It’s been a long time coming, but finally, here it is, “TB.Jogo,” the game column I’ll be doing here with Brad, hopefully on a weekly basis. As I explained before, the column is done chat style, which we do over iChat. What’s with the name? It just continues the naming convention I use for features on this site: “TB” for Tokyo Boy, with “jogo” being Portuguese for game. Since it’s a bit long, read the rest of after the jump.
Jean Snow: So this is it, finally, our very own gaming column!
Brad Douglas: It’s taken us long enough to get around to doing it!
JS: Yeah, which is probably due to the both of us spending a bit too much time playing instead of talking, especially because of certain little MMO that you recently introduced me to…
BD: Well, I try to stay away… but every time I think I’m out, it just draws me back in!
JS: Let’s just go out and say it. Hi, we’re both gamers, and we play WORLD OF WARCRAFT.
BD: On the one hand, I feel kind of dumb talking about it. I mean, I’m like 3 years late to this party. But on the other hand, I can’t stop playing! It’s certainly not the latest and greatest game… Well, not the latest, but it may be the greatest.
JS: It is still topical though, what with the big 2.1 patch update, which, among other things, introduced a new area (The Black Temple) that only mega-level players will ever get to experience. In a way, I do want to get there one day, but at the same time, I’m afraid of what it would take to actually get there. But after years of trying to avoid it, you were the one that brought me into the fold, and it’s been good, and now I finally get what everyone was talking about.
BD: Right. I took a look at 1UP’s video walkthrough of The Black Temple, and while it looked insane, the amount of time and effort it would take to get there would also be insane.
JS: But that being said, I have a new obsession these days!
BD: Oh no, here it comes. Let’s hear it.
JS: The Asian edition of BLUE DRAGON has finally been released (I think the US release is in August), which is playable in English (subs over Japanese voices). I am in absolute love with this game.
BD: So what’s it like? I see the Toriyama artwork and I’m turned off. How’s it play?
JS: It plays pretty much like your typical RPG, and comparisons to the last DRAGON QUEST game, which also featured Toriyama designs, is certainly fair. But everything is just so polished, like what you’d expect from a high-definition game on the 360. I’m even still in awe of all the combat sequences, which are pretty much menu-based affairs, like most Japanese RPGs, but feature cut-scenes and angles that are so beautiful to watch. In fact, I’ve been sucked in by the entire BLUE DRAGON world, and am also avidly following the anime series, with my wife even! It’s interesting to not that the storyline from the animated series is quite different from the one in the game. But that doesn’t change at all my appreciation for the IP.
BD: I think I’ve gone on record with you stating that I can’t stand most Japanese RPGs.
JS: Yes, and I can understand that.
BD: How many times must a little kid or very effeminate man save the world from some terrible evil?
JS: But you know what, I just can’t understand what all the fuss was over OBLIVION when it came out. I tried playing it, and just found all the characters to be so ugly. It really annoyed me.
BD: Yeah, I like open-ended sandbox games, but that was almost too open-ended. I really got lost as to what I should do next.
JS: I think I prefer my RPG gaming to be stylized, even in a Final Fantasy semi-realistic kinda way.
BD: Well, the only console RPG I’ve played recently that I really enjoyed was KOTOR I & II. I’m seriously looking forward to MASS EFFECT.
JS: I’ve never played either of the KOTOR games, and even I’m incredibly excited for ME.
BD: If anyone can make an RPG I’m interested in, it’s Bioware.
JS: I’m just hoping that we won’t be getting any more delays, I cannot wait to play this. If they can actually implement what they’ve talked about, from all the planets you can visit, innovative combat, and even the active conversation system, this is going to be an absolute must-buy release.
BD: They can take as long as they need to. There’s so many other good games coming out to tide me over.
JS: So what’s got you most excited as far as upcoming releases?
BD: Actually, the thing I’m most intrigued by right now is DIRT. Totally not on my radar at all, but when I saw some preview videos, I really really wanted it
JS: Have you played the demo? It’s one of the most fun I’ve had on a racing games in quite a while!
BD: Wait, what?! A demo?! Shit, I’m turning on my 360 right now.
JS: Yes, now, go, download!!!
BD: I love rally racing games.
JS: My last experience playing a rally racing game was SEGA RALLY 2 on the Dreamcast, so this was fun for me, it was nice playing something like that again. And the look of it is just jaw-dropping gorgeous.
BD: Well, I’ve played some Colin McRae in the past and loved it, and since this is the same company, I have high hopes for this.
JS: What about the Wii? When’s the last time you played something on it?
BD: Damn, maybe back in January or February. I fire it up when there’s an update but other than that, it gets no play time.
JS: I was the same, and then I got into SUPER PAPER MARIO recently, which I’m really enjoying. I agree with the people that say that it would have been nice to just get an action game without all the RPG elements, but I was a fan of the Paper Mario series, and so I just see it as a better version of that series, since the action platform-like sequences are much more fun than the traditional combat system of those other games. Also, since last week I’ve been playing MARIO STRIKERS CHARGED FOOTBALL, which is loads of fun. I haven’t had a chance to try the online play yet, but I’m sure I will soon. It’s a blast to play.
BD: We’ve talked about this before but it’s hard for me to go back and play a game on the Wii after playing something on my 360 or PS3. The graphics are just so bad. I mean, I know you shouldn’t judge games by graphics alone. And I don’t. But sometimes, when I imagine what Zelda could have looked like on something like the 360, I get almost depressed.
JS: That was the same problem I was having. Everything on the Wii looked so bad on my 45-inch HDTV set. I even had trouble getting into TWILIGHT PRINCESS because of it. But I find that SUPER PAPER MARIO looks amazingly sharp, even on my big set.
BD: Really? Hmmm… I’ll have to check that out then. But, of course, like I said before, I’m not playing anything right now except WoW. I haven’t even played the HALO 3 beta since the day it came out! And I love Halo! I know you weren’t into the beta so much. I liked it fine enough, but I guess it felt too much ‘been there, done that’ to really keep my interest. Plus, I’m a single-player kinda guy to begin with. So I’m really looking forward more to the single-player story.
JS: Yeah, at first I wasn’t enjoying the beta much, but I think that was mostly because it was my first time playing HALO — I know, I know — and so it took a while before I got the hang of it. But same here, it’s the single-player mode that I’m really looking forward to playing.
BD: Our good friend Antonin just chimed in with a comment that “BIOHAZARD on the Wii is so good… the controls are awesome.” I’d like to give that a try. I loved BIOHAZARD 4, even though I never finished it.
JS: My only fear for that is that the graphics won’t be very good, and for a game like that, that can be important. I think SUPER PAPER MARIO works because of the big colorful and stylized designs, but as seen with TWILIGHT PRINCESS, realistic graphics just don’t work on the Wii, especially if you’re HDTV-equipped.
JS: Well, I think this is probably enough for now, and I imagine we’re due to get back to some WoWing.
BD: Of course. I’m done with WoW for the night. But come tomorrow…