Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stranger in a strange land.

The Playstation 3 cross media bar, if that is what it is still called, feels foreign and sparse when compared to Microsoft's dashboard. It is much more utilitarian, spartan perhaps, but it does a pretty good job of keeping things that I don't want to deal with (like Home) out of my direct line of sight. If I turned the thing on more than once every few months I would be much more familiar with where everything is hidden. As it is now I have to power it up the day before I want to play a game to make sure all of the required updates are installed. Add to that the mandatory install of White Knight Chronicles and it feels more like a Windows box all the time. And to think I was once seconds away from installing linux on it; the world may have ended right then and there.

White Knight Chronicles tries very hard to feel like an MMO, right down to real time combat that is not really real time: you choose an action, wait for the cooldown, and it kicks off with little interaction on the players part. I remember this from when someone talked me into trying Everquest years ago. It wasn't very exciting then, either. Still, there are plenty of skills to choose from, every character that gets added to your party is a blank slate that can be pushed into almost any job, and it was made by the same people who did the Dark Cloud's and Rougue Galaxy, so it gets a pass on a few things. I am curious as to how much of the game I will be able to accomplish on my own, as I understand the online portion grows in importance as you move along. This is not the psuedo muliplayer that Demons Souls used to share the misery, this is real raiding with parties and instances and camping mobs for phat loot. It would remind me of Guild Wars if it were prettier and the character designs were more interesting.

What I have played of the single player so far was a little slow moving. After three hours the introduction ended and I got the opening credits, so I have no idea how much game I have ahead of me. I remember seeing shots of this almost two years ago and being blown away. Now it is no better looking than anything else, its luster lost to time spent in development and translation. This is a game that I want to enjoy, so I will find something in there to latch on to. Maybe spheda will make a trimphant return, but I doubt it.

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