Thursday 20 March 2014

Final Fantasy X HD: Gaming Diary #1

So after writing my First Impressions post for Final Fantasy X HD (which you can read here), I continued playing this awesome game for another hour. I'm only just getting to the Kilika forest/jungle now, but I'm having fun. It's not an intense, exciting 'new' game kind of fun, but I feel this constant feeling of satisfaction while I play. Probably odd and due to nostalgia...but nonetheless.

I've noticed people always associate this game with the 'HA HA HA HA' scene with Yuna and Tidus. I find that scene charming and never found it weird, so I had no idea it was a thing until a few years ago when I was lurking Youtube one day. Well, I don't find that scene awkward. What I DO find awkward is when Tidus and Yuna start giggling while talking to each other on the boat. WHY. WHY DON'T YOU BOTH ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THIS IS WEIRD. Also, speaking of Yuna, her altered face reminds me of a cross between her face in X-2 and the FMV cutscenes. I think it's because her eyes are bigger. I remember noticing her big eyes in X-2 on PS2 and finding it a little random, then accepting that it looked good and was probably just a graphics thing that they spent more time on because she was more of a main character in that game. I guess it will create some visual consistency between the games now. I also wonder if they'll make Rikku's eyes smaller in X-2 HD.....

Also, has anyone else noticed that the transition to the FMV sequences is so seamless? I'm now remembering my PS2 disc was pretty jumpy and could not handle the Besaid to Kilika boat scene at all. I used to clean it over and over until I could get past the cutscene back in the days.....good times. This is how I learnt that I probably shouldn't imitate my family and friends 'discs on top of the TV on top of each other' philosophy....anyway, I like the seamless transition.

I also remember Sin in battle looking like a big, badly textured fin in battle. The detail they've added/enhanced is appreciated. Also the pyreflies look so neon now, again I think this will look amazing on an O-LED Vita screen or a great TV. And that Sending scene is still beautiful. Loving the HD details here!

One thing to mention - I can totally see new players getting crappy about lack of save points. I used to get the major shits about lack of save points on school nights (lol)....thank goodness I'm kinda ready for them now and can plan my playing time around them cause I sorta remember where they are. Don't play this game for only five minute intervals people - I don't think you'll get to a save point most times!

And here are two bonus things I had nowhere to put in raw, dot point form.:
  • I love how the characters treat Tidus for half the story with an 'I'll tell you when you're older' attitude about the fate of the summoner. They make it so awkward for themselves.
  • That moment when you get Al Bhed primer IV and realise you've missed three.
Also FYI people, if you have the memory card space, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for PS Vita is $49.95 on PSN and that's the cheapest I've seen the game (on Vita) for. JB Hi-Fi has the physical game cheapest for $47 on PS3 and $54.98 on PS Vita, but I know some people also go to EB Games for the points. Hope that helps and you enjoyed reading this!

(PSN: guittaraxx)

First Impressions: Final Fantasy X HD (PS3)


I pre-ordered Final Fantasy X HD back in August last year and I've been the same level of excited for that length of time. I've put off replaying my PS2 version of this game for even longer because I was waiting for this game....oh and I did get pretty into Persona, but that's irrelevant!

A little background: I played this game A LOT in high school. As I've said to a few people, it was nearly my life. I had a bustling social life in high school (lol what happened?), don't get me wrong. But most kids my age in high school except for a few really cool people weren't really into JRPGs, so when I wasn't being a raging musical emo, gaming was my quiet little habit and Final Fantasy X, X-2 and the Kingdom Hearts series were my jam. I was very lucky to play Final Fantasy X at all, actually. It was an M15+ in Australia and my Mum did not allow me to play those games until I was 15 years old. Mum however made the exception when I was 13 or 14 because a close family friend of mine had played it and because I probably begged her (Thanks Mum and Cassi who got me into Final Fantasy at all! <3). I played this game so often, my Nanna would often come round and be like 'oh, you're still playing that?' haha. I wanted the celestial weapons, the completed sphere grids, all of it. However, being social at that age, I didn't finish these. But that's okay - I can now do this now....with TROPHIES!

So yes, no regrets and I'm very glad I waited to be honest.

Because I know this game quite well, I noticed the altered faces, bright eyes and colours and HD visuals and tweaks immediately. The colours are something that really pop, making me feel like this game will look incredible too on PS Vita's O-LED screen. Things I really noticed were the orange of Wakka's hair, the blue of Tidus' eyes and the purple of Lulu's lipstick. Also, little things that weren't so noticeable like the detail on Yuna's Obi and the bumps on Blitzballs (which I used to think were water droplets!) are now visable and make each character look very well created and extremely detailed. Most jagged edges are gone although occasionally I see some on the Aeons and the food when Tidus is on the Al Bhed's boat still looks kinda terrible. But, this game is from PS2 times and I'm sure they had better things to remaster than a tray of food.

The faces of the characters are a hit and miss to me. Sometimes, expressions will really stick out and you feel more emotion from the characters. Other times, they seem misplaced or a little distant from what they're actually saying. Tidus' eyes bug me most of the time too - the difference between the light blue in the FMV sequences and the deep, bright blue in the cutscenes is noticeable and sometimes he looks like he's wearing crazy contacts. The lip syncing for cutscenes is still quite terrible as well, but I'm taking it as part of the leftover PS2 charm.

The redone music isn't too shabby. I've noticed little synths and more layers of strings and horns added and most of the tracks are remixed (though I felt like 'Otherworld' was the same...that's okay though, it was still awesome.)

The graphics of the FMV sequences really really good. I would love to play those scenes on a large TV, I truly think they would look brilliant. They also still run seamlessly between regularly cutscenes and this fluidity is felt throughout the whole game so far, even in the field movements.

I'm currently only just on the boat from Besaid to Kilika, but I can say so far I'm enjoying this blast to the past and am intrigued to play the other games on the disc. For anyone who loved the game, I recommend this so far for a little nostalgia and a beautiful story that I continue to enjoy 10 years on.

(PSN: guittaraxx)

Ps. I plan to do a review on the Final Fantasy X saga as a whole eventually, so keep an eye out! First I have to finish all the games and review them individually but it is in my mind. :)

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Thank you!

Just wanted to say a little thank you for my first 100 views. As I've mentioned, I know I don't have many readers but every single person who even clicks on this page makes me smile. And as you all make me smile, I hope I provide some kind of enjoyment to your day from this blog, no matter how small it is.

Have a wonderful day!


Monday 17 March 2014

Review: Lightning Returns - Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)

(Note: please read the PS/Edit at the bottom of this review)

I've always felt like I've gone against the mold. In gaming, sometimes it feels like playing new Final Fantasy games and enjoying them can feel this way. Reading other reviews of Lightning Returns made me feel as though the gaming world has this massive negative bias on the XIIIth series of Final Fantasy and I highly disagree with it.

Lightning Returns - Final Fantasy XIII is a JRPG situated at the end of the world, but still manages to pack humour, action, a bunch of interesting stories and a great battle system into this 50 hour endeavour. Throughout this time, I cried at least 3 times, found Lightning to be fascinating and didn't like garbs as much as any girl would be expected to.

If you love a good story and have played the other XIII games, I urge you to play this one just to see the ending. Seriously, the ending is so worth it. All loose ends were tied perfectly and in a beautiful style that was true to the heart and soul that is put into every Final Fantasy game. I was surprised to find that I felt attached to Lightning by the end and was shown the depth of character that I'd been missing from her in the last two games. Not to spoil anything, but their is more to Lightning than her cold exterior and we finally get to see it. I've heard people say really mean things about Lightning being boring and one dimension and I lost any taste of that after playing Lightning Returns.

Lightning Returns' garb system can be fun, depending how you use it. I remember hearing the developers say in an interview they wanted to give players the opportunity to give Lightning your own personalised signature, whether you wanted cute Lightning, strong Lightning or sexy Lightning. Some of the outfits they gave her made absolutely no sense to her character and I couldn't fathom her wearing them. Even as a girl who loves cute clothes, I kinda just stuck with whatever made her stats the best, whether it was sexy Lightning with a little buttcrack showing or suited up Lightning. I did enjoy the colour changing options on the garbs though and for those who care more about fashion then their battle stats, I'm sure you'll enjoy it more than I did.

Despite the game providing plenty of variety on battle costumes, for the first 25 hours I was concerned about how often I was running to the same monsters. This was until I found out you could make them extinct. Then the lack of enemy types made sense - for the lack of enemy types, you will run into them until you've beaten every last one. I haven't see this feature in any games for a while (if at all) and found it really motivating, along with the fast pasted battle system.

Lightning Returns ends the trilogy of Final Fantasy XIII with a bang and with no questions left. If you didn't enjoy the first few games, I'm not sure whether you'll feel as excited at the ending, but I think it is worth looking at if you are a fan of a deep story, games with lots of quests, a new world to explore or if you liked the last two.

Score: 7.7/10Not perfect, but a great experience for story lovers.

PS/Edit: This was one of my first reviews and I definitely write to a higher quality nowadays (there are no photos in this review: WHYYYYY?!?!).

Here a few quick things that I should have talked about in this review, but I didn't:

  • The time system: In short I think it's a good idea, although very easy to manipulate if you're playing on any mode below the highest difficulty. I had a day left by the end of the game without even trying because I kept stopping time. I would like to play on a harder difficulty at some point to truly feel the pressure of running out of time, which was meant to be one of the main features of the game.
  • The battle system is highly enjoyable. They made good changes and finally got the best version they could of this active time battle system. The battle system makes you really have to think about your combos to stagger the enemies. Come to think of it, the stagger mechanic has been the best battle mechanic in the XIII series.
  • The story revisits characters from the whole series, however don't always expect to be happy about how they've ended up. Some haven't changed at all or haven't learnt from their mistakes or faults. A few characters are great and have awesome scenes that I found moving, but they don't get nearly enough screen time.
    Also - Yes the game does feature these characters, but remember this is Lightning's game and you will see more of her than anything else. Also as I mentioned, I did love Lightning's character development however it will take time. If you don't like Lightning, be prepared find her annoying for the first few game 'days'. I like to think she'll win everyone over though - as mentioned, I was throughly impressed by her development.


Lightning Returns - Final Fantasy XIII is available now on Amazon. I've also spoken my experience playing Lightning Returns in my lead up posts to this review here and here.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Game diary #1: Lightning Returns

I hope you're all having good weeks. I'm currently stuck with the flu....which by the way, sucks. I did however, manage to finish my review on Soul Sacrifice so you can check that out here.

I thought considering my method of reviewing things involves actually finishing the main story and enjoying the game like a normal person (instead of someone who maybe rushes through a game just to get the review out in the first week. I also work a day job, thus making that impossible anyway), I could make little 'gaming diaries' to keep you guys posted on my feelings on the game. I figure it will also help keep my thoughts for reviews more prepared and structured too, which will help everyone reading this blog to enjoy things more.

Let me know if you like this series and I'll keep it going for other games too. :)

Note: I always try and be really careful with spoilers, but sometimes it's just impossible to talk about things without them, especially in a diary form so read with caution!


I've been playing Lightning Returns quite a bit, to be exact I've done 40 hours. I would say I'm definitely still enjoying it at this point, although I'm currently just doing Side Quests and Canvas of Prayers quests.

I finished the five main story quests in about 5 in game days. This (coupled with a few easy side quests) put my Eradia (which you gain from quests and helps extends the world's life) up quite a bit, so before I knew it I had a total of 13 days, which is the goal in the game. So, I had about 8 days left and was like 'I guess I have to do these side quests now....'

The game doesn't really give you much choice there. It's either 'sleep at an Inn for a while!' or side quests. However, Lightning Returns' side quests are lovely. The stories that some of these NPCs have after living for hundreds of years are truly touching. I'm pretty sure I've shed a tear at least once (let's not even go into the main quests. Swear I didn't totally 'bawww' for the one in Yusnaan). The Canvas of Prayers quests I don't really go out of my way for. Whenever I teleport somewhere new, I'll check the Canvas, see if I've got the quest items while doing other stuff and if not, I don't really bother too much. Nor do I need to, they're usually battle items anyway. I'd rather run around for a side quest of a character I'm actually somewhat emotionally invested in.

Also, my romance with 'Chronostatis' is over. It ended as soon as the main quests did. I use it occasionally for quests where I have to meet someone before a certain time, but that's it and even's rare. If I used Chronostatis now, while I'd probably finish all the side quests, I'd have way too much time left over....and does anyone really want to be twiddling their thumbs until the end of the world?

Oh and one last thing: I LOVE making enemies extinct. Genius idea for a game with limited foes. Gotta extinct em all!

For more on Lightning Returns, I recommend buying it. It's an interesting game and the action battle system will appeal to newcomers who weren't really fussed about turn-based strategy.

I'm gonna go to work now and continue my patient wait for Final Fantasy X/X-2 remaster. SO KEEN!

(PSN: guittaraxx)

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Review: DEMO Hatsune Miku - Project Diva f (PS Vita)

Months ago, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f was released on PS3. Due to it's good feedback from players, us Westerners can now get the PS Vita port! Yay!

I played the PS3 game and loved it. I made it my goal at the time to get 'Perfect' on every song and difficulty, which is usually how I like to play a fun game that doesn't require my memory to remember a story and to come back regularly. I perfected easy and got about two thirds through normal and was pretty proud and hopeful to find a trophy when I was done.

The game is a basic rhythm game with adorable anime Vocaloid characters as your singing friends. If you don't know what Vocaloid is, Youtube 'Hatsune Miku', pick a live video and you'll see she's not a 'real' singer, but she is very popular. Her voice is made of a Vocal synthesiser - a singer goes into a studio and records little bits and pieces of words and sounds and they turn this into this computer vocal synthesiser and program that can be used to create entire songs worth of vocal melody without hiring a singer. Hatsune Miku's character and voice are very well known in Japan and gaining exposure around the world. She's very cute and also has a bunch of cute vocaloid friends.

But before every male reading this post runs a mile away, what will be the selling point for this game is whether you like the songs or not. This demo gives a good indication, with three songs from the game. Once you've played through these songs, you will know if this game interests you or not. The game play is simple - you press the corresponding button as it falls onto the button on the screen (terrible description...just look at the photo) and as an added bonus for Vita players, when the stars fall onto the stars on the screen, you use the front touchscreen or back touchpad (demo is front touchscreen only) to swipe these away. Make sure you touchscreen is clean, it helps (note to self: don't play your Vita after eating.).

The game looks and plays PERFECT on Vita. The bright colours really pop on the O-LED screen. I actually prefer it on Vita to my TV. Also, it is so perfect for commuting as you can play it in small bursts. The songs range from super bubblegum J-Pop to Soft Rock to Alternative so if you like rock or pop, this game could be worth your while.

One thing to note in the demo is your progress doesn't save in the demo so don't get too hung up on Perfect-ing every song. Also, the demo includes four 'modules' (costumes) for the characters, so you can dress them up appropriately for their songs.

This demo is great, I would give it a 10 if I was to rate it. But of course, it is only a demo, so if you like it as much as I did, hopefully the game will drop in the next week or so. Hopefully some more money will fall out of the sky for me too as it is not cross-buy as far as I can tell (which makes no sense, but whatever).

Let me know if you play it and your thoughts on the demo!

(PSN: guittaraxx)

Monday 3 March 2014

Gravity Rush: the Platinum Trophy info-blog

One of the most anticipated games for the PS Vita was a quirky, innovative J-RPG game by Japan Studio called Gravity Rush. It starred a cute, spunky blonde, used the PS Vita's tilt functions like nearly no other game has so far, had a unique story and in my eyes, did not get nearly as much credit as it deserved. I LOVED this game for the two weeks I played it. I even stopped caring about looking like a nut on the train whenever I tilted my Vita around like a steering wheel because it was fun. But reviews said otherwise and it became a freebie on Playstation Plus (which is worth getting). But I'm not here to review the game itself and even if I was, I played it so long ago that it wouldn't be a good review (you probably gathered that from my opening paragraph). What I'm here to talk about is the Platinum trophy which shines in my PSN when you look at my trophies!

I'm not really a 'trophy hunter'...but I'm not...not a trophy hunter either (good description). I get excited whenever I get one and I use them as an excuse not to put a game down and also to get my money's worth. I loved Persona 4 Golden and Gravity Rush before I finished them and couldn't imagine putting them down yet, so I made the decision to obtain the Platinum trophies. Time consuming? Yeah. Unneccessary? Probably. Fun? Oh yeah.

Below, I'm going to list the 3 easiest non-story/tutorial-based trophies and the 3 hardest ones and then give you a summary on my experience. Hopefully this will help you decide if it is worth your time. :)

Easiest trophies:

3. Frequent Flyer
Objective: Land 10 gravity kicks without landing or taking damage.

This trophy was actually one of my first in Gravity Rush and is something you'll learn early in the game. This trophy can be done in the enemy fighting challenges and was one of my main techniques. I found this technique to be the best way to fight as it usually hit's the enemies weak spot dead on. As long as you don't tilt your Vita while doing this, you'll get 10 in no time!

2. Throwing Machine
Objective: Hurled 10 objects into enemies without missing of taking damage.

There is a challenge where you throw things at enemies non-stop so this isn't hard. Just...throw stuff at enemies and make sure you aim? The only real challenge with this is the enemies move sometimes but I'm sure you'll find another enemy and more stuff to throw.

1. True Challenger
Objective: Cleared EVERY challenge.

This one's easy, as long as you're paying attention. It doesn't require you to 'rank' (get bronze, silver or gold) in the challenges, it just requires you to find them all. So use your map wisely and this one is easy as pie to do while you play the story and unlock new areas.

Hardest trophies:

3. Illusory Game Hunter
Objective: Defeated the rare Nevi in Rift Planes: The Mirage

Holy crap. I had to do this battle SO MANY TIMES OVER. The problem with this enemy is it's attacks make it hard to get close to when you need to hit one of it's many weak points on a certain angle. There were special attacks involved, sitting in far off areas waiting for it to stop attacking, flying further away in the area to restore health and reading strategy guides. Phew.
It's brutal, but I did feel very proud when I got this one.

2. All That Glitters
Objective: Gold-medaled EVERY challenge.

This one requires patience and knowing when to walk away from your Vita and come back when you're not frustrated/have peaked for the day. The trophy requires doing all the challenge courses over and over until you get the gold. Some are obviously going to be easier than others for different people, but this is the 'perseverance' trophy so'll feel proud. Invisible tears of relief kind of proud.

1. Lost in Time and SpaceObjective: Heard the mysterious couple's complete story.
I needed a guide for this one. What makes this trophy difficult is simply the fact that you have no indication on where you will find the mysterious couple next. You can either gravity shift around looking for them everywhere or you can use a guide. I will say I found their story to make this trophy extremely rewarding and I think it's more than worth it.

Honourable mentions: The other Game Hunter trophies for being challenging, Going Underground for being tedious and for Gem Aficionado and Top Cat being nowhere near as hard as they sound as long as you are playing the story and doing challenges.

I found getting this platinum really, really fun. The challenges provide simple entertainment that doesn't require you to remember huge amounts of stories, just for you to play them and think of new ways to beat them. Same goes for the boss battles, it's all about the challenge. This platinum trophy took me three weeks to get and I did it on my first playthrough mostly on train rides (at this point my daily travel was 4 hours though). It's mostly simple, just requires a small amount of thinking and if you get into the story, it becomes much easier. I also recommend the DLC trophies for a little extra challenge!

Let me know how long it took you to platinum trophy Gravity Rush and if you would consider doing it (or not).

Until next time!

PSN: guittaraxx