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Final Fantasy XIII: The Review

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Final Fantasy XIII - Lighting and Logo

I’m a huge fan of the entire Final Fantasy series. I’ve played almost every one since the first (I know, not ubber fan) and I’ve been mesmerized each and every time. My fiance refers to the release of a new Final Fantasy as “The Vanishing” since I disappear and only occasionally pop my head out and say hello.

Oerba Yun Fang - Final Fantasy XIII Party Memeber

Nothing says lets take on an army like blue silk and a sports bra

I’m going to try to sum this up without giving away any spoilers so wish me luck:

Final Fantasy XIII takes place in a world governed by a militaristic force that is ruled by a magical being/force called a fal’Cie. The game begins as people are being “exiled” on board a train. Suddenly all hell brakes lose and some chick with sword/gun starts picking a fight with a group of soldiers. Behind her is a man with a bird in his hair.

This is how we begin Final Fantasy XIII. From here out there is never any down time. The entire game is a fast paced adventure through a foreign world where innocent people get branded by a magical being (the fal’Cie) and have to complete a specific goal (or Focus). If they don’t succeed then they turn into a monster, if they do they are granted eternal life. Pretty easy decision, gimme the eternal life.

Our party is one such group of people, for whatever reasons brought them together on a journey to meet the Pulse fal’Cie what binds them together is their common Focus.

While they attempt to complete their Focus they are constantly sought after by the Sanctum military PSICOM. Wherever they run to they are pursued by an army until they decide they just have to bring the army down.

Final Fantasy XIII: Graphics

Graphically Final Fantasy XIII is no slouch. It is outstanding beautiful to the point that my non-gamer fiance even stopped and exclaimed amazement at what was before her eyes. From the minute the game starts up you are left to look upon the most visually stunning Final Fantasy to date.

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Final Fantasy XIII: Gameplay

Many people have a problem with the lack of towns in Final Fantasy XIII but, honestly, they simply wouldn’t fit. You are a fugitive attempting to stay ahead of an entire army. Either that or you’re running through a base/airship/military campaign attempting to accomplish…something. Quite frankly I wouldn’t have the time to stop and chit chat with the townsfolk and sip sweet tea if I were in this position. Who am I kidding. I always have time to sip sweet tea. To that end there really are few townspeople to interact with thanks to the military occupation. The lack of mulling around in towns helps to create the sense of urgency that Final Fantasy XIII is all about.

The lack of MP is a delight for me since it now means I will actually take the time to use and develop my magic. I mean really, I don’t use points when I have to heat up soup, or cool off my coffee. I don’t use points for any action I’ve learned. Never have I ever had to drink something in order to have enough juice to open a can of beans. For that reason I shouldn’t have to make sure I have enough MP to make lightning appear out of nowhere.

That being said pausing after each battle really detracts from this goal. The battle summary (while entertaining and useful) continually causes an otherwise hurried event to be stopped and mulled over.

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Final Fantasy XIII: Controls

The controls are exactly what you have come to expect from Final Fantasy. They don’t throw anything new at you here. You have your attack, your technical abilities, and your items. Nothing new. What they do give you that makes it exceptional is the Paradigm system. Being able to set and combine Final Fantasy party members’ roles until you find that perfect unstoppable match is fantastic. That, coupled with the fact that you can swap Paradigms on a whim to fit your need whenever you need to make battles a fast and exciting display of reflex and quick thinking.

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Final Fantasy XIII: Story

Eh, what can I say. It’s a Final Fantasy. It’s not the best I’ve seen, but it’s a damn site better than other’s I’ve played. To be honest, I really don’t give a rats ass about Hope and find myself wishing from time to time that Lightning would have left his ass when she had the chance. He’s really the only one though. Every other character has something interesting to say or contribute.

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Final Fantasy XIII: Overall Score

I just can’t bring myself to give it a perfect score. It’s missing that certain….something that compels me to declare “Best Final Fantasy EVER

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Don’t like this review? Feel free to voice your opinions below.

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Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening – The PtC Review

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Dragon Age: Origins - AwakeningYes yes, its a little late. But none the less here is our review of Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening.

Quickly how the Dragon Age tables have turned. When last we saw our Gray Warden they were either dead after killing the Archdemon, married with a errant step child, or single with a baby momma wandering somewhere in the forest. Parenting aside Dragon Age: Origins was a fantastic RPG. The sequel was something that Polish the Console was anxiously awaiting.  It does however leave a few questions to be answered:

Why is my imported Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening Character Naked?

When I first laid eyes on my Warden I felt as though I was seeing a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Then I noticed he wasn’t wearing anything. Basically just what happens when I see a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Why was my Gray Warden running around in his underwear? Did he lose his laundromat ticket? Is the armor chafing? Has life with an Orlesian Bard (Leliana) left him wanting a life free of the encumberments of pants?

The answer to all of these is no. BioWare just did not allow for the import of any DLC armor or weapons. While this didn’t deter me in the least it was certainly comical. How am I supposed to take The Withered seriously when Oghren is mocking him and I’m naked?

However this may be the first time my Warden openly showed off the taint to everyone. Yeah, cheap joke, I know.

Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Party Member Mhairi

You can't keep her

Can you save Mhairi?

No. Just like you couldn’t save Daveth…and Jory was a whiny bitch so who cares about him. But no, Mhairi’s death is to signify that the Joining is in fact dangerous and potentially fatal to the wrong person. The Gray Wardens Joining is kinda like dodge-ball; you gotta have gumption to make it through to being a Gray Warden. You can’t just want it, you gotta be good enough.

Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Sandal the Enchanter

Have you seen me?

Where is Sandal?

Seriously…I loved that little guy. Where is he BioWare? He killed an army of Darkspawn by himself so please bring him back.

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: The Good

This video game is fun. The story is well thought out, the characters are rich, the setting is fantastic, and the gameplay is spot on where it was the last go round. On top of that you can further expand on your character making the bad assness even more full of bad…and with the naked start its also full of ass.  WOO!!

The new darkspawn and eight boobed Brood Mother have me anxiously awaiting to find out what their plot is, where they came form, what they want, who they are, and where they get their snappy wardrobe.

I am absolutely hooked.

By the way: Oghren’s lines still have me wetting myself with laughter.

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: The Bad

It certainly seems to hiccup a lot. You can tell when you’re in a big battle because everything slows down. It only froze once on me though (way to beat Heavy Rain). Starting naked wasn’t terrible, it just ruined the congruity of everything.

Even though tenting would seem totally out of place in setting of Dragon Age it would still be fun.

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: The Score:

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4 / 5

Its an expansion. It’s not going to be groundbreaking, overly inventive, or totally new. However do you think they could have fixed the naked start problem? That just seems like a HUGE oversight.

Heavy Rain Review: Freezing Rain

March 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Heavy Rain PS3 Video Game ReviewAs my weekend drew to a close after the USA vs Canada hockey game it was finally time to start playing the full release of Heavy Rain. I had been anxiously awaiting this moment all weekend. It was finally time to play a game I had been waiting for since I saw the first released video.

Well as most of you know that wasn’t going to happen. Sunday night is when old model PS3’s shit the bed and mine was no exception. My glorious evening was cut short. I instead had to watch as giant inflatable beavers paraded across the closing ceremonies. Not really how I intended to spend my Sunday night, but who am I to complain about giant beavers.

Finally Monday night rolls around and it’s time. The Playstation Network is back up and running and so am I. An endearing and touching tutorial combined with beautiful graphics makes for a simply wonderful introduction to Heavy Rain. Even in opening credits look wonderful. I actually do not mind watching them. For a guy with ADHD that’s saying something.

Suddenly, Heavy Rain freezes. What? What the hell? Freezes? Okay, no biggie, maybe I got something on the disk. Turned the system off, pulled the disk out, checked it. Nope, spotless. Put it back in tried again. Interacting with Shaun, aww…touching father son moment. Okay, time to put the kid to bed. Why did everything stop moving? You gotta be kidding me. Heavy Rain freezes…again.

Okay this is getting ridiculous. Let’s try this again. Reload, luckily I didn’t lose too much of my game, only three or four minutes. Okay, put the son to bed. What happened…things are getting mysterious and now I’m hooked. What’s next?

Madison Page PS3 In Game Heavy RainOkay demo levels, I got this shiz down. Now that those are done we can…wait…loading screen stopped moving. W…T…F. This is three. I haven’t even been playing the Heavy Rain for an hour and it keeps freezing. Okay, one more try.

It’s been an hour and the game is kicking ass and taking names. I am 100% engrossed in the game and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Madison Page introduction. Okay she’s an insomniac, shower scene, level done, Heavy Rain freezes again. Okay that’s it I’ve had enough time for bed.

Heavy Rain: Review Summary

Heavy Rain is an absolute beauty of a game – if you can keep it working. The gameplay is a tremendous break from what I’m used to. It’s something different which may be the reason most reviewers are going ga-ga over it. However the story is actually compelling. It’s engaging, the characters are believable, and there is sincere substance to the game.

However the simple fact that it freezes so frequently will snap any gamer right back into reality. This is something that absolutely needs to be fixed. You may be asking yourself “Should I buy Heavy Rain?” If you aren’t one of the 500,000 people that already have it then don’t get it yet. Wait for a fix for the freezing to come out.

I have to give the game 4 out of 5. This is based solely on the fact that it keeps freezing.

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The rub of it all is that when the Heavy Rain freezing fix comes out it will probably be with a fix for seeing Madison Page in the nude. (thank you Kotaku)