer

This looks like it will be all sorts of awesome. I'm drooling!

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 E3 Trailer

While I'd have really preferred a trailer with some actual game play, this trailer really sets the mood for TFU2. Let's hope it delivers!

Gears of War E3 Game Play trailer

I am *really* excited for the 4 player co-op with Gears 3. The 2 player co-op in the prior Gears games is, in my opinion, the benchmark for online co-op play. So adding 2 more players to the mix? Sign me up!

(Ice-T being a part of the voice cast also adds a little bit of awesome to this mix, am i right?)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kevin Butler. VP of.... E3?

This is why Sony rocked the E3 keynotes imo.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Here's the trailer for the next Zelda title for the Wii - Skyward Sword.

Excited yet? I know i am!

Sony E3 Keynote Digest

Sorry for the delay with this one, but here goes!

- High Def 3D is Sony's vision of the future. "What PlayStation did for Blu-ray, we're now going to do it for 3D as well." 20 native 3D titles are expected by March 2011.

- Killzone 3 was demo'ed, in 3D. This game is looking pretty sick!

- Many many big titles listed as supporting 3d, including Gran Turismo 5.

- Sly Cooper collection was announced (a la God of War Collection)

- Playstation Move had quite the showing - the fact that the entire Move setup will run you $30 less than Kinect, AND will include a game is pretty huge.

- A title called Sorcery was demo'ed with Move. The Move wand and the navigation stick were used to move the character around and cast spells. I wonder if the last Harry Potter games will support this?!

- Tiger Woods 11 w/ Move support - nothing shocking there.

- A new Move title - Heroes on the Move - includes a ton of 1st party characters (Rachet, Jak, etc)

- Kevin Butler gave an epic speech! "Because every gamer is a true gamer. Motion gamers. Sitting gamers. And even though we may pledge allegiance to different flags, we all serve one king, one master... and his name is gaming! Forever may he reign!"

- Move will hit retail September 19th in North America with many many options - $49.99 for the Move wand, $19.99 for the Navigation stick. $99.99 gets you the Sports Champion Bundle, which is a Move wand, and EyeSight camer, and the sports title they've been showing off. (Add the Navigation stick for the full move setup and you're looking at about $120 total)

- Time Crisis is a Move launch title!

- PSP was up next with God of War: Ghost of Sparta, inviZimals, EyePet and a new PSP spokesperson, Marcus. "We've got good kids playing bad games"

- Sony announced a replica of their E3 booth will be in Home (meh)

- Little Big Planet 2 was shown, nothing terribly surprising there.

- And at last as rumored - premium PSN. PlayStation Plus will cost $49.99 a year and provide early access to demos, dlc and betas. As a GAP member that last bit really chaps my ass. Sony is claiming hundreds of dollars worth of content will be provided to Plus members. Cross game chat also has been anounced - One plus member can have 3 other non-plus members within the group chat. Once all Plus members leave, the chat is disbanded. Kind of bittersweet.

- Exclusive Medal of Honor beta for the ps3 - July 21st.

- Dead Space 2 will support Move - the limited edition of the game will also include Dead Space Extraction previously on the Wii.

- Now this was sort of huge... Portal 2 was announced for the PS3. PLEASE PLEASE let this lead to more Valve games on the PS3! There is no reason to deny PS3 only gamers they joys of Valve games.

- Final Fantasy 14 Online was shown.

- Lots of exclusive DLC for the following PS3 titles: Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Final Fantasy 14 Online, Mafia 2. AC Brotherhood multiplayer beta is a PS3 exclusive.

- Gran Turismo 5 has a release date at last! November 2nd 2010.

- inFamous 2 was shown in trailer form - new city, new ice powers

- And one last surprise.... TWISTED METAL!!!!!!!!!! I am wondering if this will be a disk release or PSN release. I'm leaning towards PSN.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nintendo E3 Keynote Digest

That my friends, is how you do an E3 keynote!

There's a lot to get through, so let's run down the list real quick here:

- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
- NBA Jam
- Mario Sports Mix
- Wii Party
- Just Dance 2
- Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
- Epic Mickey
- Kirby's Epic Yarn
- Dragon Quest 9
- Metroid: Other M

and the big one... The Nintendo 3DS!

I am really blown away with the 3DS right now. Kid Icarus Uprising is a launch title and holy CRAP do those graphics looks awesome! We're talking Gamecube level here people! Nintendo has promised "ample game content at the outset", and has made it compatible with the DSi. 3 total cameras - 2 front facing for 3d pictures, and one player facing camera. 3.5in widescreen display on top, touch screen on the bottom. Motion sensor, gyro sensor and it can play 3D movies.

Nintendo also has something up their sleeves in terms of online functionality (more on that later once i dig around).

20 companies on board with the 3DS and some IMPRESSIVE names were tossed around for titles. Metal Gear Solid, Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Saints Row, Kingdom Hearts, Madden...

This is crazy! I really hope this is a sign of the direction Nintendo is taking. With everyone else (so far) focused on the casual market, Nintendo has managed to knock one out of the park for the hard core gamer. Nintendo also apparently has 3DS units on the floor to "test drive"...

Simply Crazy!

Anyway, Sony's keynote is coming up in about an hour and a half. Expect another post ;)

E3 Keynotes

Today is the big day for both Nintendo and Sony.

Nintendo's E3 keynote should be kicking off in a little over an hour. New Zelda and the 3DS are expected, but what else does Nintendo have in store for us? There are some rumors on the 'net about something called the Wii Hifi - we shall know soon enough if they are true.

Sony's keynote will be later this afternoon and I'm guessing Move will be the main focus. From the Sony rumors dept. we've got chatter of a possible PSP2 - again, we'll know more soon enough. I really hope Sony has something special for the hard core gamers.

Metal Gear Solid Rising

Here is a link to some game play footage from Metal Gear Solid Rising:

Uhm, yes please?

Seriously, this looks flat out INSANE. For some reason, i've just never gotten the hang of the stealth based game play from the Metal Gear series... But this? Wow. I am officially hyped for this game.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Microsoft E3 Keynote digest

What the hell?

Did Microsoft seriously just show off a bunch of titles that are at best clones of Wii titles? Kinect Sports?! REALLY?!


Well anyway, let's run through some points here:

- Call of Duty DLC for 2010, 2011, and 2012 will be available first on the Xbox. I guess this is also a bit of a backdoor announcement for COD 8 and 9.

- Metal Gear Solid Rising was shown. More hack and slash, less stealth is the impression i got.

- Gears of War 3 was shown - 4player co-op mode!

- Fable 3 shown, along with a teaser for a title codenamed "Kingdoms".

- Halo: Reach is hitting retail September 14th

- ESPN for Xbox 360. I was shocked that this feature will be free for Gold member of Live.

- And of course, Project Natal is now named Kinect. Kinect was the main focus of this keynote (as i was expecting). The software shown in my opinion boiled down to a lot of clones of existing Wii titles and franchises. Again - Kinect Sports? REALLY?! Your Shape: Fitness Evolved? Kinect Joy Ride looked like a Mario Kart clone. What exactly is MS' strategy here besides the usual "embrace and extend" philosophy? Also worth noting was a lack of an announced price for Kinect, just a street date of November 4th 2010 in North America. If this add-on hits retail for less than $150, i will be shocked.

- Harmonix was showing off Dance Central for Kinect.

- A Kinect Star Wars title was shown in trailer form... but really the gaming world has been teased with motion based Star Wars games since 2005/2006. Can we get one for real someday?

- Also to note was Forza for Kinect. It was not made clear to me if this was a new Forza title, or an add-on for Forza 3.

- A new rev of the 360 hardware was also shown - the only lingering question i have based on the slides - "did MS remove the ethernet port in favor of built in 802.11n networking?". New hardware will be available this week - everyone at the keynote however was given a system.

I've got to be honest, this was pretty much exactly how i expected this keynote to play out. It will be interesting to see the hardcore xbox fanboy reaction as they were none too kind towards the Wii when it was announced and shown.

Anyway, Nintendo and Sony tomorrow. I will be sorely disappointed if there is anything resembling Move Sports for the PS3.

It's Here at last!

It's E3 time everyone!

Microsoft's E3 Keynote is set to kick off around 1:30pm eastern time. I'm sure if you're read any gaming site in the past 48 hours you're aware of the xbox 360 "slim" and the project natal official name.

I'll check in with my reactions form ms' keynote as soon as it wraps.

(if anyone is interested, i'll be following the liveblog over at Engadget)

Sony and Nintendo's keynotes are tomorrow - don't be shocked when i post reactions from those ;)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Current Gaming and other items

Why hello everyone - sorry for the long delay in posting, but to be brutally honest I've reached the point of burnout with Final Fantasy 13. This has resulted in a short break from gaming.


Over the wonderful Memorial Day Weekend 2010 I found myself with an urge to play something completely different which served as a reminder that I had not cracked the seal on my copy of inFamous for the PS3. I picked this game up back in March when i was flush with Best Buy gift cards from my birthday - but i never got around to playing it due to FF13 soaking up the majority of my playtime.

So, after a weekend with inFamous I must say that I am kicking myself for not making this a day 1 purchase. The first point that makes this game a blast is that you're playing a superhero without hundreds of issues of back story to conform to or any sort of preconceived notions about the character (Cole). This of course allows the developers to write the rules as they go along. The second point that makes this game great is while playing it - and bear with me on this it's kind of hard to properly articulate this - it feels *easy* to move and play as a super hero. Running and jumping between buildings and latching on to them as you crawl along the sides will of course remind the player of a certain spider-related hero from the Marvel universe. There's really no escaping that comparison. But in my opinion, there has yet to be a game for that Marvel character that has felt so natural as inFamous.

inFamous is built around a karma system, which in itself is nothing new but it does provide an interesting twist to how you play the game (the karma system reminded me quite a bit of the system within Knights of the Old Republic) and how the NPCs will react to you. If you play as a good guy eventually the NPCs will cheer you on, take pictures of you and in some cases even aide you in taking out enemies (they'll throw rocks!). Play as a mean son of a bitch and the NPCs will fear you, run away, and sometimes throw rocks at YOU.

Graphically the game isn't anything groundbreaking for this generation, but the graphics engine will certainly get the job done and look pretty good while doing so. Like the bulk of PS3 titles it is a 720p native game.

In other news we're rapidly approaching this year's E3, which is looking like it'll be all about Natal and Move from MS and Sony respectively. I wonder if the 3DS will be the focus for Nintendo, or if they've got something else up their sleeves...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Current Gaming

Hello friends, welcome back.

So i've reached the 35 hour mark with Final Fantasy 13. So far this has been an enjoyable adventure and part of me is surprised how this game has managed to grab and HOLD my attention for so long.

I've been saying this the whole time, but I haven't enjoyed an RPG this much since Final Fantasy 8.

Thanks to a good friend of mine, i recently scored a Mad Catz Street Fighter 4 arcade stick on clearance (making room for the Super Street Fighter 4 sticks i assume). I know some of you out there are thinking "Ew Mad Catz?!?" but i have to admit this joystick is very well built, and the price was oh so right ($29.99 w/ free shipping - how could i say no?). The most interesting point about this purchase is that historically, i have been in the control pad camp for playing Street Fighter (this is based around having Street fighter 2 Special Champion Edition and the 6 button pad for the Genesis way back in the day, and then re-enforced by my Sega Saturn and it's flawless rev 2 6 button control pad). It's no secret that the d-pads on both the PS3 and the 360 are terrible (to say the least) for fighting games - and finding one of the Mad Catz Street Fighter 4 pads for a reasonable price was proving to be a pain, so i took the plunge.

I must say, right off the bat the stick felt nice in my hands and on my lap. I must have spent about 20 minutes just clicking the buttons and checking out the stick's action.

I'll report back with an update on the effect on my playing - i am rather rusty at the moment so it's hard to judge. I'm sure i'll also have an update once i get my hands on Super Street Fighter 4.

In other news, i may have found a "game" for the iPhone that's able to hold my attention. X-Plane on the iPhone is VERY worthy of the X-Plane name. I've always loved that flight sim on the PC, but to see it scaled down for the iPhone while retaining most of the core gameplay? Pretty damn impressive.

Until next time!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Handhelds and the future of gaming

I've had this theory that the current gen handheld game systems were a bit of a testing ground for the then next generation home systems.

I also feel some what vindicated with what we ended up with (Look at the ds and then the wii. Both radical departures from the traditional with the touch then motion controls. With the psp and the ps3 I saw that more as a proving ground for the xmb and various media functionality, not to mention local storage media in addition to the game media. Anyway...). Now it seems Nintendo has teased the Nintendo 3DS - and Nintendo has gone on record as feeling that a Wii HD isn't a big enough innovation to make next gen hardware.

A Wii 3D on the otherhand? Nintendo is flush with cash and crazy enough to try it.

I wonder what Sony has in store for the proper PSP sucsessor? (well, besides a ps3 style hypervisor hah!)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Final Fantasy 13 and the lack of remote play (among other things)

So, I've hit the 20 hour mark in Final Fantasy 13 on the PS3 and still enjoying the hell out of it.

That said, why wasn't FF13 designed to use the remote play feature? To me, it seems like a perfect fit (even the controls could be easily mapped to the psp - only difference is the lack of a 2nd analog nub so camera control would have to be done with a combination of keys). It's a really long game and for those of us in a household where we must share the TV with a significant other, it can be hard to really sink in a bunch of time every night.

Basically i'd love the ability to continue my FF13 game while my S.O. watches some of her DVR'ed programs. It just seems like a huge missed opportunity to put remote play to REALLY good use.

In other news, Playstation Move was demo'ed at PAX East and honestly I'm still not sold on the idea. [to be clear, i'm not sold on MS' Project Natal either...] I know i'm going to sound like pretty much every other game blog out there when i say this, but Playstation Move really just feels like a juiced up Wiimote. Nintendo took a huge risk with the Wii and it's control scheme (not to mention tons of flak regarding the motion sensing game play), and yet here we are almost 4 years after the Wii's launch and both MS and Sony are racing to push out competing technology. Suddenly fanboys on both the MS and Sony camps are interested in motion controls because it's now coming from their respective platform of choice.

I find this 180 in opinion both silly and predictable.

Oh and God of War 3... if you own a PS3 you really should own this title. A friend of mine put it best:

"God of War 3 starts where most games end."

I really couldn't say it better myself.

By now I'm sure we've all seen the hilarious GOW3 spot with the angry girlfriend. The best part in this ad imo is the fact that the bulk of the game play footage is from the first level. Starts where most games end INDEED.

Until next time...

Thursday, March 18, 2010


With the sudden announcement of SOCOM 4 for the Playstation 3, I suddenly find myself with old wounds being reopened. These wounds, caused by the train-wreck of a game SOCOM: Confrontation developed by Slant 6 (instead of SOCOM creators Zipper), were in fact pretty deep.

SOCOM: Confrontation appeared at my local store from out of nowhere. I recall being aware that a SOCOM game was in the works for the PS3, however i was under the impression it's release date wasn't anytime soon. I was shocked to find the game on the shelf as well as shocked at the apparent lack of warning from the video gaming press (i'm willing to meet everyone half way on this point, there's a chance i simply didn't notice any press on the release)... and most importantly there were NO reviews of the title before it's release.

I was not about to let any of this bother me, because after all, this was SOCOM! A Playstation franchise that's an automatic buy for MANY people. So i proceeded to pick up 2 copies with the premium Sony Blue Tooth mic - one for myself and one to surprise a friend for his birthday. That's a $120 blind buy. Based on the SOCOM name alone.

That first night of it's release i was unable to actually try the game - the servers were simply overloaded. The 2nd night i actually managed to get into a game... and thus began a long road of broken game play, server instability, glitches, and many times - the inability to actually get into a game. Slant 6 promised patches - which never seemed to fix as many issues as promised, and always introduced NEW issues. Long story short - S:C was released 10/14/2008 and it's STILL broken. To add insult to injury, Sony and Slant 6 released a map pack (timed with yet another patch) for $15.

Good luck with that Slant 6.

So now, much to my surprise, Sony has announced SOCOM 4, and it's under development by Zipper (the team responsible for creating the first bunch of SOCOM games and building up all the good will for the franchise).

Look, SOCOM 4 will sell like crazy on it's name alone. There is a small percentage of SOCOM fans who claim S:C is a great game. But i am not one of them. SOCOM 4 will not be a title i will purchase after the hell that was S:C. I am fully aware that one sale won't make a difference one way or another, but whatever, I'm done with SOCOM.

(HOWEVER - I'd be more than happy to do a 1:1 trade of S:C for a SOCOM 4 disk. You shipped me a broken game that still doesn't work, how about you replace it with a working game?)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Current Gaming

Hello and welcome to Pixelated Palace and it's inaugural post!

I love video games. I have for as far back as i can remember. My first gaming experience i remember was the old Atari 2600 my parents owned from before i was born. This machine and my parents modest collection of games built the foundation for my love of pretty much all things video game related. Through the years i have owned and loved game consoles from all the major players, and currently own a Wii, a Playstation 3 and an Xbox 360 (on the portable front i have a couple Nintendo DS and a few PSPs). I like to think that i'm not really biased towards one system or the other - but i am very biased towards good games.

In any case to kick things off i figured i'd write a little about what i am currently playing. In the interest of full disclosure, i am currently beta testing two games (one console and one pc) that i cannot and will not write about. These titles are currently taking away from my overall game playing time, but i'm always happy to participate in a beta program. I do attempt to split up my time evenly, but we all know sometimes you just get sucked into a title.

First up - a friend of mine reminded me of a somewhat rare Sega CD title that i had never gotten a chance to play - Snatcher. Designed by one of the top names in video games, Hideo Kojima, it's an homage to the cyberpunk and scifi stories and movies Kojima enjoys. Right off the bad the visual style for the game world and it's characters is *VERY* reminiscent of the classic Ridly Scott movie Blade Runner. The main character, Gillian Seed, even looks like a very young Deckard. It's story thus far is about these artificial life forms called Snatcher who happen to look like humans (a little bit of The Terminator here...) but have a robotic skeleton just under the skin.

This game is more like an interactive digital comic, as you move and progress and play the game via a series of menu options. There are parts where you'll be required to shoot at enemies on screen (either with the game pad or via the Konami light gun commonly found with Lethal Enforcers), but for the most part you are investigating, asking questions and watching cut scenes.

Unlike many Sega CD games of the time, this game was not a full motion video game. Just pure, glorious, 16bit era graphics with CD quality voice acting and music.

This is a great example of how the Sega CD should have been used (right up there with Sonic CD), and totally worth dusting off that Sega CD/Genesis you might have in your closet. I'll report back on this title as i progress.

Next up, the 800lb gorilla in the room - Final Fantasy 13 (Playstation 3). I've sunk in about 6 hours since picking this up Tuesday night, and the first thing to come to mind when i want to describe it is "Whoa".

I personally did not really care for Final Fantasy 12's battle system so i never finished it. FF11 was an MMO, and i simply was not into MMORPGs at the time, so i skipped that one. FF10 was fun from what i played, but my copy grew legs never to be seen again. Anyway enough rambling here - the last Final Fantasy game i really enjoyed was in fact 8. I know that i'm in the minority here but seriously, i loved 8. I don't understand the flak it gets.

Fast forward to last Tuesday, i found myself initially on the fence with FF13 but in the end decided to risk it. It's paid off. This is the RPG i have been pining for, for some time. The latest battle system is part something new, and part something old and familiar. The addition of the Paradigm Shift (it changes your party's job/role on the fly) is rather awesome. There are some other small tweaks to the game here and there (1 potion now heals the entire party!) that make the experience very fun. Another addition is "auto-battle", which seems like a way to get a first time FF player into the swing of things quickly. All in all, 6 hours in and this feels "right". It's Final Fantasy, but it's a new game and not just some pretty HD graphics slapped onto a dated battle system.

Do i really even need to gush about the graphics? It's Final Fantasy - of course they are amazing. This time around though, it's a lot harder to notice the switch from the cut scenes to the actual game engine. I am really impressed.

And that my friends is what i am playing right now.

So again - hello, welcome, i hope i have something to say that interests you. Thank you Pat for getting the mental gears moving on this little project. And thank you to all the video game companies and the software studios that make my hobby so much fun. I hope you're enjoying my money ;)

Till next time...