Summer 2014 Video Gaming and Cartoon Bonanza

Howdy everyone! Well, it's a bit late to share experiences in the summer with October ending. It's better late than never. Things are busy when you have summer school and only 1 month and a half for break before fall semester. After working, I usually take breaks at night, doing a marathon on cartoons or playing games while checking for spam bots.

In this blog, I won't spoil anything. Everything will be brief. Just promoting various games and cartoons for the Movies & TV Club and Video Game Club. After getting midterms done this week, it's nice to blog and take off stress.

All of the games are on the PlayStation 3. I didn't have much Wii-U games that needed to completed.

Final Fantasy XIII-2

First off is Final Fantasy XIII-2. Lightning's game was actually my first Final Fantasy game in the franchise. I have no idea what compelled me to play this game first than the others. I did play the game earlier in the year, and I was lost for a moment when I got back into for the summer break.

Short Summary: After the first game, the sequel had retcon (might not be the right word) the first game's ending. Lightning disappeared and was fighting to save Etros. The game has you playing Lightning's sister, Serah, and a time traveler, Noel. The duo journey through time and alternative worlds to find Lightning.

The game is a different beast from its prequel. The first game focuses so much on customizing and leveling weapons while the 2nd game is more like Pokemon, raising your characters and your monster. It had tough puzzles. I still remember the clock puzzles took me the longest to do. While the leveling in the 2nd game is more easier than the first game, grinding for cash to buy items to level up your monsters was a bit challenging.

All in all, I love the 2nd game as much as the first one. I grew attached to the characters despite the plot not making a lick of sense to me. After beating the game, I was heartbroken by the ending. I thought if I collected all the fragments, I get a happier ending. It didn't happen.

Recommendation: You definitely have to play the first game. As a new Final Fantasy fan, I heard the game is a hit or miss with folks who played the earlier games. It depends on what you like in the RPG. For me, the combat system was a new experience for me. I'm so used to turn based combat in RPG games. This one uses a ATB gauge to determine how frequent you attack. FFXIII's story isn't as romantic and deep compared to the older RPGs as I heard from fans who loved FFVII, VIII, and X.

Walking Dead

I had bought this game for a long time since winter 2013. In fall of 2013, I dive into the Walking Dead TV series for the first time. I was never a horror fan, but something in Walking Dead hooked me. It was the drama and the characters. I opened this game in summer 2014 after mustering up the courage.

Short Summary: As a sheriff is escorting Lee to the prison, the police car crashes into one of the Walkers, their name for zombies in this franchise. Hell breaks loose as the zombie apocalypse takes the world quickly without any warning. Lee finds himself caring for Clementine, a young girl who was alone in a house and waiting for her parents. Deciding to protect her, Lee helps Clementine to find her parents. This is the tale of Lee's survival in this world.

This is one of most unique games I played in my life. I haven't played a lot of games, but this is an experience I never forget. The game is very interactive and caters to the choices you make. You have to examine your environment and your choices carefully. There wasn't much puzzle solving, but I did had times where I was stuck and couldn't progress through the game. I thought I made a lot of mistakes since I died a lot and killed my folks. After beating the game, I look up if there were alternative endings. I found out the endings don't really change much. It's a tragic, emotional driven game compared to most games I played. This game, Valkyria Chronicles, and Kingdom Hearts made me tear up a bit.

Recommendation: Even if you haven't read Walking Dead comics or watch the TV series, I think you can get into this game without prior experiences. It's a stand alone title without any much ties to the other media. If you love story and characters in horror games, you should try it. Walking Dead is not like Resident Evil which relies on combat or Silent Hill which relies on the location and making your character less powerful. Walking Dead's strength comes from the interactive choices, characters, and story. It turns out it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. Silent Hill was much scarier than Walking Dead.

Kingdom Hearts 1.5

I got into the game back 2012 when I bought the PS2 for the first time. I didn't know what games to get for the PS2. My little sister thought Kingdom Hearts would be a good start. I think Kingdom Hearts got me into the RPG genre. Kingdom Hearts got me into Final Fantasy. It's strange because it got my little sister into FFVII while I somehow ended up trying Lightning's game. Fearing the used PS2 wasn't going to live much longer, I thought I buy this game to cherish the memories. That was before I heard Kingdom Hearts 2.5 was going to be released this winter 2014.

Short Summary: Kingdom Hearts is about Sora, Kairi, and Riku who live on Destiny Island. Feeling adventurous, the trio want to build a raft to explore the world beyond their tiny island. Suddenly, the gate is opened up which scatters everyone across different worlds. Sora winds up in Traverse Town where he joins Donald and Goofy to find his friends, Riku and Kairi.

The game play is action based, and it has sort of platforming element which I love. I'm used to Nintendo games such as Mario and Legend of Zelda. It combined exploration, platforming, and RPG with Disney and Final Fantasy cameos into one great package. The only main gripe I had was the targeting and maybe the camera angle. Every time I target, it ends up on a opponent I'm not facing. The characters and story are engaging. While the environment is a bit empty and not as engaging as the characters and story, there are lot of things to do such as collecting items and doing side quests.

Recommendation: With the Disney and Final Fantasy allure, you can get into the franchise that way. I also recommend the game if you loved action based RPG genre.

Squid Girl

While I was playing Walking Dead, I needed something happy to watch. Squid Girl filled that role.

Short Summary: Squid Girl had plans of invading the surface world. When she attacks someone's eatery, she ends up working for the beach house, paying for damages.

Recommendation: It's a comedic, slice of life series that is purely character driven. As with most comedic series, the only way to find out if you like it, you got to try the first episode.

Young Justice

I was not a comic book reader because I was mostly introduced to cartoon adaptations of comic books such as Batman the animated series and Spider-Man (1990's series). Being a Teen Titan fan, I was intrigued by another show focusing on young superhero/heroine teenagers. This was a stark contrast to Teen Titans cartoon series. Young Justice was a lot darker and had a bigger universe which deals with more DC characters and incorporates the Justice League. It was a huge, new experience for me.

At that time, I had new Korra to watch. Young Justice was one of the best shows on Cartoon Network. It was a shame that it was canceled. It had so much potential from its brilliant story telling and its diverse array of characters.

Young Justice revolves around Robin, Kid Flash, Speedy, and Aqua Lad who become heroes of their own after being wards/sidekicks. Out of the four, Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqua Lad form a team with others to take on missions from Batman and the Justice League. What I love about Young Justice was the covert operations they had. It was unlike the stuff I seen in my previous superhero cartoons.

I would recommend this series to folks who love superheroes shows that is a bit serious while having an engaging story and a great roster of characters.

Star Wars the Clone Wars

Last one for the summer was Star Wars. I had renewed Netflix because it had the last season, the lost episodes. Also, I wanted to watch any episodes I missed out back in high school. It was trip down memory lane. I haven't seen a lot of Star Wars film, but the TV series was how I got into the franchise.

I never did watch the animated film which serves as the precursor to the animated series. It didn't matter since I got adjusted to the series. Like Young Justice, the strength of this show comes from its story and characters. Though, the series revisits planets and areas a couple of times. The series' universe is huge as well as its character roster. You have quite a large selection of stories to watch. I believe you don't have to watch every episode. Each episode is a different story that is still connected to the main, overarching plot. Shame, that the series ended before it could reach a conclusion. I wanted to see how the series handle the end of the war.

Main Highlights

  • Seeing Asoka grow as a Jedi
  • Seeing how Anakin and his relationship with Padme endure so much conflicts
  • Finally, seeing the side to the clones and many folks affected by the war. Captain Rex and his clone troopers were memorable to me especially the last season which hints heavily to the future events. It's a bit tragic to see how it would turn out in the final period of the war.

If you are a new Star Wars fan, you get into this series without much problem. I got into it pretty well. There are references I missed because I didn't have background in the live action films. Those are bonus for the older fans.

Thank you everyone for reading.

Please share some recommendations here or at the Video Game and TV Club discussions. We definitely need to reach to each other and get folks to try new things that can be enjoyable and memorable.