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Back November 16th, 2009 Forward
New Toy Reflections

Well, after a weekend spent getting at least some use out of my new XBox 360, I have the following to report:

1) Their wireless controllers appear to have a small design glitch, which means occasionally the batteries slip out of contact with the contacts, such that one has to stop every so often to get the wretched thing to reconnect to the system. This generally involves either pushing the battery cartridge up or tapping it a couple of times to ensure everything falls into place.
2) The Last Remnant is designed for people with a large, flatscreen TV. As a result, the majority of the text on my normal sized little CRT telly is so small as to be unreadable. Given this includes things like descriptions of items, battle commands etc, this is clearly a Bad Thing, and means my next purchase from fairy money is going to have to be a new TV.
3) Squeenix have clearly decided their party structure from FFX and FFXII is the ideal one, since I can clearly identify the main character of The Last Remnant as a clueless nitwit who has no idea about polite behaviour (if you've ever met either Tidus or Vaan, you'll know what I mean); there's a grumpy older female character (Lulu or Fran); and I'm sure the plucky younger female character would have shown up within about another ten or so minutes (Rikku, Penelo). So, we just need to find the strong, silent male character (Kimahri, Basch, Auron), the snarkier male contemporary of the hero (Balthier, Wakka) and the serious third female contemporary of the hero who's actually the focus of the plotline (Yuna, Ashe). I've no doubt they're in there somewhere, but I couldn't handle the amount of squinting I was going to have to do in order to keep playing the game.
4) Assassin's Creed has one serious deficiency which I find annoying: there don't appear to be subtitles available (plus it's designed for people who have the larger screen TVs as well... this appears to be a regular thing with XBox games). Given I need either clear mouth movements or subtitles (preferably subtitles) to make sense of dialogue when I'm faced with a tangle of syllables and noises which could be words but which aren't particularly clear. The other alternative is raising the volume to levels where the neighbours are being disturbed, which isn't my preferred one.
5) Tales of Symphonia is a very good game, with an interestingly complex morality woven through it. Bad things happen to good people, the world isn't just "good guys" and "bad guys", and the problems the protagonists are attempting to resolve are believably complex. I like.

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