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Posts Tagged ‘final fantasy’

The Straight Line

January 24, 2011 7 comments

Linearity has become a curse word in the videogames industry over the past five years. Fewer words these days can sink a game’s reputation faster. Take the controversial Final Fantasy XIII: surrounded by malicious Internet mutterings of, “It’s just one straight line”, its reputation was damaged before its release and the stigma of linearity still surrounds it today. Strike up a conversation with a critic of Final Fantasy XIII and the first thing that will be brought up- I guarantee you this- is the linearity. Try it at home, you can make good money.

But are things as different as people think? I went back to Final Fantasy VII– that most treasured of titles- to find out. Upon leaving Midgar, I was instructed to go directly to the nearby town of Kalm. No detours. I decided to defy this order and see how much of this new frontier I could explore. Not much. There was a giant land snake that killed me if I went too far in one direction, and a Chocobo Stable that I couldn’t use. In-between all of that was not a land of unexplored wonder, but a big green blob of grassland filled with unusually-organised groups of monsters that wanted to hurt me. The game refused to allow me to advance, despite teasing me with a brave new world. I was, in fact, on a straight line.

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Review: Chaos Rings (iPhone)

August 1, 2010 Leave a comment

When Chaos Rings was released for the iPhone by Square Enix, the main question asked was, “Is it worth it?” At £7.49 (at time of this writing), this JRPG was priced far above what most iTunes customers were paying for other casual games. Would the storytelling pedigree and production values generally associated with Square Enix games be present, or was the inflated price simply brand-name exploitation at its most cynical?

Four male-female couples suddenly find themselves trapped in a mysterious, baroque mansion known as the Ark Arena. Their host, known only as The Agent, informs them that they have been entered into a competition where they must fight to the death. The victorious couple will be granted eternal life and youth, while the losers will be condemned to oblivion. With little alternative than to play by the Agent’s rules, each couple must struggle through the Ark Arena’s trials while trying to determine just why they have been paired together. For example, why has a lone, cocky mercenary been paired with a woman who has sworn to kill him? Why has a lowly stablehand been paired with the princess of his country, and why is he so adapt at swordplay despite never having held a sword before? And why is there a strange tension between a young prince and his royal bodyguard?

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My Shiny New PSP

July 18, 2010 2 comments

A PSP has always fallen under the very definition of a “luxury item” for me. I am an incredibly passionate portable gamer, but I was always happy with my trusty Nintendo DS. There weren’t that many games I wanted for the PSP, and it always seemed too expensive. Over time, the number of good games increased and the price decreased, to the point where- a few days ago- I finally took the plunge and bought myself one. A piano-black, pre-owned 3000-model with only a few scratches on it. And it’s mine, it’s all mine.

I managed to cut a deal with the seller which also netted me three games, and I borrowed a fourth from a friend. Since then I’ve been having lots of fun playing around with the PSP, setting up the themes and wallpapers, downloading demos and generally seeing what my new toy has to offer. The Playstation Store is impressive for its sheer breadth of on-demand content; on-demand shops are the most evil thing for directly appealing to the impulse buy instinct. I love being able to download and play old Playstation games on it, as some of the old ones really stand up well. My first purchase (and an immediate purchase at that) was the underrated classic Vagrant Story, which I intend to review properly at some future date. I was incredibly tempted by Final Fantasy VIII, but was put off by the download size: 1800MB. Considering Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days (a PSP port of a PS2 game) is a mere 500MB, this was quite a big chunk of my 4GB memory card. I do find it interesting how a copy of Final Fantasy VIII for the Playstation- either new or preowned- goes for at least £30 in most shops, but on the Playstation Store it is a mere £6. (And it’s not the rarity factor, as the Playstation Final Fantasy games are still getting published today.)

Having played at least an hour of each game, I present my first impressions of them:

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Looking forward to Eorzea

June 30, 2010 6 comments

While browsing Youtube today I came across a video posted on the official Final Fantasy XIV channel that shows improvements made between the alpha and the beta. The alpha received a bit of criticism for being slow, and it looks like they’ve revamped the battle system with a clever variation of the “segment” ATB system in Final Fantasy XIII: namely, you have a ATB/Stamina gauge  that charges at a constant rate, and actions take chunks out of that gauge, with more powerful moves costing more Stamina. The battle music sounds pretty snazzy too.

Final Fantasy XIV

I’m really looking forward to FFXIV. I played Final Fantasy XI for about a year back in 2006, and to this day it remains my favourite MMORPG. Don’t get me wrong, the game has incredible flaws- such as an incredibly steep learning curve; an incapability to solo effectively (for the majority of classes) after Lv.10; a unhelpful quest log that practically requires that you look up the solution on some online resource; and a slow experience gain that can see you earning two levels a night with a good party- but the world, the lore, the feeling of being a part of a real, living, epic world… I’ve yet to find an MMO that matches that. I was fortunate enough to find a good linkshell (guild) straight from the get-go, so that probably had something to do with it. In FFXI, if you don’t make friends fast then you’ll sink like a stone. Read more…