Happy Monday Duders - Final Fantasy, Zelda, and The (short) Order 02/23/15

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I wasn’t incredibly informed as it related to video games when I was younger. In the late 80’s and early 90’s the only information that I had access to when it came to what new games were coming out were Sears catalogs and ads from Walmart or other chain stores until I stumbled across a Nintendo Power. I talked my mom into buying me one and I took it home and read it from cover to cover a couple of times over. As the years went on I started finding more and more magazines like Nintendo Power that were maybe a little more informative and helpful in my search for new gaming experiences. I started asking for games that were a little more complex than the ones that I had played when I was younger and eventually read about something that I hadn’t paid much attention to or even knew existed in the past; RPG’s.

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The first that I played was Final Fantasy II, which was in reality, Final Fantasy IV but since the previous two entries in the series hadn’t been released in the US at that time it was considered the follow-up to the original. At first I had absolutely no clue what I was doing because I had never played anything like this but after seeing a short guide on how to play in an issue of Nintendo Power it all started to come together. After that, I fell in love with a whole new category of games that I still play to this very day and that’s what this blog is dedicated to, the genre that changed how I play games.

A lot of guys with spiky hair and kids in green tunics have graced my gaming library over the years and I’m going to talk about a few things that I played this past week while also giving a little insight into what I plan to play in the future. Thanks for reading this entire (hopefully you did) month where I talked about a few things that I love in gaming. Well, let us begin…

1. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D

THOUGHTS: I found this game to be extremely weird when I played it just after release and going back nearly fifteen years later that aspect of the game hasn’t changed at all. It is definitely the strangest entry in the console lifetime of Zelda but that doesn’t change the fact that it is still, in my opinion, one of the best. It took me nearly a week to learn the proper way to play the game in 2000, I didn’t realize that I needed to slow down time by playing the “Song of Time” backwards, or that you can skip ahead by playing it double, so I had a hard time adjusting at first. After I learned the right way to play the game to complete the dungeons and allow yourself the right amount of time to explore I was hooked.

The new 3DS version of the game goes a long way to improving your playing experience by explaining a couple of things a little better and giving you a much better way to track your quests and interactions with the people around Termina. I’m playing this with an original 3DS XL and not the new version with the C-Stick and I haven’t had any trouble in combat; Majora’s Mask plays exactly like the Ocarina remake on the 3DS from a few years ago which is definitely a good thing. The visuals are improved, obviously, from the N64 version and the 3D effect is excellent when you want to use it, which I rarely do with any 3DS game that I play.

VERDICT: This is one of my absolute favorite games in what is quite possibly my favorite video game franchise of all-time. I cannot recommend enough that it is a game that, even if you had trouble with it 15 years ago, you should go back and give another try or maybe a first try. Majora’s Mask was a risk, and a big one, by Nintendo who took one of their premiere series’ and did something experimental and cool with. A risk that I feel paid off big time.

2. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Lightsaber Party!!!!
Lightsaber Party!!!!

THOUGHTS: I played this game when it released back in the early 2000’s on the original XBOX and really enjoyed it. I remember that my playthrough took me around 30 hours and I did a ton of the side-quests and thought that this was the Star Wars game that I had always wanted. The story was interesting and the ability to play the game evil or good was a cool mechanic that fits so well into that universe. Darth Malak was a great villain and the storyline with him and Revan is extremely interesting and complex.

VERDICT: I booted it back up last Friday after getting it in a recent Humble Bundle and played a couple of hours just to see if it holds up and while the graphics may not look as cool as I thought they were all those years ago the narrative and certain gameplay elements will immediately make you think about Mass Effect. It may be a little late to jump into this one because of the drawbacks of age but there’s an entire Mass Effect trilogy that is a great extension of what Bioware was able to create with KOTOR.

3. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions

THOUGHTS: Final Fantasy: Tactics is one of my absolute favorite games in the entire Final Fantasy franchise and I always wanted to play this remake on the PSP but I never owned one.

Luckily (maybe) I bought a VITA!!!! I actually love handhelds and have turned my VITA into my JRPG device. I own a number of classic PS1 era RPG’s and have replayed many of them because of Sony’s embattled machine like Final Fantasy 7-10, Wild Arms, Suikoden 1-2, and Vagrant Story just to name a few.

Crayon Magic
Crayon Magic

Anyway, back on topic I've owned War of the Lions for a couple of years but never gave myself a chance to sit down and spend a little time with it to see how it holds up to the original and for the most part I really enjoyed the 3 hours I played last week. Even though it’s just a PSP game it looks great on the VITA and the combat still feels as good as I remember. The only issue that I could find is that the dialogue is a bit different; it isn’t bad just not what I remembered so I looked it up on GiantBomb.com and saw that it was rewritten in a more medieval style that is fine and some even say the translation is superior so while it threw me off a bit at first it isn’t necessarily a what I would call a drawback as I was able to adjust after a bit.

VERDICT: It’s a classic and the PSP version is totally playable, heck the PS1 iteration is still great, so I would recommend checking it out if you haven’t before.

THE WEEK AHEAD

As February draws to a close so does my theme of "things I fell in love with in gaming" so next week will be a return to me playing a bunch of random things and trying to knock off as much as possible from my backlog. Mediocre scores aside I would like to give The Order a shot but I don't have a copy and just can't bring myself to pay full price for it knowing what I get, (length has nothing to do with it) so I will hold off for a bit and will try to get to it by the end of the year, so for now I’m going to open Steam and see if there’s anything that I really need to play.

Also, I’m going to keep working on my Top 10 Favorite Games List and hopefully get it close to completion… I’m going to try to release it within the next couple of weeks and, for those of you that care, will give a firm date in the blog next week. Hopefully.

Here’s what I will try to play this week:

OPINION TIME

In lieu of the fervor that the length of The Order: 1886 caused I thought that I should throw my opinion on the topic of “how long a game should be” into the ring. I do not care how long a game is. I would rather play a game that I think is good with what it has than a game (like Alien: Isolation) that drags on too long and eventually just wears me down so much that I don’t want to complete it. There are a number of short games that I have played over the years that I think are fantastic; Braid is a great example of this, it is rather short, but it’s also a beautiful game that tells a simple story and entertained me thoroughly in the time that I spent with it.

I spoke above about how I can’t bring myself to spend 60 dollars on The Order because of what I’ll get for that amount of money but that has nothing to do with how long the game is. Everything I’ve read from reviews to Twitter interactions have discussed how boring and drab the game is. I do not care at all to pay full-price for any game as long as it is a good one. Enslaved was a game that I bought on release for a premium because I heard that it was a fantastic experience and I have no issues with that purchase but it seems that a number of others did because, well, nobody bought it.

I loved my time with Infinite.
I loved my time with Infinite.

While the length of a game doesn’t matter to me it obviously does to a number of consumers out there and while I don’t subscribe to that notion I do totally understand it. Sixty bucks is a lot of money when you have to worry about food, water, and bills in this day and age so plopping down a weeks’ worth of groceries for something that you will only get a few hours of enjoyment from is a tough proposition for many. If you decide that you only want to pay full-price for huge, 30-60 hour experiences then that is your prerogative. Do what makes you happy. However, just because a game is short does not mean it isn't worth the money that it asks for because I can still remember nearly everything I did in Bioshock Infinite but can barely remember anything about Dying Light, a game that’s twice as long, that I recently played that tried to pad its’ length. I do remember some dumb things that some zombie did though... they're really dumb.

Stay Positive
Stay Positive

Make decisions for yourself though because you are your own person and you are awesome no matter what!!!!

COMMENT REQUEST OF THE WEEK

Do you prefer Western RPG’s or JRPG’s today and how does that differ from your opinion on that 10 years or 15 years ago?

GO PLAY SOME GAMES

I kept trying to come up with a title for the conclusion and that was the best I could do.

Thanks so much for the continued support. I love seeing the views and comments on this blog every week and hope that I can keep entertaining those of you who check it out every Monday.

So let’s keep this thing alive.

Please comment and add to the discussion. I love interacting with all of you and I really appreciate the positivity that I’ve seen in the comments. Thank you all so much and have an incredibly Happy Monday Duders!!!!

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