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RangerFirePower Blog

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (What Final Fantasy XIII should Have Been)

I am going to say this out right. The original Final Fantasy XIII was a terrible game. One of the worst games I have personally ever played if not the absolute worst. With terrible characters, story, linear areas, and no room for freedom when it came to developing your characters, Final Fantasy XIII was a drag. It was mind numbing and boring. With extremely low expectations, I entered XIII-2.

Here we Go

Final Fantasy XIII-2 came around and improved EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING terrible about the original. I found myself surprised when I started having tons of fun. Let's start off with improvement number 1: characters. The original XIII had characters like Hope: **** little mommy's boy who you wanted to get shot every time he said anything. Well in XIII-2 Hope is back but heis now 10 years older and is an actual sensible human being. Likewise, the main protagonists, Noel and Serah, are two well developed characters who have good chemistry. No longer must you cringe at cliche characters with no personallity, the characters in XIII-2 are likable and believable.

The story in XIII was a convuluted mess that tossed around mumbo-jumbo words like Fal'Cie and L'Cie. It was about people with missions and something about two planets and..... well who really cares? The story seemed abstract and was crushed by thepoor characters. XIII-2 is focused and has enough developement to make you want to know what happens next. I am hard pressed on figuiring out why some people thought the original XIII had a better story. In XIII-2, I actually got excited for what happened next and the more I played, the better my understanding of the world was. In XIII, the more I played, the more obscure everything seemed to get.

XIII had a huge problem with linearity. The game drove you down an extremely narrow pathway with no room to explore and no way to revisit previous areas. In XIII-2 you are given wider areas with sidequests. In the game, there are artefacts you try to collect for experience so you can continue foward in the story. There are 160 artefacts in the game and most of them are gotten by exploration and side quests. So there is plenty of space to explore and plenty of incentive to explore unlike the original. You are free to revisit areas as you see fit and it is easy to hop between major areas.

In XIII, characters had specific roles such as Ravanger (magic-attacks) and Commando (physical-attacks). The problem was that the game forced a single character to be a certain role for a majority of the game and when the game finally let you chose who had what role, there was no reason to switch. When you have a level 80 Commando, why would you suddenly start developing a Ravanger role for him 20 hours in? In XIII-2, you have complete freedom of which roles Serah and Noel develop from the very begining. You have true control over how your charactersprogress and what they specialize in.

Square Enix listend to the fans and fixed the problems present in XIII. If you hated XIII, give XIII-2 a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Game of the Year 2011

There was only one game in my mind that stood above all others in 2011(I haven't played Skyrim yet) and left me with a total of 50 hours of gameplay. I looked foward to every weekend so I could sit down and continue playing this game and it never wore thin on me. After about an hour of playing the game, I went and downloaded the entire soundtrack for it. After playing the terrible Final Fantasy XIII, I felt a void had been put in my heart that no other JRPG could fix but I was wrong. Xenoblade had come.

Xenoblade was the game that I have been waiting for. A perfect JRPG that felt fresh and I could happily play for 5 hours a day without getting bored. The story felt fresh and the musical score would blow you away. This is the Final Fantasy VII of this generation and I would highly recommend anyone with a love for RPGs to play this game.

Horror Done Right

I am no survivor horror game cono sur despite having played a few games of the genre, but I think I am not alone when stating that horror games have failed to properly scare gamers in this generation of consoles. The once scary Silent Hills and Resident Evils have failed to deliver the goods but why?

Boogie Boogie Boo

There are three types of scares: (1) the one where a monster jumps out and goes Boogie Boogie Boo (2) the one where a monster from a far runs up from a distance screaming and wailing (3) the one where you walk down an atmospheric unerving setting afraid to turn the corner because your afraid there may be a gaint monster waiting for you only to find that he is actually right behind you

The most effective choice is number three.

Most horror games rely on 1 and 2 for a cheap easy thrill that last for about a second before the game plays out like a typical shooter or action game. Dead Space 2 had this very problem where it just couldn't scare because cheap thrills were the one thing that ended up happening throughout the game in terms of "scary". Without the proper atmosphere to create dread, the game became a very good third person shooter instead of the intense atmospheric horror survival game it aimed at being.

Horror Done Right

So how is "scary" done right? Well let us take Silent Hill 2 as our role model. A game that was able to truly make the gamer shake because of the wonderful atmosphere and music in action. To make a horror game truly work there needs to be the right unerving mood put in place. Some key points in doing so are making the gamer feel isolated, making the protaginist underpowered, and creating a truly hellish world in which one would want to get out of. In Silent Hill 2, you played as James (the average everyday man) equipped with little more than a flashlight searching for his wife. The game is able to truly make a haunting experience because of the underpowered nature of James, the dark and detailed atmosphere in place, the constant isolation James is put in, and the lack of anything human to interact with. With a proper blend of these elements in place, just walking down a desserted hallway in this game may be the scariest thing one ever experiences in their life. With that in mind, the problem with Dead Space 2 was that Isaac was overpowered, the atmosphere lacked the rightvibe,and the predictability of the scares. When the player is walking down a hall way and prepared for some random alien to jump out at any time, there is no terror.

Horror games have to be carefully crafted to deliver an experience worth while. While many falter on cheap gimmicks, horror can be done right with games like Silent Hill 2, Amnesia the Dark Descent, and Corpse Party paving the road. Scares are hard to achieve but with a little know how are possilble. This is the RangerFirePower signing out. See Ya!