So, everyone who cares about me enough to have clicked the "follow" link underneath my avatar, I need your help. Clearly, you have gone the distance for me, and I can trust you. I am indecisive, and must hear the opinions of those who love me enough to occasionally check my blog here on GiantBomb. I decided that I only want the opinion of those who truly care, so I'm not posting this in the forums. Not to mention, it's not really worthy of being an actual topic.

This summer, I will be travelling to Europe. I'm poor, so I can't see everything, but I want to make the most of my trip. At this point, I'm trying to decided between two countries, only one of which will be added to my itinerary. The other must wait until I'm a billionaire and can do whatever I want. It's come down to France or Italy. I want to see both equally, and therefore I simply cannot come to a conclusion on my own. Because of this, I ask all of you. I don't care if been to either country, just let me know what you think. I need to decide soon, so I can study the language a bit before I go.

So, where should I go? It would essentially be Paris and Marseille, or Rome and Florence.

Your opinion is much appreciated.

<3 BoG


Finished FFX, my final thoughts. One down, three more to go!

I just finished Final Fantasy X for the first time. It was fine. It's better than I remember, but I think nostalgia is clouding my judgement. It's more... Final Fantasy than more recent games, and I think that is the primary reason I enjoyed it. Here are some last thoughts, just written as they come to mind.

Tidus is still the absolute worst character in the entire franchise. I did find the other characters more likable the second time around, though. I enjoyed how Auron's character is developed in the past, that worked well. Too bad that the weakest characters, Yuna and Tidus, are the most important. Their "romance" scenes are probably the worst and most awkward in the world of JRPGs.

Gameplay wise, it holds up. I understand why they changed the battle system, and I enjoyed it. I still prefer the classic ATB style, but I like this more than XIII's paradigms. I like the sphere grid more than I did the first time around, but it was poorly designed in some ways. Kimahri is handicapped right out of the gate because of poor design.

Interestingly enough, the same team that made XIII was behind X. There are some definite similarities between the two games. Most apparent would have to be how linear each game is. Honestly, X and XIII are the most linear games in the series. X was the first game to omit the world map, and the entire game is mostly running forward, just like XIII. The major difference is that someone made an attempt to add a little variety to the areas in X. Places like the Thunder Plains mix things up. The maps are just designed better in X, as well. None of them are floating catwalks. Finally, the areas don't feel dragged out like they do in XIII. Though it's just as linear, the linearity of X never frustrated me like it did in XIII. (On a side note, I think just as many comparisons could be drawn between X and VIII, which seems to have been the primary inspiration for X's gameplay system).

X probably has one of the better musical scores in the series. Of course, because it is so good, they had to top it off with the absolute boss music ever conceived. I wanted to kill my self when I found Jecht.

I just want all of your ears to bleed with mine.

So, because I am a human who plays video games, I have some strange attachment to lists. I will now rank the Final Fantasy games I have completed from favorite to least favorite in the order that pleases me at this very moment. The order changes pretty much daily, though the first four are always the first four. So you all know, I adore each and every one of these games. Being at the end of the list doesn't mean I dislike the game. Not included are spin-offs or MMORPGs.

  1. Final Fantasy IX
  2. Final Fantasy VI
  3. Final Fantasy VIII
  4. Final Fantasy V
  5. Final Fantasy XII
  6. Final Fantasy VII
  7. Final Fantasy IV
  8. Final Fantasy X
  9. Final Fantasy XIII

So, there you have it. I'm now about halfway through III, and hope to finish it soon. Then I'll move on to II, and finish it off with the original. I've also been playing FFXIV, and I enjoy it. I know, crazy.

Please, share with me your thoughts.

*Oh, as a historical final note, you may all find it interesting to know that FFX is the first game in the franchise that I purchased after having anticipating it's release. I had already played VIII extensively, but not until a year or two after it was released. I played X until I decided it was the worst game ever made, and then sold it. That's not interesting at all, but I typed it, so it's going to stay right here.


"Tell me another story about..." (Major spoilers)

I want to rant about the ending of Mass Effect 3, and why I dislike it so much. Everyone seems to be focusing on other parts, so I want to focus specifically on the... heartwarming seen of a young boy with his grandfather, or something.

So, it looks as if this little scene takes place on the planet where the Normandy crashed. I won't talk about how the Normandy crew surviving is dumb. Whatever. So, I guess joker and Edi and Garrus somehow managed to procreate, and they've turned a dense jungle world into a snow planet. Maybe this isn't the same world? I don't know.

So, the story begins as the boy asks the older man if all this really happened. He is told "Yes, but some of the details have been lost with time..." Ok, so apparently no one thought to make an accurate account of these very important events for future generations. Liara had scattered her time capsule things everywhere, was all of that information lost when the Normandy crashed? This doesn't matter, you would think that they would just write it down. It's simple. I don't think technology would be an issue, Edi was there, she could figure something out.

The boy then asks "When can I go to the stars?" and the old man replies "One day, my sweet." He tells him how there could be many other forms of life out there. Apparently, these tings were lost to time, as well. It's especially strange, considering these people have to be some fusion of Quarians, humans, Asari, robots, and Turians. Assuming everyone made it to the Normandy and survived the crash, that is. Of course, if this did happen, they still decided it was unimportant to let future generations know anything about the events of Shepard's life. Maybe they thought it would be better to hide the truths so that their ancestors would never become advanced enough to be reaped? Of course, if there is an organic/synthetic fusion, they should already be at the peak of evolution (according to magic boy). So, wouldn't the cycle be over? Oh, and if they're at the peak of evolution, how come they still cannot travel very star into space such a long time after the events of ME3? The ending makes it seem as though centuries have passed. Yet, no space travel? No knowledge of the galaxy?

"Tell me another story about the Shepard" So, I take this to mean that everything that happens in ME3 really took place. We can read about it in the Bible. Jess was commander Shepard, and all this time has changed the story, just as it did in that alien world shown in the final scene. Yep.

I'm sorry if that was a terrible read, but I wrote it in a fury right after waking up this morning. I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish ME3, then woke up at 8 to come an rant in my blog. I really did enjoy ME3 until the end, so it's a shame that the my great galaxy unifying accomplishments were rendered useless by that ending.


Final Fantasy XIII - Final Thoughts

I took full advantage of the President's Day holiday by playing Final Fantasy XIII for about 6 hours. After dedicating what felt like an eternity grinding through the game (45 hours to finally complete the game, average for a Final Fantasy game) I just wanted to be done with it. Now, I will share my final thoughts. There will be unmarked spoilers ahead. I'm a terrible writer, so forgive me if it reads roughly. I just type thoughts as they come to me, and the final product is onl semi-coherent.

I was told a dozen times that the game gets better near the end, and it really opens up in chapter 11. I agree with both statements, though I don't think the openness in the 11th chapter is what makes it better. In fact, it was just confusing and boring. I worked through the first 20 or so quests begrudgingly (I did it for the sake of the Chocobos). I really didn't find the sidequests fun at all, they were nothing more than even more battles. I felt that the game improved once I moved past the open fields of Pulse back into the corridors. This time, though, the corridors were much more interesting. I enjoyed "exploring" (if I can call it that) Oerba and Eden. More so than the journey, this is when the battles became interesting. I was no longer able to button mash, I had to pay attention to what was going on. It is here that I began to appreciate the paradigm switching pleasures of XIII.

Worth mentioning also is the music in Pulse. For the most part, the game's soundtrack is underwhelming. This is important, as just about every game in the series has a memorable soundtrack. Until Pulse, most every song was recycled for each new set of corridors, and the music was more ambient than anything else; hardly memorable. This stands in contrast to previous games, where each new area, even the least important of forests, had a catchy tune. The different branches of the Pulse overworld had nifty songs that I enjoyed listening to, which was nice.

So, the story. WTF? To be honest, I feel like the story, and most every aspect of the world of Final Fantasy XIII, was overly complex. The story was just too hard to follow, and not interesting enough for me to make an attempt at figuring it all out. It got worse when I arrived in chapter 12. So much was going on at the same time, resulting in a headache. To the story's credit, it ended.

I want to take a moment to say how confused I am by the world of Final Fantasy XIII. First of all, I had no sense of geography for 45 hours of gameplay. Though I saw the planetary object that is Cocoon, I never actually felt like I was standing on solid ground. Part of the immersion experience of many games is a sense of place, be it an entire world, a city, or even the galaxy. Each area in Final Fantasy XIII felt like it was in a place completely removed from the last. I actually searched for a world map on Google, and what I found was not helpful (for some reason, I can't link it, but it's not really important).

Another piece of the world that I both dislike and am confused by is how... unnatural it is. I ca't grasp that these eidolons, which are apparently some naturally occuring thing, are all robots that can transform into vehicles. Maybe I can grasp it, maybe the gods of their world prefer to make robots, but I sure don't like it when Shiva turns into a motorcycle. That is dumb. I really just hated the over use of impossible technology. Oh, not to mention how overly ornate and impractical some of the stuff is. Barthandelus, why does your combat form have four female heads? I'm also quite sure that the Proudclad could not properly function as a battleship in any world, fantastical or not. The artists over at Squenix need to calm down.

I'll close my random thoughts on the game by saying that, of the Final Fantasy games I've played from beginning to end, XIII is my least favorite. I don't hate it at all, it's just my least favorite. For the most part, I enjoyed the game. It's just not as good as its forerunners.

Now, I'm moving on to Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Final Fantasy X in my quest to complete every game in the series. After X, the only main games that remain for me to complete are the first three.


Fun times in Steam

So, about a week ago, I received a friend request in Steam. I had no idea who it was, so I just let it sit. This morning, I said "what the heck?" and just accepted. Dumb idea. He immediately sent me a message:

No Caption Provided

It looks like as a child I moloe him. Or maybe he moloe me? The grammar makes it difficult to decipher.


BoG's top 10 of 2011

I've been deliberating over my list for game of the year for weeks now. Most every major release I've played within the past few weeks. After two game dry years, I focused on older titles. I'm also poor, so I spent a lot of time playing free and cheap indie titles. With holiday gifts and absurd Steam sales, I've finally caught up! I thought it would take me weeks to decide, but luckily, I've blasted through massive amounts of gaming, and have come to a decision! 

Now, before I begin, I just want to express my disappointment that the stuff doesn't publish the moderator lists anymore. Honestly, we're not important to merit that kind of attention over guys like Ed Boon, but it was neat to have my poorly written list posted for all to see in Giant Bomb's birth year (I mixed up then and than in my first image caption, way to go me).

So, without further ado, here is another poorly written list from BoG

10. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

If I’m being 100% honest with all of you, Zelda is kind of in this spot by default. It was between this game and NetPac, and I was seriously considering NetPac. While I enjoyed Skyward Sword, it’s really only revealed to me that the Zelda formula is exhausted. It’s a fun game with some neat motion mechanics, but Link needs some new tricks.

9. King Arthur's Gold

I doubt many of you have any clue what King Arthur's Gold is. I actually made a forum post about the game months ago, and a whopping total of one person responded. It's a shame. KaG is a free-ish, side-scrolling multiplayer game. Imagine Minecraft, only 2D, and focused on competitive multiplayer. You and your teammates gather resources and build stuff, while fighting off your approaching enemy. It's a really simple concept, but a whole lot of fun. Building up fortifications and destroying your opponents' is a very satisfying experience. It should also be said that this is the first game of its kind that I've enjoyed enough to come back to. If anyone played Gang Garrison, this is mechanically similar, but so much more fun. I highly recommend it to all of you; it's got an active community, and is tons of fun!

8. Pokémon Black/White

Before I begin, I want to thank Microsoft word’s spell check function. I had originally typed Pokemon, but Microsoft Word noticed my error, and advised I change it to Pokémon. That’s really in the dictionary?

 I was almost certain that Pokémon Pearl would be my last Pokémon game. Pearl was the first game in the series that I didn’t see through to the end, and I decided I was done playing the same thing over and over again. Well, I was wrong. When I returned this summer, an old friend contacted me, and told me I needed to play Pokemon with he and his girlfriend. I gave in to peer pressure, and was hooked on catching ‘em all once again. They found another (married) couple to join us, and we all had tons of fun. Deerling eases the pain of being the fifth wheel.

6. Alice: Madness Returns

Alice is an odd addition to my list. Conceptually and visually, Alice is one of the most creative games in years. Each new environment is a pleasure to explore, thanks to remarkable artwork. It’s the best looking game of the year thanks to creativity over technology. You’ll travel through a decrepit English neighborhood, magical forests, underwater fish cities, and more. Each environment is more spectacular than the last. Sadly, the gameplay lacks that creativity. It’s fun, but very repetitive. I loved playing Alice, but it could have been so much better.

5. Where is my Heart?

2D indie puzzle platformers are almost as common as FPS games these days, but I love them so much more. Where is my heart is a very neat little puzzler that is set apart from its genre cousins by chopping up each level into little windows, and scattering them across the screen. Not only must you solve the clever puzzles, you must do so with a warped view of the playing field. I couldn’t put my PSP down! Add in excellent, simplistic visuals and sound, and you’ve got an excellent little game.

4. Wizorb

I want to thank Patrick Klepek for this one, as I wouldn’t have purchased it were it not for his articles. I don’t like Breakout style games. Each iteration seems to be the exact same game. Wizorb doesn’t do much different from other Breakout style, to be honest, but it sucked me in. I finished the main quest in one sitting, and then went back for more.  The NES style visuals and music were excellent, and the fusion of RPG and Breakout was creative and fresh. I’m still playing Wizorb, trying to get higher on that score list. If you don’t have it, get it on Steam as soon as it is released

3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I like Skyrim for the same reasons everyone else likes Skyrim.

3. Jamestown

Oh boy, Jamestown. Jamestown is awesome. The history/sci-fi fusion is awesome and hilarious, first of all. Martians and conquistadors? Yes. Most importantly, though, is the gameplay. This is the SHMUP genre at its best, and the best the genre has seen since Ikaruga. I would argue that Jamestown is better than Ikaruga due to its being more accessible. It’s got some well-designed levels, multiple difficulty settings, and the ability to play each level individually or all at once in Gauntlet mode. The game also has tons of bonus challenges that put you in interesting predicaments. I still haven’t conquered the conquistador, but I’m still trying! Any time I can get four people together, we let Spaniards know what’s up. Jamestown is an underappreciated classic.

2. Portal 2

Thanks are due to Valve, for making this game available for fewer than ten dollars last week. Portal 2 was the game I wanted to play most this year, and didn’t because of money. Portal 2 does exactly what it needed to do. Expand the Portal universe, bring more laughs, and more great puzzles. I honestly can’t think of how Valve could have made this game any better than it is. That’s a high compliment considering the games high expectations. Portal 2 is a guaranteed classic. For science!

1. Rayman Origins

Wow, Rayman, this game is too good. A few weeks ago, a user on GiantBomb made the comment that this is the best platformer since Yoshi’s Island. I wholeheartedly agree, and Yoshi’s Island is one of my favorite games ever. Rayman gets it all right. The game is full of variety, and has tons of cool tricks and challenges. You’ve got the floating levels, running on walls, and those crazy fun/difficult treasure chase levels. Other modern sidescrollers like New Super Mario Brothers are great fun, but never quite hit the mark. They introduce neat concepts, like Rayman, and then underutilize them. Rayman recognizes when something is fun, and gives it to you in perfect portions, and at a perfect pace. Worth mentioning also is how gorgeous the game is. It looks like a cartoon. The environments are as varied and fun as the gameplay itself.

I’ve played this game every day with my sister since I received it on Christmas, and we’re still having loads of fun, and have yet to complete the game. If you haven’t played it, you must go and purchase it. It’s the best game this year, no doubt. If you don’t see it on someone’s top ten list, this is because they haven’t played it. Rayman Origins is magic. 


Other stuff: 

2011's 2010 Game of the Year

 (it should be noted, I didn't play any games in 2010, I purchased and played anything from that year within the past few months).
VVVVVVV is mind-blowingly good. I played it from start to finish, and still run time trials on a daily basis when I have a spare moment.  
Runner-up: Mass Effect 2 
2011's 2009 Game of the Year (because I wasn't around in 2009 either) 
Noby Noby Boy  
Ok, so I was around for a few months in 2009, enough to play Noby Noby Boy way more than an adult should. 
Runner-up: Uncharted 2 (may have been my favorite had my save not been deleted when I was halfway through) 
Game I most wanted to play, but didn't 
Bastion (and Terraria)
Game that is the reason I will ban my brother from my PS3 
Batman: Arkham City 
He got the game for his birthday yesterday, and won't let me play. It's my PS3, you idiot!