NFS: Carbon ~ 12% complete

Wow, that quickly degenerated into a mix of every NFS element from previous games into one – which, while not necessarily bad, has yet to make this game unique.  I do like that the police chase elements from NFS: Most Wanted (including being able to knock down environmental elements on top of the pursuit cars to stop the chase), but really, there’s nothing really new beyond having a helper during races to assist at times.   The terrority aspect is just a different way of presenting a race challenge tree for the most part, and certainly not as open as it seemed before.

.hack GU V1 ~ 15hr

Unfortunately, I’ve hit the point that made the first series a bit too long and drawn out – while you want to keep leveling (and the game makes no bones about the fact that you have to level up outside the main plot, which is fine with me), the gameplay gets rather repeative really quickly.  There’s only been 3 general types of enemies: those that have no defenses, those that will defend once in a while, and ones that have special shields that you need to wear away before you damage the foe.  But all three just take the same overall tactics of hitting hard and fast until they’re down, and make sure you have a healer in your party. 

And while the story’s hinted that you’ll have special “out of world” avatars (akin to the Data Drain from the first .hack) called ‘avatars’ in this series, your character has yet to use one where I am (roughly level 25 now). This better get introduced soon as a player option, or this is going to look bad for the rest of the series.

Final Fantasy XII ~5hrs

Well, I’m liking the combat system a bit more, once you unlock the Gambits aspect.  That’s the part that seems to let the game play itself, but in reality, it’s how you set your other party members to act in a highly customized manner to respond to various conditions.  Each has a target (some you start with, but you have to collect other types), and an action (which is any action the character can do).  So, early one, having one character having one Gambit set to cast Cure on any ally who’s hit points are less than 50%, for example, and the second to attack the closest enemy, but as your characters grow and gain more Gambit spots (through the License grid), I can see this being an awesome way to basically take care of the usual “boring” details in battle so that you can have your main character focus on strong attacks.

I am disappointed at the lack of ability to switch the camera control access.  It’s opposite from how I like it, and it is sort of annoying to have to readjust after playing nearly every other full 3D game where I play the camera in the opposite direction.