Feb 262013
 
This is what trading on a bonus credit day feels like.

This is what trading on a bonus credit day feels like.

I used to be the kind of guy that rushed out to their local GameStop to trade in a game the moment they were done with it. It wasn’t too long ago that I decided this was a poor way to go about things. Not only do these kind of stores typically take advantage of their customers looking to get something new to play with minimal out-of-pocket investment, but they are also keeping money out of the hands of the developers that make the games we all love. Besides that, I have recently found myself with a small case of “trader’s remorse”, because there are games I wish I still had that I traded in long ago. Some of these games simply have sentimental value, but the others I genuinely think I could get some replay value out of.

Jade Empire
This was one of the three games I played on my original Xbox before getting tired of the thing and trading it in. It is an action RPG set in a mythical ancient Japan. The combat was really interesting, and involved a mix of martial arts, magic, and transformations. In typical Bioware style, there was an intricate dialogue system that allowed you to develop branching relationships with the characters. There were multiple endings to this game, and I got them all but I still can’t help but want to play this again!

I will miss my forays into a mythology tinged version of ancient China.

I will miss my forays into a mythology tinged version of ancient China.

Star Fox 64 3D
This was a very, very short game but it was also a lot of fun! I also never had a chance to try out the local multiplayer (because I have no friends). It took quite a while after beating it for trader’s remorse to kick in, but Star Fox 64 3D definitely gave me a case of it!

The Fable Series
I’m not talking about any of the weird Fable spin-offs here, I’m just talking about the main three games in the series. They weren’t the most well-received games, but overall I found all of them to be pretty fun. The magic system was simple and easy to master, even with the changes brought in later in the series. It was a blast to be able to work through the game as both “good” or “evil”; which I really thought of as “boring” and “quickly efficient” respectively. None of them were much on story, but sometimes you just really want a game that will let you jump right in and senselessly electrocute creatures to death with magic so you can unwind from a long day of work.

The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Series
Knights of the Old Republic was one of the first “true” console RPGs I got into. There is a fantastic amount of depth here, several branching storylines, and a complex combat system that was easy to learn yet challenging to fully master. When the Old Republic MMO was being teased, I mistakenly got my hopes up thinking this could be the third installment in one of my most loved game series, but it was not to be. Even though the console they were made for is now incredibly obsolete, I find myself wishing I could take a second crack at these two games.

 

Dark Side of the Force? Nah, more like insanely awesome side of the Force.

Dark Side of the Force? Nah, more like insanely awesome side of the Force.

Zack and Wiki
This was an interesting and very cute point-and-click puzzle game for the Wii. It was also insanely hard! After making my way about halfway through this one, I found myself running to GameStop as fast as I could before I shattered the disc into a million pieces in a fiery rage-fueled fit. Now that I’m older, I think I have learned to be more patient with a game like Zack and Wiki, I regret getting rid of it and would love the opportunity to sit down with it again.

This isn’t intended to be an anti-used games rant, but rather an account of why you should consider hanging on to games for a little while after you’re finished with them. Sure, their “value” goes down in a used game store’s eyes and they’ll only give you $5 instead of $7 for a game for which you paid $60. Just stop for a second and ask yourself what the non-monetary value is for you if you keep it and decide to play it again a year down the road. That’s the kind of value that never depreciates.

Oct 222010
 

Fable III’s release is only 4 days away. Time to do your homework! Here is a smattering of info, screenshots, and videos to get you pumped and ready for another excursion into Albion.

The menu system has been overhauled: the boring text-based menu has been replaced with something called the Sanctuary. When players hit start the will be transported to the Sanctuary instantly. The first cool thing is that the Sanctuary is inhabited by the character’s faithful butler, Jasper (voiced by John Cleese!) In the Sanctuary, you can change your clothes in a wardrobe where outfits will be visible, spells can be changed up by switching out gauntlets, and you can switch out your gear by visiting the Sanctuary’s armory. There is also a 3D map of Albion that can be used for traveling and maintaining your properties.

Character models are more refined, but still maintain their unique Fable style. Click to enlarge.

Keeping with this complete immersion idea, leveling has changed a little. There is a “Road to Rule” that serves as a progress indicator and a skill tree. No more experience orbs: you will now accumulate Guild Seals through both battle and interaction with townspeople. These seals are used to unlock gates (which represent levels), and treasure chests (which contain spells and new non-combat skill packs).

Interactions with players online will be like NPC interactions: you can use expressions, get married, and bump uglies. Players will not be as tethered to each other as they were in Fable II. Also, you can earn gold and experience for playing with someone, making being a mercenary one of the most lucrative tasks in the game.

Environments still look beautiful and maintain the art style that has been unique to this series. Click to enlarge.

Weapons level up the more they are used and differently depending on how they are used. For example, swords can grow longer and sharper, while hammers can grow heavier. Weapons will develop runic patters in the hands of heavy magic users. This will create some truly unique weapons, which can be named and traded with friends via Xbox Live.

This looks so bad ass I don't even know what to say. Click to enlarge.

Many people’s favorite feature from Fable II, a canine companion, will be making a comeback, The pooch will work much as it did in Fable II by finding treasure and finishing off felled enemies.

And now for the videos:

First up is the intro cinematic:

Next some gameplay footage:

And lastly, combat:

Fable III hits store shelves on October 26th!