* Might & Magic – Heroes 6 *

First off, I recently joined PRIME just because I liked what was offered.  Last night I downloaded the beta for Heroes 6 and in short I really love it.



I played Might and Magic: Dark Messiah a few years back and I loved the game.  Reminded me of the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.  I never played any of the turn based games however and now that I played Heroes 6, I feel silly I didn’t.  The link above gives you a brief look at all the games that were released.

Being on IGN of course I would expect almost everyone to have seen images, videos, etc.  Just in case though, take a LOOK if you haven’t.  IGN also of course has their views HERE.

GOG.com is a great place to visit if you want some old classic rpgs.  They seem to have all the previous Might & Magic games available.

BEFORE YOU READ ON –  Being that I’m a new face here I certainly don’t expect my views to be taken highly.  However I wanted to put them out there for what little it may be worth to some of you.  I’m also NOT a professional writer for that matter and I don’t have the charisma to accrue three thousand followers.  With that in mind, just bear with me.

I don't have that effect on readers.

Graphics –  The game visually looks great.  Take a look at some of the screenshots on my “graphics” link.  Since I don’t have any previous M&M experience, I can’t compare them.  Although I will say that in the beta comments in-game many fans had nothing but great things to say about it.  The lighting and shadows are great.  Splash effects from water and spells are awsome.  Character movement is fluent and they did a great job with combat and spell visual effects as well.  You can zoom in and out whether your exploring the map or in combat. Even at close range, the game, npcs, heroes, and environments looked clean and crisp.  Character faces are also very well detailed and look just as good even when up close.

Sound FX – This has always been something to me that could make or break an rpg.  Just my opinion of course.  I have a surround system and even at half volume my basement was vibrating to the sound of Duke Slava’s horse riding across the terrain.  It was awsome.  So far from what I’ve seen, the combat and spell sounds along with the voice acting and other environmental effects were fantastic.  When your soldier puts a spear though a monster you really feel the hurt from the sound effects and that’s what I love.

Gameplay – Won’t say too much here since obviously the game isn’t out and things can change.  Basically you are allowed to move around the map for a certain period.  Once that time is up, the enemy then makes their move.  It’s the same while exploring the map and trying to find resources as well as combat.  In combat however, you are taken to a “battlefield” where it’s like Final Fantasy Tactics for those of you who know.  Trying to explain ALL the details here would require a small War and Peace novel.  I’ll just say that it’s all about strategicly placing troops in the right area so you don’t get destroyed.  At the end of each battle the game gives you the chance to either restart the fight or continue on with your losses.  There’s also a “watch replay” function but it’s greyed out for me.  Not that I’d want to re-watch my pathetic attempts anyway =p

OVERALL IMPRESSION – I’m really having a great time with it.  Anyone who has access to the beta and hasn’t tried already, I encourage you to do so.  If you’re NOT familiar with the series, be warned though.  There is a LOT to take in.  There are a great many options and paths to take when either leveling your hero or building your base.  Combat may be a bit frustrating to a new player as well.  I fought water elementals who continually cast a movement impairing spell so I could not move my troops period to attack.  So for several turns my guys took a beating until the spell wore off.  Exploring is important as well because you’ll find magical weapons are armor in addition to additional resources (i.e. gold, lumber, ore, etc).  If you decide to give it a shot, then I hope you enjoy it.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  You’re saying “What the HELL Robert!  Why didn’t you make a video instead and talk about the game in GERMAN damnit!”  Well firstly, I’m Puerto Rican with a little Italian and I can’t even speak spanish for that matter.  HOWEVER…  you CAN hear all about the craze in Germany HERE!

Thanks for your time!


* The good old days. Well, at least for me… *


Above are a couple of images from a Gamestop in San Jose, California.  I have never seen anything like that here along the east coast.  It’s too bad not ALL Gamestops are like that.  I always felt they should close the smaller stores and get one big large space.  I only went to one E3 and that was way back in 97 or 98.  It was the last one they had in Atlanta Georgia.  Man, I had a blast.  That’s how I feel that a place called Gamestop should be.  Not THAT big of course…but a mini version. 

It’s kind of silly to me to walk into a place called Gamestop and looking at PS3 and 360s connected to a 13 inch screen demo unit shoved into a corner and practically covered by the life size cardboard cut out of Cloud.  I mean Target has a better display for crying out loud. 

I’ve always felt that it would be great for gamers to have a solid place to actually hang out in and MEET in person.  Have a few drinks, something simple to eat, enjoy the company of live people vs always updating your status.  I bet there are lots of people who could use the escape too.  Don’t get me wrong, I mean I LOVE being able to turn on my 360 and challenge my buddy to a SSFIV match anytime.  But there’s just something about going to a place like E3 that you can NEVER get from that. 

I think with a little planning Gamestop could close all those little stores and open one larger one.  Take a look at the rest of the images:


You’ll see what I mean about a mini E3.  Maybe there are places like that in other areas…but none anywhere NEAR here.

I always had a blast with good old Dungeons & Dragons, Golden Axe…X-Men (the 4 player classic) and of course, the capcom fighters.  I LOVED Street Fighter and Marvel Super Heroes.  It wasn’t just the games though.  It was the sort of “high” I got while a crowd of twenty people cheered for me from behind as they looked over my shoulder.  Not that I was a super pro champ, but that’s just how it was back then.  I’m also a pretty social guy and I made a LOT of good friends as well.  I haven’t seen that over here on the east coast. 

Also, I think it would be pretty awsome if Gamestop did things like:

1.  Selling comics and novels based on games.  Having book signings from authors that write the Warcraft and Dragon Age books…or at least reps for a little Q&A.  Or just publisher / dev reps period.  Hand out free stuff like posters, hats, shirts…small little contest to get you a free copy of whatever game is hot at the time.

2.  Aren’t those card games still popular?  (sorry, I was never into it)  I remember back when Dragon’s Den was THE place to be, there were several tables setup.  It was packed too.  People were playing D&D or the Magic CG. 

3.  Have an internet gaming cafe…sell drinks, snacks, sandwiches and such.  Have tables setup with WiFi. 

4.  Have REAL competitions…not the 6 person Madden ones because that’s all you could fit in the store before it became a fire hazzard.  Get some huge plasma’s in there.  Hold those good old SF tournaments.  Or a FPS multiplayer competition.  Anything to get people in even if you have to charge money for tickets or entrance fee.  It’s better than the trade-in thing they have going on.  At least that’s how I feel anyway. 

5.  Job recruitment…I think that would be exciting.  Talk to a rep about work benefits, what you need to apply and all that stuff.  Of course you can READ about it online but that takes the fun out of it…well it does for me at least. 

6.  Live music – Jack Black played at Blizzcon right?  I’m sure there are plenty of underdog bands who would be more than happy to give it shot…and plenty of people who would love listening.  

7.  Old Movie showings – I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan of anime, but there are a few I wouldn’t mind watching over and over.  Spriggan is an all-time favorite of mine for one. 

8.  Cosplay contests

I don’t think trade-ins are good for long term.  Sure there are plenty of people who love being able to save $5 here and there.  And yeah, it does add up.  But you also have that angry mob who remembers the first and LAST time they would ever trade a game in.  I forget what game it was… but I remember only getting $7 bucks for it.  Came back a few days later and saw the same game being sold for $39.99 vs $44.99 new. 

Now for me, I’d slash at least $15.  NOT because I’m speaking from a customer’s standpoint…but MORE people would be drawn to that which would eventually MORE than make up for the initial slash.  And since trade-in purchases are 100% profit they are still ahead of the game even if they sold it for $20.  My old boss use to tell me that selling a game alone, the store would only make about $2 profit.  That was back in 96 when I worked for Software Etc.  Not sure if it changed since.  I can’t imagine it’s more though…

Even at Best Buy…selling a PS3 alone would actually COST the company money.  That’s why there was all this forced bundle garbage they tried to hit you with when all you wanted was the system.  But come on…there are so many innovative and fun things a GAME store can do especially in today’s world. 

Are there a lot of places like what I’m talking about in other areas of the world?  I’ve come across some huge arcades on the internet, but they weren’t really anything more than just an arcade. 

Anyway…  I guess I wanted to know:  Would most of you not care and just stay home anyway?  Or would you be more inclined to go to a place that was more like a mini E3 showcase?  I’ve toyed with the idea for years on whether or not I should try to devote resources into opening such a place.  Sort of a little dream I guess.  My brother seems to think it would be doomed to fail because of online play.  Maybe he’s right.  Maybe I’m still trapped in that era to some extent?  Then again I watch things like Blizzcon, or Comic Con and it really does fire off some heavy feelings of excitement in me.

* The Gaming RIG – SAVIOR to Duke Nukem Forever *

Okay so everyone of course knows that Duke Forever’s offical reviews left tons of people scratching their heads.  Being a huge Duke 3D fan, of course I was on the same boat.  I sat here in my dining room with my laptop reading one terrible review after another.  THEN I got to Jim Sterling’s review on Destructoid.  You can read it below:


This review made me laugh and cry at the same time.  Ironically though, it’s what made me get up and just buy the game.  Fast forward to a week or so later, it is apparent that almost EVERYTHING that was being torn apart in the game was for the CONSOLE versions.  I have it on PC and the game isn’t anywhere NEAR as bad as the reviews even IGNs own.

In the gaming world there are a LOT of tech savvy players out there.  However, there are still those who assume that they don’t have a choice because they feel “I dont have 13 thousand dollars to buy a gaming rig” as one of many few posters here on IGN have commented.  If you go to Alienware particularly, they sell gaming systems for as high as 6 or 9 thousand dollars depending on what you want.  I had a LOT of customers who fell victim to their marketing.  One regular in particular is now 20k in debt to Alienware alone just because he’s a loyal fan and refuses to go through anyone else as far as custom builds.   

Back to my point – I may not have the fastest system in the east…but it’s fast enough:

AMD 6 Core CPU at 3.1GBZ – 8GB of DDR3 RAM – 2x 1GB DDR5 Saphire ATI cards at Crossfire of course – Solid state drive with Windows 7 64bit installed on it – SATA III 500GB HD for everything else.  The main board has 4 USB 3 ports, 4 USB 2, 2 Firewire, fantastic integrated sound (supports a 5.1 surround sound) and overall a Windows rating of 8.1.  Again, NOT the fastest thing BUT fantastic enough to drag any game through the mud.  You might want to go on Alienware’s site or perhaps Best Buy and compare specs and costs.  How much did this thing cost me?  $942.  That’s it.  ALL brand new, warranty and all.  That’s because I went overboard too because I wanted to learn a few things about some of the more recent toys put out there.  And that still may seem like a lot to you BUT consider that this is something in which for GAMING purposes which is what I really use it for, will NOT have to be upgraded for a long LONG time. 

If you happen to have a desktop that’s 4 or even 5 years old there is a good chance you can upgrade and make significant changes to get a nice gaming system.

Games like Duke Nukem Forever LOOK great, loads FAST (4 second load times and COUNTING), plays smooth, Batman AA looks and sounds fantastic.  Mass Effect 2?  Completely blows away the console versions.  I mean, consoles look good BUT when you see it on PC, no comparrison. 

WHAT ABOUT BUGS?  THAT’S WHY I BUY FOR CONSOLES – True enough that there are some games out there that ship with bugs.  Most games though are pretty good.  An even BETTER plus that players may not all know, is the modding community.  Batman AA is an awsome example.  One site I go to, they gave Batman the suit from the Dark Night.  Street Fighter 4 and soon Super Street Fighter 4 AE – awsome costumes and even new stages.  Dragon Age: Origins – People added new cut scenes to the game.  Mostly to make the romance scenes a lot more…”mature” heh.  Anyway, there it is.  Just a few examples. 

CONTROLS? – For games like Super Street Fighter, you can of course buy a control that is a PS3 or XBOX 360 replica for PC.  Plug it into the USB port and that’s that.  Nothing more to it.  They are like $30 and up depending on if you want turbo, programmable buttons, wireless, etc. 

All in all for the most part… you get uncomparable amazing graphics, better overall performance and a lot of cool free extras from mods out there.  If you’re a Duke Nukem 3D fan, make sure you get the Duke Nukem 3D High Resolution pack too if you haven’t already heard or have it.  Do a search for it and see for yourself.  Character models are all redone and music as well.  They did an awsome job. 

Well, AGAIN I’ll say that I KNOW most of you out there are tech savvy.  I am NOT trying to say I am the best and most all knowing tech in the field.  God knows I’ve made plenty of mistakes myself and still learning as new stuff comes out.   But for those of you who I have found on the site that did NOT know…  this post is definitely worth considering.

Chrono Break?

I am a huge HUGE fan of the original Chrono Trigger.  I think that it was…IS still one of the best rpgs I have ever played even today.  After playing through CT several times, I prayed that Square would release a sequel.  Needless to say when I found out, I jumped up so high that I pulled a Wiley Coyote and smashed my head into the ceiling of where I worked (which was Software Etc at the time).

Sadly…Chrono Cross ended up being a horrid disappointment and I feel it is one of the worst games I have ever played period.  Perhaps if it were a stand alone with NO connection to the original I may have felt differently.  Then I came to find out that the original team who worked on CT had left Square and apparently went to work for Monolith. 

Fast forward to roughly 30 minutes ago, I accidentally found an article on the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrono_Break talking about an interest in a sequel to Chrono Cross.  Worse yet, by the same group who made Cross.  Now, I know that there are people out there who thought CC was a great game and enjoyed it.  Thing is though…  why are so many game devs not getting it?

When you have an award winning formula to a game, why trash it?  Why would Bioware create a game like Dragon Age: Origins, a great expansion like Awakening and THEN put out a SEQUEL called Dragon Age II?  I understand that many of the employees from back in the glory days are gone.  Still, that’s NO excuse.  Make these new people sit down and PLAY the damn classic!  Make them understand – “Look, THIS is what got us on this pedestal.  Take it and make it BETTER.”  Simple as that.  Same thing with Duke Nukem Forever.  The game deserved MUCH better than what it got, but 2K and Gearbox could have used Duke to put themselves on top.  What’s another year or two with a game people didn’t even believe would come out?  That is yet another long story which I would like to talk about another time.

Getting back to my main point.  I really hope that Square-Enix start to take their current rpgs a bit more seriously.  I’m tired of controlling a girly boy wearing water shoes and a big fat yellow windbreaker with a giant sword.  Tired of saying “Wait, is that a girl?  No…no I think its a guy”.  Finally Fantasy VII and VIII did just great without voice over work.  Sometimes I feel like they should keep it that way.  Those dumb speed racer expressions that characters in the new games hold for ten seconds before they start talking. 

Bring back characters like Cecil or Locke.  Cloud and Squall.  I don’t mean THEM specifically but main characters who actually LOOK like they can take a beating and can lead a group into a battle that meant certain death.  Would you follow Tidus to fight SIN?  Not me.  Now Auron, is a different story.  Thanks to him I was able to finsih FF X.  

Now I know that there are millions of people who don’t agree and think that all FF games and Chrono Cross was great…but after playing FF 2 and 3 for SNES, 7 and 8 for PS and a classic like Chrono Trigger… I would think I could expect more or better than what they have released.  Especially with their MMOs…jeez.  And now they’re in serious financial trouble too so I read.  LOOK AT YOUR PAST WINNERS Square-Enix.  

Of course I’m curious to know what others think.  This is all just my opinion of course…