Monday, November 30, 2009

Super Street Fighter IV

A trailer has come out showing 5 of the new fighters being added to Street Fighter 4. Super Street Fighter II characters D. Jay and T. Hawk round out the original Street Fighter II cast. A brand new character, Juri, is being introduced - filling the apparently long absent Taekwondo fighting style. From Street Fighter Alpha we get three fighters, Adon, Guy, and Cody. I'm not sure, but it sounds like there might be two available spots left open for other characters.

I gotta admit, I was planning on scooping this game up right when it came out. Since the original SF4 only came out about a year ago, we're at least getting a reduced price. BUT - hearing that two slots have been taken up by Guy and Cody (former Final Fight characters) - it just makes me grimace. I want Street Fighter characters - not Final Fight characters. Also, it really seems to annoy me how the character Cody is dressed up in prison garb - apparently a fate that befell him in the Final Fight series. That's great, being all continuity conscious - but it just looks odd next to all the regular SF characters. I didn't mind hin as much in the Alpha series - I had gotten SF Alpha 3, so I had access to three times the regular amount of characters - but for Super SF4, it just seems like a wasted space better filled by another character. I just don't know if I'm going to buy this game now.

That said, I will probably buy the next SF4 iteration. (SUPER Super Street Fighter 4, I suppose) The 3ed updated version is usually the final edition of a Street Fighter game, and it seems like I'd get more bang for my buck if I wait for that, when more and better characters are added.

Oh - and, let me leave you giving my two cents on who should be added to the series: Street Fighter 3 characters. I really don't care if SF4 takes place before the SF3 (in it's, *ahem* continuity) I don't care - I want characters like Ibuki and Makoto added to the SF4 series. Everyone else in Street Fighter history is getting added, so why not the SF3 cast?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Final Fantasy Tactics A2

I don't know why I skipped this game when it first came out. I loved the previous Final Fantasy Tactics games, but for some reason this game just slipped past me. Well, years later, I gain the benefit of reduced prices - and was able to buy this game for dirt cheap, only $18 at Gamestop. This was definitely a great purchase.

The game seems to have improved on a number of aspects on the Turn Based Tactical Strategy formula - improving the Judge System, give us more races to choose from, and a plethora of new Jobs to acquire and master. The plot line is cited as one of the game's biggest faults - but it makes up for it with even more gameplay and a deep and rewarding gaming experience. You can easily spend hours gaining experience for your squad, gaining territory - and making your Clan more famous. It all sounded a bit overwhelming to me at first, but it's surprisingly easy to get into.

Also, of note, are the lush graphics the game has. Final Fantasy are the masters of sprite based game design - and it really shines here, with interesting monsters and characters. All lushly animated - and enhanced by some very slick special effects when casting spells.

I'm not that far into the game yet - around Level 12 or so. I only just entered the phase where you gain territory for your Clan, and have finally been able to invite new characters into my Clan. This game is very fun and engaging - and not without challenge. I've run into quite a few Quests that ended in failure. It's challenging - but a good kind of challenge, giving you lots of fun gameplay.

Anyway, for anyone like me who didn't get this game when it came out - I'd highly recommend getting this game. It's ultra cheap now - and you get so much gameplay for your money.

Here's X-Play's Review of the Game (4 out of 5)

Here's Japanese Trailer of the game

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Free Final Fantasy XI Experience

I am a huge fan of RPGs (Role Playing Games) - and absolutely love the Final Fantasy series. That said, I am conversely not a fan of MMORPGs. (Massive Multiplayer Online RPGs) I just don't like the concept of continuing to pay for a game over time, and also dislike the idea that such a purchases would become useless after I'm unwilling to keep paying for it, or time moves on and the company no longer supports it. Like many Final Fantasy fans, I just skipped over FF11 - hating that it was even included in the numbered series. MMORPGs and me just don't get along.

So, anyway, that was my general opinion of MMORPGs at the time, and more or less still is - but I've become more willing to give these games a chance, especially when they are offering the game to me for free. I tried World of Warcraft on it's free trial period and found it fun, but ultimately found little reward in constantly leveling up. Now I'm trying Final Fantasy 11 - and I have to say I am enjoying the experience. Like the World of Warcraft there is also a lot of leveling up, but so far it feels like it still has a point to it. Perhaps that's just because it has the famous Final Fantasy logo, and instantly inspires more good will to it than other fictional MMORPG realms.

I thought I'd tell you about my experience so far trying this game out. For starters - this game is horribly hard to download and get into. I clicked on their website's Free Demo and went through and downloaded the all the instillation and software. I had to do it through my Safari Browser to get it working, but it all got downloaded to my computer. The PlayOnline screen came up and I happily went to register myself so I could play the game. First problem - during Registration it said it needed a Registration Code. I had not yet been given such a code, and it seemed (becuase of it's name) that I should perhaps get this code AFTER registering. But, nope, you absolutely need the Registration code to get in. So..... What Registration Code? I looked at their website, and found a link that said Registration Code - but it only was detailing information about people who bought the game and who where adding Expansions. I got quite frustrated with this, checking my email, my spam filter, everything - and not getting any answers about how I'm suppose to get the Registration code. You'd think you'd be directed to such an essential thing when downloading the demo - but, nope, you're left alone to figure it out. PlayOnline's FAQ wasn't much help either, and eventually I just had to email a request for help. Luckily, before they emailed back the next day, I found what I needed through a search on Google. Seriously - I needed to Google this darn Registration Code, even though I was combing through the actual website holding the code hostage! For anyone attempting to try the free demo, here's a link to the Registration Code. This really should be simpler.

Second problem - you have to download even more of the game, something like over 10000 files; it it took 10 hours to do this. It really must be the Final Fantasy logo, because I continued to trek along. I went to sleep and the next morning it was downloaded.

After that entire un-user friendly experience, I finally got logged it to Final Fantasy 11 and dove right into the game. I chose to be a male Elf, Red Mage. He pretty much looks like this.

I named my character Andolf and began my adventure! The graphics are quite nice, though a bit dated nowadays. My first mission in this game - learning the controls! This experience could not be any less user friendly. I got how to move the character with the mouse, and controlling the camera through the directional buttons. I wanted to look through the city, but for the life of me I could not find out how to access the Map. The introductory NPCs (Non Playable Characters) where absolutely no help, only suggesting I use my map, accessed from the main menu. What button do I press for the main menu? The letter M, or any other number or letter key, isn't it - as that's all used for text. I literally was attempting to find this button by pressing all the buttons - yet to no avail. I NEEDED HELP! Luckily I found another player catching fishes next to the bridge. I asked how you accessed the main menu. It's essentially on the Keypad on the far Right Side of the Keyboard - press the "-", for Minus Key, to display the main menu. Then I found myself unable to run, and again had to ask for help. Luckily the person explained that this dash button, "/" would fix this. This person was very helpful, and I simply would have been left there crying if not for them.

Now a master of my controls I set out on my adventure. As luck would have it, the next introductory NPC was much more helpful, explaining many of the elements of combat. I've reached Level 4 and have since bought myself a new hat. I plan on setting out north of the town to fight some stronger enemies.

Bottom Line
That's about all I've done so far. I gotta say, for my first day at this, I'm finding this game much more fun than I thought it would be. The combat is a little hard to get use to at first, but after killing a few Giant Wasps - I feel a tremendous amount of pride at being able to finally get into this game.

I'm probably not going to buy this game, but I can definitely see this being a very rewarding MMORPG experience. I'd definitely choose it over World of Warcraft. I have 13 more days to play this game - so I'm sure I'll have gotten my fill of it by then. This does redeem the concept of MMORPGs in my mind, though. I was able to successfully communicate with a person, kill a few wasps, and bought myself a hat. A very exciting day indeed!

Final Fantasy XIV
This makes me wonder about the next Final Fantasy MMORPG - which has already been selected as FF14. I know, again in the numbered series - Good grief! I think it's just so they can have another development team work on FF15 and have less of a gap between sequels. As far as the game it's self goes, perhaps I'll try the game's free demo too. Maybe it will be more user friendly. I can only hope.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Final Fantasy XIII Release Date and Developer Commentary

Final Fantasy 13 is a game I, like many other players, am highly anticipating it's upcoming release. North America finally got a firm release date of March 10th 2010. I at first thought it was going to be here for Christmas, but then heard January as a date - and now it's three whole months away. It will be worth it, though, from all indications.

Square-Enix released a video with developer's comments on the game. I was sort of disappointed with the announcer they had in the video - as he boldly proclaimed Final Fantasy 13 to be the most anticipated gaming experience of all time. Way to jinx the whole project, buddy. Plus, that makes Square look arrogant as heck. Yet - FF has the long standing tradition of meeting those lofty expectations. Let's hope they do well here too.