It almost seems as if the big news has a holiday tinge to it, even when Christmas is still five months off. 😉

Woah…what's this about a 2-hour FFXIII demo?

Nobody was more upset than I when Square-Enix disappointed all Final Fantasy VII adorers for the umpteenth time last month. They failed to announce any sort of FFVII remake or sequel for the PlayStation 3, and because our hopes were dashed (yet again), it was hard to be excited about a little ol' FFXIII demo in the Blu-Ray "Advent Children" Collection. First of all, it's not even coming out until March of next year, and second of all, we get demos all the time these days. It's not like when Dragon Quest VIII came out and Square-Enix gave us a demo of FFXII; it was more of a novelty back then. But with the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Marketplace, demos are popping up on a continuous basis, many next-gen gamers are playing demos almost every week. But hey, we're not talking about a 10 or 20-minute demo, here; apparently, we're talking about a two hour demo! We're not sure if that's 100% accurate, but Famitsu claims it's longer than Advent Children , and that movie is 101 minutes in length. The demo also comes on a separate Blu-Ray disc…

Now, if that's not enough to excite you, then you can't consider yourself a fan of the series. I still remember playing through the FFXII demo and being extremely excited…the visuals didn't even seem possible for the PS2, for one thing, and the gameplay was fresh and new. I thought I'd hate it (I will always love turn-based), but I didn't, because FF always rules. This is why a demo just became my most anticipated release of early 2009. 😉

Will the disc format really die?

Now that we've learned Burnout Paradise is headed to the PlayStation Store , many analysts are starting to wonder: does this relatively small occurrence signify the imminent death of the disc format in the video game world? Will it all be downloadable in five or ten years time? Some will argue the size of such downloads would be far too massive, but I think that's an irrelevant argument…not many using a default 24k modem connection back in the '90s would've considered this new cable/DSL speed to be possible. A computer used to take up an entire room, and it could barely play tic-tac-toe. So there's no telling how many more technological leaps we'll make in the coming years, which is why digital downloads for games aren't impossible in that way. They're talking about the same fate for movies. But is this something the consumer wants? Personally, I like the idea of having a nice case and instruction booklet, and furthermore, I like the idea of a physical video game collection. Something tangible; something I can see and touch.

I guess my point is, it just wouldn't feel the same if I downloaded Final Fantasy XIV rather than doing what I've done for 15 years. Head on down to the store, all excited, pick up my shiny new box with RPG goodness inside, get more excited, go home, unpack it with even more excitement, and when it's all over, place it carefully amongst my collection as the prized possession it is. Maybe other people don't care about this, but I always will.

Personal gaming update

Okay, so I knew Soul Calibur IV wouldn't hold my attention for too long. It really is a lot of fun, but after a few weeks, I've concluded that's enough. So I figured it was long past time to start on MGS4, which I just recently did. I played through the first few hours, and as expected, the game is absolutely fantastic in just about every possible way. I was wondering if I might find something that would contrast with Arnold's review (he gave the game a perfect 10, as did many other sources), but so far, I can't drop the game below a 10, either. Of course, I haven't played it for very long, but damn… The production values are just absolutely insane, and everything about the gameplay is just so streamlined; Konami did all this and still managed to provide some freedom on surprisingly large maps, plus tons of cool gadgets, so I can't find anything wrong so far. Yeah, GTAIV is more my bag, but I will always say that MGS3 had one of the greatest video game stories in history (and probably the greatest ending), and I'm sure MGS4 will deliver as well.

As for the end of the year, when we have to determine a GoY, it's gonna be tough. Resistance 2 and LittleBigPlanet will probably get into the mix, too, so I have this feeling there's going to be a lot of debate over this year's choice. And we ain't gonna complain about that. 😉

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