Police action

So this week I’ve played good cop with a glowing new Final Fantasy III preview, and bad cop with the inevitable, unavoidable Ultimate Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins review. After all the utter and complete collective retardation that has sprung up around my having the audacity to dislike the game, writing that review was pretty much at the very bottom of the list of things I ever wanted to do. But life is unpleasant sometimes, so I buckled down. And somehow, despite my revulsion at the mere thought of the topic, the review shaped up to be one of the best things I’ve ever written, at least in terms of pure wordsmithery.

This, of course, only serves to make it all the more annoying that so many people get hung up on the numbers. Stupid, filthy Internet creatures!

Final Fantasy III, as it turns out, is far better than my pre-Japanese-release play time led me to expect. Trade shows are really not the ideal environment for grinding through the plodding introduction of an RPG, especially a DS game that actually features load times. But once I got the game into a comfortable setting, sat back with the game in my Lite and gave it a fresh spin, it’s honestly quite good.

Sadly, I’ve totally screwed myself in the game over thanks to my sketchy knowledge of Japanese — I accidentally used my sole shrink/unshrink item to reduce my main fighter to tiny size and can’t seem to find a way to return him to his proper scale. So right now he’s hitting for 1 HP while my Black Mage is the party’s heavy-hitter. It’s a bad scene all around. Guess my Japanese-reading skills are getting rusty, so I should either bone up on the language or just wait for the English version. Hm, let’s see… the former would require effort while the latter requires none. Tricky. I’ll have to think about this one.

Also, I didn’t write this feature on influential video gamers, but it’s so completely great that I’m more than happy to forego this site’s normal mission of self-aggrandization/deprecation and tell everyone to read it nevertheless.

46 thoughts on “Police action

  1. I thought I had sworn off RPGs, but Final Fantasy III looks quite fine indeed. Maybe it’ll actually turn out to be a great time-waster during my commutes to and from work. But… load times?
    My interest was recently piqued by Touch Detective. Have you tried that? It had fallen off my radar but looks pretty neato.

  2. I’m really looking forward to FFIII DS. I hope they’ve kept those crazy NeverEnding Story statues that massacre you without warning- there’s not enough arbitary death in those new-fangled RPG’s, dangit!

  3. There should be a white magic spell of mini around somewhere if its the same as the original.

  4. I play modern RPG’s very conservatively because of the horrible, horrible death in games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior. The modern practiclly hold your hand.
    And that’s the way it was and we liked it!

  5. I’m actually looking forward to Contact, and a few other games this winter MORE than FFIII. Sure, I’ve never played it (crappy internet translations don’t count), and I’m a huge FF fan, but XII should satisfy that desire, while Contact, ZX, Okami, etc. fulfill all kinds of other gaming desires.

  6. i wasn’t totally convinced on ff3 ds, but your impressions/interview and hearing the music from the japanese commercials are sure getting me there.

    also, were you one of the Megaman ZX reviewers on the latest EGM? i haven’t played the game yet so i don’t have my own opinion on it, but i’m surprised to see that the highest score it got was a 7.5, considering how much you were praising it.

  7. Yeah, I was the high score on Mega Man ZX. It pained me to give it that score, but I think it was the right one since it’s a very niche-y game and has some definite flaws. It’s great for a Mega Man game, but next to something like New Super Mario Bros. or Castlevania it’s pretty lacking.
    Objectively speaking. Subjectively? HELL YES MEGA MAN ZX.
    Rocket Slime as GotM was a surprise, but an awesome surprise. Shoe’s review is pretty amusing, too, since much of it is his attempts to rationalize the fact that he loved a kids game. But I’m here to tell the Internet that it’s OK to love Rocket Slime. You’re no less of a man if you sometimes play fun games in addition to the angry grey ones full of scowls and laser death.

  8. Mighty sweet FFIII preview. I confess my interest up to this point has been minimal at best; I mean, I was probably gonna pick it up, but it just didn’t grab me the way other upcoming DS titles have. Now I’m tempted to pre-order.

    Oh, and by the way, you know anything on a solid release date on Cooking Mama, Parish? The most common release date I can find is September 12th, yet Gamestop/EBgames does not have in their system for pre-order (website is taking orders, but not in-store). One of the clerks went as far to tell me as it’s not coming out until 2007, which I find difficult to believe. If I can’t preorder it at a store soon I’m just gonna pay for shipping and preorder it online, because I just know it’s gonna end up being one of those DS games that becomes impossible to find.

  9. I’ve gone to pretty much ordering online versus in store. The $2.99 extra I pay in Value shipping (which usually turns out to upgraded for free so it’s next-day or 2-day shipping) is well worth the time/hassle of driving to the store & dealing with the often-ignorant clerks to preorder then driving there a second time to pick up the game. Since I usually preorder the more “niche” games, half the time the clerks don’t even know what I’m talking about or, in some cases, actually mock it.

  10. “You’re no less of a man if you sometimes play fun games in addition to the angry grey ones full of scowls and laser death.”
    Does this apply to games you want to create, as well as games you play? Because I really wasn’t planning on putting scowls or laser death into Land of Not Retarded. Unless of course it would make me more of a man. That would change everything

  11. “You’re no less of a man if you sometimes play fun games in addition to the angry grey ones full of scowls and laser death.”

    and space marines

  12. And sexy AI companions.

    That’s actually pretty creepy, now that I think about it. Bungie has some explaining to do.

  13. Halo had a lot more going on than grim grey laser death. Superficially, it’s got its connections (no getting around the fact that you are a big ol’ space marine), but it deserves more credit than that.

  14. “But aren’t those elements implicit in grim grey laser death?”

    Not really in Deus Ex, which, to my mind, is probably the grimmest and greyest, if not the laser deathiest of them all. I don’t recall any sexy AI companions, although I guess it might be possible for JC to augment his hand in the right ways…

    But I never got that far in the game. Kept getting my legs blown off and having to wander legless through the ruins of the statue of liberty, possibly the most pathetic cyborg this side of milk-spitting Bishop.

  15. I figured he meant the space marines and hard boiled one-liners were implicit in GGLD, not so much the sexy AI companions.
    Leela was pretty sexy though.

  16. Hey, this is totally off topic, but I really think you need to talk about Xenosaga Episode III. Actually, since this topic is pretty much about games that you hate it’s probably pretty much on topic! Also, this might be old news but Jesus Christ (our one and only lord and Savior) has a cameo.

  17. No one forced me to play Episode III, and I’m going to make the most of that freedom.
    Edit: OK, after reading that article I’m really really NOT going to play the game. The idea of Jesus in yellow hot pants makes my heart feel so… leaden.

  18. It’s probably a good game, but I’m just bored with Final Fantasy. It also resembles Wild Arms. Did SQ’ENIX hire any of the programmers from that series?

  19. Wow… having read through all of the end-of-Xeno3 blog, I have to say… they reached heights of metaphysical religious babble that even I wasn’t expecting, and that’s saying something.

  20. I couldn’t get that Xeno blog page to work. Is it… not SUPPOSED to work? Is that the big irony? God, I swear, you guys are too hip for me half the time.

  21. The blog link *should* work, but since I’m getting reamed by forum and blog links going “ZOMG! JEBUS!” today, combined with my host sucking, I wouldn’t be surprised if its sporadically going down.

  22. I liked your review Jeremy. It pretty much summed up a lot of my disappointment too. I had some real problems with this game from a conceptual standpoint, but why wouldn’t I? I’ve been imagining what a new sequel to G’nG could be like for the last decade. But I ultimately liked it more…but so what? I just hope a lot of people buy it so they can do a better job next time.

    My personal opinion is somewhere between 5 and 10…which makes the whole numbers thing kinda funny and irrelevant. It’s so weird people get worked up about the whole thing. Any other time in the past decade+ I didn’t hear masses of people clamoring for a Ghouls’n Ghosts sequel. I sent them out my link and no one gave a damn. I especially didn’t hear they wanted to play an impossible game again…it’s the drunk of nostalgia talking.

    I assumed another G’nG just wouldn’t happen, anyway. Just look at the comments section…people are fickle. They have already moved onto Xenogears.

  23. I wouldn’t sweat it, it’s all the same. From all I’ve ever understood (I refuse to play them), Xenogears/Saga is pretty much like experiencing a fever dream. Except for that instead of having a 10 hour horrific experience condensed into a few hours of sleep, you have 300+ hours of horrific experience in 300+ real hours. 300 hours translates to roughly twelve and a half days, for a more relatable time frame.

  24. So its like you’re saying Xenosaga is the exact same game as Ultimate Ghouls and Ghosts: both are retardedly difficult to enjoy. The only REAL difference is that Ultimate Ghouls and Ghosts is retardedly difficult whereas Xenosaga is just retardedly retarded.

  25. Personally, I thought the UG&G review was one of your worst (I know I’m not the only one, duh, but this is from someone who usually enjoys the heck out of your reviews even when I disagree with the opinion expressed therein). The review is horribly inconsistent. Either the G&G series has always been cheap and crappy and UG&G fails to address the problems, or the series was tough but ultimately good/acceptable/balanced and UG&G makes a couple of terrible missteps which result in it being much worse than the rest of the series. You waffle between those positions consistently. The impression that I get is that you lean towards the former: you really don’t think any of the old school G&Gs really hold up nowadays after you filter the nostalgia away, but you seem reluctant to admit that. If you had, at least the review would have been consistent (although I’d still disagree with it: I think the G&G games hold up fine, and UG&G is a great update).

  26. You’re making a classic mistake, there — reading what you think I was trying to say rather than what, in fact, I said. Punchin’ the ol’ strawman around.
    The old GnG games hold up quite well (I went back and replayed a couple before writing the review) despite their intense difficulty because they’re so exquisitely crafted. Ports of the games, like the horrible GBC version of the NES version of GnG, don’t fare so well. But the arcade originals? Still amazing games, and still compelling despite their ability to inspire white-hot anger. But UGnG lacks their polish, precision and charm, and it sucks as a result. And that is exactly what the review said, albeit with an extra thousand words.

  27. I just realized something. I’m reminded that we live in a postmodern era when we review reviews. I just realized I did that very same thing as well. I don’t like being unconsciously meta.

  28. As much as I’d really like to shift the subject back to Xenosaga, don’t sweat it. Acclimatize to the times, man. Being pretentious on the internets is IN! :D

  29. Nah, it’s not postmodern — it’s just accountability. Who watches the watchmen, and all that. (But not in the Watchmen-the-postmodern-comic sense.)

  30. If that’s the case, then why profusely complain about, say, the fixed jumping? Strawmen or no, your argument certainly *seems* to be that Arthur should have mastered more flexible jumps ages ago, which implies that the earlier games, in that sense, just don’t hold up (in other words: the jumping may have been more workable back then due to the better level designs, but in all honesty that shit really doesn’t fly anymore). The implication that the older games are dated is evident also in lines such as “A handful of gamers *still* relishes this kind of experience, of course.” (emphasis mine) And your very first sentence frames the whole thing as taking G&G fans to task for actually having the gall to *like* the series. I’ll happily believe you if you say that this is an inaccurate representation of your feelings towards the older games — that you do like the old games, as you state here and elsewhere in the review (which is why I called it inconsistent), but is it really so hard to see how one would get the wrong impression?
    Also, perhaps you shouldn’t have spent quite so much words on talking about other people and their erroneous views on all things (U)G&G, as in the examples cited above. If nothing else, it comes across as pretty bitter.

  31. Should they really be averaging your EGM score with your 1UP score to get the editors’ rating? I’m not a math wiz, but I think that gives you too much power.

  32. “Power”? That’s hilarious.
    Anyway, you’re welcome to look at that review however you want, but be aware that you’re interpolating much more negativity toward anything besides the game itself than is actually there.

  33. After thinking about this, TheThe, I think I see where your irritation is coming from — you’re missing the very important crux of that review, which is that the previous GnGs were brutal but still compelling because they struck a careful balance that UGnG fails to achieve. The point is that UGnG is badly made while the other games were not. How is that inconsistent?

  34. Fair enough, I guess. I was just afraid you’d become some kind of, you know, ‘self-hating G&G fan’… ;)

  35. Well, the power statement was a joke. It doesn’t really exactly relate to the game (a game I care nothing about), I just noticed it on this particular review. I was just pointing out that anytime a 1UP editor’s score is also included in EGM, the site averages that score twice. It just sort of skews the ratings.

  36. Actually, the standard policy now is that EGM’s third review score on each game should always be by the person covering that title for 1UP, and the scores should be consistent between pubs — which is why it’s so funny that people were convinced I was pre-judging UGnG when I mentioned I’d be “saving my venom for the 1UP review,” as I’d already played through the game and written my EGM (and OPM) review. Still, I guess it could be a valid concern for that obsessive fractional percentage of people who really, really care about review scores. I’ll mention it to the EIC, I guess.

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