My vote goes to the Hatsune Miku quicklook. Jeff's commentary and reactions were too good.
C2C's forum posts
Big wall of text is hidden under a spoiler to make navigating this thread a bit more manageable. Surprisingly I don't actually spoil anything too big storywise. The tl;dr version: I really liked FF13, but it's an aright game, the battle system has pros and cons.
@tamriilin: A couple of comments on the blog itself before I actually discuss it with you. I am a little confused as to why you split the article into three different blogs. While I can see trying to focus on one topic at a time, people tend to want to discuss the entirety of FF13 about whether it is bad or not. The title is also misleading, you didn't actually compare FF13 with any other FF. Other than that, the writing itself was pretty good.
Now I am coming as a person who really enjoyed the game, but I would say that FF13 is an aright game. Not bad, not good, but aright (if I were to place an arbitrary rating it would be a 6/10). Again I really liked it, but would not consider it a good game.
Now you omitted something really big in the blog, and that is auto-battle. We can talk all day about the actions each character can take, but as a player I don't need to actually need to care when the auto battle does that for me. There is the counter argument that auto battle does not provide the optimal actions sometimes. True, but auto-battle consistently delivers pretty good results most of the time, and I found the choices it made were going to be the choices I was going to make. So when auto-pilot gives me pretty good results, I am incentivized to just mash auto and focus on paradigm shifts. I personally didn't mind this (since I liked to optimize), but I can definitely see the argument that the auto battle command pushes towards play that is tedious and dull.
I have not heard of any serious criticisms about the chain gauge, so I think both you and me can agree that it is well implemented system in the game. I however disagree that the roles in FF13 are analogous to normal FF classes. Sure we can equate Medic to a White Mage, but that ignores that White mages can typically also cast stuff like shell, barrier, and holy. There was bit of give and take between the classic FF mages which made it more than, "you want buffs, get the buff class!" There was an opportunity to implement the normal FF classes in FF13 to make the teams more customizable and the strategy in choosng roles more nuanced. Class changing on the fly isn't even a new idea for the series, FF X-2 did it pretty successfully. I personally still enjoyed my time with the system since it was very fast, but I would trade that speed for a more nuanced class system any day.
Another thing the blog doesn't mention is that you are limited to two party members throughout the majority of the story. For a game that has dynamic role switching as a selling point, I felt very restricted for a good bulk of the story. While I can understand easing you into the system for a bit, I felt that went on for a bit too long and kinda added to FF13's other pacing problems. I might be remembering incorrectly, but I think Brad mentioned on a podcast that the game was still in tutorial mode like 20 hours into a game, which I fully agree with. As it relates to the battle section (this is more of a problem with character progression), I felt restricted in what I could do for too long for the sake of story and the sake modern game tutorial design.
You mention the "par time" battle rankings in the game. The problem with the ranking system is that the game didn't go far enough with rewarding to the player. Getting five stars is fairly meaningless aside from the rewards it gets you. Sure I get bummed out if I get like one star, but it doesn't matter in the end. Getting five stars gets me items and weapons. Cool! Except the items and weapons in FF13 are in some pretty obtuse systems, and generally are not needed to beat the main story. I would go into more detail, but I'll save that for the character progression blog. The point is that getting a higher ranking doesn't really mean much in FF13. I personally didn't care for rankings after a while.
Looking over this now it sounds like I am oddly critical for a person who likes the game. Again, I really liked the speed of the battle system, and I went out of my way to optimize the actions each character took. But this battle system is not for everyone. This battle system isn't Square on their A-game. I had my fun with the battle-system, but I can't recommend it to people without qualifying it to them.
@jams: Thank you, I was not following the Zimmerman case too closely and this helps. Before the jury started deliberating my money was on Zimmerman going free with an equal chance of manslaughter. This is mainly because prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman essentially knew he was likely to kill Martin (this is a generalization given how wonky FA defines 2nd Degree Murder). I simply didn't think the evidence was there to convince a jury that Zimmerman had the intent to kill during whatever happened that day.
Now for the Manslaughter charge, it really did boil down whether or not the jury bought Zimmerman's self defense claim. Here, Zimmerman had to show by preponderance of the evidence that he acted in reasonable self defense. As there was evidence for both sides of the story, this really comes down to who the jury was and how deliberations for them went.
Now even though Zimmerman is not found guilty for these charges, he is by no means a free man. The media and certain social circles have essentially marked him as a murderer. He will need to watch his back from this point forward. The crowd reaction shows that Zimmerman will likely be in a constant state of paranoia in case somebody disregards the law, and takes what they believe is justice into their own hands.