I finally made it to the end of Okami yesterday. I've mentioned the game a few times already, but I really can't stress enough how great it is. I logged about 50 hours, which seems to be about 20 more than most people have been taking to finish it. They also say that it could have taken them 70 or more to find everything, and that I can believe. I took my time with it and tried to find as many of the stay beads and other treasures as possible, but there are a LOT of things to find. The best aspect of the game for me was that it kept me guessing as to what was coming next in the plot. There were a few times where it seemed like the game could end, but then it would open up even further and have a huge new world to run around in. Best of all, the new material was always fresh and interesting. The game mechanics rarely changed, but the developers always found a new way of using the same controls to create a continual path of discovery. This is a very rare thing to see in adventure games. This is no mindless button masher. Okami is a continual trip of discovery and revelation. Its visual style is like nothing else I've seen, and the story is light with very deep undertones exploring what it means to do good and be happy. Ammy is a rare instance of a character I've loved to play and never once made me cringe or feel anything less than admiration for. How many other female dog gods can YOU name in video game history? Obviously, Okami gets my highest possible recommendation for anyone who is even passingly interested in gaming. It is not to be missed by anyone.
(Here is an AWESOME Ammy tattoo, but be warned, it's new, greasy, and there's a lot of black stubble.)
I'll finally be able to start playing Xenosaga III now! I've got so many games lined up that the only way to handle it is by forcing myself to focus on only one game at a time. I'll have XSIII next, then Final Fantasy XII (which is released in a couple days), them probably Contact and Final Fantasy III for the DS. I also have Beyond Good & Evil and Psychonauts (both used) waiting in the wings for a time when I'm caught up. The only problem is that the Wii is out in a couple weeks, and that's going to totally ruin everything for a while. It's a rough gaming life.
I finally made it to the newest episode of Battlestar Galactica today. Everyone who said episode 4 was the best so far was right. Amazing stuff! Specifically, for me at least, the planet-fall maneuver was some of the best sci-fi goodness I've ever seen. It's amazing how a show that's not about rubber monsters and massive CGI eye-candy always seems to pull off the best CGI ever. It's always subtle and so well integrated that it seems totally real. I'm glad they're back in space too. I'm the kind of guy that always hated the Endor scenes from Return of the Jedi and couldn't wait until the next space battle. Plus, I think BGS needs the confines of space to really succeed as a series. It needs close quarters and isolation. Sure, the planet stuff was similar, but it just didn't feel right. Actually, that's what's great about the entire series. There is never an easy answer, never an single side, never a best way to handle a situation. This makes it very tough for me to hate any character or sub-plot, which is a very rare thing for me. Sure, Baltar is a total gimp, but what the hell. Everyone needs a gimp.