This month I beat Lightning Returns, and Strider. I do have a lot to say about Lightning Returns, but not so much Strider. I've been finding recently that it's much easier to talk about games that I'm displeased with. When a game is mediocre, or just okay it's hard to quantify anything about it. Strider for example I liked, but it wasn't anything incredible.
I also played Bravely Default a lot, but I'm not super pleased with it. I have no doubt you want to hear all about these games, so we should get into it.
Before Bravely Default came out I was so excited for it that I could barely contain myself. I played the demo for hours on end in order to get every single bonus I could. Now that I have the game I'm not as excited anymore. At first I really liked it, but I'm now at what seems to be the game's midpoint at about 30 hours in and I don't feel the magic anymore. I didn't like Final Fantasy V, but I was hoping that this new job changing game would be my cup of tea. It's just weird, because I really liked the demo.
The concept of changing jobs all the time is neat, and I really like getting new jobs and leveling them up. The game does so much right, so I don't really know why I've been down on it lately. I love leveling up, so the fact that I can level up characters and their jobs is a great thing. What's especially cool is that almost every aspect of Bravely Default's gameplay can be customized. It's truly a game that you can play the way you want. The way I play is by having the random encounters up 100%, so I basically get into a battle every few steps. Then when I need to heal I turn them off completely so I can go heal.
|Getting into battles every few steps isn't as bad as it sounds.|
The battles end up going by super fast, because you can make the battle speed crazy fast. You can turn off battle animations as well, so battles happen almost instantly if you set everything to auto battle. The battle system itself makes things pretty unique as well. Each turn you can either brave, default, or just act. Braving is like using a future turn on the current turn to attack multiple times in a row, up to four times. If you use four then you can't move for four turns. If you default though, you can save up turns while defending, so the penalty isn't as harsh.
The story of the game might actually be what's giving me pause. It's super generic. There are crystals and an evil is hurting them. You and your band of homies have to go around the world and restore them to their former glory while simultaneously fighting an evil empire. It's nothing to write home about. It also doesn't help that the game has had a huge difficulty spike for seemingly no reason at all. The first half of the game I was trouncing enemies, because I was so overleveled, which is how I tend to play RPGs like this. I didn't change the encounter rate or anything, but now bosses take forever to kill and normal enemies wipe out my party on a fairly regular basis. I just don't get it and it has really put a damper on the whole game for me. It doesn't help that people say the last few chapters of the game are horrible.
I don't know. I desperately want to like the game, but it's holding me back. I just need to keep bashing my head against it until it starts to click again or something.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
I liked Final Fantasy XIII well enough. XIII-2 has an amazingly terrible story, but I liked the gameplay. I don't even know where to begin describing Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. For starters Final Fantasy XIII is just the subtitle, which seems straight up crazy. I guess it fits with the rest of the game, because the whole thing is bastshit insane!
Let's start off with the story. You play as Lightning. She has been chosen by the new god Bhunivelze as the savior. The world is ending in thirteen days and Lightning has to save people's souls in order to bring them to the new world. If she saves enough souls she will be able to be reunited with her sister Serah. For some reason her transformation into the savior has made her less human, so she''s kind of like a robot emotionally, except for when the game decides to forget that fact in almost every major cinematic. She gets to hang out with Hope, who god turned back into a kid on what seems to be a spaceship outside of time, but it's strongly implied it might actually be the moon...
|The Arc might actually be the moon.|
Oh yeah, also time has stopped. That means that all your favorite characters haven't aged at all in over a thousand years or something crazy like that. I can't think about this games story without getting actively upset by how stupid it is. The story of original Final Fantasy XIII wasn't spectacular, but in comparison to this it's the best thing ever written. The gameplay itself is super weird, but I liked it in some weird way.
You run around as Lightning in a kind of open world. There are four major hub areas to traverse, and each one has its own main quest to tackle. Lightning can run and even jump, which is kind of weird to get used to at first. Battles are fairly similar to how they were in the previous games, except that you have direct control over Lightning. You have three schema, each with a different outfit, weapon, and shield. Each schema has four attacks, that correspond to a face button on the controller. You still attack the enemy with magic moves to stagger them, and physical moves to retain the stagger you've done. Now it just feels like you have more control, because you can move Lightning and choose when you're going to to do an attack as opposed to putting in a strong of commands.
|If you ever wanted to see Lightning as a sexy cat lady, then this game is for you!|
The battles are fun, but the way you save souls is not exactly what I'd call fun. It's where the game becomes a long series of fetch quests. You'll talk to a person and they'll be all upset, because they can't find their dog. You have to go around and find the dog, and then you get some stat upgrades and a terrible item. The only way you can level up is by completing these quests, so if you want to do the fun part of the game well you have to put up with all the stupid fetch quests. Battling doesn't get you anything other than money, items, and skills. Unsurprisingly you need a lot of those things in order to complete quests, so it's a never-ending cycle.
To me there was a huge disconnect in the game. The world is ending in a few days, but you have time to run around and do a bunch of bullshit. The game itself is on a timer, but it's super forgiving so it might as well not even be there. Eventually I ended up coming around on the fetch quests, because they kind of let me turn off my brain. By the time the game was almost over I was barely paying attention to it and watching things on the internet at the same time. I guess that's probably not a good thing for the game though. It was just so weird.
I think that Strider might be the best game I've talked about in this edition of Game Time. At the very least it's the one I had the most fun with. It starts off with Strider hang-gliding into the city and then you just have to play. There's no explanation or anything other than that you have to kill Grand Master Meio. It's pretty much your standard Metroidvania style game, but a little more action focused.
The action is fast paced and ridiculous. You can spam the attack button as fast as you can and Strider will whip his sword at a ridiculous rate. The combat isn't very nuanced, because you can pretty much spam the sword and jump around to beat every single boss in the game with very little trouble. The good thing is that the controls are very responsive and you feel legitimately powerful. It's like he's cutting through enemies as if they're butter, which is how it should be. He's a ridiculous cyber ninja.
|This image is amazing.|
As you advance in the game you get all kinds of powerups that make Strider even cooler. He can dash through the air, and double jump. My favorite thing is that you can change the color of his sword and scarf by using the d-pad. Each color has different powers. Red can deflect bullets, orange is explosive, blue is ice, and I don't remember what purple does off-hand. I tended to use explosive once I got it, because it was the easiest one to kill enemies with.
I wanted to find every single powerup in the game, but I couldn't after I beat it. For some reason it doesn't let you go back once you've beaten Grand Master Meio, which is a shame. I don't really have a whole lot to say about Strider, because it's pretty short and not a lot is going on. You play as Strider and cut down tons of robots. It was fun.
Is the next gen finally here?
Every time a new game gets announced and it's for the last generation of consoles along with the new ones I get upset. What's the point of having a next generation console if there are no exclusive games to play on it? The first party exclusives for the PS4 at launch were super lame, but that all changes in March. InFamous Second Son will finally be upon us. Every time I see gameplay I get excited. It looks like more InFamous, which is exactly what I want out of it. What makes me extra happy though is that it looks like a true next generation game. The graphics actually look like they wouldn't be possible on a PlayStation 3 and an Xbox 360 and that prospect excites me greatly. Maybe after this month I can finally stop complaining about the PS4 having no truly next gen games.
Other than InFamous I will definitely be playing Dark Souls 2. For the past two months I've been playing the original, which I just completed last night. That's one of the reasons this edition was so late. I'm trying to put my experience with the game into words and that will hopefully go up sometime this week.
I'm thinking about getting Yoshi's New Island for the 3DS as well, but the more advertising I see for it the less I want it. It's possible that Yoshi's Island for the SNES was a total fluke and Yoshi never deserves his own game again. That's probably kind of harsh, but it seems to be getting more true by the year.
Well, that's all I've got. See you next time