Space Siege Demo

The demo of Space Siege is finally out, and it can be downloaded over at nZone. I've already played it and got sold right after the opening cinematic. Like most game demos, it covers the tutorial part of the game. But it showcased a lot of the game's mechanics. The gameplay is basically hack n' slash (or shoot n' puncture) and it's action-packed much like Dungeon Siege, its distant cousin. The atmosphere, however, reminds me of Restricted Area, an action-RPG in a cyberpunk setting.

The feature that I really liked in the demo, and what I think makes Space Siege unique from other action-RPGs, is the absence of standard loot and experience points. All the enemies you kill in the game drops parts instead, which is like a currency that goes right into an amount tab. Parts allows you to upgrade your skill, abilities, implants and your weapons. So there's no more inventory management in here, and having that dilemma of which weapons to take or drop.

Story-wise, unfortunately, might not be that deep (but I hope I'm wrong). I just don't see any potential of a great plot since the aliens appears to be mindless warmongers. It'd mostly run and gun from point a to point b, and accomplish objectives. However, I do hope that the history of the Human-Kerak war would surface a lot in the PDA logs because it seems to be interesting.

Overall, I think Space Siege would be a fun game. There's just a lot of cool features in here that you won't see too often in a fantasy-dominated genre. Even though the plot might appear to be weak, I will definitely buy the game for its action packed gameplay.


Let the games begin!

I'm pretty sure that a lot of people are already getting stoked about this year's Summer Olympics in Beijing. Although some folks, like me for example, are much more concerned about the upcoming games rush, a time when publishers overstock game store shelves with their hyped products during the holiday season. The games rush usually starts around mid-August and reaches full momentum by late-November. But since I always need to budget my expenses early on, I've already finished picking a PC game for each month.


Space Siege
Space Siege is an action-RPG from Gas Powered Games (Dungeon Siege). I find the game to be similar with System Shock than Dungeon Siege. The setting will be on a ship infiltrated by aliens, and the story will be told via PDA logs located throughout the ship. You'll also be able to upgrade your body with implants to improve your combat abilities. But unlike in System Shock, there's a moral conflict in the game. The more you have upgrades, the less human you become.


After 4 years[?] in development, Will Wright (SimCity, The Sims) will finally unleash Spore to the world. Spore showcases a mix of features from various genre like god games, strategy and life simulation. The game allows you to play the different phases in the evolution. You start out with a single microbe from the tide pool phase, then evolving it to a land creature in the creature phase, and finally advancing them into interplanetary conquerors during the space phase.


Fallout 3
I started to loath Bethesda after Morrowind. Even more so when they butchered the design of Fallout 3, eschewing the much loved turn-based combat, by turning it into a graphic-fest shooter game. Nonetheless, I'm still picking up Fallout 3 because of my love for all things post-apocalyptic, and I'm still hopeful that this game will deliver an irradiated RPG experience, much like its predecessors did, even though it has undergone extreme mutation under Bethsoft's hands.


Empire: Total War
The Total War series of strategy games has already taken us into different historical eras. We've fought battles in Feudal Japan, in the Roman Republic, and in Medieval Europe. The new series, Empire, will take us back to 17th - 19th centuries and give us the chance to fight pirates in the Caribbean or participate in the American Rebellion. There are great changes and additions in this series (can you say naval battles?), and it's just too many to mention them all.

Now, there you have it. All my picks for the PC each month are done. All I need to do is get a better system to handle these games. Cause, quite frankly, I don't think I'd be able to run them (especially Fallout 3).


Comics Review: Uncanny X-Men #500

Uncanny X-Men #500
7.5 of 10
Writers: Matt Fraction & Ed Brubaker
Pencilers: Greg Land & Terry Dodson

When I got back into comic collecting a few months ago, I was about to gear up on collected trades of Uncanny X-Men in order to catch up with their story. But a "comic store guy" advised me that, as long as I've read House of M (which I did) and the Messiah Complex (which I didn't but have an idea of what happened), I should just wait for the 500th issue because it's a perfect jumping point for new readers like me.

I took his advice, of course, and he was right. The X-Men being relocated in San Francisco with a new base starts with a clean slate, and the whole team are in good spirits because of it. But all their activities in the city have also drawn many who bear ill will against the mutants. A shock artist with Sentinels, The Hellfire Cult -who seems to be a radical anti-mutant group- and Magneto himself, who –with the help of the High Evolutionary- vowed to save mutant kind.

I think the 500th issue is like a beacon that will usher this title into a new direction. But the issue is just that, a beacon, a staging point, nothing more. There’s no deep plot here (which is perfect for new readers). It only shows us the new status quo of the X-Men, a guided tour inside their base, and bits of things to expect in the future.

As for the artwork, both Greg Land and Terry Dodson did well. But since they have to share this issue, and they both have different styles, the artwork differs from page to page. While it didn’t really bother me that much, I still wish that they could’ve gone with just one artist (preferably Terry Dodson).

Overall, I would say that the issue isn’t bad, but not quite satisfying either. I’m hoping it’s because Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction hasn’t settled in yet. Most readers will probably feel that the current issue is like one long introduction, like an issue #0, to a new series, which can be a bore. But for new readers, this issue is “the” jumping point. I highly recommend it to new readers. But as for vets, skip it.


Featured Band: One Day As A Lion

After Rage Against The Machine disbanded back in 2000. I've heard many rumors about Zach De La Rocha, that he was either going solo or was kicked out for having writer's block. Soon after, as his former band mates were getting busy with Audioslave, news of him collaborating with big wigs such as Dan The Automator and Trent Reznor began darting around the web. But, I've never seen any of those collaborations on stage and on air.

Zach De La Rocha and Jon Theodore, One Day As A Lion.

But now, finally, after 8 years in hiatus, Zach is finally back with his two-man band, One Day As A Lion. I've only heard one song, Wild International (which you listen to on their MySpace page). The song sounds pretty close to what he did back with Rage Against The Machine, which isn't bad at all. So I think their EP is worth checking out.


Game Review: Days of Ruin

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
8.5 of 10
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Developer: Intelligent System

Turn-based strategy games are probably the most enjoyable and highly addicting form of entertainment for me. Playing these games, I always remembered being shackled onto my desk, staring at my 15" CRT monitor with bloodshot eyes, hours upon hours, neglecting both food and sleep, and leading my glorious pixelated empire into prosperity. Throughout the years, the genre has thrived and I've played many great titles such as Civilization, Galactic Civilization and Disciples -just to name a few- for the PC. Unfortunately, I haven't tried any turn-based strategy games on other gaming platforms. That's why I decided it's high time that I did so and picked up Advance Wars: Days of Ruin.

The story, a post-apocalyptic in genre, is set in the aftermath of a meteor shower that devastated civilizations and has left the world in ruins. As one of the survivors and a member of Brenner's Wolves, a group of soldiers dedicated to help all who survived the cataclysm, you will fight against marauders, mad scientists, and megalomaniacs who are after your life and supplies.

While I haven't played any game from the franchise, it's safe to assume that Days of Ruin isn't connected to other Advance Wars titles because I didn't had any troubles understanding the story. But there's nothing notable about the story though. Albeit there are many surprising twists and turns in the plot, the writing (or perhaps the translation) is just horrendous to give it substance. The dialogue, especially, and characters feel too campy and cliched. It's like watching a trashy B movie.

Thankfully, the gameplay is nowhere near the storyline in terms of quality. The game is just too addicting and it's very hard to put it down. One element in the game that I found commendable is that the units are well-balanced, each has their strengths and flaws. A battleship may be the bane of cruisers. But it is a sitting duck against a submarine. Cruisers, however, can easily deal with the submarines. So there's no way for you to blot the screen with just an army of wartanks. A variety of units is a must in this game if you want to beat it.

The game's AI is sneaky and -well- intelligent too. It responds to the type of units you create and your strategy. If you make an army of wartanks, it'll create an army of anti-tanks to counter your offense. If you make bombers to get rid of his anti-tanks, it'll create fighters to take down your bombers. If you happen to have an artillery bombardment as a defensive strategy, it will try to keep its ground units away from your range and will cautiously try to take it down when you drop your guard.

While the game is fun, it also comes with a bit of frustration. In addition to a really smart AI, your computer opponent also has an unfair advantage of extra units, money, and bigger guns. Making the game, in some chapters, nigh unbeatable until you find the perfect strategy. I swear I was stuck in 2, probably 3, chapters for weeks. And without an option to change the difficulty of the game, I almost gave up on it after a lot of my strategies have failed.

Graphics & Sounds
The graphics in Days of Ruin is mediocre, overall. The main game screen lacks color and feels dated. You'll mostly see gray, blue, and red units on the map. The units also have simple designs but are distinguishable from one another. The characters and the units in the battle screen, however, are well designed and nicely drawn. I especially liked Lin, a Lieutenant in Brenner's Wolves, with her long silky black hair.

While it lacks voice acting, the game produces a pretty good sound. The music is hard rocking and memorable. Too memorable, in fact, that if you play the game long enough the music will haunt you in your dreams. The sound in the battle screen is also crisp and clear. The bombs whistle when they're dropped, machine guns rattle when they're fired, and armors make tinkling sounds as bullets hit them.

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin yielded a fun gaming experience. Possibly because of the well-balanced units and a smart AI. The game can get hard in some chapters, however, and might become too frustrating. But it's nothing a good game guide or walk-through can't fix. Sadly, I didn't had a chance to play the other modes. But I bet the multi-player mode is a lot of fun to play with friends, and will increase the game's replay value. Overall, if you like turn-based strategy games, I recommend getting Advance Wars: Days of Ruin.


Film Review: The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight
9.0 of 10
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart.

Caveat: Spoilers Ahead.

I wasn't lucky enough to catch The Dark Knight last Friday. It's just so hard to get tickets here in my area. I assume it's because the movie was mostly filmed here in Chicago. Of course, it was Heath Ledger's last film as well. But that's all behind me now since I saw it earlier this morning, and all I can say about it: awesome but unfocused.

It was everything I hoped it to be, the film was terrific. It's dark, ominous, and dirty. It portrayed Gotham and Batman with realism. Although the plot became a bit of a drag in earlier parts, it's engaging and chaotically fun in its entirety. So why do I say it's unfocused? Well, there's just too many characters and things going on in the film.

First, there's The Joker. Heath Ledger, I'm afraid, played him too damn good. Too good that he stole the whole show. He's psychotic, sadistic and anarchistic but still retains a wicked sense of humor. His mannerism, the way he licks his lips, made him even more sinister and memorable. Every scene I remember from the film was The Joker's, not Batman's. But since The Joker is the other half of Batman, it's okay for him to take half of the spotlight.

In addition, Harvey Dent also stole a bit of the spotlight from Batman. Bruce Wayne, weary of wearing the mantle of Batman, wanted to pass the torch to Dent as Gotham's unmasked hero. So he downplayed Batman's role and put much more importance in Dent's achievement. But it was later in the film, when his Two-Face persona emerged, that he really became a minor nuisance to me. I just felt that Two-Face kind of splintered from the main plot and became a minor story arc in the film.

Overall, The Dark Knight is a sterling comics-to-film adaptation. The plot is great. Heath Ledger's take on The Joker is exemplary. Batman's getting more mature and learning to do what is necessary. I would watch it again if I could. I would've given it a perfect 10 if not for the film having two villains. It was just too small to contain two baddies in one movie. Especially if the other one is as big as The Joker.


KORG + Nintendo DS = Portable Synthesizer

The Nintendo DS is probably the most useful gaming device in the market right now. It has numerous amounts of trainer games to keep you smart (My Word Coach, Brain Age 2), healthy (My Weight Loss Coach), and even monitor your glucose levels if you're diabetic (Glucoboy). Now KORG DS-10, a digital synthesizer, will be coming out on the Nintendo DS. That's right, a digital synthesizer and not just a game like Guitar Hero or Jam Sessions. I'm pretty sure this will keep all those musician/songwriter gamers happy.

I'm impressed, yet again. So when will it end? When will the NDS stop impressing me?


Album Review: 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons

13 Blues for Thirteen Moons - Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & The Tra La La Band
6.0 of 10

I became enamored with post-rock/post-metal back in 2005 when I heard Pelican's The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw. I just find it [post-rock] to be very captivating and deadly. It's like standing on a beach and appreciating an approaching tsunami. So, being myself, I wasn't satisfied by getting all of Pelican's album alone. I have to scour the internet for other post-rock/post-metal bands. That's when I discovered Goddess You! Black Emperor, a post-rock band from Montreal, in which three of the members became A Silver Mt. Zion.

A Silver Mt. Zion, the inception of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & The Tra La La Band, is an exemplary post-rock band. Their songs, mostly a soundscape of guitar feedbacks, violin, and low key piano collapsing on one another, can invoke emotions of awe and hopelessness. If a friend of mine happens to venture into post-rock, I'd write their first album (which title is too long to name) in my top five "must buy" list and hand it to him. Their latest album, 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons, however, is a different story.

13 Blues for Thirteen Moons is so far removed from the old Zion. They have strayed too far from their post-rock, creating a somewhat lost sound. While their songs are lengthy, like it was in old albums, they're rather stretched as opposed to epic. Their first track, "1,000,000 Died to Make This Sound", starts with a great intro. It opens slowly and then transits into a classic rock opera that reminds of me of Queen and Led Zeppelin. But after five minutes of listening to the song, it becomes repetitively dull. The rest of the album felt the same way too, and offered no respite from the long and tiresome repetition.

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & The Tra La La Band's effort on their latest album came out short for me. Maybe it was my own fault because I was expecting too much from them. I badly wanted them to lure me into depressing depths with their droning soundscapes. In the end, I was just disappointed. Whether you're a fan of the band or of post-rock, I urge you to avoid this album at all cost.


Watch This

Watchmen, one of the most important graphic novel ever written, and an essential book to have in a collection. Now its movie trailer is finally here. I can't wait to see the entire film already.


First Impressions: The World Ends With You

After a month long of fun and frustration, I've finally finished Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (I'll post a review of it within this week). So now, since there's nothing really good on the PC, I got myself another Nintendo DS game to play with: The World Ends With You. From the moment I turned the game on, I was instantly hooked with its urban graffiti-styled graphics. The story has a mysterious pull to it as well, and propels the game nicely. Though I find the dual screen combat hard and confusing. Nevertheless, it's still pretty innovative. I can't wait to play more of this game because I get the feeling that this is the "IT" game for the NDS.


Music: The Age/Cool Meter?

Me and a college friend had this conversation before: that music can indicate of how "cool" or "old" a person is. Being 10 years older than me, he said that by the time you reach 30 you'll eventually fail to track cool new bands. Then you'll embrace mellower music such as Jazz and/or listen to the music you had when you were still in high school. The reason I remembered and shared all this is because I have the symptoms mentioned above.

I'm not 30 years old, yet, and I can still track new bands. But the number of bands I can find in a month is dwindling. I mean 8 years ago, before emo went full on mainstream, I'd have known 5-10 different bands (mostly unsigned) by the end of the week. Now, however, I'd be lucky enough to name 5 new bands in a month. And naming 10 bands has already become an impossible feat for me.

In addition, the bands that I usually discover are not "loud" anymore. For the past 7 months I've only listened to 5 metal/hard rock bands, 3 of which I didn't like at all, and all of them aren't that new. Nowadays, my usual find would be an indie folk band, the likes of The National or Sun Kil Moon. I even ditched Steve Vai and Joe Satriani in favor of contemporary Jazz guitarists like Norman Brown, Pat Metheny and Chuck Loeb.

As for listening to old school music, well I've bought a lot of old CDs to expand the "hard copy" of my music library. It started by buying Anthrax's The Sound of White Noise. Then Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation and Dirty. Before I realized it I've already spent more than $200 buying 90's music alone. Plus, I've been also listening to my old CDs more than my new ones. Hence, as a result, the slow updates of music reviews in this blog.

I've thought about this before, that musical deterioration happens when you get older. I've heard my Dad listen to The Eagles day in and day out. I've heard old musicians banter about how music suck nowadays. But I dismissed it as a myth, and that I'm impervious to such deterioration. But now, I just don't know. I don't want to admit it. I'm scared.


RIP: Flagship Studios 2003 - 2008

Another RPG developer has gone right down the tubes. This time it's Flagship Studios, developers of Hellgate: London. While I was gravely disappointed with the outcome of Hellgate: London, I just feel sorry for them all.

You can read the announcement here.


Film Review: Hellboy II

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
8.6 of 10
Directed by: Guillermo del Torro
Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair

I saw Hellboy II: The Golden Army today. Although I'm not a big fan of Hellboy, I just had to watch the movie after I saw its trailer. I'm really glad I did though because the film was a blast, it was funny and visually stunning. I especially loved the urban fairly tale theme, mixed with a little bit of steampunk. It's like a Pan's Labyrinth that was shot amidst the chaos of New York. The costumes and make-ups are all masterfully done too. I'm pretty sure this film will be nominated, for its art direction, in the Oscars.


Compare & Contrast: Wanted

Wanted (Comics) | Wanted (Film)
8.5 of 10 | 8.1 of 10
Writer: Mark Millar | Starring: James McAvoy
llustrator: JG Jones | Starring: Angelina Jolie

Wanted is probably one of the mature books that got me back into comics. But when I saw the trailer of its movie adaptation during a film preview, I almost regurgitated. I knew that the film isn't going to be faithful to the comics. Thus, logically, I wanted to avoid it. Though I couldn't stop pondering as to how they're going to manage the comic-to-film adaptation. So I gave in to my curiosity and watched the movie.

Mr. Gibson being harassed by his boss.

As it turns out, it was a bagful of fun. The film will put your adrenal glands into overdrive. All the action sequences, especially the gun fights, are exceptionally well done and downright entertaining. However, since I've read the comics prior to the movie, I couldn't help but feel disappointed. Not because they excluded the costumed super-villains, or how they tweaked the story. But because the whole grit of the film was diluted.

At first, however, the key scenes and backgrounds from the comics are all present in the movie. It shows us an ordinary Wesley Gibson, a white collar worker, who is in a bad situation. His boss is nagging him all the time, his best friend is fucking his girlfriend, and he's loaded with stress related issues. But all is about to change when The Fraternity came to visit him, told him that his father is dead, and that he is the heir to his substantial amount of wealth and position within their organization.

"Shoot the flies" scene (also in the movie). The initiation of Wesley into The Fraternity.

The movie turned a bit sour on me during the introduction of The Fraternity. In the comics, The Fraternity is a conglomeration of costumed super-criminals that wiped out all the super-heroes back in 1986 and secretly controls the world. They can do anything they want without any fear of reprisals, making them very dangerous and evil. But in the movie, The Fraternity is reduced into a millennium old, brotherhood of assassins, who take orders from a loom. Nonetheless, I can still suffer that -not having powerful and "evil to the core" villains.

But what really ticked me off was how they ousted the self-indulgent violence, in which Wesley inflicts in the comics. In the film, Wesley trains in a slaughterhouse. But, in the comics, he's there to desensitize his inhibition to kill by slaughtering thousands of livestock, not to learn knife-fighting. After his training, he goes on a crime spree. He started shooting random people, then killing everyone that pissed him off (like his best friend), and even raping a popular celebrity. He had done all this terrible things but, with the help of The Fraternity, got away with all of it. Sadly, none of these things happened in the film.

James McAvoy, the less violent film version of Wesley Gibson.

Those are the few roots of my disappointment. I could still add one more but not without spoiling the movie. I don't know why they rearranged some things in the movie. Did they eschew the costumed criminal members of The Fraternity to make the film un-campy? Did they water down the violence and hoped that they'll get a rating even lower than R? Whatever their reasons are, it has left me dissatisfied. I still recommend the film though, especially to those who hasn't read the comics. Heck, I'll even recommend it to the fans of the comics but only if they can part with their costumed super-villains and the violence.


Batman: Gotham Knight

Batman: Gotham Knight (Single-disc edition)
9.5 of 10
by Warner Bros. Animation

Ten more days until The Dark Knight comes out, and the excitement and anticipation has been giving me migraines as of late. In fact, I had to make a sick call at work today because of a splitting headache and nausea. Luckily, it only lasted for a of couple hours and I had the chance to pick up Batman: Gotham Knight late this afternoon.

Gotham Knight is a direct-to-dvd that collects six Batman animated short films (similar to The Animatrix). The stories, set in the time between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, focus on the people's impressions of Batman, The current status of Gotham, his training and morality, and the fate of the Scarecrow. Other villains such as Deadshot and Killer Croc are also featured in some segments.

The DVD is a real treat, a quencher. Since it nicely bridges some gaps between the two Batman films by Christopher Nolan, it's the perfect precursor film to watch before The Dark Knight. So if you're getting jumpy and anxious over The Dark Knight. Get this DVD and watch it. It will quench you, if only for a little bit, I promise.

July 9, Dragon Age

BioWare announced the development of Dragon Age since...who knows how long? I couldn't remember anymore. But I know they announced it before Mass Effect and way before Sonic Chronicles: The Brotherhood. Mass Effect was already released for Xbox 360 and has been ported into PC. Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood have been generating a lot of buzz lately and is already set for a September release. Yet I still don't know much about Dragon Age, save for a few show of screenshots.

The message at Dragon Age's official site.

But yesterday, BioWare set up a teaser page at Dragon Age's official site that says: More July 9, 2008. So is BioWare finally ready to talk about their game (which I had occasionally doubted wouldn't see any light of day and turn into vaporware) and stop guarding it like a virgin's cunt? Or is it exactly just that, a teaser to keep my hopes up? I guess we'll just have to wait for tomorrow and find out.


Portable Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger is probably the best JRPG ever made, and it's coming to the Nintendo DS. After porting Final Fantasy III into the NDS I knew it was only a matter of time until Square Enix does the same thing to Chrono Trigger. I couldn't be more happier with the news. I've never finished playing the game before. So it's another chance for me to give it a shot. Especially, now, that I spend more time playing with my DS than my PC. Plus, I can also take the game with me anywhere I go.


One Manga

I stopped reading the manga version of Naruto when they aired the Shippuden episodes. But I got curious as to how far the manga was up to compared to the anime. So I started looking for some translated issues earlier and found One Manga. It's a great site with lots of free manga titles, and I mean a lot. They offer more than just the mainstream titles, and they update their issues quite regularly too. So if you have time, or don't have time, check it out.


Comics Review: Astonishing X-Men Vol.4

Astonishing X-Men Vol.4: Unstoppable
8.5 of 10
Writer: Joss Whedon
Illustrator: John Cassaday

There are only a total of four collected trades for the Astonishing X-Men title but, somehow, after reading Unstoppable, it felt like it was the end of the entire series. Probably because Joss Whedon's stint on the astonishing "X-title" culminates explosively in this volume. There were many memorable events that happened in the book. Mainly because, as the X-Men faces adversity in the barbaric Breakworld, our heroes performed extraordinarily feats. Kitty Pride, especially, who pushed the limits of her power to save the world from a threat that even Earth's mightiest heroes cannot. Cyclops, too, reminded me again of how great of a leader he is by becoming a bait in order to save his teammates. Sadly enough, an X-man made a heroic sacrifice and is forever (probably temporarily) lost. A tragic, yet befitting end to Joss Whedon's run.


Guitar Hero says no to Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, a Guitar Hero knock-off that only features Aerosmith songs, was just released last week. But unlike Aerosmith, who are trying to widen their audience, we won't see a Led Zeppelin variant of the popular game anytime soon. Why? Well, according to Wired:

"The band, specifically Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, is not comfortable giving gaming companies access to the group's master recordings -- a necessary step in adding the band to any game."
Too bad for the gamers who were wishing for a Guitar Hero: Led Zeppelin. At least, they're still gonna get Guitar Hero: Metallica, and maybe a Guitar Hero: Van Halen too. Me, I don't really care about the game. I suck at Guitar Hero. Besides, I already got the real controller. You know, the one made of wood, with six strings, and makes real sound.


Leonard's Demon

Nine years ago, during my toddler years in PC gaming, I almost wet in my pants when I heard that Diablo II was on its way. But, years passed, and after playing hundreds of games, I thought that the announcement of Diablo III would never excite me. Not because I think Diablo is bad. It's just my gaming preference has changed, evolved. A fun, hack & slash game won't satiate me anymore. No, I want something more to go along with the action. Like an engaging storyline and a rich setting, for example. But, last Friday, when Blizzard finally announced that Diablo III was in development, and that Leonard Boyarsky was the lead world designer, I almost urinated in my pants all over again.

Blizzard's talents has already proven themselves to be great writers. They've showcased their ability to craft extensive histories, lores, and plots for their games, as evident in Starcraft and Warcraft (most especially). Even in Diablo, if you look at the game manuals, the lore is very rich. But, unlike Blizzard's RTS games, only a snippet of Diablo's lore was actually presented in the game. So, hiring Boyarsky as a world designer for Diablo III is probably the wisest decision by Blizzard. With his experience in games such as Fallout and Arcanum (both of which has rich stories and unique settings), his main job, most likely, is to fortify Diablo's weakest point -its story- by incorporating the existing lore into the gameplay.

While -by the looks of it right now- Diablo won't be changing much of its gameplay. But I'm plenty sure that Leonard Boyarsky's involvement in the game will bring it to a different level. I'm also sure that he will spice up the game and rekindle my love for Diablo with a new flame.