Don't have anything to contribute here, but I wanted to say that "Hard Axis" is a stroke of genius. Well played.
Posts made by naltmank
RE: Anime! Who's watching what?
Okay team, I just learned that there's more Hunter x Hunter beyond the 79 episodes available on Hulu. Anyone know where I can watch for free? Found a kissanime link, but the pop ups make it borderline unusable. Plus I'd like it to be legal, if possible.
RIP Isao Takahata
One of the co-founders of Studio Ghibli and one of the most talented directors in Japan. His filmography was relatively short, compared to his partner, but with a near perfect batting average. If you're interested in watching something to honor him, or just want to know more about this giant, his major films were Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko, Only Yesterday, and (my personal favorite) The Tale of Princess Kaguya. I'm sure @TokyoSlim would know more, too.
RE: Best of Easy Allies - New (Unofficial) YT Series
@faris This is the first one I've watched (so far). Thank you for this! Really brought back good memories.
RE: Jurassic Park Evolution
The most recent episode of the Game Informer Show (Ben's guest appearance totally turned me on to the show, and it's a treat) has a few interviews about Evolution. Some pretty interesting stuff, but the highlight is a completely bizarre and uncomfortable interview with Jeff Goldblum. Seriously, it's something else.
RE: Final Fantasy X
@sabotagethetruth When I saw DiMaggio's name in the credits I felt like an idiot for not realizing it sooner, haha. And yeah, Auron is the man! Really liked his arc (and Brannox's summary of it). We'll see about Chrono Cross - I consider Chrono Trigger the greatest game of all time, and I'm already a little nervous just from the opening 30 min of Cross. The art style isn't really jiving with me yet, but I'll probably warm up to it. Fingers crossed!
RE: Final Fantasy X
@theotherjohnp XII is the game in the series I most want to revisit - I got it close to when it first came out, and quit it about 4 hours in because I absolutely hated the combat system. I think I just didn't get it. I also wasn't a huge fan of the license system, but I think I'd like it way more now. The recent re-release seems like it went a long way towards remedying all of the issues I had when I first played it (namely speeding up the combat), and I absolutely love the revamped soundtrack from what I've heard.
@Brannox thanks for the explanation on some of those plot details. I remember you saying in a few places how much you love FFX, so I was really curious to hear your thoughts/takes in more detail. To be honest, I was a little nervous going into this game because of what I know your tastes - I know you love FF7, which I was kind of meh on, so I wasn't sure if this was going to be a repeat of that.
Overall, I can't really argue with people that totally hate this game. I get it. But I just really liked it for some reason. The length wasn't an issue for me - I like shorter games, and this one still took me around 36 hours (keep in mind that FF4 I think took less than 30). The difficulty was perfect for me, since I'm not very good at video games (although it was still harder than FF7 and FF9). I just like the vibes here. To each their own, I guess.
Final Fantasy X
I just finished my first playthrough of FFX and wanted to share my thoughts. As always, spoilers for those who haven't played the game yet!
First, let me say that I love all the "classic" style FF games, and was told by several people that I would probably hate this game for its setting and style, so I went into FFX with considerably lowered expectations. In fact, the only reason I wanted to play this game at all is the soundtrack: from the first time I heard To Zanarkand and Suteki da ne, I knew that I wanted to hear more. Rather than spoil the rest of the tracks, I decided to trust the pedigree of my favorite series and just take the plunge. Boy, am I happy I did.
The game cheated a little bit - I didn't realize that it literally opened with To Zanarkand, which went a long way towards immediately winning me over. I was still pretty shocked at the quality of the writing and VO, though. "Listen to my story. This may be our last chance" is one of the most arresting opening lines I've ever heard in a game. I immediately wanted to know more. Also, just on the whole, the voice acting in this game gets a bad rap. Sure, there are moments where the voice direction and dubbing are off (including some really unfortunate dramatic scenes, which have the VO super weirdly sped up to match the lips), but I don't blame the voice actors for that. They did what they could, and I think on the whole it contributed to my enjoyment of the game. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Wakka had a vaguely pidgin accent, true to his pacific island roots. I thought the infamous laughing scene was actually quite touching, and stands out as one of my favorite moments in the game; it's supposed to be awkward, which is why they have genuine laughter afterwards.
The game did lose me a bit once it started up in earnest. I found the opening hours to be a little too disjointed, and I really wasn't a fan of the early scenes in Zanarkand and with solo Tidus. They pretty much embodied everything that people told me I'd dislike: weird not-quite sci fi setting, bad writing, and bad VO (I know I just praised the voice acting on the whole, but some of the extras here are real bad). Once I met up with Wakka, though, things started to turn around, and by the three hour mark I was totally hooked. This is due in large part to the excellent combat system. I genuinely believe that this is the best combat system I've played in an RPG. It's strategic, fast-paced, and intuitive. Even grinding had a strategic element to it; I found myself constantly checking the turn meter to see how many character actions I could get in before offing the enemy to maximize AP gain across my party. Even with the (somewhat insane) random encounter rate near the end of the game, I never got bored. Seriously, why don't more games play like this?
That's not to say things were all good. I have a whole host of issues with the game. On the more lukewarm end, I thought the sphere grid system was a little convoluted, and I wish that stat progression occurred more like it would in a normal RPG. I like the flexibility of moving around for abilities, but I crave the dopamine rush of a standard level up. Also, somewhat surprisingly, I thought the soundtrack was rather inconsistent; Auron's theme in particular stands out as an unfortunate low point for me. Some of my issues are fairly major. For one, I hated the weapon/armor system. I get that the customization system is probably really deep, but I just don't like alchemy in games. It overwhelms me. I'd much rather have the option to just buy a dope sword or armor set so that I can at least be passably strong without getting too involved in the customization side of things. Instead, I stuck with Brotherhood for pretty much the entire game (Celestial Weapons sounded too convoluted, and I'm more of a "main story" guy).
I also really hated the Cloister of Trials. They were obtuse, hard to navigate, and just plain boring. The trials themselves weren't hard, but the sluggish controls made them a total nightmare. Seriously, I knew right away what to do for that trial with the automatic floor panels, but the game wouldn't register me trying to change directions half the time and would take me back to the top over and over again. It kills the flow of an otherwise beautifully paced game.
Also, we need to talk about the villains. Seymour freaking sucks. First off, one of the more hilariously evil character designs I've ever seen (plus on the vita, his open robes just make him look like he has a weirdly defined hairy beer belly). It's absurd that the game even tries to make you think he might not be a bad guy when you first meet him. Homeboy has spiky long hair with crazy blue veins running down his face. He's hella evil. Then, he somehow goes from saying "we should get married to distract Spira from their pain" to "I should kill everyone in the world to end their suffering," because apparently "being killed by the thing you're sad is killing everyone you love" is better than... you know... being alive and sad I guess. Also, the maesters in general are all just absurd to me. I don't get their motivation at all. Except the Ronso. He's a bro. Then there's Yu Yevon, who's made out to be this insane badass evil mastermind, but is really just a squid kid who likes his magic rocks. Kind of a letdown after the Jecht fight.
There are also moments where the story starts to lose me. I've since read up on all of these, but I think the reveal that the Zanarkand we know is really just a dream was poorly handled. I'm not against the idea like some other people I know, I just wish they handled it in a more natural way than "hey, we're near the end of the game, so let me explain a twist that you didn't even know was relevant to the plot since we haven't suggested anything like this before." The closest thing to foreshadowing that we got for this was the fact that Sin attacked at the beginning of the game, which I guess was a sign that we couldn't have been in the past. This brings me to my next issue, though: why did Sin attack Zanarkand if it was created for the express reason of protecting it to begin with? I've read some explanations online that it was an accident, but that doesn't make any sense, given that Yu Yevon is controlling it. If Yu Yevon wanted to preserve the Zanarkand of his memories, why would he let his creation destroy it?
Despite these gripes, I can't get over how much I loved this game. It has one of the best casts of any Final Fantasy game (Auron, Lulu, Wakka, and Yuna are all incredibly developed, even by today's standards, IMO), and it has the best difficulty curve of any Final Fantasy game, with a final boss that wrecked me several times without feeling cheap (if you couldn't guess this from my earlier statement on the Celestial Weapons, I'm not a huge sidequest guy). Also, even though I have several issues with the story, I freaking loved the ending. The final sequence, from the fight with Jecht through the end, gave me goosebumps several times, and Tidus's goodbye to Yuna made me genuinely emotional. This game might have surpassed FF4 to sneak into my top 3 Final Fantasy games. Seriously, I can't believe I almost didn't play this game.
So what do you all think of FFX? I know it has its haters, so I'd love to hear your reasonings. Also, if you can help me understand those story bits more, that'd be much appreciated. Otherwise, off to the next game I was told I'd hate: Chrono Cross!