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michelle_moraes Blog

Thoughts on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an amazing action RPG and worth every penny. From superb graphic design to fluid gameplay mechanics, it offers a vast amount of content.

There are tons of sidequests, and much like the Elder Scroll series, there are also a variety of factions which you can join while (or after) you work on the main quest. The premisse is interesting; you start the game "walking from the dead" and soon discover that you are the only person who can actually change his/her Fate. In the world of Amalur, every person, every event is pre-determined to end in a specific manner, and there are even certain people called Fate Weavers who can "read" your Fate, seeing what you are destined to do, how you are supposed to die, and etc. However, you soon start traveling through the world, and people realize your actions are actually affecting and changing the outcome of events that were once, "set in stone." Unfortunately, I believe the storyline fell short throughout the game; I felt like the dialogues and characters involved in the main quest were somewhat superficial and the story lacked depth.

At any rate, this Fate ties down to the very character creation and development process. You have a few basic "Fates", or as the game calls it, "Destinies", which are cards that will power up your character in a specific direction. You will have a card "Rogue", in which you can develop it further by leveling up and unlock the card "Scout", which will grant you more skill points and ability points to spend either on your "Finesse" map or, if you decide to improve the other two areas "Might" or "Sorcery", possibly unlocking different cards such as the hybrid "Disciple", a "mage-rogue" mixture. Overall, the system is very flexible and fun to mess around with; rpg gamers will definitely enjoy leveling up their character and crafting to their needs.

The gameplay is so much fun! My character was primarily a Mage build, and I had spent a lot of points on the Chackram, which I loved using in conjuction with my magic (not to mention juggling enemies around with it.) It's a combat system that made me feel powerful and always rewarding me with tons of loot. There are many options for the 3 main abilities and they provide quite a few combos. Leveling up is not a chore; the combat is very smooth and fast. A few bosses here and there might give a bit more of a challenge, but overal I found the game to be pretty decent in difficulty. There's also a Hard Mode for those wanting a bit more challenge.

The visuals in this RPG are insanely beautiful. I never got bored at looking at the scenery and environments. The dungeons were fresh and different from one another, even if all of them (or better yet, the entire game) is very colorful. Unlike the Elder Scrolls series, which devides each game to a specific region in Tamriel, Amalur provides the entire world at your hands, even if not in the same huge scale of the TES. But to me, the ability to be able to explore all different areas in one game was much more to my liking, because the regions vary so much (be it in the overall feeling or aesthetics that it shows.) I thought the characters were very vivid and lively, and the monsters also varied in shapes and forms a lot, as well as battle manouvers. The art design in the game is trully something to be looked at, and I actually enjoyed seeing the loading screens artwork, so beautiful they were.

On the background of it all, there lies the soundtrack and sound effects. It's all orchestrated, and gives you that "fantasy world" sense of exploration and wonder. The music is soothing when it needs to be, and engaging when it needs to pump me up for an epic battle. It made my travels in Amalur much more enjoyable.

I thought that, for a first game in a series (the next one, set in the same world is supposed to be an MMO), this game is a great achievement for 38 Studios and Big Huge Games. I didn't like their partnership with EA in publishing this game (there is even a game breaking bug unfortunately, but so far no patch has been released. At the same time, EA has already put out 2 DLCs, so why is this not being addressed?), and I hope they don't on their next. Browsing their forums, it's clear that the developers want to do things right, but are impeded by bureaucracy from EA. I also hope that when I they are done with the MMO, they can start working on a single player sequel, maybe with a more indepth main storyline and more dialogue choices. This is a must for any TES fans out there, and for fans of action RPGs in general who love a good combat system experience and loot.

DEVELOPER: Big Huge Games, 38 Studios
PLATFORM: PlayStation3, Xbox360, and PC
RELEASE DATE: February 7, 2012

Tales of Graces f - Dance like the damned!

Tales of Graces f

Well, I finally finished this wonderful rpg. First off, thanks to Namco for localizing this. I really didn't expect you guys to actually do it. Here's hoping you guys will bring Xillia eventually (well, I guess I can't hope for a Vesperia PS3 as well, that would be too much right? :-P )

Tales of Graces f ("f" stands for "future") is a remake of the Wii game (which was released in Japan around 2009.) It adds to it a prologue-like content after you beat the game giving player around 10+ hours of gameplay. The graphics have been retouched for the PS3 and continue as charming as ever.

Tales_Screen1Storyline: My most important element when playing an rpg, I found Graces f a wonderful (if not way over the top) adventure based on "friendship". The plot was good and kept me interested, and I also enjoyed the characters (a few more so than the others). My favorites were Hubert and Pascal. Pascal by the way, gave me the "Rita" vibe. The two are so alike, but while I always found Rita annoying while playing ToV, I thought Pascal was a very awesome character, not to mention the VA did a wonderful job bringing her to "life". I thought Asbel was a good protagonist, but didn't like the VA for some reason. Oh, and I'm tired of the "jrpg" romance in which Cheria doesn't let him know her feelings and he is too dense to notice... but then again, I'm not 18 anymore. I also liked how they setup the game with us playing the children arc; it was very neat seeing what they came to be year later even if we don't see the progess itself. I also should mention this game has tons of skits (oh and they are voiced, unlike Abyss.), which adds a lot to the game's storyline. The bad part is that if you miss a few, you may end up missing a few nuggets of story elements from the game (especially character development.)

Gameplay: The story caught my interest, but above all what really shines here is the battle system. I never had so much fun on a Tales of game. Ususally, I'm very average when it comes to mastering the series' battle system, but Graces f made it very easy and addicting even to "averages" like me. I actually took time to learn the combos this time around, contrary to, say, in Vesperia. It is very rewarding, especially since you are often earning a title every battle or so. I have also never been much into "defending" but with the CC (Chain Capacity), I found myself doing it constantly since you earn CC points quicker and then can unleash various combos using A-Artes or B-Artes ("Assault" and "Burst".) There a quite a few sidequests and a lot of items to collect in this game as you'd expect. I missed the Monster Book from Vesperia and which Abyss 3DS (and PS2) didn't have, but was relieved seeing it come back in Graces f. The game has a few puzzle-centric dungeons, and one or two might give you headaches. Personally, I enjoyed them even if there are only a few toward the mid-end game.

tales ofGraphics: I know this generation many people wanted to see magnificent things done graphics wise, with Unreal Engine shows and everything, but I, for one, didn't bother very much with this issue. I actually believe rpgs suffered this gen because a lot of emphasis on graphics meant compromise, so we saw much less rpgs than last gen (not to mention the bigger costs of production overall). Even though a port of a Wii game, Graces f shaded cell animations feel fresh on the PS3, and very vibrant in colors. Personally, I loved this s tyle I also liked a lot of the characters designs, with the exception of a few (yes, I'm looking at you, Sophie.) The mystic artes animations and such are also very vibrant as usual. There are also a few anime CGIs here and there throughout the game.

Soundtrack: Yeah I know, Sakuraba tends to make the "samey" OSTs but on this particular Tales, I thought the lack of that "samey" was a bad thing. With the exception of the vocal intro song, nothing else really caught my earbuds on this Tales. I think he does a superb job on Star Ocean games, but when it comes to Tales of, he is very hit or miss kind of composer. Still, nothing really made me cringe either. Very average soundtrack.

Overall: A very enjoyable Japanese rpg, with a lot of content and replay value for the fans. The story might be something we all have already seen many times, but is presented in a manner that doesn't bore you to death, and to be honest, one of the better Tales yet. In my opinion, the best battle system to date in the series and when compared to many other games released lately. I believe the music in the game was the only thing that really disappointed this time around, with the lack of catchy rythms and memorable tunes. I had a lot of fun playing this game and look forward to Namco localizing Xillia or Innocence R next.

DEVELOPER: Namco Tales Studio
PLATFORM: PlayStation3
RELEASE DATE: March 13, 2012

50th Blog Post: My 2011 Gaming Wishlist and Collection Pictures.

2011 wishlist header

Here I am posting again after quite some time! :P

How are you all doing? Enjoying a lot of games?

Anyway, here are the games I'm really looking forward to play and add to my collection in 2011.

#1. DRAGON AGE 2: It would be ME3 on my top wishlist, but honestly I doubt the game will be released next year... but who knows! At any rate, Dragon Age occupies the top spot on my list because I loved the first dearly! While I don't like the idea of having a set character for the game, instead of creating your own like in the first game, I'll reserve judgement until after I actually play the game. And the fact that Bioware didn't forget was female gamers (or was it for teh boyz? lol ) and gave us a female Hawke version is cool (she looks way more decent than female Sheppard btw). I loved the games' combat and lore, and I'm sure this one won't be a disappointment on those ends. The only thing that is a bummer is for PC gamers losing their isometrical view; I also loved that but... oh well.

#2. 3rd Birthday (my behind, PARASITE EVE 3): Aya Brea is back after so many years! I had played Parasite Eve 1 and 2 countless times years ago and in my opinion the first game was the better one. The only real con I have so far is the amount of pics depicting her almost nude... I mean, I get it teh boyz want it, but how about a bit more respect toward the female audience? :roll: - yeah, let me awake from the third layer of my dream in which this don't happen. Hahaha, anyway, I hope the combat is still fun and the storyline as usual that cool-nonsense pseudo sci-fi and police drama. Ah, and lots of cool new arms. Like a katana... lol!

tactics ogre psp#3. TACTICS OGRE: Let Us Cling Together: Another PSP game on my list! 2011 is looking like it will be my year of the RPG and PSP. Speaking of the game itself, it can't go wrong with such a series and strategical RPG. The amount of dept and choices seem almost overwhelming. I'm really looking forward to play it since it's been a while I played a game like Jeanne D'arc and of course, Final Fantasy Tactics The Lion Wars. I also have to mention that I love the art in this game... the character designs are simply awesome! The bits of ost from their official website is also very good. The most important thing to me though will be the storyline and how intriguing it will be - hopefully not as confusing as FFT was at times.

#4. MORTAL KOMBAT: Just like every MK gamer next to me, I also remember the theme song from the movies everytime MK is mentioned. Yesterday they just released info on their pre-order and collector's stuff, and I have to say that I'm really wanting that fighting stick cabinet that comes with the Tournament edition... so awesome! And as much as I don't like dlcs and pre-order bonus at different chains, I'll have to go with Best Buy for the Sub-Zero costume... Sub-Zero :heart:! I'll also defintely pick it up on the PS3 not only because I'm now building my collection around it but because of Kratos; that VGA trailer in which he appears is simply pure awesomesauce! Mortal Kombat... good memories being finished off because I was such a poor fightning games player... lol. Can't wait to see how much worse I am now!

Dissidia Duodecim#5. DISSIDIA DUODECIM: It has Final Fantasy characters in it so anyone can guess I'll get it no matter what... and yes they are right! :P This time around I can't help but chuckle at the fact that they will have a world map for characters to wander around... and I think it is pretty safe to assume any SE Japanese game will have one because of the backlash on FFXIII. Obviously another reason to get another Dissidia (I played tons of hours on the first game) is the addition of other FF characters such as Lightning and Laguna (ugh they picked Tifa instead of Aeris! RAGE!! Can't wait for new annoncements regarding new additions. Ps: What in a name? SE always coming up with weird names... lol.

(aka making sure this post doesn't get way to long)

Mass Effect 3, provided it won't get delayed as I think it probably will...;
The Elder Scrolls V, same as above;
Uncharted 3, provided I finally play the earlier two games when I have time;
Marvel vs Capcom 3, when price drops or used so greedy DLCy Capcom doesn't get too much/any of my gysahl greens;
Radiant Historia, will definitely pick up this game because I love the thematics and time travel stuff;
Diablo III, picking this up in a brink provided they release it in 2011;
Tales of Xillia, might import it since I officially gave up hope they will localize Vesperia and Graces F for the PS3 in NA.

I probably forgot to add a few but 2011 is looking great for me in terms of RPGs, so I'm really looking forward to it!

On a different subject (but still related to gaming), I have decided to grow my collection on the PS3 and will let the 360 mainly for exclusives. I have now used both consoles for quite some time and chose the PS3 since I noticed I was using it more, and I can also import Japanese games without having to buy another console like in 360's case. Being able to watch my blurays is also a huge plus since it's my only player... :lol: The only real con to me right now is Netflix being off limits because my PS3 is japanese, so I'm hoping Netflix will fix this issue since I AM in the US (I did call them and they said they were working on it, but you know, who knows). Also, my brother is an Xbot so I'll gave him all of the multis I have (haven't decided on my ME CEs though, I doubt I'll have the will to give such awesome CEs of a such awesome series away! :P). Gaming is very expensive but by far my favorite hobbie. I have been collecting RPGs for my PSP and DS, and on the PS3 I have been getting a wider variety of games especially on huge sales like black friday and gamestop's buy 2 get 1 free.

This year was my first time with an HDTV, and now I cannot go back! I used to play and watch movies on my PC's monitor (22" with component cables). Now I have a Panasonic 42" plasma tv... and it is another world entirely. I also got last month the GT driving force wheel for GT5... love it! Now what I need is a fighting stick for my PS3 since the one I had gotten on a sale year ago is for the 360. And a nice shelf to put all my games; right now I have most of them hiding on drawers... XD

Nerd mode on: here are a few pics of my collection!

Nerd mode off. XD

Well, that's it for now! Happy holidays and a wonderful new year!

Star Ocean: The Last Hope - A Point of View

so4 header

Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a prequel to Star Ocean 1 (for the SNES, or it's remake for the PSP - Star Ocean: First Departure). The game comes in 3 DVDs for the Xbox360, in a very poor case (they are all stacked! I know you gotta cut costs and such, Square Enix. But can't you give us proper packaging at least?). I'm gonna start talking about the things I didn't like in the game first, and save the better for last. First thing - many people had trouble with the game freezing, myself included. The funny thing is that what worked for some, didn't work for others. In my case, I started playing from the DVD until it started freezing on me on the first disc. The game does not have a lot of save points, which means that the game could freeze on you in a long dungeon and thus making you have to redo it all again. My solution then was copying the game to my 360's HD, and after I started playing from the HD, I never had trouble again with this issue.

screenSO4Another thing that didn't please many was the storyline. It was very superficial, average at best. I cannot chose a "favorite" character in this game, because although some efort was made to develop them through Private Actions, it was very uninspired. The character designs didn't help either; doll-like faces as Lymles' made it hard to make you feel any connection to those characters. In my opinion, the NPCs in the game were far more interesting than the main cast, for whatever reason. At a major plot twist in the middle of the game, many people gets annoyed with a certain character's depressed mode... myself included!

Although the Item Creation part of the game isn't bad (I liked it was very easy to make new items and such, very straightforward), I didn't see much use for it. The best weapons can only be made after you finish the extra bosses, and after you do face them, why bother making those items?! Seriously.... And speaking of extra content, the game does offer quite some. Personally, I liked it especially the extra bosses Gabriel Celeste and Ethereal Queen. The one thing that really ticked me off was the lack of save points at the Wandering Dungeon, in which you face Ethereal Queen. It is ridiculous going through that 5+ dungeon without being able to save, then having your behind handed to you by her and losing all those hours in vain. My blood boils just remembering that (YEAH, I got pwned my first try, and I had taken 7 hours to get to her. UGH!).


Now, into the really good stuff. The music of the game is amazing, as you would expect from Motoi Sakuraba. There are many tunes from previous Star Ocean games, including my favorite battle themes like "Don't Be A Hero" (it is SO EPIC!) and "Stab The Sword of Justice" (from SO2). The game's graphics were outstanding until you'd start a battle. The framerate drops a lot because of the franctic battle system. For me, it didn't matter as much because I was more into the battle system than paying attention to the battle's graphics, but many people didn't like. Oh well! I also liked a lot some of the background designs and such.


The greatest thing in this game though, IS the battle system. It is very fast paced (and to think I'd only play turn-based RPGs a few years ago!), many cool abilities including the awesome Blindside attack, which is pretty much like the slow motion effect in Matrix so to speak - you press a certain button when attacking the opponent, then it will show in slow motion your character going behind the opponent and striking it. So awesome! You also have the Battle Trophies, like in Star Ocean 3, however this time, you have plenty more - 100 for each character. If you don't know, Battle Trophies are like "achievements" (not in the Xbox360 sense) for fufiling a certain requirement in battle - say, Edge needs to do 10 Blindsides.

Overall, it is still an enjoyable game if you are into RPGs and fast-paced battle systems, or of course, if you are a fan of the Star Ocean series. Otherwise, I'm afraid you may not enjoy this game at all, making yourself drag to finish this game. Personally, I liked as an overall product - I just wish the didn't have the ridiculous character design and average storyline. This is a game that could have been so much more and had a lot of potential that went to waste.

Happy Easter! Final Fantasy VII International and more!

blog header

Now I'm back again! Who saw another blog post coming, heh? After roughly an year, I have finally decided to make yet another post on this gaming blog. I hope everyone is doing great and have been playing lots of cool games! I myself played many games while I was away (even while I was at "A" School, the Navy training school). As some of you know, last year I had been gone for several months because I joined the US Navy and had gone to boot camp and the training school. As you can see, I made it back alive (lol!). I even managed to get advanced to Petty Officer 3rd c lass because I was among the top 10% on the graduating c lass

FFVII International PSN JP

There is so much to talk about, but I will refrain from writing a whole new testament for now. I'm gonna talk about some games I've been playing lately, instead. Two days ago, I went out of my way to get a hold of Final Fantasy VII International, which was released on the Japanese PSN. Since I do not own a Japanese credit card, I had to go to Ebay and buy one of those point cards (I got one with 3,000 pts) so that I could use it on my newly created Japanese PSN account.... The game's size is huge (1.7GB) and since my memory stick is only 2GB, I pretty much had to delete all my media and games from the American PSN (glad I can download them back later). I have been playing it since, and you know, it is nice to be able to play FFVII on my PSP instead of having to plug my PS2 and hook it to my monitor in order to play the game. Obviously, I wish the game had English option, but nonetless, it has been the same old fun time I had with this game. Still, I wished they had included some sort of extras, especially for the price (the PSN games cost 600 PSN pts, but FFVII costs 1500 because they know stupid people like me are willing to pay it... yeah, shame on me).

Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume

Besides playing FFVII, I finished a few games earlier. The most recent, Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, was an amazing journey. It was a very dark game, but the plot was handled well in my opinion. I loved the game's battle system - it combined our beloved VP combat s ystem with strategy concepts - , I love the character designs and of course, the soundtrack by Motoi Sakuraba. I may write a review for this game later on, time permitting! I also finished another tri-Ace game, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, and my opinion is a bit different from VP. True, I liked the game a lot - the battle system is simply addicting and very fast-paced; I got owned by both Gabriel Celeste and Ethereal Queen (the extra bosses) on my first try at them. But the story and the character designs... ugh. The story is average for the most part, but the characters are barely likeable. Chances are that if you play this game, you are gonna get annoyed by Lymle's "kay". lol. As with VP, I might spend some time later on to write my review of the game. Aside from that, another title I played was Street Fighter IV; a few years ago I had written here on my blog an article about the awesome moments I had playing SF II, so I was very pleased and happy playing years later a new and revamped Street Fighter!

Now, games I'm looking forward to. Honestly, right now I'm more interested in playing and finishing my HUGE back log of games, which include a few Suikodens for the PS2, Dragon Quests for the DS and continue playing FFVII International while learning more Japanese. I'm happy that I have finally been getting to play a game finishing it till the end instead of just stopping in the middle of it and then going to play something else. It has given somewhat sense of accomplishment in my gaming life, lol! I hope to going back to participating more around here as I used to, as well as contributing for unions or whatever. We'll see!

Thanks for reading, and again, Happy Easter if you celebrate it; if you don't, I wish you peace and hapiness!

PS: Gamespot HASN'T fixed those c.lass / s.ystem problems YET?! WOW... 1 year and this is still the same! That's insane GS, what a shame!!

Square Enix Reunion - The Birth!

Hi there you all! How are things going?

I'm here to introduce my new project. Yesterday, Celes,Full_Metal1923, Kryu88 and I (and my Brazilian friend Destroya, and waiting on Oblivion's reply! XD) opened a new union, Square Enix Reunion. Do I need to say what it is about? XD

First things first, some of you know I had been leader at SEE for quite some time last year until I had to leave for a while for personal reasons. Due to some circumstances, I decided to permanently relinquish my leadership at SEE last week.

I am very proud of the things I have done to SEE last year, many of them which wouldn't have been able to exist without the help of the wonderful officers I recruited last year. I remember when Fantasy_Gamer invited me to take care of the newly stabilished union; there was hardly anyone posting there due to some events that happened and which made SEE coming into existence. I also remember Fantasy_Gamer giving me my first "duty": to clean up the archives sections! :lol:

This had been my first real experience taking charge of such a big union (at least if only by number of members, but not of activity). And it was a challenge that I had decided to take and see how far could I go. Because deep inside, as a SE fan just like any of you, I knew what was missing there.

Well, months came by and eventually, we started coming up with many different things that made SEE be what it has become right now; we implemented various activities and the union started to ignite. We went over the 4,000 members count, and more importantly, we grew to know each other better in the process and make friends. It wasn't anymore just about Square Enix games, but the PLAYERS, the COMMUNITY in it. My idea in creating the Character System was to give us a "nudge" to become more informal with each other, to be more friendly. And I believe that at least on that matter, I succeeded.

At any rate, things happen and now here I am. Last week I gathered some very nice people and asked their help to form a brand new union. We are going to thrive to excel on the same concepts we had in mind for SEE, and of course, add more things to it. Because I believe in always changing. We can't allow things to stagnate, or else they lose their glow. We have always to keep improving, trying to figure out ways to make things better - because the possibilities are endless if you look at the right way and with the right intentions.

That being said, I invite everyone who reads my blog and who would be interested in a Square Enix community, to join us!

Square Enix Reunion

I hope you enjoy it there. We will work hard to make that union have the shape and content we have in mind, and keep the community growing not just in numbers, but in building strong friendships. And on a last note, thank you very much for everyone at SEE who gave me their support during the time I was the leader, and thank you very much also for those supporting it now at Square Enix Reunion! We can make it through!

Thanks for reading my blog, as always! Oh, and coming up next, my Final Fantasy Tactics: The Lion Wars review!

PS: We had quite a discussion as for the name of the new union.... two options were fought over with all heart and mind - "Reunion" and "Republic". Unfortunately Celes and I were minority with "Republic", thus "Reunion" became the union's name. I am curious as to what you guys would have chosen? Square Enix Republic, or Square Enix Reunion? Please feel free to comment on this! :lol:

On Bumper Cars, Some Tactics and Constants.

On My Life as an Amusement Park's Bumper Car.

Seriously, I don't have luck with cars. Last year, I hit someone's bumper at a construction site just next to my apt (nothing serious, but I did earn a $140 ticket for innatentive driving and I didn't even scratch the ladies' car). Last monday, I was the victim. I was waiting at the Taco Bell drive-in line, when all of a sudden, the car in front of me simply backs up on me and hits me!!! I was ready to get out of the car and pull a Obi Juan Kenobi on the crazy person, when I just noticed it was only a teenager. She explained to me that she backed on me because a car on her side was backing out on hers... :roll: Genius! The thing is it messed up my bumper, and I haven't even PAID THE SECOND INSTALLMENT OF MY NEWLY FINANCED CAR YET!!! :lol: XDDDDD The universe conspiring against my cars, apparently! At any rate, this Monday I'll take it to their insurance place to get photos taken, and they will avaliate how much is the damage. Let's see what's gonna happen.

On The War of the Lion.

Final Fantasy Tactics: I finally managed to play it some more, especially after I got me a PSP slim! :P I just finished chapter 1 and so far I can tell this translation is a lot easier to follow than the PS1's version, which was so full of misunderstanding. I have some grudge with the camera, but all in all, it is the same great SRPG I always liked! Oh yeah, and I love the game's cinematics art, it is so cute, along with the dub. Sorry I don't have much to comment on the game yet; I'd rather wait until I have finished it to review.

On the Constant of Love.

Why I love Lost so much? Because it is a very intelligent show (maybe one of the most on the American TV) and that challenges my thoughts, my ideas. I know it may sound a bit emo, but like my favorite Final Fantasy (VI), you have a HUGE cast of characters, and you can't really say that only one of them is the central, main character. Almost every single character has a link and some importance to the storyline. Of course, some shine more than others, but nonetheless they all have more than their 15 minutes in a meaningful way to the series as a whole. I also cannot recall a tv show that agregates so many fields of studies like physics, technology, philosophy, religion - just to cite a few - , only the PS game Xenogears had a similar way of mixing so many together. I remember my former bf was all excited years ago when he was reading about the shallow earth theory, and I was like "yeah, sounds cool", as if it wasn't something brand new to me. And indeed, it wasn't new for me, because watching Lost and also following the boards full of communities with great theories, you get to read and learn about all sorts of things, from quantum theories to time travels and their place in the story. And above all, this week's episodes truly shows why Lost is such a wonderful show: like it is mentioned by the physist Faraday, "every equation needs a constant". And the main constant in life is: love. After watching an episode like "The Constant", it makes really hard not to love Lost, and appreciate the subtleness of Desmond's and Penny's "I love you".

Wahhh anyway *ahem* we need some mathematicians and physicians around to decypher Faraday's journal! There are a lot of captions taken from the episode, and I'm sure that the creators hid some gems in there regarding our crazy theories, especially all those equations he wrote on the board! Oh well, bring it on the next episode! :P

Mass Effect, Lost Odyssey, Videogame Night


So, here I am again with another blog post! How have you guys/gals been? I have been doing great!!! Many wonderful things have happened recently in my life (as well some really annoying ones! lol). Let's start with my Mass Effect afterthoughts. I know it has been a while but since I didn't have the opportunity to write my thoughs on the game, I'm gonna do it right now!

As many of you know, I was really hyped for this game because it was a scifi RPG. Watching many previews and the likes, I really had my hopes up with this new franchise. Ron (SavoyPrime) definately knew I couldn't wait for this game as I used to comment a lot about Mass Effect. At any rate, I pre-ordered the game and got it right away when it was released. I played the entire game in about 3-4 days (roughly 24 hours of total gameplay). In a long time, a game hadn't surpassed my expectations. ME did it. It was one of those rare games that made me play AND replay it entirely in a short period of time. It is the first game I can remember that I beat even Hardcore mode (and working on Insanity)!

The gameplay is just great - I believe that because I was learning to play Halo 3, when I got to the action packed ME, I didn't do bad at all (expect one part in which MANY MANY gamers I found out had the same trouble - Matriarch Benezia!!! Argh! What a difficult dang fight was, worse than the final boss!). The gameplay was also deep and interesting enough that I actually took time looking at all my options and learning about different skillsets and such, as well as upgrades (though the upgrade menu is a pain and completely unorganized). From the beginning you can build your own customized character, and that's what I did. Since I "created" her and all, as I played through the game, I was growing really attached to her, and eventually I was like - you know what, that's ME there kicking b&&t! - and that leads me to the storyline part of the game...

...which happens to be amazing and one of the best storylines I've ever played in a game, Final Fantasies included. You don't grow attached to your character just because you created her/his physical appearance and skill sets. You have that connection because of the choices you are able to make throuhought the game. For instance, you can choose many answers to dialogues, and some of them are "good", some are "bad", and some are "neutral" in an ethical and moral point of view. The dialogues are so well crafted and interesting that you end up wanting to replay the game again to watch the different outcomes (and believe me, there are some drastic changes in the storyline for when you choose different options). To be frank, I couldn't finish the game the "bad" gal. Some of the choices were just too much for me to handle (but then again, I'm so emo for some things in life... lol).

The graphics aren't really outstanding for many, but I did enjoy it with the film grain option, which really made the game look like more like a movie than just a game. I wished there had been more options to customize your characters' appearance, but regardless it was a pretty decent pack.

The soundtrack is pretty good, nothing that I'd consider superb but definately nothing bad. It just flows with the game and helps with the environment.

Regarding the game content, I believe it was great, though I admit those "sidequests" on the planet explorations were rather boring (it kinda reminded me of Crisis Core's sidequests, which were also terribly boring). Hope are that with new downloadable content from Live will help on this by adding more meaningful sidequests.

Seeing that it has been planned two more games for Mass Effect, I'm honestly happy I played it and I can't wait for the entire trilogy. It has become my "Star Wars", with the difference that this time I actually had the opportunity to play it when it was released (or watched as I believe Mass Effect is much more than just another "game"). Only once you play, you will understand what I mean by that. And I do hope that we will be able to carry on our first games' character to the second game!

Anyway, now let's get Lost. Okay, I mean both the TV show and the Odyssey! Some of you may know I L-O-V-E the TV show "Lost", and yes, I am extremely happy the fourth season is up and running now! I'm also counting the days for Lost Odyssey, the reason I got a 360. It seems to be exactly what I want: the traditional RPG I fell in love with. I'll probably feel nostalgic again because of those bunch of CDs - it will definitely reminde me of my FFVII's and FFVIII's days, when you had to insert "disc 2" to continue to play. Ah... those were good old times!

Now to end this long post (hey, I don't post very often anyway! :P ), I'm organizing at my local church a Videogame Night. Father already allowed me to use the projector and TVs they have at the church, and the event is scheduled for March 1st. I'd invite you all but I believe none of you live here in Wichita Kansas, so I just wanted to let you know that I'm partially away from Gamespot but still messing around gaming-wise. lol. I really hope this event works out, because then we could meet more times to socialize.

And speaking of being away from Gamespot, begining May 28, I won't be around anymore for 5 months! And that means anything - MSN, MySpace, Live and etc. So, unless otherwise stated, it isn't because I'm dead or wanted by the FBI (LOL). Some people here already know what's going on for those 5 months, but honestly I'm keeping a low profile, hehehe.

Anyways, I hope you are all enjoying your favorite games! Oh and as a side note, I got a Wii for my middle brother as a birthday gift! He is loving it!

And My First Next Gen Console Is...

... The Xbox360!!! A long time after their releases, I finally got a hold of a next-gen console. And as I always told many of my friends, the 360 would be the first, especially due to them also have it and thus, being able to play online with them. I remember that at the beginning of the year, I had a post in which I described some things I wanted to get this year, and finally I get the 360! After a lot of overtime workload, lol! One of our few co-workers went on vacation, and I ended up with so much stuff to do that I had to go to work even on Saturday. But now she has returned, and I'm back to my normal 40 hours... XD

Here is a picture of it. And by the way, that Starbucks bottle has a meaning!! It is a homage to my friend Ursula (queen_valentine) who was just promoted at her Starbucks store. Way to go girl!!!

Anyway, I also got Halo 3 along with the console. (which as you can see, was the Halo edition; I thought that console was just beautiful, even more so than the Elite!) I even put a Gundam that matches... how girlie of me! :lol: )
Although I get owned all the time playing online with friends, I enjoy it. At least now there are people actually helping me to play, instead of just leting me to die all the time like my ex and his friends used to on Halo 2... :roll:

I obviously got Blue Dragon! Though I haven't played a lot yet (only about 5 hours as of now), I find the game rather interesting and the characters are pretty charismatic. But I'll write more on it once I get more hours into the game.

Besides those two, I also got some Live Arcade games. I got Uno, which I just love to play with my brother (the real thing), and now I can play with many other people on a videogame... I would have never thought of that years ago when I played with my father, lol. I got Castlevania, which was a great PS1 game that now has been placed at Live. But the game I have really been putting some effort on is Puzzle Quest. I had read great reviews about this game that was supposed to be a mix of RPG and Puzzle. I tried finding it for my ex-psp (which I sold to my friend Jason in order to help getting my 360! XD) but I couldn't find at any stores around here. So when I found it at Live, I definitely got it and got addicted to it. It is really neat that you don't have to rely on pure luck with those puzzles, as you can forge new items, gain levels, research new spells that help you with specific tasks and such! There is just so much! The only thing that ticks me off is the random encounters, which get pretty annoying once all you want to do is to go back to places to get your gold and etc. Other than that, it is indeed a really interesting and enjoyable game.

Well, that's it for now. By the way, I sold my PSP but I still have my brother's to use (I got - of course! - Final Fantasy Tactics and I'll post about it later, once I get freed from Puzzle Quest's stronghold! XD ) so don't panic. I also took the pic above showing my PS2 so that it gets some loving as well, LOL! I will never abandon my Playstation! The Fantasy cannot end!

Crisis Core: FFVII - My First Import Game!

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. The reason I got a PSP. It was finally released last week, and I just couldn't wait for an English version to be released (which even hasn't been announced yet). And I don't regret any penny I spent on this game.

For those who don't know, this game is a prequel for the original Final Fantasy VII (PS1). The game tells the story of Zack Fair, a member of SOLDIER - a military division of ShiRa Electric Power Company, who progresses through the rankings of the military and eventually becomes a SOLDIER 1st C lass. However, this is not only what it is about. It is about the experiments that ShinRa Company does to their soliders and its secrets, projects involving Jenova, an alien life form like which crashed at the Planet about 2000 years ago on the FFVII's storyline. We get to see again what prompted the legendary 1st C lass SOLDIER Sephiroth into the major villain of FFVII and the most memorable in all Final Fantasy history.

Although I don't have that much knowledge of Japanese to actually have a deep understanding of all the events that occured in the game, the CGI's and voiced scenes help a lot, and you can have a decent guess of what is going on, especially when you are already familiar with the storyline before hand. Personally, I loved how it was put together. From the nostalgic intro of him jumping off the train like Cloud does in FFVII, to the eternal scenes of madness of Sephiroth at the Nibel Mako Reactor; the game actually feels like it is a part of the FFVII, like it should. It is actually weird (in a good sense) to see Sephiroth before he became the insane villain. Weird and really cool seeing him a good guy and even treating some people as friends.

What really makes this game special for Final Fantasy VII players and fans, is how much of the little details they kept from the original game. Scenes including the Shinra Mansion, when Sephiroth reads about the truth about himself and the Jenova Project, and stares at the ceiling with disgust - it is like playing FFVII over again - but with great graphics and superb sound. You have that nostalgia feeling that you've played that before, and only now you can clearly see their expressions and gestures full with details. That being said, if you ever watched the anime Last Order (which tell about this Nibel incident), you can rest assured - this time they kept everything in its FFVII original events! I also have to say that I'm amazed at how good looking this PSP game is. I can't say it is the best looking since I don't play many PSP games, but I definitely have the feeling that this is one of the best - something that Square Enix always knows how to achieve somehow.

About the gameplay - turning away from those turn-based battles to an action packed battle system that still keeps that FFVII essence. I really enjoyed it; at first it may feel like a button masher, but as you learn more about the system and play through the missions (there are 300 of them), you not only get a hold of dodging the opponent's attacks, but learns when to attack using your materias like Thundaga from afar and slicing and dicing them with the yellow materias. The Digital Mind Wave system is also something that adds randomness and funny moments to the battles - sometimes you will get hillarious limit breaks like the Chocobo and Moogle ones, or a fancier one imitating Sephiroth's or Genesis' attacks. And of course, the cute ones like when you get the three Aeris faces on the slots - he prays and gets healed!

The score of this game gathers new compositions but, in another act of pure nostalgia, brings back well known themes from the original Final Fantasy VII. I just loved One Winged Angel's new arrangement, and also others like FFVII's Boss Battle Theme, Aeris' Theme, and so on. The new themes are mostly rocky based, and we even have something from the anime Last Oder. Another great addition to the FF music repertoir.

To sum up, this game, at least to me, felt like a mini-remake of Final Fantasy VII, and is was a wonderful experience revisiting those main events and seeing the new content. I'll definitely wait now for the English version, with no regret of spending twice for this game! I guess that, in the end, even I became a FFVII fangirl... :P