GrantHeaslip's forum posts

#1 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1626 posts) -

@flstyle said:

@nictel: What is wrong with you? Why resurrect a 2-year old thread just to post some sarcastic nonsense?

It wasn't him! Some spammer inexplicably necroed the thread (I still have the notification), the spam was deleted, and the thread remained bumped.

#2 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1626 posts) -

I find trying to have these discussions in the abstract to be fairly unproductive (or at least boring for me), so I'm going to focus on FFXIV, which I've been putting a bunch of time into recently.

In FFXIV, it seems almost impossible to make an unattractive character, but it gives you several race options that each represent a different style of attractiveness (at least within Japanese aesthetics). You can make a buff dude or lady, a chibi(ish) girl, a pretty boy, a pretty elf boy, a tall and intimidating lady, a hot cat lady, etc. Anecdotally, it sounds like many women and gay dudes (perhaps even moreso than straight dudes) are quite satisfied with the looks of many of the races.

It's also worth noting that many of the main story characters are way outside of the typical focus-tested mold. Two of the three city state leaders are women, and one of them isn't particularly conventionally attractive (yes, there's cleavage, but you know what I'm saying). One of the most important story characters is a Bishonen elf. The head of the group a lot of the story revolves around (at least where I'm at) is a little on-the-nose in terms of attractiveness, but she's also a total badass and extremely competent.

I can only speak for myself, but many of the characters in FFXIV are very clearly attractive to someone without being attractive to me, and I think that's cool. It's a world full of pretty boys that I know aren't meant to pander to my tastes. I'm a straight white cis privileged dude, and in all honesty, I find a lot of men and women in video games unattractive, and I don't recall ever feeling like video games owed me anything. I don't like playing a buff dude, and I don't have compulsion to bulk up in real life. I don't like the look of big-breasted female characters, and I'm not attracted to that in real life. I created my female character in large part because the Hyur Midlander female was the closest to the general body type and aesthetic I was going for. I remember being disappointed with the character creator not because the booty slider didn't go further, but instead because the short female hairstyles were extremely limited.

I don't have any particular point I'm trying to drive home here -- I just think many of these discussions don't account for my personal experience all that well. Individual people have individual notions of what's aesthetically pleasing, and it's been my experience that those notions bleed across gender and sexual orientation lines. I think Lightning is the coolest-looking Final Fantasy character, and the only people I know in real life that agree with me about that are women. When I see stuff like the oft-linked Batman webcomic, I can't help but roll my eyes at the way so much of the discussion around these issues presumes that "male power fantasy" or female notions of attractiveness are universal. At best, the Nathan Drake school of character design is attractive to the largest possible plurality of the Western market (which makes sense, because AAA video games are a mass-market, profit-driven enterprise). I don't have this all figured out and organized into a neat little system, and I wish others would stop pretending that they do.

(If there's another take-away here, it's perhaps that Japanese character designs are more diverse in their appeal -- an idea that's at odds with a lot of the commentary in the Western games media.)

#3 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1626 posts) -

@seikenfreak said:

Great stuff. Sounds like you are getting a good mental grip on MMOs and what makes them unique and addicting. The social aspect, long climb, and prolonged relevancy make it feel very rewarding, a feeling I find hard to get from single-player RPGs after getting deep into FF11 many years ago. They feel like micro throw-away experiences compared to the longevity of an MMO.

FF14 continues to be a superb experience that not enough people are paying attention to IMO. Super excited for 2.5.

Might have asked you on last post but what server are you on?

Your description is pretty much what I see (at least theoretically) in MMOs. Even if FFXIV doesn't get much attention on mainstream gaming sites, it does sound like it's doing pretty well numbers-wise.

I'm on Ultros, with the GB Free Company.

@grantheaslip: So few things!

  • Glad you are enjoying yourself for the most part.
  • When you get to the last few story dungeons if you want to watch cut-scenes you'll want to go with members from the Free Company. The duty finder is filled with people who want to steam roll the last two 8 man story dungeons for daily roulette purposes and won't stop to allow people to watch cut-scenes or yell at you if you do.
  • I take it you're a white mage judging by your anecdote of raising someone mid-battle? You're going to want to get Swiftcast ASAP. Its a Thurmaturge skill gotten at level 26 but its insanely valuable for healers as you can instantly raise someone.
  • I'll gladly help you if I'm around with anything. :)

Amarysse and several others on the FC made the same suggestion/offer WRT to the story dungeons -- I'll be taking advantage of it.

Yeah, I'm a WHM. I know about Switftcast but I've kept on putting it off. I'm pretty much resigned to levelling up THM before I run any more dungeons.

People in the FC have been very supportive -- I've been mostly doing my own thing while levelling, but I'll be getting more active once I'm somewhat caught up.

@marokai said:

The PS4 version addresses both of those issues, and I’ve stuck with my mouse and keyboard since upgrading. FFXIV’s gamepad controls are about as good as they could possibly be, but the nature and complexity of MMOs is such that the flexibility of the keyboard and mouse make me feel significantly more capable and nimble. I can target quicker and more consistently, assign important spells to the keys immediately surrounding WASD, type messages in the midst of battle, and navigate menus (particularly multiple simultaneously-opened menus) much more gracefully.

It's funny to hear this, because I'm pretty much doing the opposite; I grabbed the PC version and am stubbornly sticking to gamepad controls. I've spent hundreds of hours using a controller in this game and just simply can't un-learn how to play the game with it after so much time on the Ps3. Each time I've tried using mouse and keyboard controls I've felt so much slower, which is odd considering as a Scholar I also have the fairy to tote around, but I just can't bring myself to play any other way.

It’s my impression that MMO design essentially requires a large degree of filler – if they were streamlined the way most contemporary single-player games are streamlined, people wouldn’t stick around, and achievements wouldn’t feel weighty. I’m starting to catch glimpses of the various currencies, reputation meters, and timers governing access to end-game gear, and while I’m not yet sure if they’ll be enough to keep me hooked, I do think I understand the design motivations behind them.

Upgrading your Relic will break you, because it broke me just by looking at a list of requirements. Getting the Relic was actually really fun, and upgrading to ilvl 90 took no time at all, but after that the bullshit starts, where you have to start farming for items from (literally) a dozen different zones by doing FATEs and just hoping the item you need drops. It can take hours per item, and that's probably the easier part compared to what comes after. I'm getting my weapon to ilvl 100 and saying "fuck it" to the rest. I have more important things to focus on in that game.

I quickly threw Regen on the tank, crossed my fingers, and cast an 8-second (an eternity in the context of a boss fight), MP-expensive Raise on him.

Duder, level up THM to 26 for Swiftcast, I can't recommend it enough. I don't know how I would get along without it at this point. (also, neener neener, Scholars rarely ever run out of MP)

If the PS4 version had carried forward my UI customizations, crossbar, gear sets, etc., I might not have considered trying out the PC controls. Upon upgrading, everything was so foreign and disorganized that I figured I might as well try some different controls while I was at it.

Yeah, some of the later-game stuff sounds kind of nuts. I don't want to go in too pre-jaded about it, but we'll see.

Running out of MP is the the worst. My Brayflox run (pre-Shroud of Saints and Regen) was frustrating as hell because the tank repeatedly pulled multiple groups of mobs when my MP was nowhere near recovered. He was melting so fast (undergeared?) that I had to spam Cure II on him most of the time, yet he had the audacity to tell me I was running out of MP because I was healing too much.

#4 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1626 posts) -

@sirfork said:

FFXIV really is a great game, probably the biggest surprise to me in awhile. Upgrading to the PS4 copy was also a great idea since I'm pretty sure they plan on dropping support for the PS3 version at some point. If you thought normal mode Garuda was fun wait until you see them ramped up to expert mode, it gets pretty crazy pretty fast ( expert titan comes to mind). Also you're about to hit 50 at great time since 2.5 comes out in a few days.

Oh, I’ve heard that later encounters make the stuff I’m doing now seem like child’s play. I will say that I found Brayflox significantly harder to heal than Stone Vigil because it came right before I unlocked Regen and Shroud of Saints, which are pretty vital WHM skills. I’ve also spent a bunch of the levelling process with underlevelled gear, which I assume is less of a problem in endgame stuff.

I do look forward to getting caught up enough that new patches and expansions are more relevant to me. I’ve looked at 2.5 and mostly thought “well, that’ll be cool when I get to it.” I might at least take advantage of the new female hair style.

#5 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1626 posts) -

Context and full disclosure: I think XIII > XIII-2 > Lightning Returns.

You touch on most of my issues with XIII-2. The combat balance in XIII-2 is fucked, and it's a shame because one of the best things about XIII was the fact that it was extremely well-balanced for an RPG. The Command Synergy system only works when the challenge is well-tuned -- XIII gave you strong incentives (sometimes in the form of "figure this out or you won't beat this boss" roadblocks) to have a strong battle plan, shift at the right times, use every role, and generally have to consider risk-reward. In XIII-2, I was constantly overleveled and ended up autopiloting my way though almost everything up to the final boss. It actually turned into the thing people wrongly accused XIII of being.

I was also bummed out by the huge step down in production values. I understand why XIII-2 feels low-rent in comparison to a ludicrously over-developed and high-budget game like XIII, but it still diminished the experience to see shamelessly re-used environments, MMO-style emote-filled cutscenes, and general production filler throughout. A big part of why I liked XIII was its insane level of polish and production.

I will say that XIII-2's soundtrack is one of my favourites -- I love the way it takes aspects of XIII's sound and applies a layer of raw synths and pop sensibilities. The battle theme and victory fanfare may actually be my favourite of any JRPG I've played, though I feel like they should have just stuck with the crossfaded dance mixes for battles rather than force you to seek out the soundtrack to hear them proper. I'm even on board with most of its goofier excesses. I'm not aware of a high-budget game soundtrack as daring and off-beat as XIII-2's. Anecdotally, it seems like a love-it-or-hate-it thing.

@marokai said:

If I had to use one word to describe Final Fantasy XIII-2 it would be reactionary.

Hey, great minds.

I think what primarily upset me about XIII-2 is how halfhearted so many of the new additions felt. There's dialogue choices in conversations, but they suck and don't feel like they belong there. There's quick time events.. for some reason. The monster collection system is neat but you don't really have to spend much time with it because nothing about the game demands it. There are for-realsies sidequests, but nearly all of them are thoughtless fetch quests. There's minigames now, but I remember being offended when the attendants told me the rest of them would be coming in DLC.

Yeah, that too. It felt like (and I'm sure the reality is more complicated) some dude in management read an in-flight magazine about western game trends and insisted that XIII-2 including them (and weird stuff like the Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed costumes) to appeal to western fans. Which is ludicrous, because XIII-2 both a sequel and Japanese as fuck.

#6 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1626 posts) -

@tuxfool said:

I'd really like Gravity Rush, If it wasn't on the PSVita. Just looking at that concept art you posted, it would be much more faithfully realized on something with more power.

I felt that the previous game was a bit rough, and definitely too brown.

I agree that it would probably be a better experience on the PS4 -- especially since the DS4 has the motion sensing capabilities to recreate Gravity Rush's surprisingly-compelling motion controls. I guess I'd just rather see the Vita get a major first-party, 3D, high-production-value action exclusive. I'm up for playing it anywhere though.

@aegon said:

Apparently the main theme by Sawano for Xenoblade X is already on youtube. Not sure when this was shown off. Sounds Space Dandy-ish in the beginning. [...]

Also another track with those vocals from the E3 2013 trailer.

Yeah, the stuff we've heard so far sounds great. It's interesting that they traded a composer with a signature melodic, string-heavy style (Yoko Shimomura) for a composer with a similarly-identifiable bombastic, vocal-heavy style (Hiroyuki Sawano). If I listened to that MP3 blind, I'd guess it was from Kill la Kill.

#7 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1626 posts) -

@slag said:

It's kinda funny that the old rep about Japanese games has really kind of returned (that they are more polished), although the mainstream press hasn't really acknowledged it. While Halo MC, Assassin's Creed, Driveclub etc came out on fire, Smash really only had minor hiccups

back in the day I'd never play western stuff, because it felt like there was super janky and liable to game breaking bugs. In retrospect it was because Japanese games often had additional time to polish before shipping to the US and of course Nintendo gave themselves preferential access to dev kits and whatnot.

I'd say for me personally the biggest Western release I'm looking forward to next year is Witcher 3

It seems to me that Japanese games are as polished as they've ever been, but a lot of Western games are shipping in states they wouldn't have shipped in a few years ago. The reliance on network services also seems to be a big factor -- I think Japanese developers largely know better than to release games that can't properly function offline or without huge day-one patches. I'd hope the last couple of years has been a cross-generational hiccup and/or learning experience -- I'd like to think things will get better, but I'm certainly not going to bank on it.

@yummylee said:

Final Fantasy Type 0 has begun to ping on my radar a little thanks to Theatrhythm: Curtain Call weirdly enough. It seems to have a pretty solid soundtrack with some awesome metal tunes in there. Again, kind of weird that it's taken a few songs from its soundtrack to grab my attention and leave me curious in learning more, but it was apparently enough :P My curiosity might be extinguished whence I learn more of what the game proper is... But for now the least I can say is I'm intrigued.

Man, I'm already starting to get kinda anxious over Phantom's Pain's release. Like you said, it's pretty clear that it's going to ruffle all the feathers, especially for the sorts of people that are just waiting for an excuse to get ruffled. That's not to say Phantom Pain couldn't possibly warrant any valid controversy, but still, I envision a fallout surrounding that game; talking like Mass Effect 3 levels here. OK, maybe not that high, but enough for it to potentially cut a pretty distinctive line in the sand between people who love or hate it. But then I guess it wouldn't be a MGS game without it :P

I recent got Curtain Call, and I'm simply ignoring games I plan on playing (namely, VIII, IX, XII, Tactics, and Type-0). I'm not sure if it'll eventually force me to play those songs to unlock stuff, but I don't want to "spoil" the music (and I definitely don't want to spoil the event scenes).

I have a feeling that the Phantom Pain fallout is going to be the worst yet. There wasn't really a moral angle to Mass Effect 3 -- the closest it came was Cortez, and I don't remember that causing much more than a few "look at these gamers complaining about a gay character!" articles. The vast majority of it was "look at these entitled gamers pressuring a developer to change their artistic vision!" For that matter, ME3 happened before "gamer" became a polarizing label, and before a lot of the loudest voices in the recent messes had sharpened their axes.

The Phantom Pain has pretty much all of the ingredients for a culture war shitshow. It's the epitome of a "gamer's game." It's being made by a Japanese developer with a history of "gross"/"problematic" content and sexual humour. The marketing has featured a lady in revealing clothing. The prequel had an extended audio log depicting rape. As an MGS game, it's going to strive at self-serious socio-political commentary in practically the same breath as juvenile (for better or worse) goofiness. All it's going to take is a single review that is perceived (rightly or wrongly, it doesn't matter) as punishing the game too much for the reviewer's politics to set off an ugly backlash, and then an ugly backlash to the backlash, and... well, we already know how that goes. Perhaps the most depressing part is how utterly predictable this is.

@marokai said:

Rise (a.k.a. The Best Persona 4 Girl)

I don't understand how people think this.

The right answer is obviously Naoto.

Anyway, I'm really eager to play Phantom Pain. I thought Ground Zeroes was okay, but it's the story of MGS that I'm most interested in and that game didn't provide much in that regard. At this point, though, I'm just worried that I'm going to be disappointed when Solid Snake isn't in the game. Because how cool would that be!?

I should say that I don't actually feel that strongly about almost any of the characters in P4 (except maybe Kanji, who's unfortunately not a girl) -- I like them much more as a cast than a series of individual characters. Yukiko never really sat well with me. I think Chie's fine, her social link was sort of disappointing, and her P4G voice actress' handling of her tender scenes really turned me off. Naoto's cool, but I thought her character arc was a little one-note, her Social Link uninteresting, and her actual interactions kind of predictable and stereotypical. I started off actively disliking aspects of Rise's personality, but she grew on me, and displayed more complexity and nuance I expected. I liked that despite seeming immature and flawed in some ways, she was surprisingly savvy and adaptable. I love how when you first meet her in the tofu shop, she's pulling off the uniform and unassuming customer service routine so well the team doesn't realize it's her. Through her arc, she realizes that she actually enjoys the entertainment industry despite the issues you're confronted with. She's really well-written and well-acted. I'm not saying I think she's far and away the Objective Best Girl, but she's my favourite.

As much as I think the people still developing David Hayter subterfuge narratives are setting themselves up for disappointment, a part of me is really loving the never-ending saga. Kojima's pulled enough shit in the past that you can almost picture Hayter pulling the longest of long cons in service of an amazing reveal.

I can dig this list, and if they all do come out in 2015, it'd be amazing.

I am most excited about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and then there is Persona 5. Beyond that, I -hope- the new Legend of Zelda, Xenoblade, and Final Fantasy XV come out in 2015.

I am crossing my fingers that Mario Maker is good, too. Just have a bad feeling about it. I wish there were some 3DS games I was looking forward to... That and PC are my main systems. Maybe there will be some indie surprises thrown in there, too.

(Can they please just announce a new 3DS Advance Wars and then release it the same day? heh)

There's no way Final Fantasy XV comes out in 2015. I really wanted to find a way to include it on this list, but all indications point to it being a 2016 game.

I'd also love a new Advance Wars. A part of me was disappointed to see Code Name: S.T.E.A.M because it meant they (probably) weren't working on Advance Wars. (I know complaining about a Nintendo studio making a new IP makes me part of the problem.)

#8 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1626 posts) -

@believer258 said:

Wait, I thought Persona 5 was a PS3 and PS4 exclusive?

False alarm, and fixed! I don’t know how I didn’t catch that.

#9 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1626 posts) -

That's a unique spin on the GOTY format. I don't know anything about rap, but I enjoyed the video game part.

#10 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1626 posts) -

I don't love it (I don't really love any of the MGS games), and I didn't like it as much as 3 or Peace Walker, but I did enjoy it. I don't know why this has to be a love/hate thing, and with all due respect to a certain staff member, I have a hard time figuring out how you could love 1 and hate 2 when they're quite similar games in a lot of ways (gameplay-wise, and to a lesser extent story/tone-wise).