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Another 4 months later... (lol)

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I'm recording podcast #171 with the guys MrCHUP0N and Ryvvn and thought it would be nice to write a little something as ole Petey talks about what he's been playing.

I just want to mention that I've been tooling around with WarioWare D.I.Y. for DS and would like to know if anyone else has the game and is making games. I made a simple target shooting game so far, but upon downloading some of the big name games from the Wi-Fi Connection, I've been inspired to do something a bit more complex... something that needs pen-to-paper writing. If anyone else has the game and would like to share friend codes, drop a comment or send a message so we can check each other's microgames out!

I'm also playing Pokemon HeartGold and am still in the beginning (2 badges, one on the way). Anyone still play Pokemon? I actually didn't want to buy it at first because I already rolled through Silver and Crystal for Gameboy many many many moons ago, but a co-worker showed me the Pokewalker and I kinda fell into the cycle again! I've decided to take a single team up to the Elite Four this time. For the first time I'm going to seriously filter Ditto into my strategy; I hope it works out!

Anyhow, if you have any questions for me or the guys on the Trigames.NET podcast (of course, for episode 172 as we're recording now), feel free to send us mail at mailbag@trigames.net.

4 months later...

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Hey everyone, it's your old friend The AnTiPoDe, spreading some holiday cheer.

This morning my wife presented me with a brand new PS3 for Christmas! I'm pretty stoked, although I am unsure as to what I will get for it. I will most likely focus on exclusives. I'm all updated now and set up on PSN. You can find the ID in the usual location.

I've been finishing a bunch of games -- I'm so proud of myself. Recently, I went through Final Fantasy VIII in about 2 weeks, Final Fantasy VII prior to that, and I managed to complete Mass Effect for the first time in about 45 hours. For the year's end, I would LIKE to finish Prinny (if I'm even on the final boss...) and Assassin's Creed (if I can put my disc in the tray). Next year I will be coming up with some themes and just generally having fun experiencing stuff you all probably have already been through years ago.

How has everyone else's holidays been? Any really cool gifts?

Small update

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Hey folks, not much time to discuss anything but here's an update:

* I went to Jamaica on July 15th with the family and some friends, got married on July 18th and enjoyed every minute of my trip!

* My birthday passed, it was July 20th. I had a pretty good time while still in Jamaica.

* I finished The World Ends With You and Too Human in the past 2 weeks. Too Human did exactly what everyone else said it would; it got exciting in the last 15 minutes, while the rest of the story wasn't very clearly told. The World Ends With You had a very deep and well told story and the gameplay was insane and difficult at times. There's quite a bit of replay value in this too, which doesn't help me move on to the next game!

* I bought the MadCatz SF4 controller and it feels great to play SSF2THDR on the Xbox! I will definitely pick up SF4 soon and I just might get MvC2 for Xbox, disregarding the fact that I have it and suitable controllers for Dreamcast.

That's about it. Please be sure to check out the Trigames.NET podcast, currently featuring a lengthy solo effort by Pete (aka Ryvvn). Submit questions to our mailbag (mailbag AT trigames DOT net) and we will entertain you with our lovely, possibly non-sequitur answers!

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years - Why was it reviewed as such on Gamespot?

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I'll preface this by explaining that Final Fantasy IV is the game that got me into jRPGs. When it comes to this particular game, I get the sweetest hangover that I don't wanna get over. With that said, I was psyched, stoked, amped, etc. when FF IV: The After Years was announced. I finally got some spare cash and purchased the first offering off the Wii Shop Channel last week. I knew in advance that it was a port of a mobile phone game and that the content was episodic in nature. I also found out before my purchase that the 9 episodes vary in price; the seven intermediary stories are 300 points while the bookenders are 800 each. This, of course, totals 3700 points, which is not a far cry from the price of a Square Enix DS game. I had a short conversation with MrCHUP0N about the game before buying it and was informed that it was panned in its Gamespot review.


I read the review about a week ago before I started the game and I just finished the first 3 chapters this evening. I also downloaded the first available tale featuring Rydia and played about 10 minutes of it. After doing all of this, I feel that there should be some perspective in reviewing this game and a better value judgment can be made based on what was yet to be released.


I understand that the complete content hasn't yet been released - 3 add-on "tales" are to be released July 6th and the first is already available - but keeping in mind the total value ($37 + tax) versus the sum of the game's elements (gameplay, plot development, total duration) should improve the review, even a little bit. To say that the game "is a hard pill to swallow for even the most dedicated of fans" without experiencing 100% of the content is personally disappointing. The factors given in that statement are "its flawed storytelling, shamelessly recycled plot, and frustrating encounter rate." What if the storytelling was done in such a way to set the player up for the various upcoming chapters? What if the "recycled plot" creates cohesion between the two overall games? What if the original Japanese FF IV had a frustrating encounter rate as well and what if some players actually don't mind that? These questions should be considered, instead of just generally stating that the gripes are bad for fans of the original.

I'm going to tackle the storytelling and plot first. Reminder #1: I'm a superfan of this game. Reminder #2: I JUST finished the introductory offering. I wasn't quite blown away by the story and everything was very familiar. Familiarity gives me goosebumps. When a game, song, movie, or other story-driven medium brings back elements of something that I saw previously and loved, I go nuts inside. The After Years did that to me at every turn. From the introductory sequence to the climactic, semi-cliffhanging ending, there's nothing but tribute to the original game. Yes, there's a big plot line recycled throughout these three chapters. In my opinion it's not a big deal because it's a stepping stone to something bigger and more expansive than what was borrowed from. It's also that dose of familiarity again. Any fan of Final Fantasy IV would be thirsty for more at the end of the third chapter. There are so many questions! "Why did xxx become xxxx and how does this relate to xxx?" "Why is xxx with xxx and what's gonna come out of the rendezvous in the xxxxxx?" "Will the people of xxxxx hate xxxx for xxxx?" "How come it was so easy for xxxx to xxxxxxxxxx from xxxx?" Some of these questions may not be answered, but I bet MOST of them will be answered in detail in the coming tales.

I don't have much to say about the encounter rate; you will either like/tolerate it, or you will hate it. I can't judge how individuals will deal with it. I dealt with it with no problems and I certainly didn't feel frustrated by it. It certainly was not near the level of Beyond the Beyond's ridiculousness. If you had no problems with the ports of the Japanese FFIV then you won't have any problems with this.

To end this mini-review/opinion piece, I feel that FF IV: The After Years will be well worth the sum of all its parts and that any fan of the original game will be begging for the story to flesh out after finishing the intro chapters. People new to the series really need to play the original first, either on DS or GBA. As a matter of fact, to keep things in perspective they should play the GBA version. Unfortunately, due to the current stigma surrounding more archaic video game features such as 16-bit graphics, turn-based battles and text-based plot progression, some people just won't get the true value of something like this. Square Enix: you can't please everyone, butyou sure did please me.

The World Ends With Some Crazy Freakin Gameplay!

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I've spent the past week playing The World Ends With You, an absolutely wonderful title for the Nintendo DS. If you don't have it, you MUST GET IT! Basically, it's an Action RPG that pretty much utilizes everything the DS has to offer at once. It also requires a lot out of the player who wants the ultimate challenge. For those who may not want to be so challenged, it has a scalable difficulty level and various levels of automation to create just the right amount of fun, enjoyment and challenge.

As of this writing, I'm on Day 7, which seems to be the last of the days in the game. I'm sure that there's more to this and I'll definitely post about this once I pass it; if this is the end of the game, it's a really short one. I've really gotten used to the gameplay, which involves controlling two characters (one on each DS screen) in two separate ways. The top character is controlled by the control pad or ABXY buttons, depending on your dexterity. The main character, Neku, is controlled with the stylus on the bottom screen. In essence, victory is obtained by simultaneously tapping, slashing or dragging the stylus and pressing directions (usually left, right and up) on the D-Pad to annihilate various types of enemies. The action can be quite hectic at times. The scaling level difficulty only seems to affect maximum HP, attack and defense values, but I haven't unlocked Hard mode yet. Easy mode certainly seems to show less action out of the enemies, so I'm guessing they attack more often in Hard mode. As you can imagine though, the game can be pretty tough. Good thing you can save anywhere.

The game was so tough initially that I had a game over on my first real battle! The game gives you infinite health during the training battles then warns you that you may/will die on the first real battle and suggests saving. Sure enough, I died hardcore. Boss battles are pretty rough too, as the bosses have much larger amounts of HP than the standard enemies. They also may require strategies that involve the top screen.

I really love the gameplay and wish there were more games that challenged my mind and dexterity like this one. The story is pretty interesting as well. For a game that doesn't look so, it's rather deep and even touching at times.

I like MadWorld's commentary A LOT

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If there's anything to be said about MadWorld, it's got some entertaining voice acting and scripting. The commentary, especially during the boss fights, is colorful and snicker-inducing. I enjoy the color commentary, essentially the banter between the commentators about each other, such as which and how many guys have slept with one of their wives. Things like that also have continuity where in later stages they revisit the topic, making you feel like you're a part of the live audience in real time. The commentary even goes so far as to make fun of the developers during the ending credits. Exactly what they say would be spoilerific, but I loled a lot.

So yes, I finished MadWorld. Total game time was a bit over 3 hours, but I did spend much longer than that playing. Very few of the stages were difficult, and the final levels were certainly challenging. I will visit the game again for the Hard mode, and I bet it's gonna be a rough ride. I think I'll do that when I play Ninja Gaiden II and Chaos Legion. Next on the list is Okami for Wii, while finishing the last level of Too Human.

As a final note, the Black Baron is the best character in MadWorld, hands down.

Completed Xenogears. What's next?

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Yesterday, I finally completed Xenogears. At 66 hours, it was quite a trip. The final boss battle was crazy hard for me as I did not expect a few things. With a bit of perseverance, I did prevail.

As a result of my poll, I believe I will be playing The World Ends With You on DS next. First, though, I did start Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword while playing Xenogears and would like to finish that real quick. Shouldn't be too hard to get through the normal mode and hop to the portable Square Enix RPG.

I'll hopefully finish MadWorld next week, but I haven't been playing my Wii at home. I've been taking it to work to play Smash Bros. and haven't gotten around to reconnecting it when I bring it back. After MadWorld, though, I will play Okami. In the mean time, I will be trying to finish the final level of Too Human.

Check back later for any updates! Don't forget to listen to the Trigames.NET podcast and our occasional Trilobytes!

Your input requested: "What should I play next?"

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As I come to the close of Xenogears and make my way through MadWorld, the thoughts about what other games to scratch off my backlog come to mind. I will have to choose a new console game and a new portable game as next-in-lines. Of the following, which do YOU feel I should play next? Keep in mind that I've been playing pretty much nothing but tough beat-em-up action games for the past 3 months. Also, I have been playing Xenogears on PSP forever, but I wouldn't mind tackling another portable RPG.

Console
Okami (Wii)
No More Heroes (Wii)
Bully (PS2)
Ratchet & Clank (PS2)
Fable (XBOX)
Last Remnant (360)
Infinite Undiscovery (360)
Beyond Good and Evil (Cube)
Baroque (Wii)
Zelda Twilight Princess (Wii)
Metroid Prime 3 (Wii)
Prince of Persia (360)

Portable
Ninja Gaiden DS
Etrian Odyssey II (DS)
The World Ends With You (DS)
Phantasy Star Portable (PSP)
Patapon 2 (PSP)
FF VIII (PS->PSP)
Dragon Quest IV (DS)

I have a feeling there may be more suggestions, but I'll leave it at this for now. Recommend away!

God Handed

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Today, I finished God Hand. A very poor performance, in my opinion, clocking in at 18 hours and 2 minutes for an 8-stage plus final boss encounter game. It was a really tough journey! As far as I remember, I continued over 200 times! Next game up is MadWorld, since it's pretty short. If I dedicate the remainder of this week to it, I should finish the normal game and change gears to something less... difficult, phew!

All this and more can be heard on my Trilobyte, which should be available some time this week. Check your iTunes/Zune podcast lists and RSS readers!

Anybody excited about FF XIII?

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I just looked at a couple of gameplay videos from the JPN demo. I'm quite blasé about it. Part of that is related to just knowing I don't have time to play the game once it drops. Another part of that is due to being in the middle of FF's X and XII, while having a small desire to actually play through VIII. It looks wonderful, and I bet that some of the more extravagant battle features that will come later will blow minds... but I'm not hyped whatsoever from watching the demo!

What's your take?