Reminiscing Raul Roco



Endlessly scoured for this vid, finally, a copy of Raul Roco’s TVC ad to proliferate and impart to the global populace. It is, by leaps and bounds, the best composition for any Philippine presidential candidate hitherto (ooh, deep word... yes, an outright attempt to declare the author's supposed above average intellect).

Dell Adamo XPS

Oh Dell, you and your antics to overthrow the reigning thin and light can easily be perceived as a desperate, hopeless endeavor. The first Adamo was a futile attempt to sway buyers to sleep with an obviously underpowered notebook. Even the Air failed miserably to justify a logical purchase -- although a niche of egotistical, price-apathetic lot did embrace the Air's shortcomings (the author apparently was an advent believer of the Air’s enigmatic powers).

By releasing another Adamo in a more perplexing and bizarre chassis, made worse by a quirky and painful level of usability, Dell just created one of the ugliest, most expensive mobile devices in the market today. Harsh it may seem to discredit a notebook that hasn't seen the light of the day, but one can’t blame to question the PC giant’s sanity and overall strategy.


For what it’s worth, here are the specs: it’ll run a questionable 1.4GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a lowly GS45 integrated graphics, but with an encouraging 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 128GB SSD. It also sports an expected 13.4 inch display and your standard array of ports. And if you’re wondering how long this overpriced contraption lasts, the low end model has a measly 2 hours and a half lifespan, while the higher end extends it to a more acceptable 5 hours. Though cheaper than its predecessor, it comes at a hefty $1,799.


To Dell's credit though, the new Adamo does trump the Air's overall thickness. This fugly device measures a mind-numbing 0.39 inches -- approximately half the size of Apple's baby -- a bright spot Dell should be proud of.

Sony VAIO X

Sony’s much maligned VAIO notebooks, by virtue of its insane, elite-hugging prices, seem to find the need to innovate in design and aesthetics. Indeed, it easily matches Apple’s more minimalist and clean look, and to the chagrin of the masses, including the price.

Even with such disdain from the tech-drooling public, Sony continues to deliver with the freshly released Sony VAIO X. The svelte gadget dominates the ultraportable market with its impressive weight of 1.5 lbs as well as a crisp 1366 x 768 display, 11.1 inch screen, and a world-record-setting batt life of up to 14 hours! Under the hood you’ll find a decent 2GHZ Intel Atom Z550 processor, a disappointing GMA 500 graphics, but, breath, an acceptable 64GB to 128GB SSD. And yes, you get Windows 7 Home Premium pre-installed.

It is a VAIO, so what’s the catch? This technological marvel comes at a harrowing $1,300. Ouch.

Halloween Special

Sponsor a Zombie from Harvey J. Wallbanger on Vimeo.

Blessed with outright flippancy and gore-infested visuals, this vid seems intent on capturing the spirit of what makes Halloween one of the more relevant events of the year. Happy trick or treating!

Clip of the Week: Dragon Age: Origins Sacred Ashes



Bioware just released an oh-so-juicy trailer of their upcoming title, Dragon Age: Origins. The vid eloquently sets the tone of the game with scenes drenched in gripping suspense and exhilarating, blood-laden action. With a projected 40 to 60 hours worth of gameplay, RPG enthusiasts will find it difficult not to be drawn to the universe Bioware so-passionately conceived.

Asspeaker


Of all the aberrant gadgetry one may conjure in his sleep, why this? The Asspeaker clearly borders between technological wizardy and blatant sex novelty. Still, it does evoke a sense of guilt-stricken appreciation of how far we’ve come in terms of aesthetically pleasing concept designs.

Ok, so how does it work? Give the ‘cheeks’ a gentle tap (note: gentle) to turn the sex-plagued object on. To manipulate volume output, just fondle the smooth surface to get your desired level of ‘noise’. Amazing.

A Giant's Downfall


An epic melancholic piece on why a US superpower is now on its last stretch. Uncle Sam’s dominance and influence are waning as other economies recover (though at a sluggish pace) from the recent global recession. You may or may not agree with the article but the figures are convincing and substantiated extensively.

Here's the gist on the numbers and stats so graciously showcased throughout the piece:

Jobs. The International Monetary Fund predicts that the U.S. unemployment rate will be 9.3 percent for all of 2010. That's lower than in some European nations, but it's higher than in Canada and a lot worse than most countries in Scandinavia and Asia. Overall, the U.S. unemployment rate is about average for advanced economies and likely to stay that way. It could be worse, but middling job creation isn't a sign of global leadership.

Economic growth. The IMF also predicts that the U.S. economy will grow 1.9 percent in 2010. That's a tad better than the average for all advanced economies, but at least 10 developed nations will grow faster. Woo-hoo. Three cheers for mediocrity.

Poverty. The U.S. poverty rate, about 17 percent, is third worst among the advanced nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In that sample, only Turkey and Mexico are worse.

Education. American 15-year-olds score below the average for advanced nations on math and science literacy. But don't worry, our nation's future leaders are still ahead of their peers in Mexico, Turkey, Greece, and a few other places.

Competitiveness. In the latest global competitiveness report from the World Economic Forum, the United States fell from No. 1 to No. 2. Sure, let's console ourselves that the No. 1 country, Switzerland, is a tiny outlier nation and that getting bumped from the top spot doesn't really mean anything. Add an asterisk, and we're still No. 1.

Prosperity. The most prosperous nations, according to the Legatum report, are Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. These fairly homogenous European countries are the teachers' pets of global rankings, often appearing near the top because of right-sized economies and a relatively small underclass. For a huge economy like America's, a No. 9 ranking is still respectable. And part of the drop from last year's No. 4 spot is a change in methodology that puts more emphasis on the health and safety of citizens. Still, in the index's subrankings, the United States isn't even in the top 10 for economic fundamentals, safety and security, or governance. We should do better.

Health. In the Legatum study, the United States ranks 27th for the health of its citizens. Life expectancy in America is below the average for 30 advanced countries measured by the OECD, and the obesity rate in America is the worst among those 30 countries, by far. And, of course, we spend far more on healthcare per person than anybody else—but get no bang for the extra buck.

Well-being. In the United Nations' Human Development Index, which attempts to measure the overall well-being of citizens throughout the world, the United States ranks 13th, one notch lower than in the prior set of rankings. Norway, Australia, Iceland, and Canada are at the top.

Happiness. The United States ranks 11th in the OECD's measure of "life satisfaction"—behind Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and other usual suspects. That's not bad, but the United States is one of only four countries where life satisfaction is going down, not up. The other downer nations are Portugal, Hungary, Canada, and Japan. Plus, the research behind these rankings predates the recession, so it's likely that Americans are a lot less satisfied these days.

Notebooks 2.0


Fresh off the pipeline: Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell, claims the anguish and self-condemnation one experiences 36 hours after a netbook purchase.

"If you take a user who's used to a 14- or 15-inch notebook and you say 'Here's a 10-inch netbook,' they're gonna say 'Hey, this is so fantastic. It's so cute. It's so light. I love it,'
"But about 36 hours later, they're saying 'The screen's gonna have to go. Give me my 15-inch screen back.'’

"We see a fair amount of customers not really being that satisfied with the smaller screen and the lower performance - unless it's like a secondary machine or it's a very first machine and the expectations are low,"

"But as a replacement machine for an experienced user, it's not what we'd recommend. It's not a good experience, and we don't see users very happy with those."

Problem is Mr. Dell, millions are happy with it. For the past two years, the industry has witnessed an explosive growth for these miniscule devices. Millions of these demure gadgets have been propping up everywhere in retail, and the masses seem to eagerly embrace them.

HP, Acer, Asus, and Toshiba have invested heavily in releasing competitively priced and well-designed netbooks to answer the rising demand. Even Dell tried it with their Mini product line, alas, a success it was not compared to it's Asian brethrens: Acer’s Aspire One and Asus’ Eee PC series.

Dell’s failure to conquer the low-end, price-conscious market puts a dent on the company’s ability to capitalize on emerging trends. It's obvious they failed to anticipate the sudden meteoric rise of the average man's laptop. The question is, why such harsh criticism from Dell's big boss?

Apparently, the all-too-consumer-friendly product ain’t too business-friendly after all – PC manufacturers know this. With rock-bottom profit margins, manufacturers will only recoup their investments after selling droves of netbooks. With such a glaring disadvantage, it should curtail them from churning out these low-profit generating pests right? On the contrary, consistent netbook releases and over-the-top marketing campaigns are but the craze nowadays.

Over the years, the PC business has shifted from desktops to notebooks as its main source of growth. During ’05 to ‘06, standard notebooks were running north of a grand, manufacturers were comfortable with the price point and decent margins. It all came downhill though the instance
Asus introduced its Eee PC to the world back in ’07. The 7-inch 'companion laptop' disrupted the market dramatically. In less than a year, major PC manufacturers were planning a similar device to satiate the surprising wave of consumer demand for these types of notebooks.

Consumers loved it (they still do). Though not as powerful as other laptops in the market, netbooks were sufficient for word processing, surfing, and casual entertainment at a very low price (and still are).

Mr. Dell’s perception of the netbook doesn’t spur out of hate or disdain but rather of fear for the industry to settle with the new status quo. Perhaps the existence of the average man’s notebook is indeed beneficial to consumers, even too beneficial at times, but manufacturers are risking their financial viability to remain competitive by supporting such dirt-cheap devices.

E3 '09 Graphic Whores

Artistic design and visual prowess are common ingredients for greatness in videogames. Numerous titles throughout the nearly four-decade lifespan of videogaming have spawned sales running in the millions and profits in the billions. It’s no surprise that publishers are banking on the ‘graphics hype’ to promote their respective titles – desperately trying to standout from the over-saturated visual battlefield.

E3 ’09 showcased this spankin’-fresh batch of titles, designed to outsell and outdo other games in their respective genres.

Alan Wake E3 Trailer 2009 on Vimeo.

First off, Alan Wake -- Announced during ’05, finally we have a working demo gamers can get excited about. It’s more action-oriented than once thought, but whatever Remedy is conjuring up with Microsoft, hardcore aficionados have something to look forward to in 2010.

Trico_E3 on Vimeo.

Next, we have an excellent trailer of Trico’s new title, The Last Guardian – slated for a 2010 release window. After playing through the stunning Shadow of the Colossus for PS2, anything being developed by Sony’s in-house gem deserves some gaming love.

So boy and girls, it couldn't have been more clear cut than these two titles proudly attest - videogame visuals is ever-evolving, ever-changing.

Uncharted 2

Uncharted 2 on Vimeo.

The first Uncharted title showcased the visual muscle of Sony's hulking console. The title oozed with glamor, an action driven plot, and a distinct and quirky Indiana Jones-like atmosphere. It became a fitting reflection of what an action adventure should be in the HD era.

To the demise of the obvious majority, the Uncharted franchise will be locked to PS3 as Halo is to Xbox. A Pity that not all gaming enthusiasts could experience the grandeur and exquisite production value the game boasts through and through.

Officially announced during
E3 '09, the second installment just got a face-lift and is set to outdo its predecessor. Being developed by Naughty Dog (an in-house first party developer of Sony) we can expect a tight storyline and solid gameplay in all its third person glory.

Uncharted 2
is slated for a late '09 release -- just in time for holiday season.

Enough



Recently, the much speculated and overly ridiculed Senator Lacson bowed down from the presidential race -- that’s one less option among the many we have for the highest post. His reasons are quite apparent, it came after the restoration of the Bobby Dacer Case plus his abysmal poll results. However, the ever-enigmatic senator chooses to site the burgeoning costs of running a campaign as the sole reason why he’s bowing down from the most coveted race in the country.

We may believe it, we may not. But his surprisingly straight forward declaration of how corrupt, twisted, and fraudulent our electoral system is should be seriously considered and taken into account. Most educated individuals know the erroneous and corruptible tendencies of our electoral process. Unfortunately, government bodies supposedly existing to serve the interest of the citizen at large disregard its purpose. The system is absolutely corrupt, and corrupt it will be until a massive reform takes place.


I propose a single independent body where all campaign contributions and funding will come from a single source. It will serve as the official medium from where all the candidates will have equal exposure to announce their platforms, proposals, and economic strategies to our countrymen. This independent body will be organized by ordinary citizens from various sectors and industries. And from there, all manner of political funding and contribution from various parties will be funneled into this organization – lobbyists alleviated in the process.


Different parties will be contributing for the electoral process not for their bets.
They’ll contribute to infuse positive action to a currently pitiful democratic system, NOT to push for their self-interests and gain. The funds will be equally distributed to each candidate, and individual campaign shows would be a thing of the past. The campaigns would require all candidates to campaign simultaneously. Each political rally would be a debate and showcase of each candidate’s charisma and intelligence in tackling various social issues plaguing our long under-developed economy.


The independent body would likewise organize events and produce ads concerning each candidate’s message or even personal branding. True, less revenue for TV networks and publications, but this approach keeps in check the expenses incurred, no more bloated campaign costs and insane amounts of TVCs flooding the airwaves.


The electoral mockery for the highest office in the land would finally end. Generations upon generations of Filipinos have suffered too long with such deceit and systematic trickery. And perhaps the integrity the
Office of President that was originally conceived would at last come into fruition.


To conclude, despite the proposed solution’s imperfection and questionable methods, it’s but one of the many possible approach we can devise to produce a more equal, fair, and democratic electoral process for the Presidency. The ultimate goal is a President for the people by the people.

The New Frontier

Project Natal on Vimeo.

At E3 ’09, various platform’s announced their peripherals catered to the motion-obsessed gaming populace. Sony officially announced its ‘imitation’ to the Wii’s IR sensitive wand while Microsoft, well, is entirely in a different level.

The surprisingly secretive
Project Natal is finally out in the open, demonstrating to the few selected gaming journos what makes it tick. Through the vids and pics of numerous gaming sites, we can see the sheer technological brilliance Project Natal bestows upon the gaming world. It's the revolution the industry has been waiting for.

The
Wii felt more of an evolutionary step on controller design rather than a revolutionary one -- a tangible barrier between the player and the game still existed.


With
Microsoft’s new technology (through an Israel-based company, 3DV), we finally have the controller-less capacity to play. It pushes you to react when a ball rolls your way,
when you're placed in the driver seat of a super-car, or when a technologically impressive A.I. realistically interacts with you.

The applications and possibilities of
Project Natal are indeed limitless when compared to the restrictive nature of Nintendo's wand. It'd be quite intriguing how Microsoft will innovate a young gaming industry with such a technology.

Tech Feature: Zune HD

image courtesy of www.engadget.com

As expected,
Microsoft has finally unveiled its answer to Apple’s iPod Touch. Slated for a late ’09 release, Zune HD brags a sizeable 3.6inch OLED touch screen, 4 to 32 GB storage options, HDMI connection, HD Radio, a web browser (let me guess, a mobile ver of IE), WiFi compatible, and powered by an NVIDIA Tegra.

Rumors abound that it’ll sport a camera plus tons of additional gaming content – this is assuming that MS understands the viability of the
iphone/touch as a mobile gaming platform. Point is, MS need not release a portable gaming device other than a Zune HD. The iPhone has proven so far that casual mobile gamers do have the purchasing intent and power for games distributed online.

Faltering Privacy


Recently read a piece bout Facebook’s monumental value for online marketers. Astounding on how much personal information people freely and willfully publicize online – either due to their incessant need to get noticed or simply to feed their narcissistic fetishes. Whatever the onus for such gratuitous acts, expect online marketers to grab the opportunity by the balls.

Note that there’s completely nothing wrong (legally) with subtly peeking through private data – a trade-off for the free services
Facebook provides. But if you feel violated with the quasi-questionable methods these marketers instigate and the withering essence of the word ‘private’, you always have the choice to cut ties.

Question is,
can you?


Read more

Starcraft 2: Battle Report

Here's a massive vid of the up and coming RTS, Starcraft 2. Action-packed and overlaid with strategically rich commentaries, this vid's a proper showcase of the stunning gameplay and visual artistry the title is known for.

Expect the game to be released sometime late '09 or early '10. Enjoy the vid:


Dell's Air Reviewed


As the scorching heat dries up every drop of creative fluid existent within, perhaps a short burst of a sentence or two should ward off the creative drought.

Dell recently released its bet against Apple's Macbook Air, Adamo. It packs a paltry set of specs covered in sleek aluminum and industrial style gimmickery. Unfortunately, neither design nor the common impulsive consumer can save Adamo -- the damn thing's completely overpriced and irrefutably underpowered.

See
engadget's full review right here.

We're One Year Old!


Happy Anniversary!

A year ago, 3rdworldjargon was born. Jobless and penniless as I was –not that anything has changed – I was inspired to blog my gaming life and then eventually matured to a more inquisitive take on other subject matters. Thank you to the couple of nameless readers who visit from time to time.

Here’s to 3rdworldjargon’s first year, and surely many many more years to come. Cheers!

On Genocide


Genocide, a term coined by a Polish-Jewish legal scholar, Raphael Lemkin. Quite fascinating that less than a century ago, the mass extermination of a certain race, religious or ethnic group wasn’t considered a crime, nor did it violate any international laws or human rights. Not until CPPCG (Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide) was held in December 9, 1948 did the ‘term’ genocide gained its malevolence. CPPCG eventually drafted the laws against such atrocity on January 12, 1951, more than two years after the first convention.

Genocide has to be the most destructive crime humans are capable of. It en
compasses rape, torture, mutilation, murder, suppression, and all types of repugnant and morbid acts executed on a massive scale.

Why then is there such
reluctance from government bodies to acknowledge and address this burgeoning issue? By far, it has been ignored and sidelined by members of the UN and its respective members. The UN Security Council has consistently disagreed on the necessity to quickly oppose and act against it when it occurs.


CNN recently ran an investigative report on the subject matter -- recalling all the major genocides that occurred throughout the last century. One observation reverberates time and time again, the international community’s reluctance to intervene. Such apathy is highly questionable and morbidly intriguing. Why do governments shun such atrocities and disregard human life so recklessly?

With Genocide, one’s survival depend on his/her race, nationality, and ethnicity. Never mind that by default you have the right to live. Never mind that you have the right to be free from fear and oppression. Genocide is the complete dismissal and disregard of our fundamental characteristic as human beings to empathize.



The inaction of government bodies further fuels conspiracies of an ominous shadow government conducting a silent extermination of ‘useless eaters’.

Preposterous indeed, however, matched with the current facts and behavior of the UN and its major members the past half-century, the argument of a global conspiracy to rid of ‘useless’ homosapiens sounds more plausible as each new genocide bears its spiteful fa├žade.

Review: Halo Wars


Although Halo Wars has had a mixed reaction from critics due to its simplistic and casual gameplay, its approach to RTS is a refreshing perspective to an aging genre. And in the end, it might just spur a new breed of enthusiasts.

Real Time Strategy games’ disposition in the industry has generally been stuck on the annals of geekiness and the hardcore. Hardly can you find an RTS in the hands of a console gamer as the genre has relatively been home to the PC where a mouse and a keyboard offer the flexibility and free-reign movement console gamers sorely lack.


Revered RTS franchises the likes of Red Alert, Age of Empires, Starcraft, and Warcraft have all sold millions of copies. And some have even spawned spin-offs that later on became living and breathing cash cows (World of Warcraft). Just recently have we seen ported PC RTS games grace the current gen of consoles, Command & Conquer and Battlefield Middle Earth 2 have both seen the light of day on the 360 and PS3. Fairly good reviews, however, the cry for a more streamlined and simplified control scheme intensified… until, Halo Wars.


Halo Wars’ control scheme is quite revolutionary. The now defunct Ensemble Studios has done an exquisite job with how the game smoothly throws you into the heart of battle. The delicate approach to details is likewise a worthy mention. As a big fan of Halo, to witness the fluidity and precise depiction of vehicle stalwarts makes me drop a tear or two. Amazing on how faithful Ensemble was with regard to the nose-bleed accuracy of animations, audio, and aesthetics of the Halo universe which Bungie so originally and passionately conceived.


Furthermore, the cinematic cut scenes are just stunning, incredibly entertaining, and epic in nature. The visual orgasm is unequivocal, it’s that good (kudos to Blur Studio).

You’d be hard pressed not to appreciate the quality and production value this title offers. Halo Wars easily outshines any other console RTS before it and will serve as a benchmark for future titles in the genre. If you have an unflinching fascination of the Halo universe, invested hours reading the novels, and playing through the FPS trilogy, then this magnum opus deserves an outright purchase.

Red All Over


Is Microsoft serious? A ‘Red’ Xbox 360 for their so-called Resident Evil 5 Bundle. Mockingly -- either intentionally or not -- they’ve matched the color that broke the hearts of millions.

Note that this baby uses the same innards of a ‘Jasper’ unit which masses proclaim is the second coming -- it's believed that it completely alleviates the whole heat sink issue plaguing majority of 360 owners. Gut wrenched logic tells me a youtube vid featuring an RE5 360 with 3 red lights will randomly sprout – knowing what an EPIC FAIL the 360 hardware is.

Tech Feature: Mac's Mini


Finally, a rumored pic of the new mac mini in the wild, an update of Apple's entry desktop has long been overdue. Since most of Apple's revenues last year came from their Macbook line, they seem to be in no hurry to 'officially' revamp their diminutive hardware... yet.

The alleged redesigned mini intriguingly has a multitude of USB ports, 5 to be exact. Ports for Mini Display, Mini DVI, and the coveted FireWire 800 seem to be likewise existent.
It also runs at a cool 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo architecture with a 3MB L2 cache and a standard RAM of 2GB DDR3 at 1066MHz.

source

Colors of Green and Red


My 360 suddenly jumped ship recently to the land of 3RL and hardware treachery. The screen occasionally froze every 10mins of gameplay and displayed checkered colors of green and red – signs of pre-3RL. Recently had the unit fixed for the e74 and now the more common and mass loving hardware issue has finally blessed me.

Intriguing that consumers choose to even spend their cash for such an inferior system – hardware wise, guess it’s a testament to how strong and comprehensive the games 360 offers. I for one am still drawn to the system due to the upcoming games for ’09 (albeit a so far weaker one compared to the previous years) – the software lineup clearly trumps any hardware issues.

Granted, Sony does offer more of a high caliber lineup versus Microsoft’s, but we’re barely through the first quarter, certainly MS has something under its sleeves.

Here’s hoping for my 360’s revival and a more promising lineup for ’09.

The Age of Obama


So the age of Obama has begun. Beyond all the drama and repetitive hyperbole, reality sets in like a painful sting. We are in a global recession, job cuts and company closures have become the status quo these past few months. But what gives the majority of the global community that hope for a better tomorrow?

This African American US president brings in that undeniable charm and oratory skill that Bush lacked. Furthermore, he intelligently uses the illusion of change by banking on the uniqueness of his race.


He may not bring the change to Washington that he seems so intent to do, but perhaps he may have the tenacity and passion to achieve some form of change -- a more moderate, regulated, and foreign-friendly US.


In return, perhaps the financial crisis would eventually end and a less volatile environment in the global arena transpires. Here's to the next four years, err, make that 3 since on the 4th, Obama would be too preoccupied making sure he gets another 4.

Killzone 2 = Halo Killer

Killzone 2 has proven to be more of a PR nightmare for Sony than the glorious savior its been hyped up to be. However, it seems the tides are turning as the first batch of reviews (print and online publication) have consistently praised the game's visuals and atmospheric gameplay.

To actually play the game would be another issue, but seeing the trend in the world of PS3 post MGS4, Sony might have the perceived Halo Killer its been looking for.


576KByte Mag Reviews Killzone 2

Graphics: 5 (out of 5)
Playability: 5 (out of 5)

Lasting Appeal: 4 (out of 5)
Music / sounds: 5 (out of 5)

Overall: 9.7
(out of 10)

Tech Feature: Sony Vaio P


After the splash Sony made introducing its supposed foray into the netbook market (even if they strangely deny the intent), the Sony Vaio P has finally been released into the wild.

Reviews have trickled in and so far mediocrity has reigned.
Packed with a Vista and an SRP north of a grand, it's way too expensive in terms of value to end users. However, with regard to the well-conceived design, kudos to Sony and to the anonymous Japanese dude who masterminded its aesthetics.

Check Gizmodo's review here.

Complete specs:
Intel Atom Z530 1.33GHz
8 inch (1600×768 pixels) display screen
60GB HDD, 64GB SSD or 128GB SSD Storage
2GB DDR2 RAM
2 USB ports
SD/Memory Stick slot
Ethernet
WiFi 802.11n
Bluetooth
3G (EV-DO)
Integrated GPS
Webcam
MS Windows Vista

Sneak Peek: Star Ocean 4

Finally an update post new year!

To usher in the brand new year, here are screenshots of the up and coming 360 exclusive, Star Ocean 4: Last Hope. The game's looking hot, Square's crystal engine sure looks stunning.