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Final Fantasy XIII First Impressions

So, I purchased FFXIII, it almost sounds like its becoming infamous what with FF fans devouring eachother's souls XD.

I'm about five hours in, so far I don't see what all the negative fuss is about. I'm totally addicted, I'm having a lot of fun. I see where some people are coming from, even this early into the game. The linearity is almost on a frightening level, especially for someone like me who's favorite of the series was FFVIII. In my opinion, it had more free reign than FFVII. But I also played FFX, very linear, and it's one of my favorite FF's.

Snow's hero thing is almost annoying, but more than that I think it's his blind optimism. But it's a very different optimism from Vanille, I like her optimism a lot better. And yes, Hope is also a little annoying as well, but I understand where he's coming from. I feel he's the everyday teenager. Grown up in fear of Pulse, witnessing something horrible happen when he's had nothing but an easy-going life. Hope reminds me of how I would be if I was thrust into the situation in the game. In the beginning, he's probably the true voice of reason in the game. Not wanting to get involved, thinking all these other people are totally nuts, etc. Who knows, maybe that's why people don't like him. He reminds us too much of ourselves, or perhaps some people that we know.

The story is very interesting, its better playing without a guide, which was not like what I did with Persona and Vesperia. I think the characters are really great so far, very differing personalities. Early on I could tell Sazh was quite a scene stealer, bravo to his voice actor. Gotta love Lightning, she's so cruel, I love it XD. It's funny too, she beats the sh** out of Snow but he keeps getting back up to prove himself in some way. And even when he's quite inspiring, she's beyond sarcastic and even more cruel. Not a very inspiring protagonist so far, but she's still probably my favorite character anyway.

The battle system is great, tons of fun. On paper, trying to understand it seems very difficult, but once you start playing, its actually very easy to get used to. Everyone compares the Crystarium to FFX's Sphere Grid, which it is to an extent. But you don't really level up your characters, just the skills and abilities for the job your working on for that particular character. So I'd say its a mix of FFX's Sphere Grid and FF Tactics. Not a bad combination in my opinion.

In my opinion, so far so good. It's even more linear than FFX, but you know what? I'd rather be looking at beautiful, varieties of scenery than some drab world map anyway. Still, some exploration would be nice. The story is enthralling so far, but it also feels like I'm in some interactive graphic novel or manga. If each chapter turns out to be one dungeon each, I'm starting to think it might be a shorter game than I want it to be. From what I can tell, I'm mostly through Chapter 3. I can see how people think of the linearity, but honestly, a lot of RPG's have been turning out that way recently. It's no bolt out of the blue. Final Fantasy fans have been experiencing it since FFX, which was at least...eight years ago? I also understand where I hear people coming from with a couple of the characters. It's also pretty natural to dislike certain characters and like others. So far though, I don't think those things equal a bad game.

Updates on Games and More (Minor SO2 Spoilers)

I feel guilty about complaining about achievements so I decided I'll try and write something constructive. Kind of like eating a salad after eating a box of pizza with a nice layer of grease on the top. Doesn't help you much but at least it makes you feel better.

So in my long absence I've ended up half heartedly playing through several games. Making decent progress on some, beating a couple (mostly), and buying several others.

I've been playing the original Final Fantasy VII on and off since I'm determined to beat it, which I never have. Even though I own the game, I bought it through PSN, just as I plan to do for FFVIII eventually. I love playing that classic on my PSP, somehow its even more thrilling pocketsized! Probably because the graphics look surprisingly cleaner on a small screen, haha. Tifa just left the party at Mideel to be with Cloud, so I've got Cid leading with my party at around level 80. Yeah, lots of power leveling. Once I get the right armor and final weapons, I'll be more than good to go for the final dungeon. Maxing out on a lot of magic too, I won't bother trying that with summons though.

I beat Tales of Vesperia...two more times. Once for that low level Barbos achievement, the other for the speedster. They were basically two speed playthroughs, except I fought monsters on the previous one so I wasn't totally butchered. I beat the final story boss at around level 45 which I found was pretty satisfying. This last playthrough is easily the most frustrating. Reason? Cooking. I intend on maxing out on just about everything besides artes, so I'm making every character master every recipe. I know its not necessary, but it looks nice and I'm a perfectionist. I did it through the entire game and I still have around eight recipes to go. I'll be more than happy when its over since I can get back to sidequests, Tarqaron, and eventually the bonus dungeon, which I've never even unlocked before, so I'm quite excited.

Even though this is an update from a long time ago, I beat Star Ocean: First Departure a couple times. I think to unlock all the videos, I'd need two more playthroughs, which I'm not going to do. So I just watched some PA's and the movies I missed on youtube and called it even XD. I beat Star Ocean: Second Evolution on Claude's side. Well...that's not quite true, I got to the last save point where you CAN trick the game into saying that you beat it, but I really didn't. The game was a cinch up until Phienal. Honestly? I couldn't beat Gabriel, and his limiter wasn't even off. They really throw you a left hook, everything being easy as pie until Gabriel whips your ass about 15 times. I probably would have won if I went back to Fun City, stole the bunny shoes, put them on Claude and went back up, but I can't be arsed for that major pain in the ass. So...I just restarted as the Rena side, but I'll be more prepared next time. I got the voice gallery for the characters, so I'm fine with that. Seriously, its the first boss in YEARS that I just could not beat, with or without a guide to help. So, to anyone with SO2 on the PSP, pickpocket the bunny shoes from that guy in the bunny suit in Fun City. I'm pretty sure Gabriel sucks without them. That, or grab treasure in the first few floors of the bonus dungeon. I suppose there's always both for the overprepared, of which I shall be. 9,999 damage on all characters. FUN. I wish there was an option to write a guide on a boss in a game rather than just a general review. XD

Recently got back into Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions. Apparently, RPG companies are utterly incapable of making an original RPG on the PSP. The only original RPG on the PSP I have is Aedis Eclipse and sadly...it sucks. But anyway. FFT, talk about a game that's slow to get into. I think the entire prequel took me about ten hours. And for me at least, its not a game you can play for hours, so it ended up being a lot longer than what 10 hours at face value is. Another game that's easy to power level on. I did this one by accident though. More like trying to finish a job on several different characters, one catches up *coughRamzacough* so naturally I can't have that character do nothing! I'm around the beginning of Chapter II and Ramza is like level 42 with the others trailing in the upper 30's. Ridiculous! Oh well, if I butcher my enemies for awhile I guess I have no right to complain. I can't tell yet whether the story will be rewarding enough for me or not. I'd like to think hundreds of positive opinions on FFT over several years aren't all wrong so I'm optimistic at least.

Awhile ago I bought Jeanne D'arc, quite a fun little SRPG. On a side note, I'm noticing a pattern in new RPG's and how easy it is overprepare to the point of breaking a good portion of the game. Maybe that's for another blog entry. In Jeanne, you can level characters one by one in the very first level up to around level 40 at least without much difficulty. Its a bit putsy, but doing that on a few of your main characters is very beneficial, but also makes a lot of the game quite easy. Still, enjoying the story and I'm interested in where the characters are going. It's easier to get into if you throw out any historical significance you remember from history class about the real Joan of Arc. I don't think dear ol' Joan had to worry about demons and a possessed 4 year old King Henry.

Say, you ever hear so much about a game for such a long time, you know its a game you should get but you never get around to it? Lunar has been that game for me, for years. Then again, so has Suikoden II, but at least with the new Lunar game release, I don't have to pay $200 for that. Something had to give. Hurry up PSN, I can't play Suikoden III without number 2! *Ahem* Anyway, I was quite excited to have Lunar on the PSP, I started playing it right away despite being in the middle of a few other games. Even though its quite an old game, I think its quite well developed and I enjoy the characters. One slight disappointment would be they kept the anime cutscenes from when they redid the game on the PS1. I enjoy the voice acting though. Quite honestly, its the most fun I've had just playing a game since Vesperia. And before Vesperia, the last one I felt that way playing was FFX, so not too far off the road. In my mind that makes for an enjoyable game just in how its emotionally affected me. A game that's been making me think a bit.

I also purchased Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope, about a month before I saw that a newer version was released on the PS3 >_>. To make up for that I bought Eternal Sonata on the PS3. And another game I've wanted for years I bought the PSP remake, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. I played basically the first scene in Lost Odyssey. Have no idea what's going on but at least it looked awesome. Sort of like all the recent Finay Fantasy's, no? Last Remnant too. Sadly, I haven't had the chance to play any of these though. And I still haven't played Valkyria Chronicles, its just sitting on the shelf. Waiting. Hopefully my crazy rant was useful/interesting to some people who either plan to buy or already own some of these games but haven't played yet.

Recently Purchased Games:

Jeanne D'Arc (PSP), Lunar: Silver Star Harmony (PSP), Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP), Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope (360), Lost Odyssey (360), The Last Remnant (360), Eternal Sonata (PS3)

New Fuse Achievements/Xbox Live Rant

It isn't that I'm inactive, its just that I don't talk. XD

I thought the new Fuse thing they've got going is pretty cool. But when I signed up for it and put in my flashy 360 gamertag, there was a privacy warning for it. So I was on my 360, spending a good hour in a half figuring stuff out. Thing is, I created my gamertag a long time ago, I just never set up Xbox Live. Well I got so far in signing up until it got to the gamertag stuff. It sort of forced me to come up with a new one...but I already have one. I just didn't sign up with Xbox Live right when I put it in. So that was the end of that. Doing some more online searching, it took me a whole 10 seconds to figure out why I never did anything with Xbox Live. I sort of forgot that its not free, my only reason why I don't use it.

And so it is all a massive waste of time. Story of my life. I will forever be a tortured soul, the only one to see all of my achievements will be me...and my dog...I guess. So in my own achievements, I got a few for Gamespot, but if you check the Xbox 360, it will say none. Bah, as if I'm starting over on a new gamertag. And what about my Vesperia? I spent over 200 hours on that crazy horse, don't tell me to start over! I don't have 0 Xbox achievements! I've got 40 DAMMIT!!

On a side note, until otherwise proven, I am a firm believer that Tales of Vesperia is a game that never ends. Fourth playthrough, I'm assuming its my last one. First one was just for fun/secret missions. I guess that second part removes the fun aspect XD. Second was just for the moronic Barbos achievement. I sped through the rest as 'practice' for my speed one. Third was JUST for Speedster, I finished it on the same day I started. Took me around 7 or 8 hours. In your face 15 maximum! And now...the fourth playthrough, what I'm on now. Just doing everything. Sidequests, leveling, hell I'm even upgrading all the artes on all characters. I have SP points set to 1 and 10x Experience on. Despite the fact that my characters are all gods, it's still fun. Eternal revenge on the enemies that gave me trouble.

So anyway, yeah XD. Mostly me just being pissy about nobody seeing my Vesperia achievements except myself. Now people can comment me, 'stop whining ya big baby!' Haha.

Random Gaming Update

Well I realized I kept complaining on the forums about how behind I was, so I decided to stop blabbing and actually play. So I've been playing back and forth on a few different games recently. None of them are beaten yet, but despite that fact, I'm having a lot of fun.


Persona 4

Well let's see...I'm around the middle of August in the game calender now I believe. My first playthrough, not following any guides. I'm probably doing everything wrong with the social links, but I don't care so much. This one is more about getting as many Persona as humanly possible right now haha. The game is surprisingly easy when you have two or three of your characters with their upgraded Persona. I finished the old school, Atari looking dungeon. First boss fight that was actually somewhat challenging, though mostly annoying. Why won't my Mind Charged Agidyne kill you!? Well eventually it did. And the culprit has been captured...allegedly. None of the characters seem very optimistic, so naturally neither will I.

Just increasing some Social Links, though I'm mostly trying to increase my character parameters now. Diligence is a b*** Also overleveling when I can just to be safe for the next dungeon. And may I say...Shadow Teddie is the first boss in YEARS that legitimately frightened me. I'll have nightmares now. XD


Tales of Vesperia


It's starting to wind down, I'm nearly at the end. The final dungeon appeared, can't go in it yet though. You know, I remember when the sky changed in Tales of Symphonia and it was officially 'the end of the world.' But in Vesperia, it just keeps getting worse and worse...and worse. And then the s*** hits the fan a few times. But...Nam Cobanda opened. Yay gambling! Perfect way to cast all your troubles away. I'm holding off so I can get as many titles I can this playthrough, not to mention super annoying achievements. I really suck at the game, my FS hits are...pathetic. I always miss them! And I have to get 100 for EACH character!? Do you know how many of those I have total? Like 130 something. Can someone tell me those numbers will transfer over so I can actually FINISH the game?

Anyway, there are so many side quests in this game, its insane. I'm about 120 hours on my first playthrough still. Seems like a lot I know. But it adds up doing all of the side quests when they turn up, leveling the skills on every new weapon I buy/synth, using artes on all of the characters so I can use their alternate artes individually as well. Yes, all of the characters, even the ones I don't use. With doing all of that crap, I'm slightly overleveled, so say certain people on what level you should be for the final boss. I'm at around level 75 for everybody, I don't intend to fight 'the third form' so I'm pretty confident regardless. Please transfer, damn FS'...


Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness


PSP version, I hear Disgaea 2 is coming on the PSP soon too. S***. I'm not far in this one at all. Just got Flonne, lots of characters to level up. It's a pain in the ass to do early. Right now I want to get my Female Brawler and Female Warrior to Level 10 so I can get the new ****s for that prerequisite. Ronin is one...can't remember the other. I'll buy the two new ****s then say bye bye to the ladies. Rinse and repeat to level 10 for everybody else. Have Flonne use a bow so I can unlock Archer, buy some crap Skulls so she has some attacks. Though I'm not sure if I want to use Flonne or just drop her and stick with the Cleric I've been working on since Episode 1. Just for the story, a part of me wants to use main characters. I'm in Episode 4 right now, most of my guys are low levels though, so I'll level them up before I bother heading into the new dungeon. Regardless, I'm enjoying it, Flonne is hilarious. And at first glance, Etna seems like a conniving b*** but just the way her character is, its the first time you actually kind of like it that way. I HAVE to see the alternate version where she kills Laharl. But he's such a powerful character...boohoo.


Star Ocean: First Departure


Played this for awhile today, hadn't touched it in a long while. But I really want SO2, so I want to beat it. Doing some side quests before I continue on with the story. The back tracking here is awful. It's physically painful. I mean, even back in the NES FF's they cared enough for the gamer to at least give us a damn airship. This will probably be another one I'll play through twice so I can see all of the characters. To those who are familiar with it, my alternate characters first time through are Ashlay, Ioshua, Erys, Mavelle, and Welch. Yep, Welch Vineyard from SO3. That took me for a loop...what exactly IS she? I'll go with ultra high tech hologram. Not a particularly useful character, but still very interesting. Besides the back tracking its actually a pretty decent game. I was surprised how little SO seems to have changed, especially looking at the menu. Assuming the remake didn't totally...remake everything. For being from 1996 I wasn't expecting so much detail in the items. Especially having played other not so well done games from around then, like Wild Arms and Suikoden, the originals.

It's the side quests that make it long, probably fairly similar to ToV (doesn't have a prayer for the 15 hour game achievement). With just the story, its somewhat dull and short. Plus the character development, well...sucks. Not to mention there's Roddick's portrait. He looks pretty intimidating...or possessed.

Must...kill...Dark...Lord...

So that's all for now...stupid multiple playthrough's. Whatever happened to beating a game and having that be the end of it? No...I'll save that rant for another day. Also for clarification, in the Disgaea section, Gamespot bleeped out my use of the word c-l-a-s-s. I'm not sure why that's naughty but apparently it is. o_O

Birthday's Are Annoying

I'm not one of those idiots who reminds people when his/her birthday is coming up. Though honestly mine is, except unlike when I was in high school, the birthday's are increasingly unimpressive and even unwanted. I'm just annoyed, like I have been every year for the past few years. Relatives call the house, asking what I want for my birthday. The last couple years, it felt like the gaming side of things, especially being the RPG nerd I am, was at a bit of a lull. It is annoying though, since I don't really know what I want. Although for the first time in a couple years, I have a list of things I actually want. Unlike before when I was given some crappy comedy's that are still in their shrink wrap. How about Adam Sandler and Kevin James for some gay fake wedding love? *gags on non-commentable object*

I did recently buy a 360 though, plus my PSP is a bit dusty. What I have on my list so far? Well I shouldn't really say so far, I'm probably already finished.

PSP:

Star Ocean II

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth

Jean D'arc

Legend of Heroes/Brave Story (not sure which, low on my list anyway)

Riviera: The Promised Land (SRPG with cute anime characters and a bit of comedy; classic)

Xbox 360:

The Last Remnant (downloaded on hardrive eliminates lag problems allegedly)

Star Ocean: The Last Hope

Last Odyssey

PS3:

Eternal Sonata (added content, dungeons, and playable characters, why not?)

Metal Gear Solid 4 (Maybe...I guess...? Still have to play and beat the other three. XD)

Yeah, the PS3 is a little limited, but it'll be beefed up with FFXIII and Versus in...2-5 years? Sadly, I'm STILL mostly using the advanced system for playing backwards compatability on my old PS2 games I still have to beat. I play DDS and my PS1 RPG's on the PS2 still since its upgrade screws them up for whatever reason.

So, decent list people? Anybody played some of these yet? Or maybe some I need to scratch off and cast into unholy hell before I make a horrible decision? Let me know!

I Sold My Soul For an Xbox 360

I did the very thing I never thought I could do. I've loathed the Xbox ever since the original came out. All of that Halo crap and even the idea of 'Live' made me ill. Plus I don't like green. Especially since it looked pretty puke green too. But the issue I have been having would be expectations. I bought the PS3 because I thought it was going to be like the souped up PS2. Meaning, it would be a haven for my RPG dorkiness and I'd be a gleeful, happy fool. So there I was with my PS3, waiting for those awesome RPG's. Well...Oblivion, Valkyria Chronicles and STILL waiting for Final Fantasy XIII...I'm a little pissed off. Still has great action games, graphics are amazing, good system. But I want my RPG's, I can replay the same great games on my PS2 for so long. I need something new.

I realized that the 360 was getting all the RPG's, and I was perplexed as to...why? Isn't this supposed to be the FPS system? It always was before, so why the hell is the 360 of ALL systems, stealing MY RPG's!? Months passed and finally I couldn't take it anymore, I caved and bought a 360 and Tales of Vesperia with it. Now as tempted as I am to rant and rave at ToV's awesomeness, that can wait for a review. However I must say, practically that game alone has been worth it. With playing it constantly, being 80 hours in and no end in sight for the story's conclusion, I had some kind of a revelation.

I had always hated the thought of Xbox, never liked it from the beginning. I was a Nintendo fan as a kid and a major Playstation fan as I grew up. I'm just an RPG guy, I don't care so much for other genre's quite so much, especially FPS'. But I realized something, the system really has nothing to do with anything. You buy a system because of what you expect from it, and a major part of that is expecting what games will come out for it. So I realized, there is nothing wrong or bad about the 360, despite my major, psychotic reservations. It's really about the games, what games you want to play. And the fact is, its looking more and more that the 360 is the Next Gen's RPG console. Even Sony's/Square Enix's flagship, Final Fantasy XIII is getting a 360 port. Regardless, the fact remains, I want to play new RPG's and they are being released on the 360.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the 360, hell, it isn't even about the 360. Just so long as it functions to play these games years in the future, I have no issue. And why should I? Having no actual care about the mechanics of these machines, I just buy them so I can buy good RPG's to play. So after many years, I say there is no reason to have hate or disdain for a system. You don't buy the system for the system, you buy the system for the games. And the games I want are and most likely will keep going to the 360. I have no Halo love as an Xbox owner, I even kept that bastard headset in the box and threw it in my closet, never to be seen for five to eight years. Love the games, don't hate the system. Unless it gets a Red Ring of Death, then throw it out the window. Speaking of throw, we might as well band together and overthrow Bill Gates while we're at it.

Mario Nut

Well late at night I spent a number of hours on gamespot, certainly lessening my eye vision, going through a bunch of my first games that I can remember. This is back to my first system, the SNES. Now earlier on I went through all my Final Fantasy's, that didn't take long to realize I had an obsession. But I already knew that. I noticed all of the games I added to My Collection from the SNES are ALL Mario games. And looking back, I think those were all of it.

Was anyone else a Mario nut back in the day? I mean, who wasn't a young gamer and didn't like Mario? Hopefully someone will read this blog and tell me that I'm not alone. Granted, not all of my SNES games were Mario, I'm sure of that. I just can't think clearly this late. But I realized looking through gamespot's Mario database that...I had a ton of Mario stuff, good and bad.

Paper Mario, Super Mario N64, Super Mario RPG (I'll defend that to the teeth, got me into RPG's), the first few Mario's brought to the SNES, Mario Paint, Mario Is Missing!, Mario Time Machine (can't think of the title), Dr. Mario, Yoshi's Island, Mario Teaches Typing.....2! I mean, guh. It sure did help though, despite being monotonous. The typing I mean XD. Hell the Mario is Missing and the Time Machine one I loved, helped with my history. Not that I got much history in the second grade.

It's a shame I haven't played any of the Mario games on the Wii. A few of them stand out and look really good. Even though they're just Wii expansions of what's already been done before. I'm thinking Paper Mario on the Wii and Super Mario Galaxy. Definitely a remake-expansion from Super Mario 64. But who didn't love twirling that control stick with Bowser by the tail? And don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about! Anyway, I'd like to try those other Mario games out, hell I wish I never sold my old systems in a way, since I'd like to get some games back. But like I said, I'd try those Mario Wii games, I'll always love Mario and Nintendo. But I feel with the Wii and the DS, Nintendo has gotten a little TOO creative. But my opinions on Nintendo's new consoles is for a whole other blog.

Yay, Reviewing's Fun!

And yay for my first blog post! Here's to the occasional more. Recently I've been getting a little more active with GameSpot, actually putting in comments to stories that interest me, joining a Union, even making ratings. I've been a member for over a year but I never did anything, your level goes up a lot faster when you do things XD. But I'm finding different things to do, which is fun.

I'm also getting a surprising kick out of reviewing. I'm well aware that I can ramble sometimes, so hopefully I don't do it too bad in reviews. My first one was Oblivion, which may have been a bad first choice. The game is just so darn massive, there's so much to mention. Granted, I'm writing a novel, but I don't intend to make one on the spot in the review section haha. But its the first one I did, I also made another one for an RPG on the GameCube. Not quite so well known probably, but its one of my favorites. Though that's not saying much for the GameCube since the only other RPG I had on that system was Tales of Symphonia. But anyway, check the reviews out, see how I did, if your interested or have played the games before. Funny really, I find writing reviews to be kind of addicting. I've rated a good chunk of games, so I may review others later. I like the older RPG's though, so I'd probably end up mass reviewing the Final Fantasy's or something.

And just to make myself seem more open, I'm into RPG's, its the genre I buy 9 times out of 10. I have a particular liking for the older PS1 RPG's. I guess I'm a sucker for the nostalgia. I'm an old timer at heart, though not TOO old. Never owned an Atari or anything like that, SNES was my first though. The good old days of Mario in his prime, great times. Anyway, I may elaborate more on my love of the older RPG's, flash the blog up with some pics hehe.