Mid-Week Mid-Boss v2.08

Hey yo. Well, here were are, back for yet another week of goodies. Nothing too terribly big happening this week. Just more of the stuff you’re used to.

I’d like to say that at some point in the near future, I hope to clean up the column a bit, make it more presentable and pleasing to the eye. I just haven’t done so yet because I’ve been so busy doing other stuff for the column and the site in general, not to mention doing real life stuff, but I hope to be able to spiff it up in a few weeks or less. We’ll see.

Also, don’t be TOO surprised to see anime making a much bigger return. I won’t go to the depths that I did before, but I may bring out my full reviews at some point. So don’t be too shocked if that happens.

So until that stuff happens, I’ve got a plain old boring column here. Anyway, hope you enjoy it. Read on, for your father’s sake!

Blizzard has finally announced what the big brouhaha was about at their Blizzcon show. As everybody and their dog expected, they announced a new expansion for World of Warcraft, called The Burning Crusade. Cool features include raising the level cap to 70 and a new playable race for the Horde and Alliance. The Horde whiners who wanted a “pretty” race finally got what they wanted, because they’re getting Blood Elves as their race. Mmmm, they’re hawt. So now you can expect a bunch of people to roll Blood Elves and make the population of that particular race insane. The rumored Alliance race will be the draenei or whatever (it’s been a while since I played), which will mean they finally get an ugly race, which no one will play. Still, that’s only a rumor.

There were a few other details about the expansion, including “blah” and “meh” details such as items being socketable and a new tradeskill called Jewelcrafting, which no one will devote time or one of their two skills on. There is currently no release date set.
I apologize if I sound bitter, but this is kind of a disappointment. Yes, it’s nice that the Horde will finally get a pretty race, but that just means that everyone and their dog will have a Blood Elf alt on the Horde side. (For the record, when I played, I did have a Night Elf alt (3 actually) but I had at least one of every class and one of every race). I think Socketable items are TOTALLY lame. I hated them in Diablo, and I don’t think they’ll be any better here. I give Blizzard mad probs for their game making skillz, but going to socketed items in every game is kind of dumb. (Source: Pretty Much Everywhere)

Over in Japan, the Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association has held their CESA Game Awards, which gives awards to top quality games for January 2004 through March 2005. The big winner of the night was Dragon Quest VIII, which picked up Game of the Year and Biggest Seller of the Year. A few other high profile RPGs were awarded with “Game Awards Future” awards (whatever that means). They are Kingdom Hearts II, Tales of the Abyss, Final Fantasy XII, and Rogue Galaxy.
Level 5 must be riding high after their big wins. DQVIII is the best selling PS2 game to date in Japan, which really comes as no surprise, but is good to hear anyway. Level 5 is a great company, and I think they’re definitely moving on to the big time, and Rogue Galaxy looks to be another incredible game by them. (Source: RPG Fan)

Bethesda has released some sad, sad information. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has been pushed back to “Early 2006”. Of course, they say the need the extra time to make the game better.
I HATE it when this happens. I don’t want to bag on Bethsoft too much because I have a friend that works there, and I know this happens everywhere, but when they keep claiming a game will be a launch title, and it keeps getting pushed back, it’s kind of disappointing. Oblivion was one of the reasons I wanted to get a 360 so early. And if they push it bad anymore (as in, if it goes past March 2006), it will be very upsetting. (Source: RPG Fan)

Marvelous Interactive has announced 3 new Harvest Moon games. The first (which was actually announced before recently) is called “Innocent Life – Shin Bokujou Monogatari” and is like Harvest Moon plus puzzles, and is for the PSP. The second is “Rune Factory – Shin Bokujou Monogatari” for the DS, and sounds like Harvest Moon plus Pokemon. The third is Bokujou Monogatari Online, which is a Harvest Moon online title. No word if it will be released on PC or just consoles or what.
Meh, meh, YAY! Harvest Moon would make a great online game and could be a whole lot of fun. Though who knows if it’ll be released in America or not. (Source: RPG Fan)

Well, I haven’t been able to play a whole heckuva lot in the past week. My main game has been Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. It started out being a lot of fun. The courtroom battles were pretty neat to begin with. Sadly, the whole game soon began to wear on me. The story was interesting for a while, but kept dragging on and on and nothing ever seemed to go your way. After the first chapter, you spend more time outside of the courtroom playing detective by examining crime scenes and interrogating witnesses than you do in the court. Overall, I have a good opinion of the game, I just think they took it in the wrong direction. Props to Capcom though, for making a unique game and bringing it to America.

I will be reviewing Civilization IV for the site, so you’ll have to wait for my feelings on that, but if it gives you any indication, I started playing late Saturday night and didn’t stop until 5 or 6 in the morning on Sunday. That was my first game. I had to extract myself from the computer by force. I had gotten up to go to the bathroom, then sneaky me went and saved it and closed it down. I started right back up on Sunday after a few hours of sleep though.

I also made time to play Donkey Konga 2 for about 20 mins or so. It arrived from Gamefly and I wanted to try it out. Glad I didn’t buy it on impulse. It wasn’t near as good as the first, and the first wasn’t the best rhythm game to begin with, and this was worse. The songs were almost all crap. And the ones that weren’t were STILL crap because they weren’t the originals. Having some crappy cover band do the songs isn’t cool.

Ok, before I mention anything else, I have to mention this. If you are an ADV Fan, go HERE. It’s an AWESOME sale that ADV is having. It’s a TSRI quality sale. Seriously. Here’s what I got: Aquarian Age Discs 1 (with box), 2 and 3. Noir Discs 3, 5 and 7. RahXephon Motion Picture (with box). Noir Wall Scroll. Noir Playing Cards. Grand Total, with shipping? $70!! OMFGWTFPWN?! I had to get Noir 4 and 6 from someplace on Amazon.com, but still, there were some great deals going on here.

I also wanted to mention that I got the latest issue of Newtype. The episodes on the demo disc were pretty good. The new Ah My Goddess TV show was TOTALLY lackluster. The voice acting wasn’t right at all, but it was by Media Blasters, and well, they suck. I don’t know why Geneon didn’t pick it up, but I bet Media Blasters had some sort of “first dibs” option or something. Either way, I probably won’t buy it unless I can get a good deal on the whole set later. Mystical Detective Loki Ragnarok was interesting, but kind of weird. Silly though. And the last one was called Godannar which seems to be a very fanservicy spoof of mech shows. My brother may end up getting it so I won’t have to.

I was going to review this LAST week, but the disc that Blockbuster sent me wouldn’t play. So I just now got a good one in.

NausicaÃÆ’¤ of the Valley of the Wind
This is a series I had always heard about and heard was very popular. But then again, anything by Miyazaki is loved by many. Just look at some of his other films, such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. Studio Ghibli is like Japan’s Disney (which I think Lucard himself said in his Shining Force Neo review), and it’s no surprise that Disney was the studio that got its grubby hands on this one for American Distribution.

My biggest problem with Disney releasing anime is that they would rather get BIG NAMES to dub their shows than get people who do it for a living. While the always excellent Patrick Stewart plays his role very well, Alison Lohman (who plays the title character) isn’t very good at all. It surprises me that she was cast because I’ve never heard of her nor have I seen any of her movies. Another BIG NAME who performs terribly is Uma Thurman. Very few of the voice cast actually do a good job at their roles, which is a pity.

The artwork is excellent, but that’s to be expected considering the source. On the flipside, the sound effects and music were really weird. The show was made in the 80’s so they use a lot of synth in both the music and sound effects. There is a total of 1 or 2 good musical pieces, but the rest all sound like they came from an NES era video game.

The story doesn’t fare much better. It clearly has a message that it keeps trying to drive home, but I’d rather have an enjoyable and unpredictable story than something that is trying to tell me that nukes are bad. Maybe it was a big deal in the 80’s, but it’s not the case now. And sadly, the story is utterly predictable. The characters (well, a couple of the characters anyway) are enjoyable, but not much else good can be said.

Overall, this was probably a fantastic movie at the time. If I had watched the sub, maybe I would have liked it more, but overall the story was terribly dull and predictable and it just didn’t do anything for me. Then again, I’ve never been a big anime movie person for the simple fact that the stories are too big for their britches.

Overall: C-

Well, it was a busy weekend for me and I watched several movies and other things.

The 4400 (Season 1 Disc 1)
Well, I was supposed to be watching all of Season 1, but Blockbuster Online sent me TWO disc ones. So I saw just disc 1. It’s really good so far. I like the writing a lot, and the acting is pretty good too. The premise is excellent. The show is in its 2nd season now, and has been picked up for a third. Hopefully the 2nd season DVDs will come out before long.

28 Days Later
Since I’ve kind of been on a zombie kick, I’ve heard this was one of the better ones made recently. And the story was interesting, but I wasn’t a fan over the overuse of quick cuts. I prefer to SEE what’s going on. Quick cutting (which is, unfortunately, really popular with filmmakers nowadays) gives me a headache. The acting was pretty good at least. Things were a little too predictable for my tastes. Anytime they would begin a scene, I could usually tell how it would be. Cillian Murphy is one of my new favorite actors. He’s much better as a bad guy though. He was probably my favorite part about Batman Begins. Which reminds me, I need to rent Red Eye when it comes out.

The Shining (Kubrick’s Version)
It’s been a while since I’ve seen this movie, but damn, it never ceases to creep me out. Nicholson is excellent as always. It’s too bad that Shelley Duvall plays his wife though. I wanted her to die so bad.

Chappelle’s Show (Seasons 1 and 2)
Man, I wasn’t planning on getting this, but it was only $20 for season one and $25 for season two at Walmart. That’s cheaper than one f*cking disc of anime, and you get a full season for it. That’s about a 1/3 or 1/4 of the price of a full season of anime. And Chappelle’s Show was, hands down, the best comedy on TV. The extras are excellent, and this is just a fantastic buy. It’s a pity what happened to Chappelle, and I hope to hell that he can get his shit together and will keep making the show. I know it’s not likely, but I can hope can’t I?

On to TV shows.

Lost – Last week they said that Lost wouldn’t have any new episodes for 3 weeks, but our local TV listing said it was a new episode. The local listing was wrong, and it was a repeat. Boo.

Ghost Whisperer – This episode was the worst of the year in my opinion. The story was totally blah, and the acting was some of the worst. The two young supporting actors were awful. And you gotta love the totally fake goth chick. She listens to Morissey? Isn’t he the most totally generic artist that goths were attracted to? For that matter, weren’t they attracted to him years ago? I’m not big on the goth scene so I don’t know for sure. One thing I DO know is that if she was a TRUE goth (which they were obviously going for since her face was painted white), she would have dyed her hair black. But with as pretty as hair as the actress had, I’m sure she wouldn’t have gone for that. Just overall, a bad episode. The more I think about it, the less I like this show overall. I’ll still give it a week or so to be sure though.

Threshold – Dammit, another rerun. I was told this was to introduce people to the show that missed it the first time around. Blah. I want new shows.

Sunday, Monday
NFL Football – Yay, the Cowboys won! And the Dolphins beat the Aints! But the Eagles got creamed. Boo. Screw this, it’s no fun talking about football every week.

Bones – Bones was a new episode tonight!! And I totally forgot about it! Which is pretty indicative of how I felt about the show. Any momentum they had was KILLED by the f*cking baseball playoffs, so now I don’t care about the show. Oh well. No big loss.

My Name Is Earl – I love where they have been taking this show. The episode was so sweet and touching, yet hilarious at the same time. How often can you say “awww, how sweet” when a man gets a knife thrown into his leg? Not often. Somebody give Jason Lee an Emmy please. That man deserves it. Best New Comedy (do they have that?) easy.

The Office – What a hilarious episode. From the start to the end, it was great, great stuff. Dwight, Michael and Jim are so f*cking funny that anything they do is golden. This is a great show because me and my friends at work use it as our “water cooler” show where we say “man, that was hilarious when he was gonna hock a loogie in his mouth!” and stuff like that. That’s what makes it so fun.

I had two reviews come out this week. Romancing SaGa was posted about the same time as my column last week, so I couldn’t pimp it there. And Blitz: The League was posted this week. I shafted both games, but I felt shafted playing both games anyway, so it’s only fair.

On a side note, I got an email from Kraig Kujawa, the Lead Designer for Blitz: The League. As is to be expected, the didn’t agree with what I had to say about the game, but I explained to him that it was genuinely how I felt, and I explained why. He was very nice about it though and wasn’t a jerk like many people can be. Still, this has turned out to be quite an interesting story. And this may not be the last Blitz title I review for the site, if you can believe that.

Also from games: The Angry Gamer (you will be missed LC, hope to see you back soon!), Fire Emblem (GC), Cold War, and Phoenix Wright.

Lucard is stealing my shtick and doing a survey! It’s all good though. You should take it. It sounds pretty interesting. While you’re at it, check out his Shining Force Neo review.

Gloomchen talks about music for the road. I loves me fast and loud music when on a road trip. Lords of Acid makes for some great tunes when rolling through a small hick town. Got the windows down, and the music blaring “I wanna see your pussy, show it to me!” Ah, nothing is better.

ML Kennedy wants you to know that The Ring sucks. And he’s right. It’s vastly overrated, and wasn’t even remotely scary. I thought Saw was much, much better in the “holy f*ck this is creepy” factor, even though it wasn’t supernatural. And yes, ghosts can be scary. I always get scared when playing a Fatal Frame game.

Yet another week has come and passed. It is time to go at last. But I will be back again next week. So don’t miss out cuz I’m a FUCKIN GEEK! Or something.