Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review

02/01/2012 at 9:53 PM | Posted in PlayStation 3 | 2 Comments
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As most of you know, a few months ago I was flown out to L.A. by Square Enix and got to give FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 a preliminary spin. I’ll be honest, prior to attending this event, I was skeptical about XIII-2. Granted, I was excited for the game, the announcement trailer looked quite promising, as did the subsequent trailer featuring gameplay. Even so, after FINAL FANTASY XIII, I was unsure about a sequel. Don’t get me wrong, I liked XIII, a lot actually, I find I’m one of the bigger fans of the game. Criticism notwithstanding, I still felt wary about a XIII-2. So, it was a pleasant surprise when I finally got my hands on it, and almost instantly felt a lot better. It was clear right from the get go that Square Enix took XIII’s criticism to heart and worked hard to improve on things in XIII-2.

Now Square has thankfully given us a full review copy of the PS3 version, here is my final impressions of their attempts to win back some of the pessimists. Continue Reading Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review…

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Dissidia 012[duodecim] Final Fantasy

06/05/2011 at 1:58 AM | Posted in PlayStation Portable | 2 Comments
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Dissidia 012[duodecim] Final Fantasy

Dissidia 012[duodecim] Final Fantasy or DDFF for short is a prequel to the first game released way back in 2009. It features more characters and a new story as well as updated and improved gameplay and also the introduction of real DLC. A lot of people complained at how duodecim was just the same game in a shiny new package and while that’s not entirely untrue there are some pretty good reasons as to why it’s not entirely true either. There has been a lot of value added to the series and not to mention, this game only costs $29.99USD. Maybe I should just get going with the review rather than sounding similar to an advertisement.

Continue Reading Dissidia 012[duodecim] Final Fantasy…

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded

01/19/2011 at 4:43 PM | Posted in Nintendo DS | Leave a comment
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Kingdom Heart Re:coded Review

Only a few months since the latest Kingdom Hearts fix thanks to Birth by Sleep, Re:coded was released last Tuesday. When Kingdom Hearts coded was first announced for Japanese mobile phones way back when alongside 358/2 Days and Birth by Sleep I was both excited and disappointed. Excited for a KH game, but for Japanese mobile phones? That was pretty much the nail in the coffin for ever getting to play this game. Thankfully Square Enix sought to remedy this by remaking coded.

Side Note – I won’t be mentioning the specific differences between coded and Re:coded as naturally I haven’t been able to play coded, or see much of it anyway for that matter. However, know that Re:coded is definitely a REMAKE and not just a port. Continue Reading Kingdom Hearts Re:coded…

Golden Sun Dark Dawn

01/04/2011 at 2:20 AM | Posted in Nintendo DS | 1 Comment
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Golden Sun Dark Dawn Review

A long overdue review yes I know, first it was school, then the holidays, then a blizzard… You get the idea. But here it is, finally, my review of Golden Sun Dark Dawn for the Nintendo DS. Continue Reading Golden Sun Dark Dawn…

Final Fantasy The 4 Heroes Of Light

11/17/2010 at 5:17 PM | Posted in Nintendo DS | Leave a comment
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Final Fantasy The 4 Heroes Of Light Review

Finally, a little late here but better late than never. Final Fantasy The 4 Heroes Of Light is Square’s newer kind of take on Final Fantasy yet still trying to keep a classic feel to it. What do we get? Rewarded. And maybe a little bit of nostalgia. Continue Reading Final Fantasy The 4 Heroes Of Light…

Star Wars The Force Unleashed II

11/04/2010 at 10:35 PM | Posted in PlayStation 3 | Leave a comment
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Star Wars The Force Unleashed II Review

When I played the first Force Unleashed game I thought it was excellent and it ended on bit of a cliffhanger so I was really hoping for a sequel. When the sequel was announced and I saw the first teaser, I was in heaven and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I’ve finally gotten it and played it to completion, that didn’t take too long, but more on that later. Continue Reading Star Wars The Force Unleashed II…

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

09/14/2010 at 6:42 PM | Posted in PlayStation Portable | 2 Comments
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Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Review

At long last, the full Kingdom Hearts experience finally goes portable on the PSP. Sure there was Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories and even Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days which was even more like its console predecessors, but Birth by Sleep really manages to capture everything that made Kingdom Hearts great on consoles, on a portable system. I’ve been waiting so long and have been so excited for this game and I’m thrilled to have finally been able to play it. Continue Reading Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep…

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

08/08/2010 at 9:03 PM | Posted in Nintendo DS | Leave a comment
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Dragon Quest IX Review

From the PS2 to the Nintendo DS Dragon Quest jumps platforms in it’s latest iteration: Dragon Quest IX. I think it’s worth mentioning that the only other DQ game I played was Dragon Quest VIII and I wasn’t prepared to like it so much, but I did, so I have been eagerly anticipating IX.

Dragon Quest IX is an RPG for the Nintendo DS. It was made by Square Enix and published by Nintendo. It was released on July 11th.

Story

The story is fairly basic and gets underway pretty quickly, you’re a Celestrian, a guardian angel if you will, and you are charged with protecting a town, things go awry, you lose your heavenly powers and must now work together with this fairy to make things right again. You (almost literally, as you can customize the main character) and a band of 3 other characters, who you can either have randomly generated or you can customize your own as well, will join you on your quest and help you kill the bad guys and set things right.

Score – 8

Gameplay

During your quest to regain your heavenly status, you will go around doing good deeds for people in need along with trying to meet your own goals. The world is fairly open, allowing you to go pretty much anywhere you want when you want to. Exploring the new areas ahead of time is great, and it also allows you to gain EXP and level up your characters almost however much you want until you decide to continue the story. Unlike past DQ games, there are no random encounters in DQIX. Enemies appear on the field and you can choose to fight them or not. However if an enemy sees you it might chase after you, but after a while, and once you become stronger, it might even run from you!

There’s a lot of stuff do to, along with the main quest, there are plenty of side quests you can undertake to keep you busy. Then there’s alchemy which allows you to mix items you already have to make brand new ones. This is a great way to get better weapons and equipment using things that you just happen to pick up from around.

There is a multi-player aspect to this game and it’s somewhat of a big draw for people. Unfortunately, I’m a pretty lonely kid (surprise) and I don’t know anyone else with the game, so I was unable to dabble with what I’m sure is a great part of this game :/

Score – 8

Graphics

The transition from PS2 to DS was actually kind to DQIX. The game is a pretty awesome looking DS title. It’s mostly 3D but occasionally uses some 2D sprites and such. Even then, occasionally there are parts where the game will slow a bit. I noticed that this tends to happen when you have your whole party with you. I spent a good portion of the beginning alone and didn’t experience anything major, but as soon as I had a full party with me, things started to lag a bit, but only occasional. It’s really not that bad, but it is fairly noticeable, nothing to condemn the game for though.

Score – 9

~OVERALL~

Dragon Quest IX is a great game and it’s a really enjoyable experience. From the side quests to all the jobs and skills that you can learn, to the alchemy and all the weapons and armor you can collect that are actually represented on all of your character, not to mention the main story, there’s so much to do. The main quest itself is almost 40 hours long giving you plenty to do. There’s a really high value that comes with this game and I’m sure it’s something that fans of Dragon Quest have come to expect. I would easily recommend this to anyone who is looking for a fun and full portable adventure.

Final Score

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Pokemon SoulSilver Version

03/22/2010 at 5:50 AM | Posted in Nintendo DS | 1 Comment
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Pokemon SoulSilver Version Review

This is a remake that I have been waiting for for quite some time. It seems I’ve been waiting a long time for a lot of things lately. HA! To think, some people say I’m impatient. Many Pokemon fans had high hopes for Gold and Silver remakes when FireRed and LeafGreen came out and I was one of those people. I remember when I bought Pokemon Silver and thinking back to it now, it’s so nostalgic. Enough with the sappy stuff, it’s review time, how exciting.

Pokemon SoulSilver is an Adventure/RPG for the Nintendo DS. It was made by Game Freak and was released on March 14th, 2010. I will warn you ahead of time, this review will be slightly abridged, only focusing on the newer things SoulSilver has to offer given the nature of Pokemon games. Also, I will be saying SoulSilver but naturally, you can just fill that in with “HeartGold and SoulSilver”

Story

SoulSilver’s story is pretty much already well known even if you haven’t played the original. You find yourself in New Bark Town where you get your first Pokemon and decide to go off on an adventure to become the champion of Johto. The story for all the Pokemon games (obviously with the exception of Pokemon Ranger, Mysterious Dungeon, etc.) is practically the same with a few twists or differences that make it unique to each title. Let’s get on to the newer and better things this title has to offer.

Score – 8.5

Gameplay

First I would like to mention the peripheral that is being packaged with HeartGold and SoulSilver. Dubbed the “Pokewalker”, it’s basically a pedometer. You transfer a Pokemon to the Pokewalker and walk around with it with the Pokemon gaining experience points for the steps you walk. While a Pokemon can only gain 1 level each time you take it for a stroll the features don’t stop there. As you walk you gain “Watts” these watts are mainly used to unlock new routes. Why new routes? Well, let me explain another feature, as you collect watts you can spend them on things like a Dowsing Machine to find items that appear on the particular route you’ve chosen or you can spend them on a Pokemon Radar that allows you to find and potentially catch Pokemon native to that route. I think the Pokewalker is really great and I think it was really well thought out. Naturally it’s also a great incentive to be a little more active.

Next, I’d like to mention a few of the newer in-game features that set SoulSilver apart from past games. First off, almost every gym has been redesigned with new puzzles for you to figure out. Another addition is the Pokeathlon. The Pokeathalon is a series of minigames you can play. You enter your Pokemon in these events and control them via stylus. It’s a fair amount of fun and it can be pretty challenging. Apricorns make a return in this game but now you can combine a few Apricorns and blend them to make juice. This juice will raise some of your Pokemon’s Pokeathlon stats. Also you now have access to the Berry Pots. You can plant and grow berries right from the convenience of your own bag! This means only being able to grow 4 berry trees at a time, but the convenience is amazing.

Another prominent feature about SoulSilver is the ability to walk with your Pokemon. No not with the Pokewalker, but in the game itself. The first Pokemon in your party will walk alongside you, which in turn, raises its Happiness. They will also occasionally find things. You can compare this feature to Amity Square in Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. You can talk to them whenever to see how they are feeling given a certain context or environment. I found that the little things like this, really made the game shine.

You would think it would be a no brainer for the DS, but Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum were released and the Pokemon Box system was still controlled by the face and directional buttons. But now, you manage your PC boxes with the touch screen and it has never been easier. It was such a breath of fresh air, and I can imagine, a highly requested feature. Like-wise your Bag is a bit more touch screen oriented, scratch that, the entire game is a bit more touch screen oriented and I can honestly say, these are all improvements.

Score – 9

Graphics

Naturally, the graphics of SoulSilver are a big boost from those of Silver. There’s lots of 3D, the in battle effects are great, the colors are vibrant and character models look great, as well as the Pokemon art. There are a few other details about SoulSilver that I really feel are worth mentioning. These aren’t awe-inspiring things, but they don’t have to be. They really just bring something great to the Pokemon table. The sound of your footsteps, whether on pavement or grass, the sound of waves on the beach or the trickling of water at a pond. The sound of fans blowing in the wind. The use of some more impressive 3D effects. All of these things show that the handheld Pokemon games are really evolving into something great.

Score – 8.5

Final Note

I was really impressed with SoulSilver as I thought I would be. The improvements and extras really make this remake something special and not just a rehash of old material. This game should tide me over for now, but I really can’t wait for the Generation V games to be released.

Overall Rating

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Final Fantasy XIII

03/17/2010 at 8:20 PM | Posted in PlayStation 3 | Leave a comment
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Final Fantasy XIII Review

4 years in the making and finally, no pun intended, I have Final Fantasy XIII in my hands. This game is, single-handedly, the longest I have ever waited for a video game release. But enough dwelling on the past. I have it, I’ve played it, time to review it.

Final Fantasy XIII is an RPG for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, however I am only reviewing my experiences with the PS3 version. It was developed and published by Square Enix and it was released on March 9th, 2010

Story

Final Fantasy XIII takes place on Cocoon, a city-world floating above a wild planet named Pulse. The residents of Cocoon fear Pulse and anything from it. When a Pulse fal’Cie, a god-like being from Pulse, is discovered to be on Cocoon, a massive panic starts which triggers Cocoons government to immediately order the Purge: the removal of the fal’Cie and anyone in close proximity to it, which includes an entire town. Lightning, a soldier, is searching for her sister Serah, who has been turned into a l’Cie by the Pulse fal’Cie. A l’Cie is given superhuman abilities to complete a task given to them by the fal’Cie. They are feared almost as much as the fal’Cie themselves if not more. Through extraordinary coincidences, this search brings all of the main characters together and, like Serah, they are turned into l’Cie by the Pulse fal’Cie as well. Here is where the story really begins.

Score – 9

Gameplay

In Final Fantasy XIII you’ll explore the worlds of Cocoon and Pulse. If you engage in battle with enemies on the map you will be transported to a separate screen where an active turn based battle will commence. Battles are normally a group of three characters against a set of enemies with you controlling one of those characters as the party “Leader”. The other characters are controlled by AI.

As you wait for your Active Time Battle or “ATB” gauges to fill you will choose actions and execute them on an enemy of your choice once the gauges fill up completely. You can also execute some actions early by pressing the Triangle button. You can’t actively move your characters around the battle field but they will move automatically. This means there can be some skill involved when it comes to the timing and executions of your actions. In FFXIII every action is determined by the ATB gauge meaning MP is not a feature in this game.

FFXIII also introduces what’s called Paradigm Shift. It allows you to assign certain roles and abilities for different characters that you can actively change in the heat of battle. For example, you could have the 3 members of your party in the “Commando” or attacking role. Once your HP gets to a certain level you could use paradigm shift to change their roles, maybe changing one, or even two party members into the “Medics” or healing role. Learning how to properly use Paradigm Shift is the only way to be truly successful in this game.

For an extra bit of help, you can also summon Eidolons, powerful beings that are assigned to each of the l’Cie. Most Final Fantasy games features summons, but the way FFXIII incorporates them into the story is quite interesting.

Score – 9

Graphics

Once again, Square Enix wows on a platform with truly stunning graphics. Pre-rendered scenes are, of course, top notch, but in-game graphics are some of video games greatest to date. I’ve been following this game forever and I was always impressed with how it looked, Square really did next-gen Final Fantasy well. In a first for the Final Fantasy series the game was apparently lip synced to the English language versions. However there are times where it looks as if they thought they didn’t need to change some of the lip movements because they were “close enough”. Also I have a thought that the Japanese lip syncing is a lot better than English. However, as a die-hard fan, I am nit-picking. Overall everything is done really well. The game occasionally drops a few frames but this rarely happens. If it does happen though, I find it is mostly in cutscenes.

Score – 10

Final Note

Final Fantasy XIII was everything I could have hoped it to be. Once again, go figure, I’m really impressed with Square Enix. I think it’s worth mentioning that, the game looks as good as it does, yet load times, with the exception of loading the game up, are nearly non-existent, with no install needed. Battles could be a lot more fun because they could be harder as, 1, you no longer have MP, and 2, you are fully healed after each battle. At first I didn’t like that, but now I realize every battle can be truly exciting and challenging because of it. I have a few, VERY minor issues with FFXIII but they didn’t affect my playing of the game that much. This game really had a lot to offer, whether you’re deciding what Paradigms to use, upgrading your Crystarium (think an improved Final Fantasy X Sphere Grid), upgrading your weapons or taking part in a bunch of optional missions, you’ll spend a pretty fair amount of time on it. Naturally, I really enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII and I think I will be enjoying it for some time.

Overall Rating

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