The Gamer’s Conscience 01.20.03

Ladies and Gentlemen (that just might be sarcasm on that first noun), after a whopping weeks absence, I’ve come back from the academic abyss I call “school” to answer the transmissions laid down by you fine people, the 411 Games reader! After opening the floodgates to your rants and opinions, I’ve waded and navigated through the deluge and have pulled up some relevant replies to my post Xmas predicament. So for those of you who have just browsed in!

On the 25th day of the last month of the last year, a Microsoft X-Box was found under the tree. Oddly enough, it had my name on it. A couple of weeks and one column into the new year, there stood a question: was the X-Box a worthy addition to my console repertoire, or was I looking at gaming’s equivalent of the Queen Mary? Is the current stable of games a viable one, or will the eyesore of green DVD-cases en mass be nothing but that very eyesore of green DVD-cases en mass?

To recap the unabridged version of the simplification above, a hearty link has been placed here, for your reading pleasure. Considerate, no?

Such is the conundrum, peeps. And such were the questions to quell.

The first entry comes by way of Seether00, whose handle immediately draws up very eerie memories of listening to the single of the same name from the now defunct Veruca Salt. Regardless, let’s read!

I have to say that the Xbox is my least favorite system. I own them all and I like it but not as much as the others. I got it because my brother loves DOA 3 , and once I saw Steel Battalion I knew I had to have it. And man it is worth it, the game is freaking hardcore, and difficult as hell. As always it comes down to the games, and the Xbox had the best version of BloodRayne available. So three cheers for not limiting ourselves. Brand loyalty my ass.

Oh yeah, get a 5.1 system. Dolby Digital, Prologic II and DTS. Games are going nuts. And a progressive scan TV. An HDTV is the last piece of equipment I need for the ultimate experience, wide screen baby!


Ahh, Seether, you mention the financial bane of any gamer whose hardcore-ness doesn’t match the wallet size: Steel Battalion. Apps like that do make we want to love the system to near death, and you’re absolutely right: it does indeed come down to the games. Your sentence, “I own them all and I like it but not as much as the others,” though seems to imply almost a sense of favoritism deficiency’ that I felt while composing the prior edition of the Gamer’s Conscious: you want to like the thing as much as other consoles, but one or two games aren’t going to do it. I can’t say much for BloodRayne, though, but later we’ll lightly attack the aspect of multiple console versions. And yes: 5.1 irrevocably kicks ass.

Next, Tempus takes the stage by going for the list approach. Games, games, games indeed!

GUNVALKYRIE: Yes, it’s supposed to be all caps. Made by Smilebit, who also did the wonderful Jet Set Radio Future, this is what Metroid Prime might’ve been like if done in third person.
Hunter: The Reckoning: Gauntlet done good, but killing zombies and machine-gun wielding vampires in hot pants.
Dead To Rights: About as close to a John Woo film simulator as we’re gonna get.
Hope these widen yr perspctives on yr new system…

Now, I can’t remember for the life of me where I had read it, but someone once reviewed GUNVALKYRIE as a Transformers game in disguise; if there’s any truth to this then it’ll be worth the time. Hunter leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, though. I recall playing this in a little town called Franklin TX at my cousin’s place this past summer, and it was the only non-Halo game that stuck in the head. Read = that’s good. As for DTR, the now dead Next Generation Magazine dubbed it a John Woo film simulator as well. It looks pretty like Max Payne, no doubt. But if it plays like it, I’ll not be won over. The point here is the games as well; this recurring theme that the games will make the system. To my knowledge, the items on Tempus’ list are all Box exclusives too. Good lookin’ out, Temp.

A gentleman I’ll call “Mr. Dean” also tipped his hat in with a list. The cautious/pragmatic approach is in effect here, as you’ll all soon read!

LOL!!!! Er, sorry.
This is but a brief suggestion of some other fine XBOX games, mister:

Splinter Cell – not really much like Metal Gear Solid, to be honest. Reminds me more of Deus Ex lite, in third person. Or something. Can get very frustrating, but I’ve kept playing it – and I don’t have much patience when it comes to games.
Morrowind – A real love it or hate it game. personally, I love it. There’s so much to do… so many places to go… if like me you enjoy exploration in games that doesn’t involve trundling through tons of dungeon in a manner akin to Dungeon Master or Eye of the Beholder, I suggest you try this out. A very rich game.
Project Gotham Racing is a decent racer (natch) that provides a more than worthy sequel to the Dreamcast’s MSR.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a surprisingly playable game. It has various
flaws, but it’s well worth a rental… but then, I’m a fan of the series. For
a non-fan, I couldn’t say. Probably just another (competent enough)
walk-along beat-em-up

There are others, such as Timesplitters 2 that do very well with the controller and, I have been told, have better texturing than their Gamecube or PS2 counterparts. But other than that, I admit I can’t think of any other must-have games for the XBOX that you haven’t already mentioned. Not yet, anyway.

Five titles, Mr. Dean. Splinter Cell seems like the only one from this list that even remotely has peaked my interest. And while the other titles probably have some semblance of playability, I can’t see myself reaching out for any of em.’ Such madness with the “LOL!” But because forgiveness is in effect, I’ll let that one slide!

Despite the nearly overwhelming temptation to edit this next one for length, I’m gonna hold true to the “unedited” clause and put this one up in it’s full, no- chalk full, glory on what will, in SFVis420’s words, will make the coming year fruitful for possessors of the Box!

I’ve never felt like even responding to one of your columns now. Quite frankly, I agree with you about….maybe 20% of what you said. I own a PS2 and Xbox, and anything Nintendo I avoid like the plague. Sorry, but I’m not “hardcore” enough to get into Animal Crossing, Pokemon, Mario(which I outgrew when I turned 12 many years ago), and the nostalgia games don’t make me nostalgic. Yeah, I went nuts for Super Metroid way back when…then did the exact opposit when the two new ones came out, and then became completely justified in my reasoning to not buy a GC or GBA after playing them. So pretty much all your Nintendo talk we had no agreement.

Your X-Box talk is where I found some agreement. Essentially your saying there’s not many great titles for it, and your right. Then again, out of the vast library of PS2 games, there’s not many great titles either. Sure, there’s more great PS2 games…but there’s also just flat out MORE games period. Hey, that’s the advantage of being out on the market a year longer…and not having such an advanced system to work with. While you did leave out some good X-box games, such as Splinter Cell, Unreal Championship, and Serious Sam(for the price…and if your not “hardcore”), there’s no deny your right. However, the future is bright for the X-Box. Throughout this year there’s going to be games released on X-Box that should, if all goes well, be great. Even if your not a Star Wars nerd that goes to conventions and dressed up like Darth Vader thinking he’ll get laid doing it, but you just liked the movies and like RPGS, there’s going to be Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. There’s going to be games like B.C. where you develop your own tribe of cavemen(and women) to survive back in those times. Halo 2 of course. Another Star Wars game, Star Wars Galaxies(also on PC) which is a MMORPG. There’s Gladius, which while coming out on all systems, looks and most likely plays better on the X-Box. Another MMORPG in True Fantasy Live, which is a stab at creating their own type of FF RPG. Not to mention the 2k3 Sports games, which are much better on X-box than PS2. Ninja Gaiden of course. For the GTA fans, True Crime:Streets of LA(again, better on X-Box). Then for RPG fans, or anyone who’s ever heard of an RPG and been looking for a reason to try it, the game that will change all RPGs, Fable. If you’ve heard nothing on this game, look it up. This game won’t be out for a while, but just knowing it will be out on X-Box made me happy I got an X-Box for Christmas.

Look, I know it may not seem like a good purchase now, but in the long run, you’ve got a powerful gaming machine…in face the most powerful right now, that is going to have a lot of great titles coming out this year. While PS2 still does have the better library, this will be the year that X-Box begins to narrow that gap, so congratulations on being ready for the coming year.

SFVis, the list you’ve tallied here is massive. Despite your distaste for the Nintendo franchises, your attention to the release list serves to quell all the major genres across the board. Variety is indeed a good thing. However, I can’t help but be skeptical about release dates. Patience is a virture that I can exercise when needed, but release dates in the Game industry have historically been words in the sand. But despite the pessimism that those last few sentences have implied, I can’t help be curious as to what the future will hold for the Box. At the very least, for Ninja Gaiden.

In the ASCI mayhem that is the inbox, some of our own 411 staffers jumped in to vent their feelings. One such character, Scott H Janisse, weighed in with a bit more decidedly non-Box friendly note, but I think the reason here is quite apparent!

As for your X-Box query…..
As a PS2 owner, I often see this “brand loyalty” mentality, particularly at my local Electronics Boutique. What bothers me the most is the simple fact that they lie to everyone who asks about Box V Station. Even though they have seen myself and my friend in there on more than one occasion, they play dumb and act like its the first time we have ever even HEARD of the X-Box. They then go on to tell us how great X-Box Live is, and how its completly 100% free, while PS2 owners have to pay upwards of 50 dollars PER GAME.
It really erks me that a professional company such as EB can employ such morons. Do they not realize that people have the internet? Im no X-Box genius, but I know for fact that LIVE is far from free. Constantly, they claim that Rockstar is working out a deal to make GTA4 exclusive to X-Box, wich is also false.
So, in conclusion, theres my experience with brand loyalty on a corprate level. I have to agree with what you said in your article tho. Just because the system CAN, doesnt mean it WILL.
If I were you, Id save up some coin and get a PS2 or Cube. Then you will have more selection when Box lets you down.
411 Games Reviewer

I own a PS2 too, Scott, so any future coin will be no doubt going towards the purchase of a Cube, or if I can find one, a Neo Geo Gold System. But that aside, Scott brings up another interesting notion that will be a coming topic on the Gamer’s Conscious, and that will have to do with the effect that retail chains have on gaming. The idea of brand loyalty’ rings here like party propaganda. And because of chumps like those that work at ELBO propagating it like wildfire, it makes the whole picture slanted and askew when trying to make some kind of sound decision on anything gaming related, let alone the X-Box. Pretentiousness runs at all time highs at many locations of theirs, and bias distortion convolutes any attempt at objectivity. Madness, Scott. Madness indeed.

And last but not least, the man who has dropped more columns in a one month span than a caffeine addict on a Game Gear playing Columns, 411’s Alex Lucard chimes in with the optimistic counterbalance so needed to offset Scott’s relatively dismal outlook!

Hey, there’s lots on the Xbox to enjoy. House of the Dead 3 (with the entire HOTD2 unlockable!), Morrowind for the RPG psychos, Fatal Frame, and a few other XBox exculsives worth buying the system for. Sure, most of it’s Sega or M$ itself, but we’ve all been saying since day one, @Xbox will die without Japanese support.’ Yet the system is still beating the Gamecube and and Xbox Live is selling like Krusty Brand Imitation gruel to 3rd world countries.

I’d like to think there is hope for the Xbox. It;s easier to program for than the PS2, is superior tech wise to the other systems that are out, and could kill a man if dropped off a ten story building. There’s no way to say what else is coming that is Xbox exclusive, but that’s true of all systems. Sony is going to be the King of third party support to offset their horrid first party games, while Nintendo and Xbox will continue to have fewer third parties games, but most games for those systems will be considered must have’ or at least pretty good’ except for those games ported to all systems. But when are those EVER good?

Oh yes, there is not and never will be a TF ROG game for any system. I was the writer on the Pen and Paper TF:G1 tabletop game for WOTC until it was scrapped because WOTC sucks eggs and because a TF game wouldn’t fit into the D20 system properly. And a video game has never even been discussed to Hasbro/WoTC (Same company) since the horrible Beast Wars games. And even if Hasbro did give consent (which it hasn’t) they still need Takara which is still rather steamed about the crappiness of the US only products Beast Machines and Armada. So kick Game Informer in the ass for lying.

See, there’s a certain attention to detail that Alex puts to good use. Insufferable nostalgia pains are cured by the revelation that the original House of the Dead 2 is unlockable on the sequel. However, there’s still this chant in the back of my mind that has never been adequately quelled since the Dreamcast days that goes something like “!first party light gun! wait for domestic first party gun! GUNNNNNNN!!!” As for the multiple console games, take a look at the Blood Omen series, or that of Soul Reaver 2; two games that carry on one of the most engaging storylines in the gaming world. With regards to the Transformers incarnations, I’m still holding out. If there’s the least bit of propensity to be had in a coming good game, I’ll be the first in line.

So after all this discussion, you might be wondering if I have made up my mind since the publication date of the last Gamer’s Conscious entry. After all, it has been a week since the thing was posted, and a little more than over when it was drafted. There has had to be movement in the domestic camp I call home here in Santa Monica CA, right?

Well, to tell you all the honest truth, it’s appeared so far to be a not-so-bad machine. Not only did Jet Set Radio Future continue to grow on me, but SEGA appears to be keeping the bandwagon rolling on future quality titles like Panzer Dragoon Orta. With a little price matching action I found Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 which in itself is a great game. But what really did it was the custom soundtrack feature, which allows me to bypass some horrible tracks on there and replace them with Rush’s Vapor Trails or a 151-song playlist spanning 8 or 9 albums by Bad Religion. The homebrew scene is alive and poppin’ with some of really great apps as well- but that’ll be for future Gamer’s Conscious topics. And after reading what you’ve all put down that you felt was worth reading, I think I’m probably going to give this thing a chance.

Discussion for better gaming, and the dialog that moves it forward.

That’s the Gamer’s Conscious.

And, as promised, almost commercial free!
If you’ve read that entire thing, I commend your efforts. And if you have need of a CD-RW Drive, read further.

A couple of weeks ago, I procured a Brand New, never opened, Memorex 48x24x48 Internal CD-RW Drive. However, I figure that I have more use for this piece of equipment instead. The drive retails for about 80 bones, but I’d be willing to get rid of it for $65 plus shipping. Look hard enough, and you’ll find some literature that’ll help get it running at 52x24x52. If you’re interested, you can use this link to e-mail me.

Next week, the Gamer’s Conscious will be back to it’s non-mailbag self, as in the meantime I’ll be trying to devise a way to create a readable synthesis of column and feedback- complete with whatever the hell it takes to earn your readership. So keep it coming. I’m sure Juno doesn’t mind!
Until next time!