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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Once Upon a Time

I'm a big fan of RPGs. I like the adult themes of Western RPGs after having played through games like Morrowind, Oblivion, and the Fallout series. But I will admit that Final Fantasy X and its ilk stands out as some of my all-time favourite RPGs due to their epic story lines and amazing cut-scenes. Why am I bringing this up? I was just reading over some news at Joystiq and happened upon some updated release information and new trailers for a number of RPGs coming to the Xbox 360 over the next little while.

Let's take a look at the games that will eat up all of my free time in the next couple years.

Blue Dragon(August 2007, Microsoft Game Studios)

I picked up Blue Dragon a few months back for $30 from Blockbuster. I've played the game for a whole 6 hours; there is still lots for me to do.

The game has great graphics though the game-play is fairly generic for an RPG. The achievements are also quite difficult to clear so I'll be focusing more on enjoying the story as opposed to trying to level up my characters to pick up all 1000 GamerPoint. Frankly, this plan suits me just fine when dealing with a large, bloated J-RPG.

Eternal Sonata(September 2007, Namco Bandai)

I got myself a factory-sealed copy of Eternal Sonata off of eBay for a great price. I really wanted to try this game and I paid next to nothing for it! The graphics are hard to describe but quite gorgeous (and I mean that in the manliest sense possible). I've played all of 30 minutes but am anxious to see the story through to the end.

From what I've read, Eternal Sonata requires a second play-through to clear the bulk of the game's achievements. I can tell you right now that I will not be playing this game twice. I just don't have the time. However, I'll do my best to clear the MGC average gamerscore of 85 GamerPoint for Eternal Sonata.

Lost Odyssey(February 2008, Microsoft Game Studios)

I haven't picked up a copy of Lost Odyssey yet. I'm sure that I'll happen upon a cheap version on eBay at some point in the near future. I've read some pretty good reviews for this game. Although it was created with a more mature crowd in mind, this game is rated "T" and contains no controversial material. It's so refreshing to see a game that can engage adults without resorting to graphic violence or T & A (though I don't fault the game industry for simply meeting marketplace demand for sex and violence).

I'll most likely play Lost Odyssey this Summer or late Fall depending on the release of Force Unleashed.

Tales of Vesperia(August 2008, Namco Bandai)

Honestly, I know very little about Tales of Vesperia. It's a traditional RPG. It looks incredible. That's good enough for me!

Infinite Undiscovery(September 2008, Square Enix)

Square Enix is awesome! Although I've missed the past couple Final Fantasy games (XI was an MMORPG and I never had the chance to play XII), I'm looking forward to seeing how well Square Enix makes use of the Xbox 360's horsepower. Although I believe that The Last Remnant will be probably be better than Infinite Undiscovery, it doesn't really matter all that much to me: Square Enix makes great RPGs. Period.

Too Human (August 2008, Microsoft Game Studios)

I loved Diablo and Diablo II for the PC. If things go well, it looks like Too Human might fill the void of quality hack-n-slash RPGs on the Xbox 360. Unlike other RPGs on my list, I'll have to wait and see what's said about this game when released. I think Too Human will either be awesome or severely disappointing. Screenshots look promising but the tale will be told in the story, gameplay, and graphics. Of course, Too Human is also one of those games that I fear may go down the "boobie" path in an attempt to increase visibility and sales; I'll defer my excitement until Too Human is rated by the ESRB.

UPDATE: I hadn't realized that Too Human had already been rated by the ESRB: T for Teen. Nice - no controversy means that I'll pick up my copy of Too Human when it hits store shelves if the reviews look good!

Fallout 3(Q4 2008, Bethesda Softworks)

Fallout and Fallout 2 were two of the best games that I've ever played! The atmosphere and story were great in both games. And as long as Bethesda doesn't screw things up, Fallout 3 could be a contender for Game of the Year. My only concerns at this point revolve around any "adult" content that Bethesda may feel is necessary to inject into their game. Here's hoping they stick with a "Mass Effect"-type controversy instead of going full blown GTA-controversial!

The Last Remnant (Q1 2009, Square Enix)

The Last Remnant looks like it could be the next best thing to Final Fantasy if the trailer below is any indication. I really hope that they have a confusing, drawn-out, and over-the-top storyline that really gets me invested in the outcome of the game and its effect on the various characters along for the ride. One thing I do know is that Square Enix is saying that The Last Remnant was developed with both a Western and Japanese audience in mind; it'll be interesting to see how well they knows their global audience.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope (2009, Square Enix)

I never played any Star Ocean games. But again, we're talking Square Enix. And I'll have to admit that the trailer looks pretty cool too!

Starting tonight, I'm going to focus a little more heavily on RPGs for a while with a little Table Tennis, Condemned 2, and G.R.A.W. on the side. I should be able to complete both Blue Dragon and Eternal Sonata in time for the release of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed which hits shelves in September. I guess this site will become a little less achievement-centric for a little while as I battle my way through various J-RPG-type enemies such as multi-coloured blobs, cute animals carrying weapons to devastating effect, and other bizarre and deceptively vicious creatures.

I'll try not to post spoilers. Instead, I'll try and give a generic sense of what's happened in the games I've played. I'm sure I can come up with some stuff to keep all of you entertained as I bask in the shame of being a father and husband playing various RPGs of the Western and Japanese variety.

I'll probably tackle Eternal Sonata first. It's quite a bit shorter than Blue Dragon which is a nice change of pace for an RPG. I just hope that I'll be able to play as someone other than a little girl with an umbrella soon. I'm secure in my manhood; however, it's impossible to seem manly while controlling a little girl using her umbrella to fight off a rowdy crop of vegetables!