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I beat Dissidia today (My mini-review)

Every one should know from my massive Dissidia Hype Thread that I was really, really excited for this one. I liked the idea ever since it got announced almost two years ago and my hype was strong the whole way through.

So, I got the game at midnight (basically August 24th, the day it was scheduled to hit scores) and have put a collective 28 hours, 37 minutes and 13 seconds into the game. I haven't put this much time into a handheld game since since Final Fantasy Tactics Advance way back in 2002.

My over all feeling for the game is that Dissidia is the most perfect/imperfect handheld game. It's easy to pick up and play, it's incredibly rewarding and fun and goddamn if it isn't an addictive little sucker. Dissidia is (and I am not making this up) the most content filled handheld game ever made. It's only contenders being something like Monster Hunter or Grimoire of the Rift. It's al little shocking to me so much content was able to fit on that little UMD.

Dissidia does a fantastic job of showing the player with rewards - it's actually really exciting. You always gaining gil to buy items, PP (purchase points) to buy in-game content, leveling your characters, gaining new abilities or what have you. There is SO. MUCH. STUFF. IN. THIS. GAME.

The only problems with the game lie in the story mode which is much more realized then simple "Arcade Modes" seen in other fighting games (if you really must call Dissidia a fighting game). The voice acting here is hit-or-miss with some lines being delivered perfectly (thank you Kefka and Exdeath) while others might want to make you facepalm. It's not a huge detriment to the game, by any means, but it is something to consider.

Another quibble I have is with the writing and story. In general the writing is perfectly suitable and functional. Still, it's too often that awkwardly written lines blur the understanding of a characters speech. This may have just been the translation crossover, but it's hard to say. The story is divided into two main sections (although additional Story Modes are unlocked later). Destiny Odyssey and Shade Impulse. The story is mostly uninteresting for the first section, Destiny Odyssey. It only serves to set up some interesting face-offs and build tension between the games 20+ characters. Only in the Shade Impulse chapters do things really begin to pick-up story wise and take a few twists and turns.

The problems I mentioned are completely negligible. They keep Dissidia from tasting perfection, but fully realizing greatness. You really have no idea how much content this game really has until you run out and get a copy.

Final Score: 9.5/10

The Final Fantasy Blog Episode #1: Grinding Pains.

Alright, so recently bought the whole entire Final Fantasy series. It's an unbelievable amount of gameplay to be sure so I figured I would give little updates on how my progress through the series is doing.

This week I have been hitting up a little...

This is the remake of the second game in the series. Hence that... II at the end. Just thought I would clarify. Overall I can say that the game is a huge pain in the ass. But a pretty good pain in the ass. Like a satisfying smack on the behind, if you know what I mean. The kind that stings a lot but has a nice after tingle. Maybe the should have renamed Final Fantasy IV: The After Years to the After Tingle. Or maybe that would hurt the sales.

I digress. What makes this game such a pain in the ass? Let me explain. The game goes like this:

La la la, I'm walking in the overworld map!

And then all of a sudden -

NOOOOO! RANDOM BATTLE! WITH BEARS!

It's like that but for, like, 30 hours. Let me give another example:

There's your party, Firion, Maria and Guy.

And then BAM RANDOM BATTLE WITH level 8 HELL CAT!

ROOOOAAAARRRR!!! (That was the Hell Cat)

Anyway, the game is one big grind, which is pretty annoying. But, hey, by seeing the roots I can appreciate the tree better, and it's actually pretty addictive and fun. Highlights include...

- Having Joseph join your party. Dude throws out mad punches like some kind of BJ Penn/Jackie Chan hybrid.

- The raising of The Dreadnaught. It was pretty cool - even in 2009.

- The snowmobile. Throw out the Chocobo and keep the snowmobile as series staple ftw.

- The high-density random battle rooms. They're like getting a root canal through your @ss.

- The fact that a "Land Turtle" is the hardest enemy I have faced so far. Man this is going to be a loooong game.

In other news, the Dissidia demo hit this week and it's pretty bangin'. Cloud knows how to throw down real sexy like with that B-Sword. Anyway guys, see ya' next week with another update.

Total Play Time: 6hrs 13mins.

I now own the whole Final Fantasy series!

Behold the COLLECTION!

Yeah, I know, Final Fantasy XI is missing. I would never get around to playing it, nor do I have much desire to.

Anyway, I am excited to delve into this fantastic series! Got any favorites?

Being in love is wonderful.

I have been with my girlfriend Natalie for one year and one month. I can remember going to my grandmother's 25th anniversary of her marriage and thinking "Wow, people actually stay together that long? That's incredible." The truth is that I didn't think it was possible. I have viewed human beings as something completely discoverable, something that you can find absolutely everything about.

I am happy to report that my relationship with Natalie has proven me wrong. This is a person who never ceases to amaze me with her thoughts, her humor, her beauty and her unending support. I am elevated to believe that I may never fully understand this person - in the best possible way. Someone of this complexity and depth can't be completely discovered. The result is a relationship that (if handled correctly) could last a long, long time.

I don't think my grandmother's 25th anniversary was so far away anymore. Not only is it possible, it's something I myself could one day achieve. When I look into Natalie's eyes or hold her hand in mine, I feel strong, I feel capable. But most of all, I feel loved. She is the best person in my life and the thing that has made me view people in a whole other light.

I love you Natalie. :)

By the way, Natalie. Thanks for playing games. Girls that don't play games suck. :P

P.P.S. I love you!

God of War III.

Will be at E3.

Is it a crime to make a bad rhyme?

I sure hope not.

I'd be in jail a lot.

Tired now, gonna' go to bed.

Gonna' lay down and rest my... face...

My Gaming Website is in Effect!

My friend and I have been talking for a long time about making a small gaming website. After a long time (and a lot of planning) the site is prepared! Checkpoint Reached has been born, and we are actually doing pretty well.

So far the team is made up of four guys, all of which are from GameSpot. We have weekly Wednesday podcasts that have an iTunes feed that you can subscribe to. Please, check us out and lend and ear to the podcasts!

CHECK IT OUT!

I Got An iPhone 3G! (In-Depth Review w/ Pictures Inside).

It's been a long time coming but I finally was able to pick up an iPhone 3G. I had to wait out my contract with Verizon, but I wound up terminating early to get my mitts on this baby faster. In this review I'll hit the main highlights of the phone and what I thought about them. This review is based on the white iPhone with 16GB worth of memory.

1. Packaging and Aesthetics

It's really no surprise that the packaging and design of the phone are bothphenomenal. As with all Apple products - merely opening the box is exciting and a small miracle. Inside you'll find the phone its self, iPhone specific headphones, a memory card tool, a cleaning cloth and respective instruction manuals. Since I got the white phone, the box was white. For those who get the black phone, they will get a black box.

The face of the phone is made of scratch-proof glass. Although I purchased screen protectors, I get the sense that it would be tough to really penetrate the vibrant, three inch tall screen. The back of the phone uses the traditional clear plastic over solid plastic method that the old MacBooks used. The result is something that is beautiful, attractive and comfortable to hold in your hand.

2. The Phone Part of the iPhone

The two main things that set the phone aspects of the iPhone apart from its competitors is the visual voice mail and the MobileMe based "push syncing". Visual voice mail is something that seems small but ultimately its one of the iPhone's most useful features. No longer do you have to call your voicemail, type in your pass code and follow the annoying automated instructions. Instead you can just tap "Phone" and then tap "Voicemail".

Here you will see a list of all of your voice mails and when they were added to the list. By tapping one of the names your can listen to the message (or play it through the speaker phone). The message progress will be tracked on a small bar at the bottom of the screen where you can drag the cursor to different parts of the message. To delete the message you can just tap delete.

The MobileMe Push Syncing works like this: If you ever alter something on your contacts list, calender, or mail on your phone, those changes will instantly be applied on your PC or Mac. Likewise if you alter anything on your computer those changes will appear on your iPhone. Again, this is something that may appear like a small, insignificant feature, but it winds up being something special.

3. Safari, Mail and iPod

Apple has always advertised the internet features of the iPhone as the "the best internet on a mobile phone". While that high-claim is mostly true, that's not to say that its perfect. While it is the speediest connection I have ever seen on a phone, it still struggles with high bandwith pages. Some sites (Fandango, NYT, etc.) have iPhone specific web designs where the load times are sped up significantly.

The mail features of the phone are pretty much flawless. A small chime will sound upon receiving a new email. By tapping the Mail icon you can check your inbox, your deleted messages, sent, trash, drafts and a to-do list. Its lightning quick to read and respond to messages. Is a wonderful convenience to be able to write emails while your cooking dinner or laying in bed. My only problem with the mail feature is the lack of ability to create custom mail files from the phone.

If you have had the pleasure of using an iPod Touch then you already know what to expect of the iPod features. You can make custom playlists from the iPod, use cover flow to browse albums and watch music videos and movies purchased off the iTunes music store. It's basically the most feature-heavy iPod out there, so who can complain?

4. SMS Texting and Camera

The texting on the iPhone works differently then it does on other phones. First you'll see a list of all of the people you have ever texted. By tapping the name of the person you want, you will see a complete back and forth tally displaying your conversation. It's a neat little set-up that is identical to Apple's AIM service: iChat.

I'll be honest: at first, the touch keyboard is downright annoying. You will make all kinds of horrible mistakes and constantly be tapping the wrong letters and make spelling errors left and right. However, as you continue to use this feature by texting and writing emails, it becomes a breeze. The T9 is the best I have seen on a phone. It will detect the words you use the most and always knows just what word your trying to type. Now, I actually love the keyboard.

The biggest disappointment is the lack of ability to send pictures of videos over the SMS service. Yes, it is possible, but you have to go through all kinds of flaming hoops and nail beds to do so. Ultimately, you won't even want to.

The camera is kind of a mixed bag in terms of quality. It's a 2.0 megapixel camera the produces high quality pictures with little to no graininess. I would have been nice to see something with a higher pixel count then that, though. The real downfall of the camera is the lack of flash. Say goodbye to any night time shots or pictures in a darkened room - the iPhone just won't pick any of that up. Good to note is that it does pick up on light sources very well.

5. The App Store and iTunes Music Store

Shockingly enough, the app store is one of the iPhone's best features. Now you can just tap "App Store" from the main menu and instantly you have access to thousands of different apps. These range from addicting games and time fillers to more useful tools, to downright odd ones. You can quickly download any of these apps in a matter of seconds and let the fun begin. Wonderful feature.

The iTunes music store is also really great. You will be able to listen to 30-second clips of songs and download singular songs and entire albums right to the phone. Once you sync the phone to your computer the apps and music you purchased will be instantly added. Super cool.

6. Touch Functionality

Wonderful, spectacular, perfect. All of the little touch tricks you can preform work seamlessly and feel really nice to preform. When you are tapping and sliding through menus with your finger all you can really think is "Wow, this really is the next generation of the cell phone".

Final Score: 9.7/10. Best. Phone. Ever. The design, functionality, and interface of the phone make for one of the finest devices I have ever used. There are some small quibbles I have with the interface and camera. Also, the small speaker located on the bottom of the phone is fairly weak and tinny.

All of these things pale in comparison to the overall scope of what the iPhone can do Not only are the core functions of the phone very strong, the App Store guarantees that the iPhone will be an ever-evolving device that goes beyond just making calls. Instinct, BlackBerry Storm, take a hike. The iPhone is where its at.

My LittleBigPlanet Series Has Begun! (Check It Out!)

I have been pondering making a series of levels on LittleBigPlanet with on-going characters and a whole storyline. After a little bit of mind jogging, I got it. A brutal and gross trip in to the darkest depths of LittleBigPlanet. The series will be called:

THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE.

I published the first introductory part today so go check it out and play it! It's officially titled "THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE (Part I). Keep in mind that this part acts as a sort of teaser/introduction as to what is to come. Play it and tell me what you thought!

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My long and expensive Pre-order List...

Yeah, gaming is getting pretty brutal money-wise... but the games themselves are going to be great! I am greatly anticipating all of these games - minus Nuts & Bolts. I'm more fearful for that one then excited.