Squared away

Hey kids! It’s an all-Square update. Well, Square Enix. Eh, whatever.

ITEM THE FIRST. I know what you’re thinking: Oh god, he’s posted a Xenogears pic. I thought he promised we were done with this nonsense. Actually, yeah, we are. It’s just that, according to The Internet, Square Enix will be releasing a bunch of its old games on PlayStation Network. (In Japan only, of course. What, did you think good retro DLC would come to the U.S.? You sad, disappointed dreamer, you.) Among the titles included is, obviously, Xenogears. I can tell I’m getting soft in my old age, because I actually found myself thinking, “Hey, I might actually play that if I could download it onto my PSP.” Somebody, please punch me until I come to my senses.

ITEM THE SECOND. The new issue of EGM appears to have hit the first batch of subscribers and is already causing no end of heartache, since this is the first issue in which many of the three-man reviews have been supplanted by solo write-ups. I personally think the single-writer reviews are good, because I can present a far more thorough critique in 350 words than in 90. I’m not sure that three cramped blurbs do any game justice now that the medium has grown more complex — it’s a good change that reflects the current state of the medium. In any case, among said solo reviews are my critiques of Final Fantasy IV and Chocobo’s Dungeon, and I can’t decide which game’s message board reactions bemuse me more. I am definitely surprised to learn FFIV has been grievously slighted with a solid “good” rating; but Chocobo’s Dungeon received even higher marks, and somehow that appears to have invalidated the review, according to the game’s fans. The idea that a good score for a game you like should be cause for suspicion is a sort of pretzel logic that leaves me baffled. I realize the obvious solution is to stop reading forums, but you know how addictive it can be to watch insanity in action.

ITEM THE THIRD. I am now plowing my way through the U.S. version of Dragon Quest IV, which might end up being the last game I’m unreservedly excited about this year. Except maybe Mirror’s Edge, which I’m hoping will turn out to be as rad as it looks rather than another promising big-budget flop like Assassin’s Creed. Oh, yes — and also Wario Land Shake. Because seriously, a 2D platformer on a console? When a coelacanth swims its way out of prehistory and into your net, you don’t just stand there looking slack-jawed as it slips away. No, you must capture this precious creature and take it home with you. Rejoice, for it is not in any way affiliated with Suzak!

37 thoughts on “Squared away

  1. *punches Parish until he comes back to his senses*

    It would be okay if they, I don’t know, finished the second disc…

    I’m unreservedly excited for Valkyrie Profile DS.

  2. Wow, I didn’t realize the release for DQ4 was close enough that review copies are out. I paid an arm and a leg for an NES copy, though I haven’t spent too much time with it. For all the criticism the series gets for its vanilla gameplay (much of it deserved, really), the concepts for DQ4 and 5 really appeal to me, and are pretty progressive for their age.

  3. It’s a preview ROM, actually, and it’s for print, for an issue that will actually be out after E3. So it’s not that shocking. Square Enix is one of the last publishers that still does a really good job of getting early builds to the press.

  4. *joins the punching until miniature, crucified Chu-Chus pop out*

    I’d like to see the message boards that took offense to your FF4DS review, if only for the “watching a train wreck” morbid curiosity. You’d expect fans of Final Fantasy IV, an old game, to be more temperate in their reactions, especially with 17 years of hindsight to take the game down from whatever pedestal they might have put it on.

    Also: Mirror’s Edge! I saw the trailer and loved it immediately. I can’t say I was impressed with the infiltration/combat mechanics at the end, and reading a quick plot summary makes me wish to have a perfunctory story that doesn’t interfere with (what I hope will be) an awesome, unlimited parkour simulation. If it can deliver on this point, and the story can be easily ignored, it might even be a PS3 system seller for me.

  5. i played the translation the was hidden in the JP version of DQIV DS, and i was MOST IMPRESSED. then, i got to the final boss, which was [fittingly] akira toriyama’d out to the max and killed me on the LAST FORM. i quit.

    is it worth finishing?

  6. THIS is for the huge, globby pixels you’d be looking at *BIFF!!*
    THIS is for the lousy field camera and godawful jumps *POW!!*
    THIS is for…oh yes…the chair (smashes prop one over your head) *SMASH!!*

  7. I just love how they whined about the three-man review thing, which brings me to my favorite quote:

    “so who reviewed chocobo’s dungeon? and is it actually a B+, or more like a C? i just cant tell with this new review format.”

  8. FFIV getting a B is hardly as puzzling as Final Fantasy 3 for the Famicom getting placement on Entertainment Weekly’s list of top 50 games of the past 25 years as the token non-FF7 entry in the series. Not so much because there are better games in the series, but because it’s so uncharacteristically esoteric given the list’s mainstream tilt.

  9. Is it true that Torneko speaks with a Scottish accent? And that the sisters use a French one? Because that’s kind of insane. Look at them and they’re obviously supposed to reflect Arab and Indian culture. As generally high quality as DQ’s translations have been since the reboot, there are still a number of questionable decisions being made.

  10. alexb-

    mostly right, except torneko is irish. ragnar is scottish.

    in the context of the game, it makes more sense than if it was the cultures you mentioned. trust me on that.

  11. How so? Keep in mind I’ve played the original to completion. Torneko’s a great, fat trader in a thawb that will do anything to make a sale. Minea and Meena have brown skin and one’s a fortune teller wearing a sari and the other a dancer (who admittedly comes off more stereotypically Arabian than Indian). What says Irish or French about them? I think it’s the localization team’s limitations showing.

  12. Just bought Dragon Quest Swords for Wii, so I’ve been on a bit of a DQ kick lately. DQIV seems more and more appealing, especially seeing as how we probably won’t see IX this year. Has SE mentioned how soon we’ll see the V and VI remakes? If DQIX hits next holiday season (which seems the most likely), we’ll most likely V and VI sometime before that. This excites me.

    And yes – a 2D platformer for a console! This could be the first Wii game I get excited about in a long time, and not one that I pick up because of a strange obligation I feel to play games on the system.

  13. Well thank god I’m not the only one who preferred the one reviewer system.
    One of my biggest problems with EGM.
    I’ll have to see what you said about FFIV, I’ve been looking forward to it for a while now.

  14. Actually, as much as I despise Game Informer in general, I like their system – for almost all major games, they use a larger single text and a much smaller ‘second opinion’ piece.

  15. parish– It must be spreading; last night I decided to download and install a PSX emulator so I could play Xenogears again (but at a higher resolution than my TV, and also with my own pair of headphones).

    The beginning was kinda neat and I’m almost eager to OHNORUNHELP!

  16. EGM used to have 4 reviewers. I don’t like the idea of having just one reviewer, because I think you get a more varied opinions with more reviews, and most EGM reviewers have good opinions, I’d trust them over random internet reviews anywday.

  17. EGM used to have 4 reviewers who got to write 50 words apiece. If all you’re interested in is scores — which is all those 50-word reviews were good for — you have Metacritic now.

  18. Jeremy’s right. Those reviews had some seriously bite-sized sentences. (From one of the Megaman 3 reviews: “Looks great and plays even better!”

  19. Also, Ragnar McRyan has a Scottish brogue, not Torneco. (I assume — I haven’t made it that far.) Dunno about the sisters, either, but the tsarena is, well, Russian.

  20. Yeah I was slightly upset at first, but that was mostly nostalgia talking. That and the similarity to the online components of 1up.com, but that has more to do with wanting EGM to have reasons to exist. It still does, though, now that I’ve thought about it. What matters most is the writing and not the format. I can’t wait to see the new way it is done once I get the magazine. Oh and did you hear about the news of Kirby Super Star Ultra? Something else Nintendo-related I can’t wait for along with Wario Land.

  21. So, will the single review format still provide me with something to read in the can? Yes? OK, I approve.

  22. For someone that goes on and on about how stories in rpg games are trite you sure do like to talk about them alot.

    xenogears > all

  23. Who says I play RPGs for their story? If you notice, I usually talk about how much I enjoy their gameplay. For someone who thinks Xenogears is the best thing ever you sure are dens–oh, wait. Never mind.

  24. Mirror’s Edge huh? Between this and Metroid Prime Parish bias for first person platforming games, confirmed~

  25. JP, you do know that there’s nothing preventing you from playing Xenogears on the PSP right now. The PS emu handles it just fine, and ripping your own CDs to make ISOs is perfectly legal. It isn’t even much of a hassle – the entire process took me about 15 minutes, and I even went out of my way to give it a fancy logo and background for the XMB.

  26. You son of a bitch. I hate you for having your hands on DQIV while the rest of us have to wait 3 more months.

  27. Yes! Damn you for actually getting to what sounds like a bright spot in what usually sounds like a near-completely unfulfilling job!

    Seriously, though, I hope you really are enjoying the game and have a small question: I know there’s not much you can say, but do you happen to know if Richard Honeywood is back for DQIV?

  28. Well as long as you’re sorry, thats good enough for me. Consider my hate retracted.

  29. I thought the translations for Rocket Slime and DQM Joker seemed different. Way too many puns and cases of alliteration. And all the theme names. Gah. Still, DQ8 was pretty awesome and Honeywood has my gratitude for that.

  30. Hey Jeremy,

    I don’t mind EGM ditching some of the 3 man reviews but what if 1up started to run the 3 man review system? Wouldn’t you have more space to write an in-depth/more wordy review?

    P.S. I just like the idea of having 3 different professionals give their opinions on the game.

  31. Am I the only one who couldn’t make it through Xenogears until the “Make text speed faster” Gameshark code came along? I can’t imagine trying to get through the game via PSN unless I could somehow hack that one into it.

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