Well, I picked up my new DSi [black--the blue was a tad the wrong shade for me], and after playing with for a day, I think it’s an upgrade over the DS Lite. The larger screens are definitely a plus for me, and some features are much better than I expected.
For example, even though you cannot crop images, you can apply several filters that transform the image, including erasing and creating picture frames from images. A few of the filters, such as merge, require very good pictures of faces from the front. When I took a picture of my son at 85% profile, I got an error message saying that the portrait couldn’t be recognized. [It also doesn't take much to blur a photo, as the camera seems very sensitive to the slightest movement.] Still, the photo editing is better than I expected. The sound editing is not quite as useful, but it’s fun, at least for a while, as my son and I took his recording from Darth Vader baritones to chipmonk highs.
The interface is also very simple and usable, which is not surprising given that it’s adapted from the Wii Menu. I like that I can somewhat personalize the interface with pictures appearing in the top screen. The DSi Shop is also very clean: although I didn’t use any of my 1000 free points, I downloaded the Opera Browser, which took a while, not unlike the early days of the Wii Shopping Channel. Again, Nintendo leveraged the Wii Shopping Channel for the DSi Shop. [I liked the default categorization of titles by prices--free, 200, 500, and 1000 points. Sometimes, you shop for what you can afford, not to mention, who doesn't like free stuff?]
As for the web browser, I’m actually impressed: it’s faster than the Opera browser that was available for the DS Lite and faster than the homebrew browsers, not to mention that it supports forms better. In fact, using the touch keyboard [which is much faster and easier to use than on the Wii], I drafted most of this post from the DSi. I’m not going to do major surfing on the web with it, but it’s nice to have as an option, for trips or even around the house.
The DSi feels overall more compact and well made. My only nit is the SD slot–the cover opens and bends back for inserting and removing the SD card, something I can see cracking or breaking. I certainly love the matte finish.
If it weren’t for the homebrew issue, I’d upgarde our other DS Lite for the DSi. The camera and recording is fun for the kids, and I can see DSware having a bit to offer in the coming months. So, all in all, this is not a purchase/upgrade that I regret.
Sometimes, I feel the neighborhood cat lady . . . except that I’m a dude, not a lady. And I don’t take in stray cats with all kinds of afflictions and scars. Instead, I take in stray games [which at least don't literally stink up my house].
Such a game is Fable 2, which this review well captures the game’s defects:
- A rather blah story
- A game that is hardcore in its size and other features but lacks the depth we’d expect from an RPG of this size
- A game world that is huge and offers vistas of places that you can’t get to [or at least easily]
- A lack of a good map tool that allows you to visit the world easily or even relate the different areas to each other
- Too few baddies to fight, unless you just want to get a whole town mad at you
- Lots of linear play with the appearance of openness
To which I would add:
- A really clunky interface with almost ability to customize
- Way too easy to make money
- Dreadful job mini-games that become mind numbing after a short time
I admit that all of the above is true, only to say that I still really enjoy the game. I do wander around the world, even though it’s not completely open. Even though you might not discover a place that doesn’t have a quest attached to it at some point, you can still explore the world and find surprises. When I happened across what seemed like a large, abandoned mining camp, I was still fascinated, although I never saw anyone to fight. But I didn’t know for sure . . . and I had that experience of wondering what happened there, why was everyone gone.
In a way, too, my expectations weren’t for another Oblivion thanks to the fact that Fallout 3 fulfills that expectation. I had played Fable and knew what to expect. And that’s what I’ve gotten, but better. I can do much more in Fable 2 than in Fable, like buying all sorts of properties. In the original, I could not spend that much time outside of the main quest and story because there wasn’t that much to do. But in Fable 2, I can . . . I’m maxing out those job skills with the minigames, and I’m investing in property, just my pa advised me.
The other thing is that the game is light-hearted, even for its seemingly dark main story. From item descriptions, to quotes during the load screen, to NPC chatter, there’s usually something in every game session to make me smile just a little. I think it’s the kind of game that shows why itemizing the faults can be so very misleading and how a game can be fun without being the most complex or sophisticated game in a genre. The game has enough relationships among player actions and the game world to make it the kind of sandbox game that doesn’t overwhelm you and make you feel you’ll be playing it for months.
Plus, any game that provides stories like the two in this forum thread can’t be that bad.
* Image from the gamersinfo.net WOW blog