Friday, May 1, 2009

Football, RPGs, Life

Not really updated recently because life hasn't exactly been too kind to me. I split up with my girlfriend recently, its hard to find a job and my applications to postgraduate degrees have been rejected...but enough moping, you dont wanna hear about my troubles.

I've been watching Champions League football this week and I wasn't too impressed. For semi-finals, I thought they would be more entertaining. Specifically the Chelsea vs Barcelona game. I was looking forward to that game, as I love the football Barca play, but only one team played any decent football in the 90 minutes, and that was the spanish side. I can understand the strategy that Hiddink's men were going for, defending for the away leg and trying not to concede. It worked, but it was a frustrating game to watch. I would have much preferred it if they had gone into the game looking for away goals, would have been a less negative, boring game in the end. 

The Man Utd vs Arsenal game was similar, it was pretty much all one way traffic, with Man Utd bringing the game to Arsenal. Maybe the return legs of these semis will be more interesting. 

I also don't exactly like the fact that the Champions league is so dominated by English teams nowadays...thats why I'm backing Barcelona this year, I don't want another all english final. Man Utd vs Barca could be good. I'm also wanting to watch some more UEFA cup, as I like seeing fresh European clubs in action.

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga (PS2)

I've been playing quite a bit of Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga on the PS2 recently after beating DQIV. Its the first SMT game I've played (I'm keeping Persona 3 and 4 for later) and so far (I'm only about 8 hours in) I'm liking the visuals and character design, even if everything is very bleak and grey. Gives a really nice cyberpunk feel. Kinda odd that the characters are quite often so androgenous, but thats not too important, I like the cel-shaded way they are rendered. The turn based combat is quite interesting, I'm still getting used to aspects of the whole turn symbol thing, like exploiting enemies weaknesses, critical hits, misses, passing turns and how they affect the turn symbols. I picked the first one up for really cheap preowned (about £6) which might be because the box was a bit damaged, but I was still chuffed with that, I think its worth quite a bit more than that. So, just after starting this one, I ordered the second one in it's collectors edition cos I'm a sucker for limited ed stuff hehe. 

Got it for quite cheap (around £14ish) off and it arrived much quicker than expected. I'll have to  play through the first one and then get on to this asap. I read that you can transfer your save data, which is a nice feature. Only a few minor things about the first game that I don't exactly like so far; the random encounter rate seems a bit unbalanced, slightly too high at times, which can be frustrating when you are running round the large dungeons. Even the first dungeon in the game took me a good while. Comes as quite a shock after playing a game like DQIV with simple dungeons. Some of the monster designs are strange and at first I didn't particularly like them, but they aren't that bad really. The mantra system is one thing I like, but at the same time think it could be tweaked ever so slightly. I like skill trees like that in Diablo 2, and this is similar, but with more to it from what I can tell. You select which mantra you want to follow and you basically gain points towards mastering that mantra. When you get close to mastering and/or do master it, you will gain the skills associated with the mantra. So its pretty cool, but it kinda bugs me when my characters have mastered their mantras and I can't get to a karma temple to assign a new one. So that means any Atma Points (AP) that they get from battle goes to waste until I equip new mantras (which can only be done at certain points in the game) Also, the mantras become increasingly expensive as they get more advanced, this could be a problem but I'm not sure. I'll have to wait and see how much currency I get as the game progresses. Money is rewarded on how quickly, or effectively you beat enemies from what I can tell. They could have easily made it so you can download new mantras through your status screens via the tag ring or whatever that thing is the characters have. Would have been easier. 

I knew I recognised Jinana's voice actress. I looked her up on wikipedia and she had done quite a bit of other stuff, including Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The game as a whole has a really good voice cast, even though in some bits of the game the lines arent exactly put across amazingly...

Still, some good actors and actresses in the english track. Crispin Freeman (yay Alucard!), Yuri Lowenthal and many others; 

Other stuff I've found out; Dragon Age Origins will be getting Xbox 360 and PS3 releases! That bodes well for me who doesnt own a good enough PC to run it. I love Bioware, so I'm really looking forward to what has been described as a "spiritual Baldur's Gate 3." If its anywhere near as good as BGII, I'll be happy. I hadn't been keeping an eye on this title because I assumed it would be a PC only game, but this was good to find out! 

Star Ocean: The Last Hope (Xbox 360) has a PAL release date now, and it will be here on June 5th. I thought they would have got this one here quicker, but better late than never I guess. I know the game has had some criticism, but I still want to try it as visually it looks amazing and I've been looking forward to it for ages. Plus the battle system looks really fun. I'm gonna try and get ahold of the second game on the PSP and beat it and hopefully Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PS2) before I play this one. Yeah, I know this one is a prequel but might as well play them in the order they were released.

I'm also looking to get a hold of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, Riviera, Persona 4. But to be honest, I should really play through some of my backlog.

Too many games...RPGs take a lot of time to play, but hell I love em!

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