So far I've spent 30 hours this past week playing and leveling in Final Fantasy X, what I consider to be one of the greatest console games of all time. The graphics may be 10 years old, the turn based game play may be a bit tedious now, but in my opinion the game still holds up quite well. I'm currently situated in the Calm Lands, have the first 5 aeons, all of the Al Behd primers and won the Blitz tournament against the Luca Goers. I've been creating a Blitzball team before I start to play intensely in the league competition, leveling up. At the moment, my team I am building consists of:
RF - Linna; LF - Tidus; MF - Brother; LB - Ropp
I'm still carrying Jassu and Keepa in the team for the time being, but I am planning on grabbing Zev Ronso and Wedge from Luca when I can use the airship shortly (kicking myself I didn't pick them up for the team whilst I was still in Luca near the start of the game!)
Not a whole lot more to say right now. The story plays out fantastically and is among my favorites in gaming. I'm enjoying the toned down nature of the characters compared to the modern Final Fantasy J-POP character atrocities we are faced with today. I guess the passiveness of a lot of the characters is due to the ongoing and burdening threat of Sin on the world, but it works well towards a Western audience in my opinion. The characters aren't overly flamboyant. As soon as I can get back to Luca I will be playing an excessive amount of blitzball and will probably blog later on about that, as well as the rest of the game to come (there is about 10 more hours to the end of the game without blitzball, so I'm getting close :)
I've decided that in 2011 I'm going to be revisiting a lot of the PlayStation 2 titles that I remember fondly and blogging about my progress and thoughts of the games - basically just keeping a record of my gaming antics. There are a few key games that I'm looking to get through. For one, I'm wanting to do a fresh play through of Final Fantasy X, including blitzball and probably the ultimate weapons also. I may also play Final Fantasy X-2 (which I never finished) if I can bare to stomach it again. Another series that I've always been curious about is Zone of the Enders. I played a demo of the original game many years ago when I was still in junior high school and was impressed with what I saw, so I'll be trying to play Enders 1 & 2 definitely. I've also been keen to play some good old platformers lately, and that means the Ratchet & Clank and Jak & Daxter game series. I have fond memories of Jak 2: Renegade, but got close to the end of the game and never wrapped it up, so here's to fixing that! :) There will be a lot more titles on top of that, including games like DragonQuest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, Metal Gear Solid 3 (I may go back and play 2 in it's 'Substance' form, but I've never finished 3).
I'm mostly blogging about this as to keep a recollection of my gaming endeavors during this period, so that's basically what it is serving as.
I've started playing Final Fantasy IX, which was actually the very first Final Fantasy game I ever played, way back when it first came out. I think I might have been... 9 at the time? Anyways, I have fond memories of the portion of this game that I played. It is notable in my mind as for the next years into high school i had one goal. To learn Japanese and game design to work for Squaresoft (now of course, SquareEnix).
So basically I never got that far into the game. Close to the end of the first cd and that's about it. So far I'm about to reach the third cd, so I've covered significantly more content than that which I encountered my first time playing the game. I do of course intend to finish it this time!
I don't want to write a long review of the game so far or anything, just my general thoughts on the game and basically how I think its aged overtime in comparison to my thoughts of it when I was younger. The first thing that springs to mind is the dialogue, which I feel has aged terribly. It reminds me of a narrative I wrote for English in grade 6, which I loosely based on the feel of characters and worlds JRPGs. I mean, it sounds pretty cool in theory right? Though obviously if I read it now it would read rather childish. That's how I feel about this game. It's a real shame too, as I believe the story may have come across a lot stronger if the dialogue held up. It's hard to give a standout example as really it's the vibe of the entire game's dialogue that has made me feel this way so far. The only character really excusable would be Steiner, who is obviously meant to come across as awkward and is the game's comic relief. Anyways, the graphics in my opinion hold up extremely well. You can see a clear art style reflected in the characters despite the limits of the PlayStation's 3d technology, which I was actually surprised by and didn't remember it looking quite as good as it does. The FMVs too of course look very good, like VIII before it (VII's were a bit primitive, but from VIII on it seemed like Square got the hang of it). I don't want to comment too much on the story. It seems like there is a lot more to come across before everything will start to add up. The only games in the series I can think of that really differ and give you most of what you need to know up front are VII and X, so this isn't too surprising. One thing which I still agree with from my memories was how extremely text heavy the PS1 era final fantasy games were. It's a bit of a drag when none of it is spoken like in the entries directly after this game, though bearable. Overall I'm enjoying the game. I'm keen to complete it as it's something I've always wanted to do and am finally getting around to.
I'll probably post up my final thoughts on the game in a week or two, whenever I get around to finishing it. That's it for now.