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Tales of Vesperia Review

Confessions of an RPG Nerd

Read review of Tales of Versperia

HIGH Finding an RPG hero and villain who aren't exactly like every other RPG hero and villain in video game history.

LOW Non-skippable cut-scenes. Really, should I have to watch five minutes of dialogue again just because I suck and died on a boss?

WTF There is a dog in your party. A dog who fights with a knife and smokes a pipe.

Tales of Vesperia

Game Description: A new generation of tales unfolds! A power struggle begins in a civilization dependent on an ancient technology, the blastia, and the Empire that controls it. The fates of two friends traveling separate paths intertwine in an epic adventure that threatens the existence of all. Tales of Vesperia marks the first Tales RPG release in HD with detail and graphics never before seen in the series. Now, real-time battles are more exciting than ever with over limits, the ability to unleash fatal strikes, combinations and burst artes. The next evolution of the revered role-playing series comes to the Xbox 360.

Not feeling Dead Space

Guitar Hero helps calibrate prosthetic arms

An article in the November 2008 issue of IEEE Spectrum Online describes how Guitar Hero is being used to help "train" artificial arms for amputees. It's part of the Revolutionizing Prosthetics (RP) 2009 project, sponsored by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). One of the RP 2009 project's goals is that:

[i]n four years, DSO [the Defense Services Office] will deliver a prosthetic for clinical trials that has function almost identical to a natural limb in terms of motor control and dexterity, sensory feedback (including proprioception), weight, and environmental resilience. The four-year device will be directly controlled by neural signals.

Dead Space and the evolution and elimination of HUDs

Dead Space

As far as the video game part of my life goes, last week was all about Dead Space. Well, I also finished up the original Metal Gear Solid (After the credits rolled, my mostly non-gaming wife aptly summed it up as "very Japanese.") but I digress. I rented the PS3 version from Blockbuster and played it steadily through the week until finally beating it on Sunday night. My wife was actually backseat for the entire duration, so props to her for sticking it out.

While I wouldn't consider Dead Space a truly great game, I do think it's a very good one. The graphics and sound are top notch, the zero gravity gameplay is quite cool, the story is decent (enhanced by watching the six downloadable video comics), and the game as a whole just does a great job of delivering the scares. Oh yeah, and I really dug the way the game handled being in a vacuum with no sound. Rather than talk about that stuff, however, I'd like to focus in on something that really stood out to me about Dead Space: the absence of a HUD.

The Horror Geek Presents: EA Announces Dead Space Upgrade Packs

 

According to Kotaku, EA has announced that its popular survival horror game Dead Space is getting some premium upgrade packs. Like all things EA, expect these new "enhancements" to cost you (to the tune of nearly $30 if you wanted them all--which is half the retail price of the entire goddamn game...) and that some of them will be useless "graphical upgrades" as opposed to things that would actually warrant shelling out cold hard cash. In their defense, there are some upgrades that change the game experience--upgrading weapon power, mostly--and no one's holding a gun to your head to force you into shelling out cash for these things. Your copy of Dead Space will still work just fine without them.

Trailers & Demos

I just finished Fallout 3 a few minutes ago, and I've got to say that it's miles ahead of the competition when it comes to picking what's going to be my game of the year. It's a pretty fantastic title, and if you haven't played it yet you should run out and get a copy immediately...

With that out of the way, the wife and I ran through a few of the demos and clips I had downloaded onto the 360. Here's a few words.

Voice of Marcus Fenix, John Dimaggio interview at TheFukerton.com

My good buddy Chad Dukes (who co-hosts the Big O & Dukes show at WJFK FM-where you can hear my movie review segment every Friday afternoon) landed an exclusive interview with John Dimaggio that's up over at his site TheFukerton.com.

Who's John Dimaggio? Only the guy with one of the coolest gigs in the world. Not only is he the voice of Futurama's wisecracking robot Bender, but he's also the voice actor responsible for Gears of War's Marcus Fenix. Check out the two part interview here.

Part 1:

Part 2:

My first experience as a playtester

Playtest Lab

Back when I was a little kid in the late 1980s, I had this idealized vision of how awesome it must be to play video games for a living. I knew that there were people out there who played games for the purpose of quality testing and so on, and for whatever reason, my little kid brain thought it must be the greatest job in the world. I probably saw it as at least on par to working at a candy factory. It all comes down to that fact that I had no understanding of the law of diminishing returns and therefore believed that being able to do a thing that I like all day every day must be nothing short of bliss.

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