Ferelden is a nice place to visit....

Right back into the swing of things, the biggest release not starring a vengeful bald shirtless Spartan (which I will touch on in a minute) is the new Dragon Age expansion, Awakenings. Now computer users have been used to the big expansion that costs close to what the original did for awhile now, but to my knowledge this is the first time console gamers have had something like this offered to them. Now granted I really enjoyed the 60+ hours I spent with the original, but I really felt like I was done at the end. Ferelden was saved, the big dragon was killed (I even managed to kill the optional one) and the Darkspawn were more or less dealt with. Dealing with some second fiddle general a mere months later doesn't really seem worthy of my time, and frankly there are a lot of other rpgs vying for my attention that offer new worlds to explore. I may come back at some point (most likely after they are bundling the two games together in a discounted bundle), but it's down pretty far on my gaming to do list at this point.

God of War III also seems to be something I'll dedicate a few hours to when I feel like getting around to it. The production values are extremely high and the demo was fun, but when co-workers are talking about beating it a mere 2-days later (and I'm not really all that much of a trophy/achievement whore to beat it more than once) it goes straight onto my gamefly queue to enjoy at a later date.

My most recent pick up is the highly controversial Final Fantasy XIII. I did get the PS3 edition mainly due to only having to put in one disc, and frankly my PS3 gets the least use gaming-wise since I usually prefer achievements over trophies, so getting another game for it seemed like a good idea (seriously, my last PS3 purchase was probably Arkham Asylum). And in case you weren't aware it's controversial in that even for a series that tries something different with every entry, this entry strips away nearly everything that you would usually consider a FF game to contain (including the iconic theme all Final Fantasy fans know so well). There are no towns to shop in and talk to reasidents, sidequests don't even appear till very late in, and the game is extremely linear when rpgs are usually all about exploration. Frankly I enjoy the game, but I do concur that had they slapped some other title on this and made a few minor cosmetic changes, we would indeed have no inkling that this was ever a FF game. On the bright side, the last time they did something that divided their audience so fiercely(that'd be FFVIII, easily my lwast favorite) , they followed it up with FFIX, which is still my personal favorite of the series, so a return to the roots for the inevitable 15th chapter (XIV has already been announced as a new MMO, an obvious successor to XI) would be very welcome indeed.

So given that there are in fact 2 major rpg releases and the latest installment of a mega-franchise out, it would seem nearly suicidal to release brand new IP. Yet here we are with Resonance of Fate; an offbeat rpg by the same guys that did the Star Ocean series (I still haven't quite finished the last game on 360, I plan to someday...). The reviews are mostly solid, but it seems destined to be a undiscovered gem at best. I certainly don't plan on even giving it a rental til way later down the line.

Speaking of renting, it really does seem like online services like netflix and gamefly may be the only way to go (and those rental kiosks that are suddenly popping up everywhere, but in my opinion they suck) as Blockbuster is almost assuredly filing for bankruptcy. Now companies have emerged from bankruptcy to be successful again, but there doesn't really seem to be a light at the end of this tunnel. Now, I have both gamefly and netflix and enjoy them thoroughly, but there is something nice about the instant gratification going down to the nearest video store and grabbing exactly what you want rather than waiting for it in the mail. Oh well, progress is a mean bitch sometimes.

And finally, Twisted Pixel is quickly becoming my favorite Xbox Live developer, as I really enjoy both The Maw and Splosion Man quite a bit. They just posted some vids for their latest project, Comic Jumper, so I'll leave you with those til my next update (most likely tomorrow).

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