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Ben’s Week In Review: February 17

The past week has seen some interesting news, and believe it or not, I'm nearing the end of my FF XII endeavor…which has reached a good two and a half months by now. So here's some food for thought-

Gran Turismo A "Killer"

I simply couldn't believe this story when I saw it. Heck, I had a hard time believing it when I was writing it. So The Times in the UK says the

games deserve to be on their

because a couple of dopes decided to endanger the lives of other drivers by road racing. And of course, because one of them was playing GT in the car earlier, that means the game is the "killer" here. How far are we going to take this? Seriously? I gave one analogy at the end of the article that I think applies, and as comical as it may sound, that day could be right around the corner.

And for the record, those two should've gotten more than just fines. It's not that I want to downplay the tragedy; I simply would like to clarify one thing: games can and often do have an impact on the player, especially with children. But in fully grown – and presumably stable – adults, they make their own decisions. They can discern the difference between fantasy and reality. It's why they don't run down the street with chainsaws after playing GTA. It's why they don't fly down the road like idiots after playing GT. There is definitely someone to blame here, but it's some

, not some

. Period.

PS2: The RPG Machine

I do believe the PS1 was probably the best system for RPGs in the history of gaming, but in all honesty, the PS2 is very close. And the best part is, those RPGs just keep coming, even during the last phase of the console's lifespan. Arnold is playing (and apparently enjoying) the already well-received Rogue Galaxy , we all know how great Final Fantasy XII is, and now there's the announcement of yet another Atlus RPG , entitled Odin Sphere . We may even see another Tales game before all is said and done. Being the ardent role-playing lover I am, I can't help but be excited.

The only issue I have is that there are just too many! FF XII is going to ultimately take me around 130 hours, and while I know the others won't take anywhere near as long, there are other games out there. I still have to hook up my 360 I got for Christmas and dive into Gears of War and Splinter Cell: Double Agent , not to mention the other small problem of Okami sitting there unopened. And now there are more RPGs I want to play. During the PS1 days, when I almost exclusively played RPGs, it was easier. But now that I want to play all kinds of great games and also want to play those RPGs, it's…um…problematic. I mean, I know I shouldn't complain, or anything, but still.

Positive PS3 News Suddenly Prevalent

Okay, so this is quite the turnaround from a mere few weeks ago, isn't it? It started with several key analysts predicting an eventual win for the PS3 in the new generation, and lately, it's escalated with even more concrete news. First, Sony's format choice took another big step forward when one of the biggest entertainment retailers in Australia announced they would exclusively stock Blu-Ray media . Second, we hear more and more about just how popular the PS3 is in Europe …even before it releases. And lastly, although they're not official yet, it appears the latest numbers from Japan show an almost 25% increase in PS3 sales.

It's amazing how quickly this happened, isn't it? We chalk it up to the typical knee-jerk reactions to the PS3 launch (and the problems therein) and a constant string of anti-Sony propaganda fueled by a variety of factors. But the horizon suddenly has a rosier glow to it now, and we certainly consider that good news.

Final Fantasy XII: Impending Culmination

With the Hell Wyrm and Omega Mark XII dead and gone, there's really only one thing left to do- Yiazmat. I hope to bring him down on Monday, and if that happens, I'll then go forth and finally beat the game. Yay! It's been one hell of an experience, and while I really can't rank it amongst my favorite FFs, it's certainly one of the best. I just wish I enjoyed the story a little more (political-based plots really aren't my thing), but there's just so much good in this game, it's impossible to ignore. I won't regret a single second of all the time I've put into this game, and I think you Euro gamers need to pick it up immediately upon its release this week. And if you have any questions whatsoever, feel free to ask. Arnold and I will always be around to help. 😉

An Unbelievable Fall for the PS3?

You know, that rumor about Gran Turismo 5 arriving later on this year got me to thinking… Capcom recently confirmed Devil May Cry 4 for Autumn , and on top of that, we should be seeing Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots at about that time as well. Doesn't this strike anyone as being absolutely incredible? Can you imagine what kind of holiday season it could be for the PS3 if all three of these huge titles hit within two or three months of Christmas? Bill Gates has gone on record saying the "real war" begins during the 2007 holiday season, and if that's the case, perhaps he should be somewhat concerned… I'm not saying the 360 has a poor lineup this year ( Mass Effect , anyone?), but those "Big 3" might be impossible to overcome.

It's one heck of a grand possibility, though, that's for damn sure. I'm really looking forward to see if it happens!

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