Monday 27 January 2014

Final Fantasy annual sale on PSN!

You may already know this, but because a lot of my posts have been on Final Fantasy, I thought some of you may be interested.

The annual Final Fantasy sale is on PSN (!!) and includes some of the originals (Final Fantasy I and II), the classics (VI, VII and VIII, which I desperately need to play) and also some of the more modern titles, such as A Realm Reborn, Dissidia (prologus is a steal for a little less than $2) and XIII-2 (which I think is a good game even if you hated XIII) for those getting ready for Lightning Returns.

Most games are selling for about $6.50 (price will vary on currency - for Australians, this is the case) and they're usually $14.50ish (AUD) so you're getting over 50% off. If you've ever wanted to play these games, don't wait another 365 days, so get on it, kupo! The sale ends midnight on 6th February 2014.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy trailer (not the cheap-ass Prologus, the original) below, courtesy of Machinima and Square Enix.

Thursday 23 January 2014

Review: DEMO Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Spoiler details: Nothing that isn't already in the trailer. :)

So last night, I was casually checking the recent new games on PSN and there was the Lightning Returns demo, innocently in the top row of new games. I've been stashing pennies away for the last few weeks in a panicked attempt to make sure I can pay off my pre-order on the day and every little bit of money I save, the keener I've gotten to play this game. But money is boring to talk about, so how about I just tell you about the demo? :)

The download is about 2GB which I think is due to the crisp graphics rather than the length of the demo. To complete the demo took me about 30 minutes to an hour to complete and there really wasn't much for a completionist to stretch that time out, which kinda weirded me out considering their marketing since after the first installment of the XIII series was criticised for being linear. It was a very linear demo, which was the biggest criticism with Final Fantasy XIII. I played the XIII-2 demo and was impressed to see that even though I had a goal for the area I was in, I was free to digress and talk to the townspeople, meet Choccobocolina (note to self: check the spelling on that one) if I wanted to and look for treasure. The Lightning Returns demo offered more social options than exploration, which I can see being criticised by closed minded reviewers/haters very quickly.

While the linear approach seen in this demo hasn't tainted my view of the game - Square Enix and the Final Fantasy team have been busy making it known that the game is the most open world of the console series (expect for the online series I'm assuming), I thought it was a weird move because that is the biggest criticism the series has gotten and I know I personally was hoping for a little more exploration.

From the beginning, the demo does brilliantly highlight the awesome new battle system. Lightning Returns introduces a menu free battle system which is quick, simple to use and a lot of fun as your X, circle, square and triangle buttons are linked to your attacks, making it easy to cycle between moves and makes battles feel faster and more exciting. It also introduces garbs, which will instantly be compared to the dress sphere system of Final Fantasy X-2 but is far from it. The garbs system is a costume chance that also changes the set of attacks you have to use and the way you use them eg. Switching from one garb may have you using one gauge of attack points where another garb may switch to using a different gauge like magic points. This makes for strategic use of your time and set of attacks and keeps you thinking of your toes.

The story throws in two familiar characters instantly - Snow and Hope and a new character called Lumina who looks suspiciously like Serah. I'm excited to see what has happened to the old characters, but Lumina looks like a great character. She comes off with a cheeky kind of evil which I feel is needed in an environment of very serious characters and with the right character development could be a stand-out of this series in the full game release. In this first cut scene (which is done in Square Enix's most gorgeous graphics yet) we are introduced to the main themes of the story - religion, Chaos, mourning, life and death, saviors and the end of the world. Heavy themes for the first five minutes, but I'm not complaining! Also, once the scene ends, you will notice in the top right hand corner (along with the map) a clock with the time and a number of days which you will influence the change of in the game. This theme wasn't explored overly in the demo (there was a brief referencing of it towards the end of the demo, but by that time, it didn't matter if time was running out, I had finished the demo) but is still what I'm most interested in. How will this clock affect the game and it's story and how much can we effect it?

For players that are new to the Lightning saga/Final Fantasy, there may be a tiny bit of confusion to the events, but it felt more like the beginning of any story - characters always come in with things that have happened pre-story, so I don' think you're missing out on too much in the last few games. This may be the game that will make players play the last two for the story and not the gameplay...which while I enjoyed both games, is probably for the best. The story of this series has been to highlight so far, but it looks like in Lightning Returns, they are having a good crack at giving us some awesome gameplay.

This demo is only a very small indication of what will come, but I will say - I'm excited. A standout new battle system, solid story and the promise of new and larger worlds makes gives a small taste with just the right length to have you wanting more.

Watching the official trailer from E3 for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII below and see you next time!

Dualshock 4 is the one.

There is something sexy about the Dualshock 4.

Well....maybe not sexy. Inviting? Yes. Inviting is the right word.

I've been continuing my time with FFXIV: ARR (you can read my First Impressions on the game here: but today I switched on my PS4 to watch a DVD andwell....THAT CONTROLLER.

Compared to the Dualshock 3, it just fits your hands. It feels right, like it was how every controller should feel. Every button where it should be and my hands feel perfectly positioned. I don't know if anyone else has experienced funny feeling wrists after holding a controller too long (happened to me for the first time the other day.) but I don't think it would happen with the Dualshock 4. It makes me keener to play more PS4 (which I'm sure will happen after the PS4 game library expands).

Well done on your redesign, Sony. You did splendidly.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Playstation Network January Sale: Sonic the Hedgehog is definitely worth your 3 dollars.

I mentioned in my first post here that my very first game (bought by my lovely parents) was Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Since then, I have a limited edition Tails cup, am still slightly hurt that my brother adopted my Tails plushie, have a Sonic T-shirt, am still after how ever many years mourning the loss of Sydney's Sega World (seriously, WHY is it gone?!) and bought Sonic the Hedgehog off Playstation Network for $3 a few weeks ago.

I may sound like a freak, but that's okay.

This was the one game in the sale that caught my eye and not because of my freak-ness. $3 for an absolute classic game with the added bonus of trophies. I don't know how it could get better, even if you don't share my dabbling in trophy hunting. I know they sell those Sega Mega Classic discs with even more Sonic games for $20-$30 each and I'll probably purchase one too eventually but that's not $3. For me, $20-$30 says commitment (without trophies possibly). A $3 old classic says to me instant gratification to my inner child!

Sonic is the kind of game you can pick up at any point, speed through a level, get a trophy for each 'zone' you clear (!) and just feel good. Nothing is edited - no attempt at HD or overly stretching the screen (in fact, the game is in a smaller box on the TV but it doesn't make a difference to the playing experience), no music changing, just good, unaltered Sonic the Hedgehog....with TROPHIES.

I know this post isn't detailed but I'm too excited. To summarise: if you have ever considered trying the Sonic series/played it when you were young and loved it, get this game before the January Sale is over. Just do it and run around getting rings to happy 8-bit music as a blue hedgehog with red shoes.

Ps. Slightly cheaper than $3.
Pss. Even more slightly cheaper than that on Playstation Plus.
Psss. I'm from Australia so I get the European version of PSN. If your price is different/isn't on sale in your country, I apologise for getting you excited. I still encourage you to buy this though.
Pssss. It's a given considering this is my third post, but I'm not sponsored....just think it's awesome.

Monday 20 January 2014

First Impressions: Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn

Spoilers: Not really, I don't talk about the story much in this post but if you want all aspects of gameplay and locations to remain a secret then just buy the game. :)

If you're interested in games and are still playing the Final Fantasy series, you probably heard that Final Fantasy XIV was a disaster. I did not play this disaster (the beta file was a bit too much for my parents usually capped 50GB a month internet I was using back then) but I definitely heard about it and felt the impression it left to fans of the Final Fantasy series. After Final Fantasy XIII, some fans were already moving on to other RPGs and it was looking like XIV may have been the nail in the coffin. Thankfully for loyal/stubborn fans like me, it wasn't.

Two years on and with a better now personal internet connection (don't worry, my parents improved their internet too. In case you were worried), I was lucky to get given Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn on PS3 a few short weeks ago. I was excited but also a little skeptical. I had never paid to subscribe to a game as the only other MMO's I've played were Neopets and Gaia Online YEARS ago (oh and that 10 minutes I spent trying Ragnorak Online about 3 months ago). Who pays for a disc AND a subscription?! Not usually poor people like me.

Well, once my free 30 day trial is up, I may become one of those people.

From the second I logged in, I couldn't but noticed that A Realm Reborn is beautiful. From the world to the character creation to the quests and's visually stunning. I'm already itching for the PS4 version because I know it's going to ruin my social life just a little more while looking so good. It's already so pretty though, so after creating my character, I spent a good while just staring at her because she was (and still is) adorable. It's worth noting that the game does a good job at making it easy to get your character to look exactly how you want it without any major stuff-ups. And let's face it, Square Enix's games and characters always look stunning so it wasn't a surprise but I was impressed to see just how easy it was to make my own version of these pretty creatures! And I don't know whether it's because I'm a girl, but I'm an absolute sucker for a good character creation.

In the game, you will start in one of three cities based on what class you chose. I began in Gridania and it's still my favourite of the three. A lush forest with interesting, charming and slightly quirky characters that I thought compliment the story perfectly. And I love the different cities based on your classes. I'm an archer, so a lush forest environment was perfect for me but the other classes cities (I'll let you find those ones) compliment their classes perfectly. Instead of dumping everyone in the same place, I think it's great they put some thought into it.

If you're looking for a time sink, don't worry: the game is addictive. You can level up your character with the fun combat system, do quests that relate to the story or are just there to give you experience, participate in FATEs (random battles that share experience to whoever joins in), do guildhests or levemetes or complete your hunting log. A Realm Reborn makes it easy to find ways to get experience, but fun all the while and more challenging once you get above level 10. The little intricate parts of the game make it even more addictive with buying gear, upgrading it with materia (which I haven't got the hang of yet), Free Companys to get involved with, people constantly keen to hang out and do FATEs make A Realm Reborn so replayable and so easy just to go in and find something to do. They also give you a chance to try every single class in one gameplay so unless you want to look different, you can do everything in one playthrough which is a welcome change as I'm someone who will happily replay a game just to do everything if I'm addicted to a game/being a completionist.

The only negative I can really give at this point is I've been unable to log in due to maintenance about three seperate times/days during 14 days (give or take). But I do understand that maintenance is necessary and they are working to improve the game and they're preparing for a patch with lots of new goodies and game events which I'm sure will be more than worth it. But for mostly single/console game players like me, this may take some people by surprise like it did me so you have been warned.

This is probably more detail then I would normally go into for a 'First Impression', but I've had the game for a few weeks so I have lots to say. To wrap this up, I am finding A Realm Reborn being the first thing I do after making breakfast in the morning for at least two hours (but it's not the last thing I do before I fall asleep. That time is Persona time.). THERE'S SO MUCH TO DO IN THE GAME! It baffles me in the best way. No matter who I'm playing with (if anyone at all), Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn gives a completely non-linear gameplay with so many options and surprises thrown in that I am more than impressed and can't wait to continue playing after today's lot of maintenance is done.

This isn't a full review (I don't like doing that until I've at least finished the story) but I would give Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn a high 9/10 right now.

Thank you for reading, will post again soon while I'm still on holidays before work goes back!