Some years ago there was a time I regularly played Phantasy Star Online 2, and it really got me interested in the series as a whole. Now I finally found the time to play its very first entry, a game that was developed before I was even born.
It's been a few years since I played Tales of Vesperia, and I haven't touched the series since. Bad reputations turned me off from Xillia and Zestiria, so I almost missed out on Berseria as well. Now I'm glad I played it. The story is really good, although nothing new for veterans of the genre. But that doesn't hurt the game much because the characters are great on their own and even better when they interact among another. The skits feel incredibly dynamic for sequences of still images. You don't get interactions amongst party members like this in many games, it's a stark contrast to games like Peronsa 5 where the party just feels flat.
I've been playing way too much this year and don't like the way updating this blog works. Already started work on a new blog software, but I keep getting stuck on stupid stuff since I'm using a framework I'm not experienced with so it's taking some time. Therefore it's hard finding time to write an elaborate review for every game I play, and I decided to make a couple of posts containing my main sentiments on the games I've played in the recent past. This way I also don't have to worry so much about getting a couple of screenshots for each and every game.
The Final Fantasy series has been reinventing its own gameplay mechanics with each new game ever since Final Fantasy XII, and the most recent entry Final Fantasy XV is no exception to this. It starts as unusually as it could get, dumping a full party on the player instead of slowly introducing party members over the course of the game. Then the game never tells you much about how the three guys that the party comprises met - you have to watch a series of anime shorts to learn that. The plot in general is as thin as you can imagine from the way the game starts. You can easily beat the game in 20 to 30, if not even less, hours unless you go out of your way and deal with the game's vast amount of optional content. Personally I'm not a fan of the story and the way it is told. In the early game you spend most of your time going from place to place, triggering the occasional cutscene that doesn't tell you much, and then near the end there's all the action and exposition that explains the villain and their motivation. All lumped together into the last few hours of playtime. The writing's pretty lousy with characters that have ridiculous, if any at all, motivations for their actions. Noctis the protagonist is after a girl he hasn't met in a decade and only knows from his childhood memories, while collecting mystic weapons to power up and be the hero that saves the day. The villain is a bad guy because he absorbed all the world's evil - very human and relatable. The party hangs out with Noctis because they're his friends and its their job, and there's barely if no development at all on that front.
Still, the post-credits scene left me with teary eyes, so it's not all as bad it may sound. Despite the lack of actual story events to properly introduce the cast, all the banter between the characters on their journey works very well to allow the player to become emotionally invested in the party. That gives plenty of motivation to see the rather lackluster story through to its end.
Big surprise: Beck is back! After the less than welcome reception of Mighty No.9, remembering that Inti Creates didn't even dare to sell MN9 merch at cons, I really didn't see this coming.
This game got a lot of press. Having the assumption that there's not only a bazillion of reviews out there explaining every technical detail of it, but also that everyone has either read up on or played it already, I'm going to skip the minute descriptions of BOTW's gameplay and get right to my opinions on its various aspects. I won't talk much about the story, there isn't very much to it anyways, but there's a mention that can be considered a spoiler. FYI.
This review comes really late. I acquired this game in late 2013, already years after its release in 2009 (2010 in North America). Back then I played it a bit and had a lot fun, but stopped playing because my japanese wasn't quite at the level required to comfortably play the game in its entirety. That's changed years ago, but I kept putting it off because there's been lots of sequels to big JRPG franchises coming out lately. I played Star Ocean 5, Persona 5 and Final Fantasy XV back to back with bits of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final in between, and then I had to consciously hold off on Nier: Automata to make time for this gem. Anyways, to say this much in advance: Out of all the games I've played in the past 2 years, this is the one I like most.
I've been working on this new version of my homepage for roughly a year now. The gist is that the CMS I wrote before only used a text field for posting new articles and such, which wasn't great for working on longer posts. I could have simply added a functionality that handles text files, but there was other stuff missing as well which I had kept putting off. Thus I went and started from scratch, writing a PHP framework by myself, which was nearly completed when I decided to scratch it in favor of a static site. Think I started working on the current jekyll implementation in april, and spend most of the time since then on my own comment system (which the site was lacking before).
By now it seems like this little game has already been forgotten. Released in the US and europe in late june / early july, there's been talk about the game for roughly 2 or 3 weeks until people apparently grew tired of repeating the same few arguments and watching webms of one of the game's character's ass. The yet uninitiated may perform an internet image search for "Star Ocean 5 Fiore" to see what I'm talking about, but I doubt that's a lot of people. Now regrettably it seems that Fiore's body & outfit was the only element of SO5 that drew people new to the Series in, although the developers had intended to reach for a wider audience with this iteration of the series. However with multiple early reviews shunning the game with scores below 6.0 this isn't very surprising.