ShadowMountain's forum posts

#1 Posted by ShadowMountain (231 posts) -

@hailinel: Excellent post Hailinel and some interesting discussions and opinions in the comment thread. Definitely a series with a lot of mixed feelings. I've recently finished Lightning Returns; this year in fact I played through all three games straight after the other. One of the reasons I did so is because I tend to only keep physical copies of games I really like. I was unsure of where the XIII series was heading after the first game so just kept going to know whether I should free up space on my shelves or keep them for memories. My thoughts:

XIII: I started off really liking the game (first 5-9 hours) probably because it was new and flashy but then battle after battle after battle....it started to drag.I didn't feel that the battle system, although amazing as an idea and concept (no micromanagement! Over-arching tactics!), was enough to sustain a game that was pretty much battles only. I didn't mind its linear structure, but I wish there was more interactivity with the battles if that was what the game was only going to be. Thankfully XIII-2 improved things by being more responsive, and LR improved things by eclipsing it all-together and improving on it in every way.

Regarding the story, I didn't mind it, but I thought that a lot of the character interactions were very unnatural (this is becoming a general criticism of mine with modern (read: voice acted!) Final Fantasy games). I'm not sure if this is just a 'japanese/anime' thing (not trying to offend here, hopefully I can get what I mean across) but Sazh felt like the only real human being. I actually like anime but when the characters start looking as realistic as they do in X and XIII then any unnatural character interactions and dialogue that no real person would say starts to become more noticeable and off-putting. I wouldn't mind this style of acting in a less tonally serious game but I feel that Final Fantasy is a series that would like to be taken seriously.

Now that I think about it, a Japanese series with realistic looking characters that does do character interaction and nuance really well is the Yakuza series; I wish Square-Enix would take a leaf out of their book and make it less 'anime' and more 'real' if they want to tell the stories they seem to try to be tell (apologies once again for using the word 'anime' as a negative - I actually do like it, hopefully you know what I'm trying to get across).

In terms of how the story was delivered outside the character acting: I won't go into the details of why the way it builds its world is bad from a technical standpoint, it should be obvious by now and many have already touched upon it (Pulse, Le Cie, Ceith! Pulse Le Cie! Lindzei! Pulse, Cocoon! Cocoon Le Cie! etc)

Back to the battle system, by the end I hated it and just wanted the game to end. Even the promise of ''it gets good at 20 hours" (i.e. Gran Pulse) didn't hold true for me since I was bored of battles by then and more battles in an open field rather than a corridor isn't any different. I rage-quitted MANY times (and I'm a calm person). A lot of it may have been my 'fault' through not having optimum Paradgims but...man I wish that game was a little easier. Too many enemies just took way to long to kill (F***ing Barthandalus!!!!).

When I did finish it though I just HAD to dive into XIII-2 for some reason. I did hear that they addressed the criticisms of the first game and desperately wanted to find out: was XIII series for me?

XIII-2: Same/similar battle-system? Nope! Not for me! Thankfully the game had a easy mode so I could just go along for the ride. After a few hours in I knew XIII-2 would be for me either.

Things I hated:

  • Mog. Why does this character exist! Annoying high-pitched voice, weird out of place look right next to real looking characters (don't care if he's a mascot or 'traditional'). I hate Mog.
  • Chocolina. Seriously wtf. Make up your mind Final Fantasy. Either go all the way crazy like Persona 4 or get serious like Yakuza. What you're doing now is just weird man...
  • Battle system. I was bored of it well before XIII-2, about halfway through XIII in fact.
  • Time travel. Can't take any fiction with time travel in it seriously...it just doesn't work.

Things I liked:

  • Sarah. She really became a 'character' in this game. I liked playing as her.
  • Noel. A good strong, male 'hero' lead, better than Snow in every way and more nuanced.
  • Caius. His logic was dumb, but man what a villan. Maybe it was having the same voice actor as Grimoire Weiss that did it for me....

Things I didn't mind:

  • The Story. Once I accepted that it would change drastically in direction from XIII and become utter nonsense I just accepted it and went along for the ride.

Lightning Returns: This is the best game in the XIII series and feels like the a proper mainline FF game. I honestly felt like saying 'Welcome back final fantasy, its been a long time since 12!' Ok, the plot at this point was nonsense but coming off of XIII-2 I just accepted that the XIII series won't have a solid internal and external logic. I did enjoy it but you won't find me going round upholding it as a seminal price of fiction, writing and characterisation.

Why do I think this was a the best game in the XIII series?

  • I played it for 9.5 hours on my first day with it. You know you're onto a good thing with a game when you start a game and can't stop playing it. I've heard this from other critics who are not fans of the XIII series in general (Kat Bailey for one). Whereas the other two games were a real slog for me at times and felt like a second job, I breezed through this, putting in 62.5 hours in total on my first play through and doing every single quest in the game except for the one that you need to do in newgame+ (extermination quest). I still had it on easy but I don't hold it against LR in general, too many games these days have enemies with too big a HP pool whether they are shooters or jrpgs...but that is largely a reflection of my current situation with a full time job and a amateur martial arts career. Maybe it was just the quest structure that did it for me but it just flowed for me. I enjoyed the schmata system, swapping weapons, garbs etc.
  • It respects the player. You can play it on easy, normal and hard. You can do as many or as little quests as you want. You can fight as many or as little battles as you want. These traits were missing from the first two games I felt (yes XIII-2 had a lot of freedom but not the same kind as LR, I won't go into it here as it would take too long to explain)
  • The time mechanic. Time mechanics in games just do something for me for some reason. This is different from Majora's Mask however; when people say its the same what they should say is that its similar.
  • It made me finally like lightning as a character. Although I did like parts of lightning in the other games (her badass nature, her more vulnerable side) I felt that she finally became more whole in LR.
  • The Mog costume. Yes I HATE that goddam mog but hearing lightning say ''Look I'm serious..." was hilarious.

I have a few misgivings however:

  • Mog. Seriously, F*** mog.
  • Chocolina....ok fine she grew on me a bit...but I still don't, ugh, that annoying voice. Ack. ok fine chocolina I'll let you off.
  • The story. Utter nonsense! If the series as a whole was a little more grounded and didn't try to go full Tengen Toppathen I fell I would have mad more attachments to the characters and the world. As others have said it just didn't feel like it mattered in the end. Time travel, coming back from the dead, fighting gods...it just lost a sense of anything having consequence. A bit like how in DBZ it didn't matter if anyone died because dragonballs etc.

Overall...Thanks Lightning Returns. You restored my faith in Final Fantasy. Its a good series with a high budget and amazing art production and music. Its just a little 'mis-directed' at times. Would I ever play XIII and XIII-2 ever again? Nope! Not a chance in hell. LR? Maybe. I'll keep this series on my shelf for my younger siblings to play sometime. And for my future self. Thanks for reading this @Hailinel. I look forward to your thoughts on future games. I'm looking forward to XV myself after LR. Hope they took some lessons from it.

#2 Edited by ShadowMountain (231 posts) -

@mosespippy said:

Let me tell you about the first quest. You go and collect 6 wool from some sheep. Let me tell you about the second quest. You go and collect 10 mutton from some sheep. There are some good parts to the game, even some good quests, but there is A LOT of bad game here. The fourth ending is pretty interesting, especially in a way that doesn't translate to youtube. The game doesn't need to have four endings though. It could all be covered by two. There is a lot of filler. Are you like Vinny and have a need to do every quest when you play a game? Then this game isn't worth your time or money. Can you show some restraint and skip side content? Then it might be worth your time, but $20 for a game this old seems steep. I bet you can find a better deal.

This. I don't fall on either the ''amazing!" or "terrible!" camp; its just ok. Some clever ideas, great voice acting and characters and 'feel'/atmosphere but there is a lot of crap in it. I just dropped it to easy and went along for the ride; you only need two endings to 'get' it, for the rest I didn't want to play anymore and just read up on them and that was enough for me.

Its a frustrating game. On the on hand it does amazing things, on the other, it just doesn't. Still don't know how to feel about it or if I would recommend it but there you go. Its that kind of game.

#3 Posted by ShadowMountain (231 posts) -

@young_scott: Do go ahead with you full reply if you have the time, you sound more experienced than me and its good to share this information!

#4 Posted by ShadowMountain (231 posts) -

@cairnsythebeard: Hi, I went through a similar process with my Wii but not a WiiU. I imagine the process is similar however. The reason I did so was mostly for N64 games running at 60Hz rather than 50Hz (the US store had 60Hz games, the UK store still has 50Hz games - same issue on PSN for PS1 games). I have also modded it so it can play UK games. My responses to your questions below (again, this is in regards to a Wii but I imagine it is similar):

Overall It was worth it with my Wii since I wanted older games at 60Hz off the eshop rather than slower 50Hz games and that's what I got. Through the mod I could still buy cheap physical games off amazon thankfully and play US only releases like Trauma Centre. Oddly the mod wouldn't allow UK Gamecube games but I have a Gamecube still hooked up anyway so I was not too bothered (and the GC boots right away while on Wii you need to navigate to a menu and change bloody controllers!) Would I do it again however for a WiiU? Probably not since I got my old games on the Wii @60Hz and thankfully on PS3 US versions of PS1 games if you create a US account (even with a UK PS3). But I'm not really cost-limited and I like physical copies for some games so my situation is different from yours. Please let me know how it goes since I'm interested in multi-region games and gaming for the optimal experience (even though it can be a pain in the ass and not worth it sometimes!). Let me know if you have any questions.

#5 Edited by ShadowMountain (231 posts) -

I love these threads, it's a chance to reflect on the year. I've had a pretty good one mostly getting through my back catalogue:

Alpha Protocol (360) - I really liked this, does the conversation thing much better than games even today. The main character doesn't go through sudden changes of personality like in Bioware's stuff, rather he's a spy so acts certain ways to influence people. A much better system. Just stick to pistols and stealth, drop it to easy and go along for the ride.

Dragon Age 2 (360) - Pretty good until I got burned out by the 3rd act since I was doing almost every side quest. Not as bad a game as people make out.

Nier (360) - Interesting but not as 'mindblowing' as some people make out. Interesting characters and great voice acting, the kind of game you wish had a bit more budget thrown at it. I enjoyed it.

Yakuza 3 (PS3) - I preferred 1 and 2. This felt a little slow and tired. Hopefully 4 picks up the pace.

Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon (DS) - Surprisingly enjoyed this one since I thought I burned out on Fire Emblem. Clearly needed that SRPG itch scratched. Very wide and open maps which is different to how the GBA ones were.

Fate Extra (PSP) - Solid but thats it really. A good 'pod-casting' game. One for the fans.

Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) - A great game for 5 hours while its fresh and then you figure out the battle system and it becomes a grind. Did not get 'good after 20 hours'. Had enough of fighting by then, a big open field doesn't change anything! Most frustrating game I played this year.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3) - Better than the first game but the battle system was the same so I got bored quite quickly. Luckily there is an ''easy'' mode option so I could power through it!

Dark Souls 2 (PS3) - Put a +100 hours into this but ultimately disappointing. Maybe I shouldn't have made a melee only character. Felt cheap compared to DS 1 and Demons' Souls.

Lightning Returns - Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) - Really good! Actually a return to form except the story is utter nonsense. Perhaps I was in the mood for lots of quests after the battle grind of the first 2 games in the XIII trilogy but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Only problem is that it looks a lot worse than the first two but it's still serviceable.

Noticing a trend here - putting most of my games on easy mode...perhaps a sign of getting older? I still like 'hard' games like Fire Emblem, Bayonetta and the Souls series but I think I came to the realisation in 2014 that (imo) most games don't have 'fun' hard modes (at least for me). I hate bullet sponge/High HP enemies - that's not how you do hard properly! Anyway hopefully everyone on GB had a good year too! Now lets play some more VIDGYA-GAMEEES!!!XIXI!!!

#6 Posted by ShadowMountain (231 posts) -

@UlquioKani said:

Tales of Vesperia is very good.

#7 Posted by ShadowMountain (231 posts) -

@ProfessorEss: I'm playing that game right now - its SOOO good! And I was one of those fans of the original games that dismissed it at the time based on the demo. Thinking of creating a thread to show case some of my vehicles to encourage more people to try it out.

#8 Posted by ShadowMountain (231 posts) -

Dude 6x 500ml bottles in 3 hrs is a lot of water in that timeframe! Especially if you're not working out/in a very hot climate

#9 Posted by ShadowMountain (231 posts) -

@Cataphract1014:I have a Krogan Sentinel. Its ok up to silver but hes pretty useless in Gold. Tech armour is just too nerfed from ME2. Krogan soldier sounds way better.

#10 Posted by ShadowMountain (231 posts) -

Its a port of the ps2 game although it is quite a good port. Having said that though there is a more recent tales game in the form of Tales of Vesperia for the 360. It depends on how much of a big rpg/tales fan you are. I will warn u though the protagonist is a dick for the first half of the game. He does develop quite well however and it is interesting to see his growth throughout the game. Its a very, very long game as well btw.