For the past several years, I have intended to return to Final Fantasy XII for my second playthrough. But, as is often the case, what I intend to do and what actually happens are two very different things. I repeatedly had other games to play, keeping the twelfth numbered installment in the Final Fantasy series on the shelf. Plus, I have to admit that I always had a bit of a grudge against the game. I remembered being pretty apathetic towards the characters, I wasn’t very fond of a politics-related storyline, and… Now this last one is kind of silly, but…I thought the game was too big.
Too big, eh? I like large open worlds to explore far more than I like cramped or linear stages with little freedom to move around. I love searching through every nook and cranny and discovering new things, a task that is, naturally, far more rewarding in a large world than a small one. And yet, I recall several times in the past saying I didn’t like FF12 because it was too big. What’s the deal?
Gee, I sure hate that this game gives me more than my money’s worth. Continue reading A Triumphant Return to Final Fantasy XII
I have mentioned it from time to time, but over the last few years, I’ve been trying to catch up on a whole bunch of retro games I had missed. And at this point, I’m largely done. Sure, there are definitely more retro games out there that I should play one day, but as for the games I really wanted to check off my list, this goal has been met. Final Fantasy 4-9, Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, EarthBound, Super Metroid, Super Mario RPG, all present and accounted for. The last one on my list to play was Final Fantasy V, which, like Final Fantasy IV, is probably pretty obscure for anyone who hasn’t been playing Final Fantasy since the beginning. (Thank you, Kingdom Hearts. You introduced even non-Final Fantasy fans to characters like Cloud and Squall, but not once do you mention FF6 and prior. With the exception of Setzer, of all people. Setzer.)
Final Fantasy 4 and 5 were the only games not explicitly on my list, but they came with Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6, respectively, and who am I to pass up on an essentially free pair of games? While FF4 was merely to pass the time and to say with confidence that, yes, I’ve played Final Fantasy 4, I must say that I enjoyed Final Fantasy 5 far more than I expected to. Let me summarize the game a bit for anyone who might not be familiar with it. Continue reading FFV and the Joy of Feeling Competent
Sometimes, it feels as if certain games come to exist in my house thanks to pure fate. Most of my games I seek out myself, but Uncharted is one series I never once put my mind to acquiring, and yet, here I stand the owner of not one, but two, entries from the series. The main reason why Uncharted never really appealed to me was because I’ve never been a fan of games that are too…realistic, I guess? There’s just something about games that feature realistic-looking humans or even just good, ol’ planet Earth that don’t appeal to me. (I mean, the Sly Cooper series seems to take place on Earth, but it’s populated by anthropomorphic animals, which is okay in my book.)
When I bought my PS3, it was accompanied by Uncharted 3. I decided to play the game, since I had it in my possession, after all, and while it was pretty cool, I quickly forgot about it shortly after completion. For a short while, I considered checking out the first two games, and then that just never happened. And yet, that was certainly not the last I would see of the series, even if I didn’t know it at the time. It was with the recent purchase of my PS4 that another Uncharted game snuck its way into my gaming shelf once more, the fourth (and final?) entry in the series.
Fancy seeing you here, Nathan Drake. Long time no see. Continue reading Uncharted, We Meet Again
The newest of the 30-day video game topics is my current or most recent video game-themed wallpaper. As much as I would like to have actual video game wallpaper, I’m assuming they must mean my computer’s desktop. And due to my obvious level of obsession with all things gaming, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I do indeed have a video game desktop.
I actually went through many different images for my desktop in the semi-distant past. I…don’t remember most of them, but I do recall having a screenshot of the secret ending of Donkey Kong Country 2, where the Kongs are gazing at the sunset, along with a Jak 2 screensaver. That’s right, there was a Jak 2 screensaver, which I earned by completing this odd, little game on the game’s official web site. It had Jak sitting in jail, looking bored, while bugs crawled around and the sky outside would change depending on the time of day. Kind of…weird, to say the last. Continue reading Day 14: Current (or Most Recent) Gaming Wallpaper
There are some gamers who openly admit that they have no desire to play older games because they prefer the more advanced, better looking games of today. There are others who say that gameplay is the only thing that matters, so if a game is good, no matter how old it is, they will play it. I am usually in the latter category, but over the past year, I have realized that I, too, have a limit for how far back into the past I can go and still enjoy gaming. I think every gamer has this limit. Mine is the SNES, with a few exceptions.
You see, I once believed that I could play any game, despite its age, and enjoy it as long as it was a good game. I had plenty of SNES games I loved, and one day, I thought I’d travel just a little farther back in time and download a few Virtual Console games for the NES. These games were the original Legend of Zelda and Metroid games. Being classic games that marked the beginning of two amazing franchises, surely I couldn’t go wrong. Right?
Wrong. Continue reading How Retro Can You Go: A Discussion of Spooniness
I am slowly making my way through the 30 days of video game topics I started…probably a few years ago, and today we have finally reached…number 12. I’m not even halfway done yet! Yikes! Well, this topic involves a game everyone should play, and I had to put careful consideration into which one I would pick. Not only do I have a lot of great games that I would definitely recommend to others, but I wanted to make sure my choice wouldn’t also be used in other 30-day topics in the future. After careful consideration, I ended up going with a game that is very special to me, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Continue reading Day 12: A Game Everyone Should Play
After a long wait, the Ratchet and Clank movie has finally come out. Video game movies have a long history of being pretty terrible, but after watching the trailer (um…several dozen times), this one looked like it would be the first video game movie to be of quality. Nevertheless, after its release in theatres, I watched as the ratings went down and down, from a high of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes down to a dismal 17%. I expect it to drop lower in the coming weeks. While I found this aggravating, it did not surprise me. People will never accept such a movie until they accept the medium that inspired it. Why mobile games like Angry Birds gain such widespread acceptance, while console and PC games continue to thrive only outside the mainstream population, I know not, but alas, that is not the topic of this post. Suffice it to say, us gamers are a very special group indeed, and it appears we will remain that way.
I knew the reviews would only annoy me, but I skimmed over a few anyway. Critics complained of an unoriginal storyline and flat characters, among other things. They even claimed many elements were stolen from more recent movies. I was baffled because these statements were unfounded. How can a movie based on a game from 2002 steal elements from movies that came out far after the game’s original release date? This is not just my opinion; it is logically impossible. Likewise, the Ratchet and Clank series has a history of fun, but well-developed characters and interesting stories. I find the characters from this series to be among the best in video games, and how characters I have formed a deep bond with, from the naïve, but intelligent Clank to the arrogant, but well-meaning (after his redemption, anyway) Qwark…how they could be described as flat, well, I’m astounded. They might as well state Mario is not an icon of gaming or Sonic is not Sega’s most famous character. Continue reading The First Good Video Game Movie is Here
I think it’s safe to say that many gamers find tutorials tedious, whether they be an entire level devoted to teaching the basics of a game or frequent interruptions where we are forced to read pages of text explaining every detail of every action we can perform in, even such simple tasks as buying a potion in a store. As if the Buy option was not intuitive enough.
I have long been bothered by tutorials. They cause me to rush through the beginning of a game just so I can get through the boring…hand holding. I don’t think any of us want the game to hold our hands along the way. I bought this game to have an adventure, to have fun, to do things I can’t do in the real world. I’m not having much fun when I try to run ahead and explore and am tugged back by the game’s belief that I still haven’t learned the basics of jumping yet, so I ought to try it a few more times. Continue reading No More Hand Holding
Day 11 in the 30 days’ worth of video game topics I began writing about…probably over a year ago is my gaming system of choice. It’s a pretty straightforward question, and that is why I want to write about more than said console’s amazing selection of games and the other obvious things one would typically think about.
As you may know, I grew up with Nintendo and have owned every console they have released since the SNES. It is no doubt rather ironic, then, that my favorite console does not come from Nintendo. While my childhood consisted of Donkey Kong Country and The Legend of Zelda, everything changed when I finally made the decision, around 2003, to buy my first non-Nintendo console, the PlayStation 2. Continue reading Day 11: Gaming System of Choice
It took about 95 hours, but I am finally done with Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns, and I don’t think I want to play another RPG again for a long, long time. Nevertheless, I ended up having a lot of fun with the game, even if my initial impressions weren’t great. Before I get into my thoughts, however, it would probably be best to summarize what you can expect from this game if you haven’t already played it.
In this game, the world is going to end in about 13 days (less, if you aren’t careful), and Lightning has been tasked by the deity Bhunivelze to save the souls of as many people as possible so they can make it to the new world. You will have more or less time in order to complete this monumental task depending on the number of souls you collect, which is accomplished by completing several main quests and a bunch of side quests in four main locations. The game’s battle system is far better than that of the first two games of the trilogy, as you actually have control over Lightning. Plain and simple. The battles of the other two games largely involved watching your characters while they did everything pretty much on their own, while this one allows you to control Lightning on the battlefield, guard, attack, etc. You have three different schemas you can switch between during battle (kind of like in Final Fantasy X-2, but not quite as…upsetting), and each schema can have up to four commands. You do not level up from fighting, however, but through side quests, which was actually a nice change from traditional RPGs. Continue reading The Completion of Lightning Returns and a Question