One of the key aspects of most video game are the "animations". Typically, this is with respect to various people, animals, monsters, or what-have-you on the video screen. The best animations are life-like, fluid, respect the surroundings, and even use the environment when possible.

A game like Dead or Alive: Extreme Beach Volleyball has excellent characters models (probably the most life-like models out there today), but it does not have a rich set of animations. On the volleyball court, the women don't have a bunch of moves, though what they do have are very fluid and realistic. In some of the more voyeuristic modes, they move fluidly, but they still have a limited set of animations.

Compare that to a game like Ninja Gaiden. In that game, Ryu looks and moves with near perfection. His running, his flowing movement from one attack into a defense into a jump off a wall, how he wields nunchuks and swords... all of them done with a rich, flowing, and varied set of animations. He sometimes gets clipped by the terrain, but it rarely draws you away from the utter amazement of watching him move.

One the latest games that I just bought, BloodRayne 2, has got some truly amazing moves. The character model is also fantastic. In word, hot. In the initial levels, she has a long dress on which is slit on each side all the way up to here. Yah, perv: upskirts are there. What is amazing is watching her in combat with the dress and her hair flowing around her as she glides and spins and jumps from one stance or attack or defense to another. Very, very nice. I haven't played through enough to comment on game play (seems fine so far), but the graphics are quite amazing.

Other games with excellent animations: Otogi and Otogi 2, the Splinter Cell series, and even Psi Ops: the Mindgate Conspiracy. These are all amazing games and are excellent demonstrations of some of the best animations out there.


Well, I finished Fable a couple nights ago. It was a definitely quite cool.

The graphics and visual style are exellent. The animations are beautiful (people walking around, as you "emote", while in combat, with spells, etc). Heck, even the grass waves in the wind. Rad.

Combat in Fable is very smooth and straight-forward. I never really used my bow -- generally, I just play tanks that wade into combat. I did find the "Force Push" skill to be highly useful. Excellent for crowd clearing. At max'd level, it did some good damage, too. I'd bash a group with it, then run after one the guys. By the time the others picked themselves up and regrouped around me, then I'd push them all back again. It didn't work so well agains the big trolls tho :-)

The story line is rather light, but it works well. The various quests and progressive opening of areas leads you through the story very well.

One negative: the game would "stutter" every now and then when I ran places. It never did that in combat. I think it was mostly about loading new areas/textures.

I did just about every side quest and optional quest possible. All told, it took me about 22 hours to finish the game. I've heard that you can do it in 15; I just like to explore and see what else is doable. For example, I had four wives, about eight houses, and had travelled all over the place several times.

I'm not sure whether to reply it as evil now, though. Your alignment doesn't really change the gameplay that much, and I'm not sure that I want to put in the time just to see my character grow big old horns on his head.

I very much recommend Fable. It is a fantastic RPG. You have many, many ways to grow your character along different paths. The story is not deep, but the graphics are amazing, the potential character directions are simply incredible, and the quest/explore/combat is very good.


Yet again, Starcraft: Ghost has been delayed. We're now looking at June of next year. Damn thing better be worth the wait...

Until then, here are the top games on my watch list:
  • Otogi 2
  • Need for Speed Underground 2
  • Ghost Recon 2
  • dang, that's a lot of "2" games...
  • KOTOR 2 (yah yah, another one)
  • Halo 2 (see a pattern yet?)
  • Dead or Alive: Ultimate (not a 2!!! actually, it is like a billion or so) -- this baby comes out in about two weeks!
I'm keeping my eye on BloodRayne 2 (rented/played the first; it wasn't bad; this one looks way better; out next week!). Also: Mercenaries, Far Cry, Jade Empire (yay! ... but next March), Red Ninja, Kameo, and Bard's Tale. There are a few others that I'm tracking but want to see more previews and info about them.

Hoo boy... this holiday season is looking up! Last was nuts. I was buried when so many top-notch games came out. But... I'd call that a Happy Problem.