Captain Zoli's Review Blog
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Captain Zoli's Review Blog
Monday, 16 June 2008
The Age of Conan has Come
Mood:  not sure
Topic: The Weekend in Gaming

     Yes, it is true.  I have stayed on for Age of Conan after months of beta.  I wasn't sure I was going to, so much so that I had not pre-ordered a copy of the game (a mistake on my part).  I had, for quite some time leading up to the launch date, felt like although there were many things to like about AoC, that it would probably not be for me.  This was not exactly what I had hoped for either, being a huge Conan fan for as long as I can remember.  I had hoped the game would just be fantastic.  Truth is though; no game could ever meet the expectations that I would have for any game bearing the "Conan" name, despite the terrible games that had borne it previously.

     Having said all that, it was the reviews of the game leading up to and right after launch that changed my mind and caused me to give AoC another shot.  Not sure why, since I don't generally place that much emphasis on the reviews of others, especially after playing AoC in beta for so long.  I pretty much had a good an idea of what was going on with it as anyone else.  I guess in the final accounting, I just couldn't stay away.  Despite all the issues that the game has, and it has a few, it is just damn good fun to play.  The active combat system really makes up for a lot of the things that aren't that innovative in the game, or that are buggy or flat out broken.  

     So, AoC has been added to my already way too many games to play list, and I'm happy about it.  Not to mention Funcom seems to be working overtime to try and fix many of the issues the game has, releasing patches two times a week and reportedly working on more content for places that quests become rare and grinding necessary to continue leveling.  For all it's issues, man, the upside to this game could be amazing, depending on what the direction Funcom ends up taking it.  Those decisions could ultimately determine whether AoC builds on its initial launch success or becomes another in a long list of underperforming failures.


Link to Photo Album Age Of Conan




Posted by the Captain at 10:02 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, 16 June 2008 10:31 AM CDT
Monday, 14 January 2008
Uncharted among the Assassin's Creed
Mood:  lazy
Topic: The Weekend in Gaming

     And so the wife has pretty much taken over the PS3 to play Assassin's Creed.  This happened right after I finished my second assassination in the game, but it's been ok with me.  Given me a chance to do some reading (yes reading) that I have been meaning to do anyway.  Also, I managed to fit in Uncharted:  Drake's Fortune between her gaming sessions, which while no easy task, was worth the trouble.  It does continue a troubling trend of somewhat short, overpriced games that plagues this generation, however.

     Prior to my wife's interest in Assassin's Creed, I was making good progress with games that I had picked up over the past few months.  I finished Blue Dragon after around ninety hours of play, and also knocked out Conan for the PS3 in around seven and a half hours (another of the too short for the money games).  Both of these games were a good time, depite the length issues for the Conan title.  I was also able to spend an enormous amount of time with Call of Duty 4's (PC version) multiplayer games over this holiday season.  More on all this stuff to come.


Posted by the Captain at 2:12 PM CST
Monday, 19 November 2007
Taking a Break
Topic: The Weekend in Gaming

Actually, the title is kind of misleading. I haven't taken a break from gaming, just playing Blue Dragon. Don't get me wrong, it isn't going to be a long break. It has become an overriding mission to finish the game, but after putting in eighty or so hours, I needed a break.

So I began my break last weekend by playing through Heavenly Sword, with I borrowed from my brother. The game is a lot of fun. It looks great, the controls are responsive, and there are many great things to recommend about this game, unfortunately, game length is not one of them. Nor is difficulty level. The real tragedy of Heavenly Sword is that it could have be a great, great game, but for whatever reason the developer chose to short change the game, and left it as a could have been. Really, the game has two major shortcomings: it's short and it's too easy on default difficulty. Four to five hours, part of which is filler, just isn't enough to justify a $60.00 purchase. There really is no way around that and the replay value isn't high enough to help that issues either. This is made that much worse by the low level of difficulty that is brought to the table by the default setting. There is no real level of challenge until the last boss battle, and even then it isn't too much. Like I said, good game, just not enough to justify any more than a rental. Sixty bucks for this little game is a joke.


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Posted by the Captain at 9:45 AM CST
Monday, 1 October 2007
More Blue Dragon...
Topic: The Weekend in Gaming

Yes it's true, more Blue Dragon. I spent most of the weekend playing Blue Dragon, when I wasn't watching football or playing Pixel Junk Racers with my brother and Ash. Which is a good time, let me tell you. But after that stuff, it was Blue Dragon, Blue Dragon, and more Blue Dragon. Luckily, I have really been enjoying it. I don't think I've played a game this this much in this short a period of time since Enchanted Arms. I'm now almost fifty hours into the game, on the second disk, and generally just having a good time with it.

In other Blue Dragon news, there was some downloadable content on XBL for it this week. A little tidbit that added a couple of new difficulty levels, and the ability to start a new game with the characters from a late save from a previous game. The first difficulty level, hard, is supposed to be twice as hard as the original, and the second, impossible, is for characters level 50 and above. Not sure exactly how high a level character one needs to be to beat Blue Dragon, but my characters are all very close to level fifty already, and I'm on the second of the three disks. I tend to power level early though, so I can enjoy the rest of the game. While the new stuff is cool, I'm not sure that it is compelling enough to get me to play though a game this long again anytime soon. I'll most likely be moving on to Persona 3 or Growlanser: Heritage of War.


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Posted by the Captain at 10:48 AM CDT
Monday, 17 September 2007
Dragons, Dragons, and More Dragons
Topic: The Weekend in Gaming

So, what has been coming out for every console in sight recently, or at least the 360 and PS3? Games with dragons, and I have duly gone forth and acquired two of these highly anticipated games to try out for myself. The two games I speak of are Blue Dragon for the Xbox 360 and Lair for the Playstation 3. After spending a moderate amount of time with both, I feel qualified to put forth a preliminary opinion of both.

Blue Dragon is a fairly straight forward, paint by numbers Japanese style RPG (Role Playing Game) with a couple of twists brought to the 360 by some of the developers of the Final Fantasy series. So far, the story has been what I've come to expect from these types of games: Young hero forced to take action to save his village/nation/world/whatever. The graphics are nice, except for the strange haze they use liberally that can take it's toll on the eyes, and odd frame rate hits that I didn't expect for a game that doesn't really seem to push the hardware very hard. I enjoy the combat system, especially the way that combat can be initiated with several enemies at once, sometimes resulting in monster fights. Overall, at this point I would recommend the game to fans of the genre, but I don't think that it does anything to appeal to anyone outside of that group.

Lair on the Playstation 3 is a completely different animal than Blue Dragon. Lair is an action game from Factor 5, the developer of the Rogue Squadron games. Anyone that has played the Rogue Squadron games will find Lair very familiar, with the exception of the motion controls that are inexplicably forced on the player. The motion controls aren't abysmal, but it would have been nice to have a choice of control schemes instead of having one forced on me. The game is beautiful, graphically speaking, but does have a few minor issues. One is the lack of responsiveness of the 180 degree turn control mechanism. It only works rarely. The other issue I have so far is the mission structure. It mimics the structure found in Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike far too closely and does a great disservice to the story being told in Lair. Overall though, I've had fun with the game and would give it a recommendation to folks that aren't bothered by having to use motion controls.


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Posted by the Captain at 1:53 PM CDT

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