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Archives for : Pat’s

Hangin in Ivalice

So, I have begun my quest into Ivalice. While I haven’t played FFXII all the way through before, hell hardly at all as I am now realizing, I am very familiar with Ivalice. I absolutely loved FF Tactics Advance and Advance 2 both of which take place in the Ivalice world. In fact, I think Ivalice may be the most used and fleshed out world in Final Fantasy history.

The first thing I notice about Final Fantasy XII is the complete change to the way the world works. Gone are the days of a solid path forward for most of the game. This world is fairly wide open from the word go. Granted you can only do so much based on the power of your character, but there are three different deserts to explore and Hunts to keep you busy as well. You can definitely feel the fact that this was developed along side the FFXI MMORPG.

Not only has the world change, but combat has as well. Gone is the traditional monsters on the left, heroes on the right and a pop up menu when it’s your turn. Now we have real time battling, Gambits, and menus on command only. This change is nice. I loved the straight turn-based combat for the older titles, but this new real time battling is fun.

I think the most glaring new thing that screams MMO to me, is the fact that you don’t farm Gil from monsters. You farm loot. Loot that you then sell to merchants and can sometimes open the ability to buy a bazaar item that gives you a good deal on some items. It is very different that you look at your bank account to see next to no Gil until you stop at a merchant to clear out the junk. Thank goodness we don’t have to deal with full bags in this game.

I will cover the story more next time, but for now I will say that the story is compelling and the characters rich and developing nicely. I look forward to finishing this game for the first time!

Sin Sent to the Farplane

BLITZOFF!!!!!!!

Oh my gosh….so much Blitzball. It has been so long since I played FFX the last time so I had forgotten just how many games of Blitzball I needed to play to get Wakka’a Celestial Weapon fully powered. I think I ended with a record of 49-2-4. It was crazy just how lopsided the games became once Tidus and Brother hit level 8 or so. It just became too easy and pretty tedious.

Speaking of tedious…dodging 200 lightning bolts in a ROW? What sadist came up with these tasks you need to complete in order to get the ultimate weapons for each character. The easiest being collecting monsters for the Calm Lands Arena, the hardest being a tie between every other task.

As I talked in my previous post, FFX is definitely pretty linear for the vast majority of the game. It is a straight line from Besaid to Zanarkand without much branching off until you have the airship. Once you do have the airship, you are able to traverse the world to get the best weapons, and the world opens up a bit. However, once you make the leap to finish the quest, you are right back on the rails on the path to Sin.

I enjoy the story that FFX tells and for most of the game, there is a decent challenge to the combat. However, once you acquire the Celestial Weapons and begin the trek inside Sin, the amount of AP (FFX’s version of XP used to move around the Sphere Grid) is so large that you are able to level up your stats to a degree that the game becomes trivial. Honestly, I was able to beat Seymour, Sin, and the Aeons with one or two turns using Yuna and Lulu casting Ultima and/or Holy. Each was hitting for 40-50k damage each cast.

I will say that I love the Sphere Grid leveling system. It is done in a great way that you can take the time to customize every character to at least some degree assuming you are willing to take the time to grind out the Lock Spheres you need to really take advantage of it.

Final fantasy X is still a great game and I enjoyed playing through the game once again. Tidus and Yuna’s relationship adds a great subtext to the story, even if Tidus is such a big crybaby…

Now for the real fun. FFXII and FFXIII are two games that I have never finished before. These will both be pretty cool to finally play through!

X Marks the Spot

So I was 20 years old when Final Fantasy X came out, and it was at a time when all hell was breaking loose in my life. It was also the last game in the series I had played all the way through. After this one, I have not experienced the entire story of any of the games in the series.

I am touching base at this point for a very specific reason though. For a few years, all I have heard about is FFXIII is how linear it is. How all you do is follow one path with just a few branches off here and there for treasure chests……I had forgotten that FFX was VERY similar.

FFX has Blitz Ball which is a nice distraction, but honestly there is not much divergence from the prescribed path. Now granted part of that is because this game is built around a pilgrimage that Yuna must undertake, but it is still a pretty linear game.

Honestly, this does not diminish my enjoyment of the game so far but the parallels just struck me and I wanted to write it down!

P.S. I just rolled into the Travel Agency in Macalania.

9 Down, 4 (or more) to go!

Well, another one down in my quest to re-play(or in a couple cases play for the first time) all of the main line Final Fantasy games. This time it was Final Fantasy IX, one of my top 3 games FF games.

As I played through this one, I posted a couple updates. I enjoyed playing through this one, and find it so interesting how much of the story I had forgotten. Especially the ending. I also found one screen of text to be rather funny in the lead up to the final battle:

Obviously the team at Square USA was channeling their inner Yoda when writing this bit. 🙂  I also enjoyed the little Aloha armor set in-joke the Honolulu, Hawaii based development team built in. Overall, this game has a great tone and fun story.

While VII had some great side quests, I think IX really made the side quests shine. The Chocobo Hot & Cold and subsequent Chocograph hunt games were an obsession of mine for a few reasons, not the least of which being it was a way to get like 4 of the best weapons in the game. Tetra Master, the in-game card game, was also more fun than most other iterations of the card games Square has tried to put together.

The characters of FFIX are really where the game finds its groove. I absolutely love the development of every character. None of the characters are the same at the end of the game as they are at the beginning. They also aren’t abruptly different. You see the changes as the story progresses.

The story is nice, except for the very end…I feel like the ending was ruined by the random extra boss at the end (Necron). There was just no point. Nothing about this creature had been even intimated before he shows up after defeating Kuja. There are few things I dislike in games more than developers making them artificially longer (See: LoZ-Spirit Tracks) and this final fight just felt like they decided the final battle wasn’t long enough.

Overall, I still love this game and enjoyed the hell out of playing it again. So much so, that I kept a save just before heading into the final dungeon so I could go back and build up my favored party(Zidane, Steiner, Vivi, Dagger) and go back to tackle the optional boss Ozma, whom I have never beaten before. Onward to your favorite whiny bitch and mine…..TIDUS and FFX!

The Eidolon and on and on and on

So even though our latest podcast episode posted early, I still felt our friends deserved some new content this Sunday! So here is a quick update on the Final Fantasy quest I am on that has taken so very, very, very long.

I am about half way through disc 3 of 4 on FF9. Even though this is one of my favorites in the series I forgot just how far along in the game it is before I get an airship. It seems further along than any of the others and is starting to get just a bit annoying. Although, my lack of transportation and desire to get all over the world has forced me to put more effort into my Chocograph hunting so as to upgrade my Chocobo.

To be honest, I think the Chocographs and Stellazio are two of my favorite components of the game. I love the story and characters, especially after the flat cast of FF8, but I think a good portion of my love for this game comes from the fact that it has legitimate side quests. Finding the Chocobo Gardens and then playing the Hot & Cold mini game to discover the Chocographs is addicting to me.

I also continue to love Vivi and all that he is. Still one of the top five characters in the whole series. His innocence and his very palpable fear of “stopping” make him so easy to relate to that I feel incomplete when he isn’t in my party. I feel like playing this as an adult is giving me such a more well rounded experience in this game and I am glad I am doing it!

Stay tuned for another update, hopefully soon although Pokemon Sun has gobbled up a bit of my time lately. For some unknown reason I decided to shiny hunt my starter and after at least a hundred soft resets…..still no luck.

Just a Little (300 Quest) Interlude

For those that don’t know me, I have a tendency to get distracted and lose a game for some time…hence why this project has taken so damn long. This time, it is all the fault of my DS.

My Zelda edition NEW 3DS XL usually sits right next to me as I work on the couch or in the chair at home. Usually I will pick it up from time to time and maybe snag a couple new Pokemon in one of the 4 Pokemon games I own (I really need to invest in the Vault). This time however, I reached back in the archives to grab one of the games I have owned for a LONG time but never completed; Final Fantasy Tactics A2. I have been a big fan of the Tactics series but never finished the game because….side quests.

As always happens with Elder Scrolls games, I got mired down in side quests and never finished the main story. So one I picked it up again, I figured it was time I finally put FFTA2 to bed once and for all. A feat I am proud to say I finally have accomplished. Not only have I completed the main quest, but the side quests are all done too.

I love the job system they use in the Tactics series and am always trying to master all the jobs, and to build out a better character as each job gives different bonuses to stats. The only downside is the limited skills that many of the jobs have. You really have to make sure to set the correct abilities that compliment your current job.

The law system is frustrating to say the least. The bonus gear and items are awesome quite often, but sometimes the laws are almost impossible to uphold, especially later in the game if you didn’t unlock a quest chain at the right time and the law forbids harming lower level units….

Alright, that is enough of the interlude time to get back into FF9! Back soon folks!

Nine is so very fine!

So it has been a while since I posted an update and I didn’t want folks to think the project had fallen by the way side….AGAIN. It has not. I am just not making as quick of progress on IX as I did on VIII.

I am through the first disc (of four) and have already begun to remember why I love this game so very much. The characters are rich and well developed from pretty much the word go. Vivi is arguably the best character in the entire series.

In addition to the wonderful characters, the story has a great pace. Early on you don’t have much customization fr your party because there are so many different story lines happening at the same time. The Active Time Events enrich those storylines by adding details in about characters that are off screen from the main party through out the game. The biggest advantage of them is that you don’t HAVE to watch them if you don’t want to; but who wouldn’t want MORE story? 🙂

As my summer winds down and my schedule normalizes once again I will be able to dedicate more time to playing again, but I felt an update was warranted!

Ripping off the bandage…

OK, so this was a much shorter time in between posts than it has been in some time. The majority of that reason is reflected in the title of this post…I was ripping off the band-aid. For those that don’t know, I HATE THIS GAME. I think only 2 and MAYBE 5 rank lower on my list than 8. So much so, that I have never once finished this game. I believe the only time I played it I stopped after I got the Ragnarok. Let’s dive in.

The biggest thing that drives me nuts in this game is the cast. Squall is quite possibly the worst character in any RPG…ever. The forced love story between he and Rinoa (who is annoying as all hell) is just something that I can’t enjoy. The ironic part is though, the main cast may suck but the temporary characters are mostly awesome. Ward, Laguna, Seifer, Edea are all brilliant. If they were the main cast this game might rank a lot higher.

The draw/junction system is crap. So much so that the Steam version includes a mechanic to load you with a bunch of spells all stocked to 100 without any effort. (Thank goodness for that or I may not have finished this game again…) It makes this game pretty much a button masher. You summon one GF (Doomtrain) or cast meltdown then just spam attack. Casting magic actually is DETRIMENTAL to your stats. HP low? Cast Cuaraga…wait, didn’t I have more max HP before?

The big bad, Ultimecia, is one of the worst villains in all of the FF games. She is nearly as whiny as Squall and jumps from body to body like it is Tale of the Body Snatchers. The final battle? Fugetaboutit. I did not realize the last battle had randomized characters in it. Thankfully my bad ass crew got selected on the second try and I lucked out on a few Limits to make this fight much easier.

OK, enough whining. I am starting to sound like Squall. Onwards and upwards to one of the most underrated games in the series. FFIX and Vivi here I come!

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The Planet is Saved!

Wow…remember when I was going to do that thing? The one where I replayed every Final Fantasy game? Yeah, I am still trying to do that…

My biggest problem has not only been a lack of time, but FF VII is SOOOOOOO good. I probably could have beaten Sephiroth months ago, but I wanted a Gold Chocobo….and all the Huge Materia….and all the Final Limits….and….and….

One of the things that makes VII such a good game is all the little things you can do. Two of the characters are completely optional, the Gold Saucer…optional, a bunch of materia…optional. SO MUCH TO DO!

I really loved replaying this and look forward to the day the remake hits the shelves, but until that time…on to FFVIII!

ff7_end

If you are still reading….here is my secret shame. I have never finished FF8…

How the…

The next chapter in this adventure has begun, Final Fantasy VII. This is a game that, as much as I love it, I have only played through it about 3 times at most. So few times in fact, I recently realized something that I had never noticed before.

As I got to Kalm and experienced Cloud’s flashback, it hit me. How in the world does Tifa not look at Cloud and say “You weren’t there with Sephiroth…that was Zack!”? The FF7 storyline has always been a bit confusing to me, even AFTER Crisis Core and now I am even more confused.

I could maybe understand her not saying it right there in front of every one, but why isn’t it addressed as a side bar immediately after? I just don’t get it….

Other than that, I am off to continue getting Limit Breaks/leveling for Aerith before the event, because you aren’t really playing FF7 if you don’t get her final Limit…