Just so everyone knows ahead of time, I'm going to be away next weekend (Fri – Sun) so there won't be a Week in Review, or probably as many news stories on Fri and Sat. Arnold might do a few, but I figured I'd tell you now.

The RPGs are everywhere!

It's both good and bad. It's good because I always like to give most RPGs a try, even if I don't have anywhere near as much time as I used to have. But it's bad because it's hard to get reviews done for all of them. Obviously, we've already done Final Fantasy XIII because that topped the priority list, but Last Rebellion , Star Ocean: The Last Hope International and Resonance of Fate all need analysis, which is going to prove problematic. However, that being said, I will have reviews done for Last Rebellion and Star Ocean within the next week or so. …it's part of the reason why I'll need a break next weekend. ­čśë Looking down the road, I was interested to read about the new improvements and additions for White Knight Chronicles 2 , and I was also psyched to hear about the map and airship in Final Fantasy Versus XIII . I'm not naive to hope for turn-based but I'll certainly hope for a great game.

I have to find a way to get my hands on Resonance of Fate , which could be tough. Sega's PR is useless and it might be a long wait if it has to come from GameFly. But this is annoying because I've been wanting to try it ever since I heard it announced; it appears to be pretty entertaining, and it might contain more of the traditional RPG elements I've been missing in FFXIII. Well, I'll get to it, at any rate.

L.A. Noire gets more intriguing by the minute

At first, I wasn't sure if Team Bondi's project would be like a cross between Grand Theft Auto and Mafia , which would be great, but I think the real explanation is better: it almost sounds like the idea of the interactive drama with the inclusion of third-person action and exploration. I'm sure it won't be quite as emotionally involving – I don't see L.A. Noire being quite as character driven, nor do I see it boasting as good of a branching storyline – but I love the idea of being a detective in 1947 Los Angeles. There's so much authenticity due to the real-life crimes they snatched directly from the LA Times headlines from that year, and they say there are multiple options for the gamer. Now, I don't know if we'll get the innovative "no Game Over" concept, in that if we fail to solve a crime, things just continue along. But either way, I'm definitely hoping to see L.A. Noire on store shelves in September, as they're currently predicting.

Personal gaming update

I've been busy so I haven't been able to put quite as big a dent in FFXIII as I would've liked; I'm only about 26 hours in. I just beat that big dude on the ship (the guy who used Destrudo); I actually beat him on my first try and I completely forgot to summon Odin. But I do go out of my way to beat everything I see when running around, and sometimes I fight a lot of battles over and over. It's the way I've always done RPGs; I like to stay one step ahead of the plot challenges. I've also decided on a final team of Lightning, Fang and Hope. In looking at the character FAQ and going into a lot of threads dealing with this topic, this appears to be the most popular and most effective party. Hope has the highest magic stat, Lighting is the best overall Commando/Ravager, and Fang is actually better than Snow as both a Ravager and Commando, although it's debatable in terms of the Sentinel skill. Fang also gets Saboteur and Hope gets Synergist, so all six Classes are represented with a Light/Fang/Hope party. Sazh appears weak to me and Vanille is good (high Magic stat, great Saboteur), but I'd rather have Hope.

After I finish, I obviously have to play GoWIII. After that, it's break time, although I will play the aforementioned RPGs for reviewing purposes. I'd also like to thank those of you who participated in my little survey and answered my question; I've already received around 25 responses and the vast majority of them are very encouraging. But again, if you know what that question was about, I have to ask that you keep it to yourself. At least for now. Thanks again. ­čÖé

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