Sunday, December 28, 2008

Review: "Final Fantasy: Dissidia" (JPN)

I've always been a person who likes to grind in single player games (but never gets it done ^^;). When I first heard of FF:Dissidia, I thought it would just be another crap game that's trying out a new mechanic that wouldn't be enjoyable. Games from series tend to be like that if that branch off from a genre that they originate from.

So I decided to just give it a shot, since putting all the FF series together in one game has been a childhood wet dream of mine. KH didn't really do it for me (only FFVII and up) but it's still a good game that made me a little happy, but a little sad since I can't use any of the FF characters.

So enter FF:Dissidia into my PSP. I wasn't expecting much, but I was quickly hooked once I figured out how the battle system works and slowly the ability to customize each and every character. Of course, I mentioned I liked to grind and so yeah, there are actually levels and AP in this game. For those unfamiliar with what AP is, it's basically points used to master a skill equipped by your character.

The game mechanics are relatively simple once you start noticing the numbers popping up on the battlefield. Each character have two main stats on the field, mainly Brave and HP. Brave Points are those big numbers on top of your HP bar at the bottom of the screen. Exactly HP numbers are located in a small font at the bottom of the HP bar.

Just like there are two main stats, each and every character in the game have two main attacks, namely HP attack and Brave attack, with HP attack being the square button and Brave attack being the circle button. Like what it means, Brave attack attacks the opponent's Brave and HP attack attacks the opponent's HP. However, Brave attacks also increases your own brave points, so to simplify everything, Brave attacks essentially absorbs opponent's Brave points and place it into your own Brave points.

Finally, to make sense out of both attacks, your HP attack damage is exactly the same as your brave points. After you execute and hit (keyword is HIT), your brave points will drop to 0 and slowly regen to your base Brave Points.

"Breaking" is a mechanic whereby if you are being hit and your brave points goes below 0, you will enter a "Break" status. Before that happens, your opponent will be rewarded with brave points equal to the number right at the bottom center of the screen between both your hp bars. How this number is generated is still beyond me (the japanese might know already tho -.-). In a "Break" status, you will slowly begin to regen to your base Brave before everything if normal again. In this mode, if you hit with your HP attack, you will completely restore you from the Break status, but you will do 0 damage.

Here's a brief image overview using my inferior photoshop skills:

There are more mechanics in the game but these are the basics that will get everyone started with the game.

Now we come to characters. Every FF from FF1 to FF10 have their main character and villain in the game based on jap translation and what I already know:

FF1 - Warrior of Light
FF2 - Firion
FF3 - Onion Knight
FF4 - Cecil
FF5 - Bartz
FF6 - Terra/Tina
FF7 - Cloud
FF8 - Squall
FF9 - Zidane
FFX - Tidus

FF1 - Garland
FF2 - The Emperor
FF3 - Cloud of Darkness
FF4 - Golbrez
FF5 - Exdeath
FF6 - Kefka
FF7 - Sephiroth
FF8 - Ultimecia
FF9 - Kuja
FFX - Jecht

Also to note, there is a 'hero' from FFXI named Shantoto (a Tarutaru race character) and a villain from FFXII named Gabranth.

This game also features online play (duh). Although you can handicap your level to match your opponent, the skills you unlocked for that character will still be available.

FF:Dissidia is also aware of the time and date set in your PSP. There are events generated onto some dates where you will get special bonus (like EXP modifier) for the entire day. This is perhaps to encourage people to play the game at certain dates.

I find it nice to listen to battle themes I remember from all the FFs, espacially the FFIII boss fight and FFV Gilgamesh battle theme. Most of the themes are recreated for the game, and some are reused from previous concerts (FFVII's One Wing Angel theme was reused from the FF Orchestra that happened a couple of years back)

From a spectator point of view, the fights looks like the scenes from recent FF games and movies (Crisis Core and Advent Children); alot of flying, hits and stuff like that.

Overally I think it's a surprisingly great game. Too bad it's in japanese. Alot of things I don't know or couldn't be bothered to translate, but if you are a hardcore FF fan, this game is highly recommended =)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas everyone!

Congrats to all my friends who just POP'ed, good luck to those who just entered BMT, wish all the best for my CDO friends to survive in unit.

Also, congrats to Boonkin for entering OCS. There's no turning back now :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Review: "Tales of Vesperia"

There's nothing much to gripe about this game really. While I was thinking that JRPGs are on a decline (or rather, a dead genre), I decided to borrow this game from John. Tales of Vesperia is probably the epitome of today's JRPGs. Since 1997's FFVII, there hasn't been many JRPGs that can bring a story that captivates the player. Many remember the legendary JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, Suikoden II, FF4, 6, 7,Tales of Eternia, Tales of Destiny. At first I thought it was perhaps nostalgia, but Tales of Vesperia proved me wrong.

Packaged with the cleanest cell-shading graphics I've ever seen, very memorable characters (playable and non-playable alike), a polished combat system (haven't played Tales of Abyss to compare but anyway), the Tales series have come a long way with Namco. Many JRPGs just focus on graphics and end up having really shitty story (*cough*Lost Odyssey*cough*). Some even have main characters that you don't even feel like playing. I know that most game developers love to do something new, but sometimes, they don't have to go overboard and try a new unexperienced model that has a high chance of rejection. Instead they can just revise a working formula.

As for Tales of Vesperia, Yuri is one of the best, if not the best, main character I have ever played. He has done some unexpected things that makes him so awesome. Not only that, Yuri has managed to stay in his character from the start to the finish. What I mean by that? I meant Yuri at the ending is the same Yuri I know that the beginning, with only a few changes. One bad example is FFVIII's Squall. I don't know wtf happened to him at Disc 3 where he suddenly turned mushy. Players don't like drastic change in character without a good proper reason.

For once, random encounters are actually fun. I remembered clear falling asleep while playing Tales of Legendia. I mean, I can actually do combos. Fatal Strike is just too fun to activate to me.

The plot, like all Tales games, is to save the world. Of course, one can't judge an RPG by its ultimate goal, but by its route towards that goal. ToV has it's fair share of plot twists...a couple of them that makes you squeal and go wtf (in a good way). I don't think I have ever seen that in any JRPG (maybe when Crono died in Chrono Trigger).

The bottom line is: All JRPG developers should take a look at ToV and try to understand why it is hailed by some as the best Tales game ever made, and possibly, imho, one of the best JRPGs ever created. JRPG writers (espacially you Suckaguchi) should learn that it is mostly the memorable characters that makes a RPG so great. Rethink back into past JRPGs. Sephiroth, Luca Blight, Kefka, Magus, Frog, Kain, Delita, Gafgarion, Fei, Citan, Grahf. Those are JRPG characters of the past. Nowadays we have wat...Seymour? Gangora? C'mon please...

I don't think I can think of enough praise for this game. I'll even consider giving it a 10/10, but it has lousy villains. It's kinda weird actually...that you play through 3/4 into game and only just discovered who the sub-villain is.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Feed the boredom

Stole this from ZH's blog:

1) Where is the person you want most?
Right now? Probably working in TTSH.

2) Where will you be 2 hours from now?
Hopefully getting a nice sleep

3) Did your last kiss mean anything?
What kiss?

4) Does your ex miss you?
What ex.

5) Does anyone love you?
I bet you do <3

6) What are you doing tomorrow?
Try to make time move slower...again.

7) Are you easily confused?
At a great many things, yes.

8) Do you think you would make a good boyfriend/girlfriend?
I'll probably be a really good one when games really start to suck.

9) Where were you at 9am this morning?
Sleep :p

10) Do you fall for people easily?
Too easily than I could handle.

11) Everything happens for a reason?
Correction: Good things happen for a reason.

12) What does your last text message read?

13) What are you listening to right now?
MAZINKAISER ~Shitou! Ankoku Daishogun~ IN - Majin Kenzan!!

14) How was the week so far?
Awesome, but if will eventually end =/

15) Is there something you wish you could tell someone but can't?
Like 100 ways of describing how much life sucks?

16) Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?
Again with kisses.

17) Do you sleep with the TV on?

18) Are you too forgiving?
You are making me hate myself again.

19) Have you ever wanted to be a fire fighter?
That would be cool.

20) Who do you miss?
Mostly my younger self.

21) What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Lotus Soup.

22) What are you stressed out about?
National Service.

23) Do you have anything in your pockets right now?

24) What do you do mostly in your free time?
Just thinking about it makes me stressed.

25) In the past week have you gotten sick?
Hahaha yeah man =D

26)Who was your last call from?
Missed call = Heber
Received call = my coy's armskoteman

27) What can't you wait for?
To down PES.

28) On a scale of 1-10 How good is life?
As long as I cannot decide what to do in the future, probably a 3. Could be alot worse.

29) Are you a high-maintenance?
After comparing with some people, I would say no...

30) Are you happy with the way life is?
No. And there are too many reasons why.