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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 18:47:29     -    Heroes of Might and Magic III (PC)

    This time I went for some solo gameplay, in the form of a campaign. Another great thing about Heroes is this campaign system. While often I build up my best hero to perfection only to win the map and have that hero lost, in the campaigns, you keep one hero over several maps, allowing you to really enjoy all of your effort.
    Today I went for the more melee oriented "stronghold" type, with my main hero a barbarian by the name of Crag Hack. I almost exclusively play the spellcaster sort of hero, so this is a challenge all its own. I am not used to suffering so many creature losses! Luckily, another thing Heroes did right is to balance the types of town, such that the melee castles get more creatures to balance the heavy losses. When I play a magic-oriented hero, oftentimes my creatures won't even come into play. They will sit on the battlefield and avoid the enemy creatures while I kill the enemy with spells. When I play Crag Hack or another hero like him, however, I am forced to kill everything with my creatures, and that means sending them into the fray.
    I love Heroes for its variety and options. Not only does one pick one's town and one's main hero, but as one's hero gains experience (from battle or items), one can choose abilities to improve, be it a type of magic, more ranged or melee damage, or even better movement. It allows for very custom heroes and a lot of variety in game-play.

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 18:39:17     -    Heroes of Might and Magic III (PC)

    For those that don't know, the Heroes of Might and Magic series is a turn-based strategy, and a good one at that. I prefer the third in the series (the fifth came out last year) just because it was the one I started on and I find the UI and combat systems more appealing.
    For this hour of gaming, I decided to do an allied scenario with my boyfriend, Kevan. Because it is turn-based, it makes for a good multi-player game that we can play on a single computer. Kevan and I chose to do the Realm of Chaos scenario; he chose to be the red-flagged "tower" town, and I was the tan "rampart" type.
    Heroes play basically goes like this: the player chooses what type of town they want to be--the town you choose picks the sort of creatures you can recruit (there are eight types of creature in each town, and these creatures are what you use to fight battles) and what heroes you can be (some are more melee oriented, others are more spell-caster types, and each specializes in something, from a spell, to an ability, to a type of creature, to resource production). The player then selects a hero, and collects resources in order to build up their town to produce an army and spells with which to kill the enemies and take over enemy towns.
    Kevan and I, having played this game countless times before, chose to play on impossible; this means we start with no resources and the enemy starts with full resources, and also plays to the best of his ability. This means that our lands were invaded frequently and we were forced to be very frugal and careful. This option (being able to choose difficulty) makes gameplay challenging even after one has mastered the game, which is great for continued playability.
    I like Heroes III the best because the user interface is simple and makes it so the challenge of the game is in the content, not in figuring out what the hell to build so you can build your capital.

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    Jan 25th, 2007 at 21:08:13     -    Katamari Damacy (PS2)

    I have discovered that katamari is, sadly, not like riding a bike. I haven't played in over a year, and to be frank, I suck. Regardless, the game is fun.
    Katamari drew me in originally for its complete irreverence. The plot is basically that you are the son of the king of all cosmos, and in order to recreate the universe which your father accidentally destroyed, you must roll around a katamari (a highly adhesive ball) to pick up items ranging from very small--ants, coins, and thumbtacks--to the very large--buildings and whales--to the ridiculous--hopes and dreams. All of this is to make your katamari huge so your father can blast it into the sky to make a star or a planet.
    Sounds absurd, right? It is, but it's fun in an esoteric and quirky way. The music is addictively happy and the premise is so silly it's engaging. It is also a fun game to play with a crowd, because anyone can play (not well, but anyone can pick it up and roll around) and the music and delightful graphics are appealing.

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    Jan 19th, 2007 at 16:59:25     -    Final Fantasy XII (PS2)

    I decided to spend some more time farming for this session, as there is a sword I was really hoping to get for Vaan, my main character.
    Something I didn't mention in my earlier log is the vast improvement on grinding in this FF--the chaining system. If you kill only a certain type of monster, the more you kill, the better loot you get off of them. They do this by a series of chains: after you kill 2 of the same type, it says "chain-2" and the number goes up with each creature you kill; eventually you get a "chain level" which is very obvious because the bags of loot the creature drops get much larger, and they start dropping more gil and better items. Each chain level is an improvement upon the last, until you are getting really nice items and a significant amount of gil. This system really cuts down on the time spent grinding, which was a complaint I had with previous Final Fantasy games.
    Another great time saver in FF12 is the port system. After you discover an area, you will find a crystal somewhere around. Touch it, and you can save, and port to any crystal you have already been to with the use of a teleport stone (which drop quite frequently at higher chain levels, I am happy to note). They also have a port system within the large cities called a Moogele porter. The Moogles are a small, rabbit-like race that operate this port system to take you to different sectors of the city, again really cutting down on the run time.
    Final Fantasy 12 has all the great parts of the other Final Fantasys--great characters and an interesting and compelling storyline, both of which have a depth that I find other RPGs often lack. The combat system is improved in a way, although I know a lot of fans (myself somewhat included) miss the very Final Fantasy combat screen. For the long-term playability and continued ability to bring in new fans, I think the real-time combat was a necessity, and a well-executed one at that. The makers of FF really worked on improving the areas that needed improvement (such as grinding and running time) and the result is another great Final Fantasy.

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    Entries written to date: 8
      Game Status / Read GameLog
    1Final Fantasy XII (PS2)Playing
    2Heroes of Might and Magic III (PC)Playing
    3Katamari Damacy (PS2)Played occasionally
    4Soul Caliber III (PS2)Playing
    5Super Smash Brothers Melee (GC)Playing
    6World of Warcraft (PC)Playing

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