We’re preparing for the annual family camping trip here at home, so not a lot of time for anything else. Also, not a lot of time this weekend, for obvious reasons. I worked my way a bit deeper into Mirkwood, visiting the Haunted Inn. And I drooled over the dev diary and screenshots released this week for Enedwaith. If I could be more excited, I would be. And I’d be pretty useless.
However, a couple of items that I feel are worth discussing:
Final Fantasy – This was my first taste (two, actually) with perspective this week. One, Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Edition was on sale on Steam, for $5. Even though it’s normally $10, at $5 it seemed like a no-brainer. At first glance.
Considering I’m a sucker for story, and continuity, I generally try to play serialized games in the order in which they are released. Even if the early entries are less than sterling examples of games, I generally try to suffer through. For example, I’ve been playing through the original F.E.A.R games; one, because I’ve always been interested and when they originally came out my machine couldn’t handle them (and I had no time), and, two, because I’m very interested in the upcoming F.3.A.R. (F.E.A.R. 3). The original game and expansion have proven to be great shooter experiences, but I’ve heard that F.E.A.R 2 is a lacking successor.
What does F.E.A.R have to do with Final Fantasy? Nothing. Final Fantasy XI with Final Fantasy XIV? Very little. Even with little continuity or connection between version eleven and the upcoming fourteen, I came very close to purchasing FFXI. One click away; I had it in my cart and everything.
Then I realized that I had little interest in grinding my way through FFXI. My interest in FFXI stems purely from seeing Final Fantasy XIV; it’s a pretty game and one that I will probably check out. I do, however, recognize that it probably has a shelf-life of about 3 months (max) on my hard drive. Still, I’d been planning on checking it out. It’s very pretty, and any game that purports to make crafting a viable class choice is good in my book.
Until now. At this point, I’m not so sure. The minimum system requirements seem reasonable, but for a game that boasts such impressive graphics, the minimums aren’t going to cut it for most players. The recommended specs for XIV stink of another “Age of Conan” debacle. Square Enix needs a serious dose of perspective here; the recommended system is not what your typical gamer has, and represents a seriously unreasonable investment. Not good, folks, and certainly not the way to attract a sizable customer base.
Instance Scaling in LotRO – I’ve liked this idea since it was first announced, primarily because of the accessibility it represents. One, it makes it that much easier for me to play through certain content with my alts. Two, it means that I can visit (or revisit) certain parts of the story again and be rewarded for it. The mention of new rewards for higher-level players particularly intrigues me.
Kingdoms of Amalur – 38 Studios announced their single-player RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Not only am I interested in this game on its own merits, but also because it would seem to be the precursor to Project Copernicus, the MMO currently in development. I haven’t bought into their hype so far (though I’m generally a sucker for good hype), because they haven’t had anything to show. Though I am interested because I’m a huge fan of R.A. Salvatore. And, to a slightly lesser degree, Todd McFarlane. And Ken Rolston (designer of Oblivion). Talk about a dream team. Just about the only person on the team I’m not truly excited about is Curt Schilling, though I dig that he’s making the whole thing happen. Almost single-handedly.
The site for Reckoning has some nice information on the game. The screenshots are gorgeous, and look exactly like what I would expect from Todd McFarlane. I also, surprisingly, loved the audio on the site; clicking the Mute button on sites like this is usually the very first thing I do, but I found myself listening closely, and I left it on. Great stuff.
There’s also a really nice cinematic trailer, and though I don’t expect the game to look like the trailer, I’m hoping that the combat plays out close to what they show. Definitely action-oriented. I could have done without the huge hammer, though. That’s just silly.