Archive for April 14th, 2011

04/14/2011

More on Obama’s 5300 word oratorical snoozefest

by wfgodbold

Literally!

Now, I didn’t make this post to point out what a louse Biden is; sure, he’s as unserious a VP as we’ve had in many a year, but I wanted to call your attention to James Taranto’s WSJ fisking (H/T Instapundit).

He savages Obama’s speech again and again, and calls particular attention to something that Jake Tapper was the first to notice:

In 2010, Obama said,

We’re not going to be able to do anything about any of these entitlements if what we do is characterize whatever proposals are put out there as, ‘Well, you know, that’s — the other party’s being irresponsible. The other party is trying to hurt our senior citizens. That the other party is doing X, Y, Z.

While yesterday, he completely reversed himself, saying,

One vision has been championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates…This is a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit.  And who are those 50 million Americans?  Many are someone’s grandparents who wouldn’t be able afford nursing home care without Medicaid.  Many are poor children.  Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome.  Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care.  These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.

Taranto’s whole piece is good, and drives home the point that this speech was excruciatingly bad.

Makes me glad I didn’t listen to it. Or read it. Hell, if I’d tried fisking it, I’d probably have thrown in the towel after the first 2000 words or so. No speech should be 21 pages long.

04/14/2011

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron demo thoughts

by wfgodbold

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron‘s trial version (retail release in Japan at the end of April, in the US this summer) hit the PSN and Xbox Live (in Japan, at least) today. Other than that it’s a weird, 2D platformer/beat ‘em up loosely based on the Book of Enoch, I didn’t know what to expect going in. All opinions are based on the PSN demo; I don’t have a Japanese Xbox 360 or Live account, so I’m limited in my options.

You control Enoch with the left stick, attack with square, guard with R1, and jump with X; when next to a stunned enemy, you purify them with L1 (and steal their weapon!). If your health drops to zero, hammer on L1, R1, square, and X to persevere!

The world is a washed out white, with watercolor-like pools, rocks, and trees scattered about. Enoch himself is a blond, armored man and is initially weaponless. He can double jump, and can string together three attacks into combos. Holding down X when jumping allows Enoch to float briefly; he casts a white circular shadow on the ground that helps you judge where he is in the 3D platforming segments. Holding down the attack button allows you to charge and then release a more powerful, shorter combo.

I stole a weird, lightsaber-like bat’leth looking weapon from a stunned enemy; the first group was pretty easy. As you take damage, your armor gets destroyed (the same happens to enemies); when you’re close to death, Enoch is clad only in blue jeans, and the sides of the screen glow red. Once you “die,” if you repeatedly hit the L1, R1, square, and X, you will recover with what looked like half armor and can continue without missing a beat.

The second type of enemy was equipped with a glowing disc for their weapons; purifying and stealing it gave Enoch a ranged attack that could chain combos for longer than the lightsaber-bat’leth and fisticuffs could.

The more you use a particular weapon, the more its purity will degrade; it will go from bright white, to greyish, to dark, and it looks like as it does so, its damage decreases as well. You can re-purify it by hitting L1.

The demo stops right as you get to the boss and are instructed to steal its weapon, Baal.

El Shaddai looks like a pretty good game; the 2D platforming elements are okay, though the strange color scheme makes it hard to tell at times whether you’re supposed to be able to jump on something (this is particularly true of occasional waves/clouds in the foreground; sometimes you can jump on them, and sometimes you fall to your death). It didn’t seem like there was any real downside to falling into nothingness, though; Enoch just respawned at the most recent checkpoint (he does the same if you fail at button mashing after getting your armor knocked off).

The combat sections are in 3D; this gives you room to run around and dodge the enemies and their attacks, and enough room to get away to repurify your weapon once it becomes unclean again.

I don’t know if I’ll buy it when it comes out here; I know I won’t import it (stupid exchange rate). I may end up waiting and either picking it up used, or hoping it hits the PS3 budget line.

Bottom line: The demo was good, but not good enough to sell me on paying full price.

04/14/2011

Quote of the Indeterminate Time Interval: Judge Peter Beaumont

by wfgodbold

At the sentencing for a couple of teens convicted for the murder of a teen girl, Judge Peter Beaumont had this to say:

Gun violence with loaded weapons that imperils innocent people on the streets of London has to be stopped.

But I thought guns were practically banned in the UK! Especially pistols (only muzzle-loaders are legal) and fully automatic firearms! Those kids must have used some over-under bird guns or rimfire lever action rifles, right?

Nope.

The arsenal includes two loaded sub-machine guns, automatic pistols and a shotgun, along with ammunition.

Now, the two kids that did this are obviously depraved; I’m sure Agnes Sina-Inakoju was a wonderful girl, and that her family misses her horribly. I’d rather the two criminals be sentenced to death, or at the very least life without parole (32 year-minimum prison terms for murder seems a bit lenient).

Firearms and firearm ownership have been demonized in the UK for decades; all firearms and firearm owners are required to be licensed. Because of the hoop-jumping and limited “legitimate” reasons for owning firearms (Since 1946, self-defence has not been considered a valid reason to own a firearm.), ownership is far less common in the UK than in the USA.

I don’t know if that completely explains the out of control PSH on the part of the judge and the Mirror, though; their abject horror at the mere thought of loaded guns would be hilarious if the situation weren’t so serious.

I do wonder, though, if the Mirror would be okay with the so-called arsenal if it did not include ammunition; or if the judge would be fine with gun violence on the streets of London as long as the guns were unloaded (gangs with bayonet charges?).

Since guns are banned, though, I suppose the good people of the UK are just going to have to admit that the problem has some other root cause.

Like, say, …

Violent video games!

Sigh.

Remember, kids: you’re never responsible for your actions; something else can always be blamed!

Also, a gun without ammunition is just an oddly-shaped club.

04/14/2011

Silver Will (銀の意志)

by wfgodbold

The news about Trails of Blue put me in a Falcom mood.

Sure, XSEED’s latest localization hit the North American market two weeks ago, but my missing the occasion is no excuse!

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is the first game in the Trails in the Sky trilogy, and sixth game in The Legend of Heroes series.

Unlike most recent JRPGs, which have been prone to tacking on extraneous nonsense in an effort to “innovate,” Trails in the Sky is downright conservative.

Characters are represented by sprites (slightly super-deformed, as you’d expect), though the world itself is done in 3D; the story is paramount – once you’ve read through the exposition, you can run around doing quests and killing monsters, but you’re going to go through the game linearly, by god, whether you want to or not; characters have secret origins and nefarious goals, and everyone is taken by surprise, all the time; and battles are turn-based, with a column of portrait icons down the left side of the screen showing the battle order (casting spells takes time, and moves the caster’s icon to the appropriate time depending on the spell’s power and cast time).

All that said, Trails in the Sky knows exactly what it is, and does an excellent job of delivering. The main character, Estelle Bright, is planning on joining the Bracer Guild and following in her father’s footsteps. Her adopted (and amnesiac (It’s Trope-tastic!), IIRC) brother, Joshua joins her, and they begin their travels around the country as journeymen Bracers after their father leaves on a secret mission. What follows is a bildungsroman; Estelle and Joshua both learn more about the country they live in, the kind of people (both noble and villain) who inhabit it, and get caught up in trying to thwart a secret plot.

The game has been favorably reviewed so far; that’s fortunate, considering there are two more games in the trilogy, and if Trails in the Sky didn’t do well, I don’t think XSEED would throw good money after bad, their deal with Falcom for the rest of the games nonwithstanding.

I highlighted the battle music previously; I don’t remember when Silver Will plays, but it’s swaps the jazz feel of the battle music for more the more traditional Falcom rock sound.

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