Posts Tagged ‘Final Fantasy

16
Nov
13

The Last Story, L.A. Noire

The Last Story

Will The Last Story have a million sequels just like Final Fantasy?

I was really excited when this game got licensed for North American release. At first, Nintendo of America stated they had “no plans” to release this RPG in the U.S. even after it was a big hit in Japan and Europe. Great idea, guys. Let’s not release a game that was critically acclaimed, a financial success, and created by the same person who created the Final Fantasy series. Sure, Nintendo, you’re right, that shit’s not gonna sell at all.
Anyway, Nintendo of America finally pulled their heads out of their asses and released The Last Story for the Wii in late 2012. Now, I’ve long since given up on the Final Fantasy franchise. It has too rigidly adhered to extremely outdated JRPG tropes. Final Fantasy IX was the last game in the series I enjoyed, and my personal favorite was Final Fantasy VI. Final Fantasy X can still suck it.
09
Jun
12

Shana Second, Wolf’s Rain

Shakugan no Shana Second

snore

I reviewed the first season of Shana a couple of years ago. What I thought would end up being a horrible slice of life moe shitfest turned out to be a rather entertaining fantasy/action series. It had this unexpected dark side where Shana would mercilessly obliterate her enemies. The action was fun and the pacing was good. Plus, it had an incestuous brother and sister, and everyone knows incest improves everything by 10,000%.

So when I got around to watching season 2, I was fairly excited. It started out pretty good with a couple of action-packed episodes. After that, the series settled in to a long stretch of really annoying slice-of-life/love-triangle bullshit that was so badly written it was only tolerable to watch on fast-forward. Now, this kind of stuff was in the first season, too, but usually there would be one or two episodes intermingled with the other story/action episodes. Season 2 just gives a seemingly endless onslaught of these crappy episodes. Everything is so boring, so contrived, so inconsequential that it is impossible to give a fuck about any of it. Plus, we get to see Yuji training for about a thousand episodes, and that certainly could have been condensed into two or three.

Nothing even remotely interesting happens until episode 16. And then we get another lull until the writers finally decided they needed to have something happen so they could claim this season had some semblance of a plot. Episodes 19-24 feature a battle between the protagonists and Sabrac/Bal Masque. The fight drags on for several episodes and even though they “kill” Sabrac, he somehow manages to survive, which destroys the payoff and makes the entire thing seem like wasted time a la Dragonball Z. 

Overall, this season was a huge clusterfuck. They should have rethought the pacing and story structure. If they didn’t have enough material to keep 24 episodes consistently entertaining, then they should have pared it down to 12 episodes. That would have at least been respectable. I’m not sure about the third and final season of Shana, hopefully it fares better.

Verdict: Shitty

Wolf’s Rain

Wolf’s Rain cast.

I originally included this in my list of the 20 Awesomest Anime of the Decade (2000-2009), and since then I have given the series a rewatch. So, did it hold up to my original review? Yes it did. Wolf’s Rain remains a phenomenal series. There are very few TV shows and movies I would consider a work of art, but this would be one of them. The tone is far more subdued than in most anime. There are no annoying moe characters. There is no stupid love-triangle. There is no intent to sell merchandise. There is no pandering to the audience. The only agenda Wolf’s Rain has is to tell an incredible story, and it certainly does that.

The setting is a bit murky, we don’t know for sure if it takes place on Earth or just some unknown fantasy planet. Wolves are semi-mythological creatures that have super strength/speed, can speak, and have the ability to make themselves appear as human. And no, they aren’t werewolves, it’s more a trick of the mind that humans perceive them to look like other humans. In this world, wolves are foretold to open the door to Paradise, which may or may not bring about the ultimate destruction of the world.

The visual aesthetic of the series is amazing. There is attention paid to even the smallest detail. The animation is so intricate that you can see all the dirt and grime, the crushed out cigarettes, and the wasted plant life. The world looks realistic, and a lot of this is due to the high-quality work by Studio Bones. Just like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, a lot of work went into the details. The budget must have been relatively high, as there is rarely any recycled animation, there is minimal use of well-integrated CGI, and character movements are quick, fluid, and well animated. I can’t rave enough about how great everything looks. I imagine this is how a Final Fantasy anime series should look, if anyone could ever make a decent anime of Final Fantasy.

The voice acting is excellent in both the original Japanese and the English dub. You can’t go wrong listening to either one. The music was composed by the legendary Yoko Kanno, so expect to be listening to the soundtrack over and over again. The characters are all unique and have well-formed story arcs. The pacing is nearly perfect. There was a period of maybe 4 episodes in the middle that dragged a bit, but if anything they give more insight into the characters. There is a lot of humanity amongst everyone, the story is fascinating, and there is a healthy dose of action. Also, this is the only anime I’m aware of where the opening credits play a role in the story.

The story never verges into cliche territory. With most anime, you pretty much know how things are going to end. With Wolf’s Rain I was never quite sure. They always manage to give an unexpected plot twist or simply pull the rug right out from under you. The climax at the end is simply astounding. The first time I watched it I found the ending to be tragic. This time, well, it was still tragic, but I found much more hope than the first time around. Wolf’s Rain is such a wonderful, rare anime series, that it deserves to be seen by everyone. It really is a work of art.

Verdict: Awesome

22
Feb
09

Kiss My Colossal Ass

Oh shit.

Oh shit.

So I started playing Shadow of the Colossus for PS2 quite a while ago. The game has some really nice features, but it has ONE HUGE GLARING PROBLEM THAT PISSES ME RIGHT THE FUCK OFF! If you’ve played the game, I bet you know what that one thing is: wandering around the world map trying to find the goddamn Colossi. This morning I wanted to fight the seventh colossus, but I didn’t get to. I spent half a fucking hour riding the horse around, trying to find the boss. I eventually quit because I felt like my head was going to explode from the rage building inside me. Wandering around the world map in this game is much worse than in a Zelda or Final Fantasy game. At least in those games you can fight bad guys, level up, or discover secrets while traveling. Here, you get nothing. No music, no enemies, no anything. It’s minimalistic, and aggravating. Sure, it seems like a cool aesthetic choice at first, but if you can’t find the boss, it gets old quick. And the fucking sword is no help at all. You use the light to show you where to go, but it doesn’t help. It either points straight into a fucking mountain, or you are in a shady area, and you can’t use it at all. It’s really annoying. What the hell were they thinking? I’ll concede that the colossi battles are really fun and unique, but everything in between is the most uninspiring shit ever put on a disc.

Verdict: Boss Battles (awesome), Everything Else (shitty)

23
Oct
08

Final Fantasy X Can Suck It

I hate you, Tidus.

I hate you, Tidus.

Final Fantasy X has to be one of the worst pieces of shit that Square has ever squeezed out. It seems to me that the only people who liked this one had no other Final Fantasy games or other RPG’s to compare it against. I find it to be really disturbing that people are ranking the best RPG’s of all time as #1) Final Fantasy VII and #2) Final Fantasy X. I mean seriously, what the fuck? This game is complete bullshit. Let’s take a quick look at how Square completely fucked up the genre they had once revolutionized.

1.) No world map – Yes, instead of an expansive, detailed world just waiting for you to explore (not to mention wander around and level up), you are given a completely linear path in which you can only walk in one direction if you want to progress in the game. That’s total bullshit. Half the fun of any RPG is exploration, and that aspect of the game is taken right out.

2.) Grid Sphere System – What. The. Fuck. So instead of a traditional leveling system we have this incomprehensible grid where you can pick and choose what skills you want each character to learn. Ok, I’ll admit that it sounds cool on paper. But Jesus, did they even fucking test this shit out? It’s ridiculous. You don’t even get more HP or increased stats such as MP or strength when leveling up. No, you just get more moves on the goddamn sphere grid. You have to choose all your moves carefully and use your spheres appropriately, or you won’t learn the right spells at the right times or get all the necessary HP and strength upgrades. It’s fucking retarded, and overly complicates everything. Plus, I don’t even know where any of the cool spells are, so you never know which direction to move to optimize your characters.

I would much rather play this game.

I would much rather play this game.

3.) No Strategies Allowed – As in all previous Final Fantasy games, certain bosses have unique characteristics. For example, in Final Fantasy X, you can choose to either be close to, or far away from the boss, Evrae. Depending on your distance, the attacks you can use and it can use, vary. My first attempt was to stay far away and then move in once its HP had been drained. That didn’t work well, as it pummeled the living shit out of my characters. So the next time I thought I’d do the opposite. Unfortunately, once its HP was low enough, you couldn’t move away from the monster, it kept coming in after you. So basically, you don’t get to use any strategy you want. You have to fight it the way the game wants you to. Why even bother having this “option” in the first place, if they aren’t going to let you use it whenever you want? This is essentially Square’s method of having “fake strategy,” and saying “fuck you” to all the players.

4.) They’ve Been Talking for HOW Long Now? – Jesus. Tapdancing. Christ. They talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. Forever. In the old games there was tons of dialogue, but if you read fast you could get through it quickly and return to the gameplay. In this piece of shit you have to listen to the horrible voice acting. You can maybe skip half of it if you mash the X button furiously, but that gets old after a while. The dialogue is cheesy, the acting is high school quality, and the story is lame as hell. Plus, the main character, Tidus, is a really annoying asshole. This is the first Final Fantasy game where the main character was my least favorite. The story of the Final Fantasy games is one of the series’ biggest draws. But it’s tough caring about the story when you don’t give a shit about any of the characters.

5.) Graphics – They are blocky and pixellated. The backgrounds look like shit. The only things that really look good are the full-motion videos. Also, lip movements don’t match spoken words, meaning the dubbing was poorly done.

There are probably more complaints that I could add, but I can’t think of anything else at the moment. I can’t believe Square put out this monstrosity. What I can believe, however, is that this is everyone’s second favorite game in the series. People are idiots.

Verdict: Shitty




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