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Taking a pass from the All Station Pass

Christmas has come and gone and, apparently, with it my priorities to have anything to do with Sony Online Entertainment games. I haven't breached the login screen in any of those games since my last Blog entry. That's why I've no screenshots of holiday game related modifications to show you. (Funny enough, the Alien Shooter 2 Vengeance demo has a holiday screen that pops up, showing a killer alien dressed up as Santa. It just goes to show you that small name developers have more fun.) It's just as well I've apparently lost my SOE MMOG jive, as today I have been inducted in yet another beta test, this time in a much more epic online RPG.

I've also been playing a couple of great console games. The first being a somewhat mediocre-rated "Dirge of the Cerberus", which has proven a bargain at the price of a rental, the second being a Christmas gift... The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Sometimes, you just have to thank Square-enix for putting some gameplay in the cutscenes.(Screenshot source: Gamespot)

Dirge of the Cerberus is mostly a game you have to have finished Final Fantasy VII to properly appreciate, and even then it's only a third person shooter with inventory management and customizable weapons. The multimedia aspects are top notch, but then, this is a Square-enix production so no surprise there. The main reason to play this game is simply fleshing out the story behind the enigmatic Vincent... but if you don't care, that's not going to work. I did care, so I'm able to stand the game's frequent 5-10 minute long stretches of non-interactive cut scenes. Soon I'll have it finished.

Midna has emerged as one of my favorite Zelda characters. A twisted imp of a companion for Link, nothing like that sissy Navi. Though she seems helpful enough, I suspect Midna will probably backstab me towards the end of the game, but adorably. (Source: Marry Your Favorite Character Online. WTF? No, I do not desire to pork prepubescent shadow monsters, that's just where I found the image hosted through google image search.)

I've only just started playing Twilight Princess (if you can count the first 6 hours as such) so I don't have a very concrete opinion of it built up beyond initial impressions. There have been complaints about the interface, but I've found that it instinctively works well for me, but that's probably because I've logged quite a few hours in Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask. It's a very solid, well made Zelda game. I can accept the Gamespot review of slightly under 9.0 just because it doesn't seem to innovate much.

On the PC end, I'm back into NWN2 too, playing through the included campaign both solo (Monk) and with a friend of mine (Druid). I've come to recognize that the game has two big issues that hamper its potential: 1. It seems that players cannot exist on separate maps at the same time. 2. Players are unable to manage their characters or inventory while a conversation is going on with another player. Both things put the game at a definite disadvantage versus its predecessor, but at least NWN2 succeeds on a single player or completely interdependent party level.

On a final note for today, I'm thinking I may just itch my inner game designing urges and make a kickass module for Neverwinter Nights and/or Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Both games have major engine limitations that prevent a real work of game design art, but I think I may be able to work around those limitations enough to produce something really cool. Something good enough to justify my having spent two and a half decades just playing games. I've still about a week off, so we'll see what I can scrape together. In a worse case scenario, maybe I can put some work into it after I'm back to work.
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