RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Monday, 29 April 2013

Tera has great combat

It's hard to find an MMORPG with outstanding graphics and involving combat, especially if you're shopping for free. Tera provides just that, a F2P MMO equipped with a visceral battle system and beautiful visuals. Unlike every other MMORPG on the market, landing your attacks requires you to aim them. Each class has a unique skillset and engaging abilities. There are many dangerous and challenging bosses to fight in every area, and the servers are populated enough to see PVP all over the world.

Guild Wars 2 is the only MMORPG as pretty as Tera.

Tera is a brilliant MMORPG and definitely worth a try now that it won't dent your wallet. Despite this, it is in no way perfect. The questing is incredibly monotonous and boring. It's all grinding. Almost every task you are assigned will require killing either numerous enemies or a boss monster. Although the combat is fun and responsive, most skills have a small cast time which roots you in place.

I have really enjoyed my time on Tera so far. I don't mind the huge grind when fighting enemies is entertaining and challenging when I pull large amounts. The PVP is controlled by the guild in command of the zone, when it's turned on everyone is free game. I've fought my fair share of players, winning requires precision and maneuverability.

Enemies can be pulled in gigantic packs which allows you to farm quickly.

Tera isn't half bad. If you can trade off poor crafting mechanics and dull quests for fantastic combat and some of the best graphics any MMORPG has to offer, you should download it whenever you have some spare time to play (you may start playing when the download is on 10%.). There are a few annoying mechanics, but if you're looking for a game with great endgame PVP check out Tera.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

I decided to try out Tera

I know I'll regret this decision, but I'm doing it anyway. I'm going to play Tera with a few friends and see how long it takes for me to get bored. Ever since I quit World of Warcraft, I spent months searching for another MMORPG that could substitute or beat it. Overall I must have tried at least 100 different MMO games, and researched many more. I never once found another MMORPG that could measure up to WoW in more than a couple aspects.

It's got the cool feature where you can play before you finish downloading!

After wasting so much time searching for a game that didn't exist (Guild Wars 2 came very close), MMO games became something I tried to avoid. Occasionally I get dragged into a game by my friends and become incredibly excited for a few days. This is the case with Tera, I have been roped into trying it.

Tera looks like an enjoyable MMORPG. The quests are outdated, there's lots of grinding, and the servers appear to be in flux. However, the action RPG element sounds very addictive. If you can't aim your abilities, you'll miss. Hopefully this raises the skill cap enough to make it more challenging than other online games.

Not many developers are courageous enough to make the jump from Pay to Play (P2P), to Free to Play (F2P).  However, it's becoming more common for an MMORPG that isn't raking in the desired cash or community to take a chance by going free. Tera has intrigued me since it was in beta, because it's a stolen version of Lineage 3.

I'm glad they decided to go F2P without going pay to win. I have an intense hatred for pay to win games. Why would any sane person play a game where success relies on the size of your wallet? It's a disgrace to the gaming industry. One that irritates me every time I see it.

I am looking forward to trying Tera out, if I play it for more than a few days I'll probably write a review. I don't usually review MMORPGs, and I don't tend to make it a habit. If it's something worth playing or avoiding, I shall let you know.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Final Fantasy: Tactics

After creating the first Final Fantasy: Tactics game, Square tried to build on it with a couple of other handheld titles on the Gameboy Advance. Sadly, the franchise didn't really take off. But FF:Tactics was a brilliant game, worthy to be remade as War of the Lions for the Iphone and PSP. Every time I decide to go shopping, I always end up finding another beautiful title that I just can't pass up on. This is one of those iconic games, that every gamer should at least have a little experience with.

The graphics are bad by modern standards, but still playable.

Genre: Strategy, JRPG
Release Date: 20th June, 1997
Platforms: PSP, Playstation
Score: 8/10
Similar Titles: Final Fantasy, Vandal Hearts, Fire Emblem

As expected of a Final Fantasy game, Tactics has the usual turn-based combat. However, the addition of terrain navigation and strategically positioning your units changes the game considerably.  As a Playstation game, it's getting very old. It's aged magnificently, but Final Fantasy: Tactics is old enough to be rife with minor annoyances that don't plague the new releases of today. I hated waiting for my turn. Spell animations are a minute long. At least a third of your time playing this game you won't be doing anything but waiting for your turn. It's frustrating that none of the issues from the original edition have been adjusted. It should of been fundamental for Square to polish the game before porting it. The only real downside however, is it takes a dangerous amount of patience to enjoy Final Fantasy: Tactics. Oh, and you can't skip a second of it.

The combat can be really tough in a few situations.

Ivalice has been a part of three Final Fantasy games to date, and although it's not a full world it made quite the debut in tactics. The inhabitants of Ivalice can use both magic and technology, and it has numerous races of denizens and monsters. Although you don't get to see much of the location in Tactics, you get to see Ivalice in all its glory in Final Fantasy: XII.

The story begins with Ramza, a young mercenary with the blood of a noble. Ivalice has just ended a war, and the king is dead. A baby is the only remaining heir. With nobody to keep the nation under control, two factions fight for rule. Prince Goltana and Prince Larg have started a full scale war just to seize power. Ramza is unfortunately caught between these two lions as a pawn. So instead of taking a side, he instead fights for justice.

Aside from the nobles kicking sand at eachother, the commoners of Ivalice are also starting a fuss. The peasants are upset for being treated like dirt, and many uprisings are afoot. Delita, Ramza's childhood friend hates the privileged nobles so much, he seeks to manipulate and destroy them. In other words, the shit has hit the fan in Ivalice, and it's Ramza's job to vacuum it all up.

You will meet many characters on your journey, some of which can join your party as guests. The pompous nobles of house Beoulve who are always trying to manipulate their way up the ranks. Delita, your childhood friend and peasant determined to change the world. Agnes, a holy knight under the service of Princess Ovelia. Every person you meet in the game is surprisingly deep. The dialogue is short, yet still manages to convey a lot of information.

The PSP adds a few pretty cutscenes, none of which you can skip.

FF:Tactics has a story that all revolves around politics. Most of the scenes you watch are about people plotting to take their seat on the throne, or to rise above their station. It's basically medieval cloak and dagger stuff. It didn't really interest me that much until I made a fair amount of progress, once I'd played for about 10 hours I started to feel invested in the plot. I was more interested in fighting battles and adjusting my army.

During a playthrough of Tactics you will typically rotate between the world map and battles with the occasional cutscene. The map lets you choose from blue locations with towns to buy new gear and read rumors; and green places with potential battles. Certain points are marked red and guarantee battle. If you defeat all the red areas then the story progresses. Ultimately this pushes you into a simple rotation. Story, grind, gear, repeat. So if this routine is frustrating to you early on, quit now because it doesn't change. Personally, I didn't mind it. However, I know there's plenty of readers out there thinking 'fuck that' as they read this.

With dozens of classes and the ability to mix and match them, it's an absolute pleasure to customize your party. I spent several hours composing different builds and structuring my soldiers in the best formations. Some classes are really broken, like Monk and Ninja; while others are lacking something important, such as Chemist and Archer. There are so many classes to unlock, you will have to put in a lot of time to fully explore them all.

As a strategy game, Final Fantasy Tactics is a step in a different direction for Square-Enix. For some reason they decided to do the whole battlefield in isometric, which is an old technique and one I've never liked. Who the fuck wants to play a game diagonally? The terrain can block your line of sight and it's hard to move the camera to an angle to a good view. On the Playstation edition of this game, that's where the flaws end. On the PSP version, there is one more major disadvantage to deal with. The slowdown. For some reason, Square-Enix decided it would be a good idea to delay the cast time of every spell in the game. As previously mentioned, this inconvenience is annoying. It's gotten to the point that I put the PSP on the table and do something else when the enemies turn begins. Without this issue, Final Fantasy: Tactics would of been a perfect port.

Some classes can move pretty far in a single turn.

A battle typically consists of your team being placed on one side of the field, whilst the enemy attacks from several directions. Once a unit's CT gauge reaches 100, it can act. Each unit can move and perform an action in a turn, if you don't want to do anything you can choose to wait and your next turn will charge faster. Using a normal attack or item is done instantly, but casting magic usually takes a couple of turns. The AI isn't particularly competent, so you will have to fight against an enemy with more soldiers under his control almost every time. Most battles can be completed easily by keeping your units together and surrounding one enemy at a time. If you give all of your men the ability to heal themselves, Final Fantasy: Tactics is a game you can steamroll over for the most part.

There are a few nuances in the system that you have to adjust to. If you're firing an arrow at an enemy, it can be blocked by terrain or even an ally if they are in the way. It's impossible to stand on top of a corpse, so standing with your back to a dead monsters prevents anyone hitting you from behind. Climbing up cliffs or stairs makes use of your jump stat instead of your move stat, so some classes and builds can leap up a building and others have to take a longer route.

Every now and again you can tame a monster into your party, that includes other humans and even chocobos. So if you want to have a strange army of monsters and birds, that is entirely possible. However, usually it's better to keep the same 5 units so they get more EXP. Sadly, you never get to field more than 5 soldiers each battle, so recruiting a dozen unique warriors into your party is pretty much a waste of time. If you could use up to 10 people in a battle Final Fantasy: Tactics would of been much more tactical.

Gafgarion is one badass dude.

Jobs are another word for class, whichever one you pick will change the weapon and armor you can equip as well as the abilities you can use. In the beginning you only have access to 2 jobs: Chemist and Squire. Once you meet the prerequisites it's possible to change to a new class. Character levels and class levels are separate, so changing to a new job puts you back at the beginning. It's fun to explore what each job is capable of. Moreover, some techniques you pick up can be equipped onto your character regardless of class.

When somebody on your team gets downed, you only have 3 turns to revive them or they disappear forever. Although this mechanic will probably annoy you at first, it's easy to adapt to. However, once you get to the later stages in Final Fantasy: Tactics, losing a unit forever is not a viable option. In other words, if you don't resurrect your buddy in time; you're going to have to start the battle all over again. To add insult to injury, restarting a battle requires you to reload the entire game.

It's very easy to abuse the mechanics in FF:Tactics to your advantage. For example, if you want to grind experience all you have to do is kill all the enemies but one. Then, command your party to attack each other whilst healing themselves to avoid death. Each hit or heal grants the caster experience, thus making it possible to level your party members without being in any danger.

Final Fantasy Tactics is a fantastic title, I wholly agree with its transition to the PSP. It's a worthy title that didn't see enough praise on the Playstation. That being said, it's also got many areas that could be improved on. If you want a turn-based game where planning your actions and creating an ideal party is the challenge, then pick this one. Final Fantasy Tactics is not perfect, but it was a great game when it was released, and it's still worth your time now. Just remember, it's very slow paced. Be prepared to put down the console and do something else for a couple of minutes every now and again.

I just wish they'd made a sequel, because using this core engine and perfecting it by adding more classes, bigger battles, side missions and more equipment could make a game that would sit at the top of strategy titles for the next 20 years.

Friday, 19 April 2013

The Last Remnant second review

After moseying about and giving a short review, I've decided to give a detailed final analysis on the Last Remnant. As a JRPG it breaks ground through several approaches, but at heart it still retains the watery consistency for the masses. It's too easy to pick up and lacks diversity and customization in many ways. However, despite the many flaws you can observe within an hour of starting the Last Remnant, it's still a great game at heart. If you're looking for a game to put on the backburner in between more titanic titles or just something you can play when tired or lazy, this is certainly the game for you. Definitely worthy of time killer status.

Rush fighting the Conqueror, his rival.

Genre: Adventure, JRPG
Release Date: 20th November, 2008
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Score: 7/10
Similar Titles: Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Grandia

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Kingdom Hearts: Expert mode guide

A screenshot of the story in Kingdom Hearts
Riku annoys me. Sora kinda does too.

After recently smashing my way through the original Kingdom Hearts on expert mode, I realize that some of the bosses were actually pretty challenging. Some parts of the game are a cakewalk, but I managed to get myself killed on more than one occasion. If you're having a little trouble with the game on expert (or normal), read through some of this guide; it has plenty of hints and tips that will make the journey to Keyblade master easier.

A screenshot of Pluto and Sora in Kingdom Hearts
Waking up in an alley with Pluto, sounds like my Saturday morning.

Kingdom Hearts: Expert- hints and tips
- Always keep your party members stocked with items. Personally, I farm enough munny for 40+ potions at the beginning of the game, so I won't run out for a while. It's really important to fill your party with items before a boss.
- Dodge roll is an incredible tool, your best friend. Learn it, Love it, Abuse it.
- You can adjust Donald and Goofy's behavior in the menu. It's not much, but make sure you change it to your satisfaction. Goofy has loads of item slots, so set him to use items regularly.
- Donald should always have an ether or two. The duck has saved my life more than once with a well placed cure. Make sure he has enough mana to cast what he wants.
- It's a shame but magic and summons aren't as useful as your Keyblade. Keep whacking away with it, it's your best source of damage.
- Aero is incredible. It blocks damage, and at higher levels it will even attack back. Any tough boss fight can be made much easier if you can keep Aero up.
- Upgrade to new weapons and accessories whenever you get the chance. Just remember, the newest Keyblade is not the best Keyblade. Pick one that suits your playstyle.
- Pick the abilities for your party carefully. When you run out of AP to equip them all, sometimes you will have to make sacrifices. For example, I cut Sonic Blade out early game because it wasn't very useful; so I could keep everything else activated.
- Don't attack wildly mashing your Keyblade around. If you miss, you have a moment of vulnerability where you can't attack or defend. Try to make every attack land.
- If an enemy is exceptionally big or hard to hit, try an air combo. In the air it can be a safer method of putting out damage. I attack most bosses from the air, you can dodge the majority of their attacks that way.
- If you get stuck on a particular area and start getting frustrated, take a break. You can take stupid amounts of damage on Expert mode if you're not careful, so come back after doing something else for 30 minutes, it will be easier.
- Grind as much as you can. I have a rule of thumb that dictates if I find a good place to farm enemies, I'll keep killing them for 10 minutes for free experience and loot. If you press too far early game, later on you will have a lot of catching up to do.
- When in doubt, always heal yourself. Don't fuck around on low health, keep retreating until you can use Cure or a Potion. I've died dozens of times by thinking I can keep fighting with 50% health.
- Before you get Goofy and Donald, it can get really tough at places. I suggest you either rush to the part you can get your lovable Disney crew, or spend an hour farming on the Destiny isles.
- Since magic basically sucks, reserve your spellcasts to Cure and Aero. Only use offensive spells like Blizzard or Thunder if you have a good reason; such as hitting several targets or having too much mana.
- Forget about healing Donald and Goofy. They can take care of themselves, so worry about yourself instead of them. I've completed more than one playthrough without healing them once.
- Tinkerbell is the only useful summon in the game. She can bring you back to life when you die. The other summons should only be used for fun.
- Donald and Goofy are fantastic meat shields. Taking damage in your place is their primary role. Aside from that, they are only good for throwing you heals.

A screenshot of Kingdom Hearts Expert gameplay
Fuck Selphie, and her stupid jumping rope.

Although this guide only gives you hints and tips on a general level, it should help. I've finished the game several times and taken down Sephiroth on just as many occasions. If you're still struggling, just keep trying. Some bosses won't go down first time, it takes a little practice and luck.

Kingdom Hearts is a great game and a brilliant franchise. Take the time to complete it, and I'm sure you will feel the same way. If you're looking for a review, go here.

The Force Unleashed 2

I've always had a special place in my heart reserved for Star Wars. Despite the recent sale of the franchise to Disney, I still retain hope for the Sith and Jedi alike. Throughout the years Star Wars has made many attempts to implement themselves into the gaming industry; some of which were very successful. On the other hand, many Star Wars games have been a total flop. If you love the franchise, you can find fun in almost every title Lucasarts have released.

Gameplay and combat in the Force Unleashed 2
Explosions are Starkiller's best friend.

Genre: Adventure, Action
Release Date: 26th October, 2010
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Score: 7/10
Similar Titles: Jedi Academy, KotoR, Lego Star Wars

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Last Remnant: Battle links and Battle rank

As it took me a while to figure out how it works, I thought I'd write a short article about how Battle links and Battle rank actually work in the Last Remnant. Since these mechanics are essentially the leveling system, it pays to understand how to use it to your advantage.

Battle links pertain to how many enemies you can link using Timeshift. Once you activate Timeshift you can tag as many monsters as you can during the duration and then activate combat with all of them. The more links you get, the better loot you will obtain. Therefore if you're hunting for money, or parts to assemble a new weapon- linking lots of enemies is a reliable way to grab lots of materials and cash. Linking more enemies gets you more loot, but it will also raise your Battle rank very quickly.

Sometimes it's really hard to even link 2 enemies together, plan your attack and save often.

Battle rank is essentially your parties level. Enemies scale with you, so the higher your Battle rank, the more dangerous they become. If you raise your rank too high, the game can become very difficult. Bear in mind, that attribute bonuses you obtain after combat does not raise your rank. Killing opponents is what increases the Battle rank.

Hopefully this clears up any misconceptions you have about how the leveling system in the Last Remnant works. Just remember, if you want to increase your stats, don't link enemies. Find the toughest opponent you can, and fight it alone without linking it to anything else. This is the fastest way to upgrade your stats without gaining battle rank quickly.

You can keep your eye on the Battle rank by looking at the menu.

Many players including myself abuse linking from the start, and constantly link up 3+ times every battle. After getting 20 hours into the game, this can come back to bite you in the ass. Your Battle rank will be higher than the statistic increases your party have obtained. You will have lots of loot, but that's not a good substitution. When this happens some enemies will start instakilling your unions, and you'll have to save every second.

My advice, is to combine a mix of both into your playstyle. Complete an area by killing one enemy at a time. Come back later, and repeat the same area by linking as many as you can. Since you know where all the enemies are, it should be easy to create huge links. Essentially, you can use this approach to moderate your difficulty. If you like it easy, then continue to fight opponents individually for the first disc. It should be a breeze all the way through. Personally, I like a challenge. So I keep linking for most of the game, and double back to increase my stats if I go too far.

I hope this article enlightened you if you were looking into Battle links and Battle ranks. Good luck!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Last Remnant: Wallpapers

As I've been enjoying the Last Remnant so much, I scrounged some wallpapers up! Some of them look pretty nice too. I've added a few to my desktop rotation, so if you like Square-Enix's under appreciated gem the Last Remnant; grab a few of these and make it official!

This one is my favorite. Anyone got the source?

Rush and the Conqueror, both equally intimidating.

Boy, the remnants are basically glorified Final Fantasy summons.

I haven't fought this boss yet!

The magnificent 7!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Winning Dissidia: Hints and Tips

After putting dozens of hours into perfecting my Final Fantasy: Dissidia play it has come to my attention that once you reach the final chapters, it can become unbelievably challenging and frustrating to make progress. Some enemies with a high CPU level are just downright godlike. This article will provide a few hints and tips dedicated to helping you beat them all. If you're having trouble defeating some of the hardest bad guys, I hope this helps you.

Cosmos and Squall.

A review on Dissidia can be found here.

Final Fantasy: Dissidia hints and tips
- Something you learn early on is dodging is a very easy tool to utilize. Spamming dodge can be used to avoid most attacks, maneuver around the battlefield, and even gain height. However, when you start to get to the dangerous opponents, overusing blocks is just asking the AI to come and beat your face in. Learn to dodge to avoid the enemy attacks, don't just spam dodge and hope they miss.
- Blocking is much harder than dodge to use effectively, or even use at all. If you can successfully block an attack, it grants you a huge opening. Learn what attacks the computer likes to use against you. Make sure you know which attacks cannot be blocked. If it's easier to dodge you should do that instead. But remember it is better to block if you can.
-  When you pick a character, stick to it until you perfect your strengths and weaknesses. For example, Terra is very potent at spamming bravery attacks from a distance and then closes in for the kill. She is very weak against people who can close the gap and hit her before she can activate Tornado. Or Squall, who has a variety of dangerous attacks and is lethal in mid and close combat. If he uses the right attack for the right situation, he's nearly impossible to defeat. However, once he activates a move he usually has a wide opening. It's best to force him to use an attack you know how to avoid, then beat him down. My point is; once you play a character you will know what works best against him/her. Use that advantage.
- Landing attacks becomes increasingly hard the further you get. Therefore when you actually hit your opponent you must continue the chain as long as possible. Some characters can chain together numerous bravery attacks and sometimes even combo it into a HP attack. Practice combos on low level opponents and see if you can manage to put together more than 3 abilities. When you fight a hard opponent you want to be able to make the most out of every opportunity you get.
- Dissidia can be a very frustrating game. If you're retrying the same battle and losing too much, take a break! Believe me, you can come back after 10 minutes and win on your first try with ease. I've done it on more than one occasion.
- The AI usually has an attack pattern. Remember, you're only fighting a computer. If you can analyze the smallest factor; for example your enemy always dodges after using a particular ability, you can use that against them. Be observant, because it's likely they will repeat the same mistakes.
- If you have an attack that can break through a block, use it. It's common for your opponent to try and block an attack instead of dodging it. Also, if you find an attack that works well against an enemy: abuse it. Sometimes a certain move completely counters the enemy AI and they can't figure out how to avoid it.
- Repeating the earlier campaigns and chapters for extra rewards and levels is not a waste of time. You will often get the chance to fight rare enemies, pick up a summon and grab some loot. If you're higher level than the enemy, it gives you a lot more room to make mistakes.
- Buy new gear. Gear is very important. If you have the best equipment you will do a lot more damage, and take a lot less. Trust me on this one, if you can upgrade more than a couple of pieces it's definitely worth it.
-  Ex-mode is amazing. There's a reason Ex-cores exist. Grab them as fast as you can, because you can beat unbeatable opponents with a well placed burst. I've one shotted opponents I never stood a chance against by landing a lucky Ex-burst. Remember, it also restores your health points so you can use it defensively if needed.
- Getting Ex-cores is not only important for getting yourself closer to Ex-mode, but also to deny your opponent getting his. Always go for them because even if you don't need it; it's better you have it instead of your enemy getting it. If the situation arises where you cannot stop your enemy from getting an Ex-core, then try to punish them for it. If your adversary is rushing straight for the core, then they are vulnerable to attack.
- Each character has a unique approach to victory. For example, Zidane is better in the air than on the ground. However, his ground abilities are designed to force your opponent into the air, so take control of the battlefield and force your enemy into a position where you want him. Tidus is a monster in close range, his abilities can evade the bulk of damage and counterattack easily, but you have to know when to go on the offensive because spamming attacks will get you killed.
- Keeping your distance at the beginning of a battle is vital. It gives you time to analyze the AI, and learn what pattern they are using. If you have a long range ability, it's much easier to strike from a distance; because it's easy to dodge most attacks from far away. At low levels you can keep up a barrage of attacks, but when the going gets tough, play safe and be observant.
- I've had a battle go on for up to 20 minutes in some cases. If you're against an enemy that is just too hard to defeat, playing for the long haul can be your only chance. Bravery attacks can be pretty much useless against someone higher level than you, so hit them with a HP attack and then wait for your bravery to reset and repeat.
- Before you fight a hard enemy, make sure you are on full health. It's also possible to start a battle with Ex-mode already prepared. Fight a weak opponent and collect Ex-cores until you have burst ready. Opening on a challenging AI with Ex-mode can give you the upper hand. 
- Breaking an enemy will win you a lot of fights. Reducing your enemies bravery to 0 will grant you the stage bravery which can give you an unbelievable advantage. If your opponent lands a HP attack on you, their bravery resets to nothing temporarily. You have a short window to break them, so launch a full offensive. Your goal should always be to break your enemy at every opportunity.
- When you learn a new ability, test it out. Some moves are just plain overpowered against the AI. If you are losing against a particular enemy, sometimes changing your move pool can win you the battle.
- The stage you are fighting on should affect your playstyle. In a closed arena, such as Ultimecia's castle; you can often trick an enemy into a corner. If you force the enemy into a bad position, they won't be able to dodge effectively. In an open battlefield, keep your distance.
- If you are determined to win a hard battle, be cheap. Spamming your best attack may make you feel like a cheater, but if it wins you the fight who cares?

Choose your battles wisely.

Most of this advice is common sense. In battle it can be hard to keep your wits about you. Try to remember some of these hints during a fight and you will certainly gain an advantage. Sometimes playing like a cheap bastard is the only way. Personally, I hate abusing one overpowered ability. On Dissidia, sometimes it is necessary to win. Don't be proud, be a winner.

When you have no bravery, a HP attack can restore you to normal.

I truly do hope some of these tips will help you in beating Dissidia. It is a great game, just don't put stock in the story. Good luck Final Fantasy fans!

My review on Final Fantasy: Dissidia.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Is Devil May Cry 4 the last good game in the franchise?

I have a friend from high school who had such similar tastes and enthusiasm for games, we could spend hours at a time just chatting and speculating on our favorite titles. One subject of many conversations was how much we loved Devil May Cry. The original had barely found its footing, it didn't quite know what genre to be. However, from the second game onwards Capcom settled on the addictive trigger-happy arcade ass-kicking action and it was just phenomenal.

Nero isn't as cool as Dante, nobody is.

Up until Devil May Cry 4, the franchise has had no cause for distrust. Even when the questionable decision to star Nero as the main character was made, we still got exactly what we paid for in a fantastic game filled with increasing difficulties and cutscenes with more awesome than an awesome-chuck could chuck (bad analogy I know).

From the moment I heard about the series reboot by Ninja Theory, I was more than skeptical. In fact, me and my friends mourned together in a call the moment we saw the trailer. Dante with black hair? That's the biggest turnaround of nope I've probably ever experienced in my life. After that moment, me and all my fellow Devil May Cry sympathizers gave up on any hope of the new DmC game being even playable. Clearly Ninja Theory didn't play the first four games enough, nor did they research the parts of the game that we, the public hold so dearly.

Nero was a step in a new direction done correctly.

Without a shred of expectation for the new DmC, there was no chance of over-hyping it. If there was any redeeming quality in the game it would of been a nice surprise. But despite having zero expectations for the game, how is it that I still feel let down? It's truly a shame that Capcom handed off one of their greatest franchises to someone who just couldn't do it justice.

I'm not faulting Ninja Theory, they did an alright job with what they had. But I think they shouldn't of tried to take Devil May Cry in a new direction. It's just a step back from the progress that Capcom made with the series over the years. If you don't rate this game in comparison to the other Devil May Cry games, it's alright. If you do, then it's a slap in the face for us avid DmC fans.

Some of the boss fights are truly epic.

It's such a shame that this game was cast under the Devil May Cry franchise. As a game in its own right, with no ties to DmC, it would of been a passable game. Worthy of praise. If only. As it stands, this mediocre approach with dumbed down down content might just kill off one of the greatest arcade franchises of all time. 

Monday, 1 April 2013

The Last Remnant is an underlooked gem.

I've been playing through the Last Remnant on PC again, because during my first playthrough on the Xbox 360 I got a little bored having to wait for the long load times and dealing with the FPS lag. However, playing it on a different port has really opened my eyes to how Square-Enix have created a brilliant diamond in the rough.

Timeshift lets you tag together groups of enemies and fight harder battles.

Rush Sykes is a bit of a douche for a main character, he's pretty dumb but dedicated to finding his sister. The rest of the party isn't much smarter, but they drive the plot well. I just wish JRPGs had a better market for adults, so the story could be more interesting and better written.

For a Square-Enix game, the graphics are nothing exceptional. If it were another company, you could say they were very pretty. Aside from that, it's not a sore sight for the eyes. Watching a huge battle with lots of squads and enemies looks very epic.

A battle looks overwhelming at first, but you get used to it.

Squad based combat is intriguing and adds a fair amount of depth to the game. Instead of selecting an option for a single party member, each choice changes the attacks for up to five people. This means you have to select your moves carefully, and composing squads strategically outside of battle is important. Last Remnant also has plenty of the usual RPG features to keep a gamer active, including side quests and crafting. There are lots of rare monsters to hunt, some of which can be very tricky to kill.

It's a shame they don't break out the high definition more often.

If you want to read my initial review of this title, take a look. I will probably soon write another more accurate analysis because I feel I didn't give the game justice due to the problems porting it to Xbox. The Last Remnant is a wonderful time killer and at a budget price it's something to definitely consider if you have nothing to play. If you're looking for more PC turn-based RPGs, take a look here.

Am I the only one who actually enjoys grinding?

It's occurred to me recently that when people complain about the long grinds in RPG games that I'm not really averse to it. Whenever I lose to a boss in any RPG, instead of trying again like a regular person I will instead grind for a couple of hours and then attempt it again. I like coming back to an opponent and crushing him just as badly as he crushed me.

True facts.

I enjoy grinding, and I don't think many other people do. I like the mindless repetition of defeating the same enemies because I can do it while reading a book or watching a film. I played World of Warcraft and leveled every class to maximum on Horde and Alliance because it was an easy way to make money and was easy to do while watching my favorite television series.

There are a few cases in which I don't have fun farming, mostly in games that ask for too much and give too little in return. Breath of Fire 3 is a prime example. You can spend 3 hours killing enemies and gain barely more than a couple of levels. Most people want to feel rewarded for putting in the time, and if you don't get much for it you feel cheated. I'm no different. But I still like grinding. Does anyone else feel the same way?