Mid-Week Mid-Boss v2.11

Hey yo. Welcome back to the Mid-Week Mid-Boss.

In case you couldn’t tell, my excitement level is going pretty crazy right now. I don’t know why, but once I get excited about something, it just kind of builds until it lets off. Like a snowball. And right now I can think of little else other than getting to install my Xbox 360. Walmart said they shipped it, and with any luck, I will have received it by the time you read this. I even have a place on my entertainment center all set up. I’ve got two games for it (Condemned and Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland) and I really hope that I can play them on Turkey Day.

So anyway, this week is rather subdued. I probably got a little lazy (what else is new?) but it’s a good type of lazy. There’s plenty of hate to go around. I even hate on some old favorites that haven’t been mentioned here since my return! So I hope you enjoy that.

Ubisoft to Release Drakengard 2 in US and UK
While no exact date has been set, Ubisoft will handle publishing rights for Drakengard 2 in both the United States and United Kingdom. While not so surprising about their publishing deal in the UK (since they released Star Ocean 3 and Final Fantasy XI there), it’s rather odd that they are publishing Drakengard 2 considering Squeenix has a large presence here. I guess they didn’t deem the title “big” enough, and Ubisoft wants a piece of that pie. Or something.
(Credit: RPGFan)

Jack Thompson Gets the Boot from Alabama Case and Hates on Amazon
I don’t know if you remember, but a couple of weeks ago, the always moronic Jack Thompson filed a motion to withdraw from the case in Alabama. You know, the frivolous one against Sony, Rockstar, et al. Well, the judge on the case pretty much said, “Umm, no. You can’t withdraw, but I’ll boot your ass off the case!” Jackie Boy did what he always does in response and wrote a nasty letter to the Alabama courts.

Also recently, Jack’s book went on sale. And some adventurous souls did some great things to it on Amazon. If you do a search for Jack Thompson, his book comes out on top. But underneath is a bunch of books on sex techniques and even gay sex. Apparently Amazon goers took it a step further and there are over a hundred reviews, almost all of which are 1 star (out of 5) and bash the book relentlessly. Oh, and these awesome people even used Amazon tags to link the book with other books about “lies”, “slander” and “self-promoting with fake reviews”.

Naturally, Jack-off his Teenie-weenie Thompson (yes, sophmoric and lame, but I spent a good 10 seconds thinking of it!) did what he always does in these situations: wrote a nasty letter and threatened litigation. Oh, this is all too funny. God bless Jack Thompson for being the biggest legal buffoon I’ve ever seen.
(Credit: Game Politics)

Sony Likes to Rape Themselves
First, a rumor debunker. I don’t remember where I read it (probably Evil Avatar), but someone from Sony has officially denied any plans to prevent used games and rentals from working on PS3s. They said, and I paraphrase, “Any PS3 game can be played on any PS3.” That’s good news.

The question is: has Sony done irreparable damage in almost every other aspect of their business? First off, the completely retarded rootkit was discovered, which leaves your computers vulnerable to viruses, malware and hackers. (And the RIAA basically said they did nothing wrong with it!) Sony ignored the issue as long as they could before finally saying “Sorry!” People were calling for the heads of every Sony exec before they finally recalled all the CDs with the rootkit on it. And now, they’re FINALLY making amends by giving you the same CDs with the MP3s on them. Way to f*cking go, Sony. It still doesn’t solve the overall problem now: will anybody TRUST you with anything having to do with their computer? I know I won’t. Neither does Texas. The DA from there is suing Sony. Sweet!
(Credit: Slashdot, Evil Avatar)

Kevin Bachus Leaves Infinium Labs
Sweet! Ever since the apparent death of WhereisPhantom?, I’ve been missing out on good Phantom news. And finally, some good news has arrived! Keven Bachus has left the company! I guess he wised up and cut his losses and left. Maybe the investors realized the whole thing is a sham and refused to pay him anymore. Either way, there is a new CEO in town, and the company still hasn’t admitted defeat. Expect them to ship with their only exclusive title, Duke Nukem Never.
(Credit: Evil Avatar, Gamecloud)

Last week, I bought Dragon Quest VIII, and got Fatal Frame III from Gamefly. Those both get reviews, so you’ll have to wait on them.

But here’s my impressions on the Final Fantasy XII demo that game with DQVIII.

First off, combat is more like combat found in MMOs than in previous Final Fantasy games (except XI of course). Previously, battles would be random and you could get attacked almost anywhere at anytime. In XII however, you can see all enemies on the screen and they have aggro like in an MMO. For example, you can walk right by certain enemies and they won’t attack unless you attack them. But with most enemies, if you get close enough, you are attacked. Battles are mostly real-time, but you can set it to Active or Wait modes. Wait means that when you bring up the battle menu, it pauses the action, whereas in Active, it keeps going when the menu is up. And basically you choose attack before you are ready, and it will attack when you are ready (kind of like the old ATB system, but everything’s going at once). So really, battles are completely different than before, and move a lot faster in my opinion.

I can’t speak on much else since that’s about all there is is combat. I didn’t get to see any mini-games or anything like that. The graphics are spectacular in quality, just as you’d expect, but the character designs are pretty lame. Vaan reminds me of a shorter and smaller in stature version of Tidus (not to mention more feminine). Ashe looks like a Yuna clone, except uglier. And the rest of the main characters just look generally generic and boring. What the f*ck? Why can’t they get some good looking characters? Enough with the blonde main characters with overly goofy outfits and their ugly female counterparts! Bash FF VIII all you want, but it had some of the most unique designs I’ve seen in FF games in a long time, and sadly, there has been a severe lack in good designs since.

I’ll wait until the actual game to have any opinions on sound. Almost all dialogue (which was just in the trailers) was in Japanese, except for an awful English voiceover which was probably done by a Square employee.

Overall, I’m not really any more excited about FF XII. I’ll get it, I’m sure, but I just don’t know how good it will be. I guess I’ll see.

I know I promised Aquarian Age last week, but I’m gonna take the cop out route and review something a little shorter.

Spirited Away
As you are aware, I’m not the biggest Miyazaki fan, or anime movie fan for that matter. But I have heard sooo many good things about this one that I had to watch it. To be perfectly honest, it starts out really slow and annoying, but it picks up after 30-45 minutes and gets really, really good.

The story is about a little girl named Chihiro. Her and her parents are moving to a new town, and she’s not happy about it in the least. She’s pretty much a spoiled brat, and makes her thoughts known. I had to make a similar move when I was her age, and I certainly don’t remember being quite as an ass about it, but it’s been a long time so maybe my memory deceives me. Anyway, her dad takes a wrong turn, and they end up in front of a tunnel.

Her parents get dumb and say “oh, hey, let’s explore this weird tunnel that we have no idea where it goes”. So they walk down and come out in a meadow on the other side. Chihiro’s dad thinks it’s an amusement park, so he wants to explore, but Chihiro gets really scared. With good reason, too, because her parents start to eat food like pigs, and consequently, turn into pigs themselves. Chihiro is scared and lost, and becomes even more scared when night falls and the citizens of this spirit world come out and play.

What follows is journey of growth and learning for Chihiro, who must get a job for the witch Yubaba in a bathhouse for spirits. She must use the name Sen, and work very hard, but in the process, she impresses a great deal upon the other workers there, and they all grow to love her.

While Chihiro is very annoying at the very beginning, she really grows on you. She still isn’t the most complex character of the show though. There are other great characters such as Lynn, Kamaji, and Haku. All these characters help paint a wonderful picture of this fantastical world that no human eyes are supposed to see.

And though I’ve never been a fan of the art style that Studio Ghibli employs, this show is different. Though I didn’t quite like the massive use of CGI effects, they are relatively well done.

The voice acting was pretty good, but not the best. Most of the VA’s were people who have done Disney movies before, and it appears that they didn’t take their typical route of finding big name actors to fill the roles. Still, I didn’t like Chihiro’s voice at all. Even when the character wasn’t annoying, the voice itself annoyed me. That’s what I get for being an English dub whore.

Overall, it was a very good show. Much better than I expected when it started. So props for all the awards Miyazaki-san won, because I finally think he deserves them.

Overall Score: B

I got in the last two discs of Taken and got to watch those.

Steven Spielberg’s Taken (Discs 4 and 5 of 5)
There wasn’t a better stopping point in the series than between discs 3 and 4. Discs 1 through 3 tells the story of 3 generations, and Discs 4 and 5 are all in the same time period and focuses on Dakota Fanning’s character, which is the narrator.
We learn more about why the aliens are abducting people. And like the previous 3 discs, it features government characters you hate and wish they would die. The story is still excellent, and it’s nice to see it be cohesive, but the story progression is also slower. Though, oddly enough, it doesn’t FEEL slower. And you really grow attached to the characters because you get to know them better.

All in all, this series is really good, though very long. I highly recommend it if you’re into sci-fi in any way.

Overall Score (for all 5 discs): B+

I also finally got to see a movie I had been excited to see.

I’m a f*cked up movie buff. Not like Faces of Death or anything stupid like that, but movies that screw with your mind. A lot of blood doesn’t hurt either. And I loved the first movie, so I was really looking forward to the second. I won’t spoil a thing here though, not for the first or second.

The story is about a cop who gets into a fight with his son, and then is unable to find him the next day. It turns out that his son, along with several other people, are trapped in a house by the Jigsaw killer. They are all inhaling toxic gas that will kill them if they don’t find antidotes that are hidden around the house. So they have to work together to stay alive.

What continues from there is a wild, wicked and vile movie that is just as smart and well written as the original, yet with a much higher shooting budget, which means better effects. And they can actually afford the blood this time around, and they don’t hold back.

Personally I think this movie is better than the original. There is more cohesiveness and more thought put into certain things, and it’s just a better made movie overall. If you’ve seen the first, and you haven’t seen the second, you have GOT to go out and see it. It’s awesome.

Overall Score: A

In the TV world, there was, of course, LOST. This episode was great. Nothing really earth shattering, but still some really good stuff. You learn a lot about Ana Lucia and Eko’s characters. They also made it more obvious that Cindy (the black haired chick who disappeared in the previous week’s episode) was the flight attendant who gave Jack the extra bottle of vodka. This week’s episode looks like it’ll be good. FINALLY, I’m getting really excited about the show again.

The Xbox 360 Launch Guide as put together by Pandich, with 5 games by yours truly. It shouldn’t be TOO much of a stretch to figure which ones. Hint, they’re all clumped together too!

My review for Castlevania: Curse of Darkness. To be honest, I thought the review was better when I was writing it. But I think my Fatal Frame 3 one is a lot better anyway.

Other game reviews: Mario Party 7 by Tom N, TMNT3 also by Tom N, and The Warriors by Michaelangelo.

Pulse Cannon by O’Reilly. No, not the one on Fox. No, not the auto parts store either. The one on this site, that does Pulse Cannon. THAT O’Reilly. Understand now?!

Eric S. hates me. He said so. And he has every reason to I suppose. But hey, I support the Bears! And I have every year, even all those years that they weren’t all that good. I deserve some credit for that.

Lucard talks only about food. Since I don’t cook, and I don’t really appreciate finer dining, I pretty much didn’t read any of it. I’m just not very cultured though, I guess.

Michaelangelo loves him some Hairy Pooter. Admittedly, I enjoy the series myself, both in book and film form. I just wish I could have a taste of what some of these people have earned on the franchise.

Duran likes to get LOST.

Come back next week, when I’ll HOPEFULLY be able to give you a full blown look at what makes the 360 so grand. Assuming I get it in like I hope.

Anyway, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Eat some bird. And stay away from anything called “Tofurkey” because that shit is NASTY.