Monday, April 3, 2017

A Nerd Poser Reviews FFXV

Consistency is key, right? 

Second blog in a week, woo! 

I haven't posted much about my geek side on this blog, but I am --indeed-- a geek. Started with my Sega Genesis and was fed during high school by a steady diet of Square Enix and anime. 

That being said, I'm most definitely a poser when it comes to Final Fantasy. I've tried to get into some FF games, really I have, but RPG just ain't my thang unless it's a button masher like Kingdom Hearts. The starting, stopping, and god forbid strategy needed to complete the average FF game are too much for my brutish, impatient nature. 

I couldn't even get past FFX, for Pete's Sake! And that one has a story...A STORY! 

So, I was very skeptical when the long-awaited FFXV came out for PS4. I'd just gotten my console (because I didn't bother getting one in Japan...sounds foolish until you're packing a year into two suitcases) and I was looking for stuff to play. Actually, I'd given a birthday/Christmas list that included Uncharted 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and FFXV. 

Now, I'm a huge Tomb Raider fan, and I have been since that little TR2 demo for the Playstation, but somehow that one didn't make the birthday present pile. Since I'm not an ungrateful little shit, I was happy with my Uncharted bundle and my FFXV deluxe edition game. 

And after playing Uncharted 4 (excellent ending to a really good franchise) I dicked around on some of my older titles before tackling FFXV. I'd been hearing a mixture of responses from friends and on social media, so I really didn't know what to expect. All I knew was that the bromance was strong and that it had a Crisis Core vibe to it 

Since Crisis Core is, now was, the only Final Fantasy game I truly loved, I figured it was time to jump on the FFXV bandwagon. 

Still my boyz~ 

So, without further ado, here's my SPOILER FREE~* review of the FFXV experience! 

Starting the game...

I opted to not watch the film included in the deluxe package before playing. Not because I wanted to save it or anything, but because I'm wildly impatient when it comes to video games and the last FF film I watched (here's looking at you Advent Children ) was pretty disappointing. 

The game starts off strong. You're the prince to a small kingdom setting off to go marry your beau. You got your boys, a sweet ass car, and your father's blessing. The little beginning where the car doesn't start and Florence sings an underwhelming version of "Stand by Me" is a cute way to start 4 friends' adventure.

Side Quests Schmide Schmests

The early chunk of the game moves rather slowly. It starts off well enough with a canceled ferry and political unrest, but that tension dies down to a sluggish pace for the rest of this bit. 

Most of the time, you're hopping from town to town, getting weapons from Notcis's ancestors' graves. In between, there are tons and tons of side quests and photo-ops for Prompto to get all the sick shots. 

Now, I love dicking around games where the characters are cool, and FFXV definitely has its share of cool characters, but these side quests get to the point where the game becomes pretty mundane. Having a car means filling it up with petrol often enough to be a problem with small funds of gil. You also need money for items, food ingredients, and caravans/hotels to hide away when the demons come out. 

And in order to make money, you have to slay monsters which requires leveling up. Remember how I said I didn't like RPGs? Leveling up is about 3/4 of that hatred. 

That's not to say it's all side-quests and boring boss fights, though. You do get to travel to pretty interesting places and learn a bit more about each of your buddies, who are infinitely cooler than you. 

Ends in a rush!

Once you get enough experience and materials to fix a boat, you finally get to Altissia, which is where Noctis and grown-up Namine are meant to be married. 
Courtesy of Reddit. Glad I ain't the only one who sees it. 

That's where shit goes down and the story gets real. The villain is revealed, you have your first major boss fight, and you're probably longing for the simpler times where riding a chocobo was the least of your concerns. 

The plot moves about ten times quicker during the second part of the game. With the world literally ending, you have to move quickly. This is also where most of the backstory and character revealing happens. One of you is wounded, while the others are trying to keep it together. All while you, the prince who's supposed to be the leader, throws a hissy fit and becomes the worst character in the game. There's a little side-story that happens around this time where teamwork triumphs over pettiness, but it barely scratches the surface after all the shit that takes place beforehand. 

The final bit leaves you alone and weaponless. This is where Noct really has to dig deep and be a decent human being in order to save the day. 
This is hard for someone who looks and acts like Sasuke, so it's probably the most challenging part of the game. 

You get to play the hero, reunite with your buds, and fight the big bad guy. 

The End...was dumb. 

Honestly, I'm no stranger to weird and anti-climactic endings from Square Enix. Being a Kingdom Hearts fan, I kind of expect the endings to be pretty foolish. FFXV does not disappoint with this, but to save anyone stuck in the side-quest vortex from being spoiled, I'll keep my mouth shut on that one. 

Still, the bromance saved this game and puts it up there on my "Final Fantasy Games I Enjoyed" shelf. The gameplay and elemancy were also fun to use and kick butt with. It was like mixing my button mashing love with a little bit of strategy, which played a role without overpowering the story. Relationships between the characters and the backstories of each were conspicuously missing, so I hope that's due to the upcoming solo titles for each of the boys. I'm looking forward to playing all of the characters' story versions coming out, and I hope this one releases more games like FFXIII and FFVII have. 

Crisis Core is still my favorite, though. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Writing Whilst Growing Up

It's been far too long since I've blogged.

I can go on about how life got in the way, how I'm stuck in a job that sucks the energy from me, how I'm distancing myself from my publisher because I don't agree with their philosophy, or how I'm deciding the best route to take to finally push into adulthood. 

But, truth be told, I've been kind of lazy.

I haven't written anything since NaNoWriMo. If it wasn't for that month of peer pressure to get words down, I wouldn't even have a direction in which to channel my slowly rekindling creativity. The BarCon at Bad Wolf was great, but it only reminded me of how publishing early with a small e-publisher has put a bad taste in my mouth. It's great for some, and I'm happy to have made the connections I did while working with them, but I don't agree with anyone who chooses to limit the ways in which fiction should be expressed. Religious crusader or not, stories shouldn't be shamed. 

(...well, maybe except Twilight

Anyway, I've finally come to terms with life sucking a little as one grows older, and I'm forcing myself to get back into some form of writing habit. I took to re-reading my first ever story that I started in high school, and rewrote only a few years ago, and I found out something. 

All of the characters are insanely naiive. 

It's the same in Lucid. Devon is the only one who should be so fresh-faced and willing to do anything to be the hero. Characters should have a bit more of a raw anguish to them. Things shouldn't happen so methodically and almost too well-timed. And the funny thing is that I honestly tried to avoid all of that every time I write a story.

That's the whole thing about growing up, I guess.

Reverie is a little better. The plot doesn't move as slowly as the first book did. The characters have more relationships and sacrifices to make. And I realized that was the book written while I was on my own in Japan. 

I'm back in my little incubator in my parents' home now. And it makes me want to claw out of my skin if I sit too long and dwell on it. But until I get a decent job where I won't have to work nearly 24 hrs for a livable wage, I'm stuck here. 

That's not  to say I haven't grown up a little. Last year was hard, and I witnessed for the first time how one person can latch on to you and tear you down to a mere husk of what you recognize. Even though you should know better, you let it happen until the nuclear explosion that terminates the relationship and removes all traces of it ever happening. With that feeling, I've started to re-write the beginning of my first story and edit the novella I cranked out during NaNoWriMo last year. 

But I'm beginning to see why most authors are older. Age truly does open your eyes to better alleys and directions in which to begin stories. There's more to a story than its concept, and like a fine wine, it takes time to mature into something truly brilliant. 

So, I just want to let all of you know that I'm not being lazy. Not entirely. I'm maturing.

And you'll see it in later blog posts. 


here's a picture of my dog as thanks for reading this mess~