joiedecombat: (surmounting obstacles)
I finished a complete replay of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 yesterday, in preparation for ME3 coming out tomorrow. TL;DR about plot structure ensues. )

In the meantime, I've started playing Final Fantasy XIII-2, which is extremely pretty but seriously, wtf is going on? I have no idea. I like Noel, though. I choose to believe he's somehow a descendant of Squall - he looks a lot like him with no scar and slightly longer hair, and he's got that wing pattern on the back of his shirt, and it's not like Final Fantasy fandom hasn't embraced any number of theories on less evidence than that.

(Don't you dare try to fix Noel and Serah up into a romance, game.)
joiedecombat: (Rinoa)
I beat FFXIII! Shockingly enough, the boss fights get a lot easier after you spend about 20 hours of play time tooling around Pulse cleaning up Cieth Stone missions and racking up ridiculous amounts of CP. Who would have thought.

I have to say, the ending of the game seemed kind of anticlimactic to me. Upon contemplation, I think the emotional climax of the game may really be somewhere around Chapter 9 or so. After that the characters mostly have their act together emotionally, but the plot gets pretty loose, in comparison with the much more effective storytelling of Chapters 7 and 8. Even without the last-minute time out for extensive sidequesting, the endgame therefore kind of dragged, and lacked the impact that I got out of FFs VIII, IX, and X.

Also: this thing they've been doing in FFXII and XIII about not having a single clear main character is not really doing the storylines any favors. I liked all the main characters in FFXIII, but I think if they had decided early on whether the main character was going to be Lightning or Vanille or Fang (or whoever), it would have allowed for a much stronger resolution. It's not like they have to sacrifice characterization on the rest of the party to do that - FFX didn't.

The game also never gets around to bothering much with the secondary characters either, sadly, which disappointed me. I'd have loved to see more of Cid Raines, Rygdea, and Yaag Rosch. (Especially Rygdea. I choose to believe he's okay out there somewhere after the end FMV, helping out with the cleanup or something. Why only three scenes for Rygdea, Squeenix?)

Overall, I liked it, but it didn't grab me the way earlier games have. I'm still debating as to whether I like it more than I liked FFXII or not; I'm inclined to say yes, at least slightly, by virtue of having a better-developed main cast and a mostly more interesting combat system. (And Snow's shirtless scenes, which they were kind enough to flash back to in the end sequence.)
joiedecombat: (KLONK!)
Someone explain this one for me: Lightning and company can all jump like crickets, high enough to repeatedly whack an ENORMOUS MONSTER TURTLE THING upside the nose... but none of them can manage to actually jump up onto its head and stab it in the eyes until it's dead, instead of dancing around underneath its ENORMOUS FEET getting trampled into paste? Really?

Really?

Sigh. I'm not sure I'm going to get past the Adamanchelid. [livejournal.com profile] kasumi_blue's Army of One: Commando Edition trick helps a little with damage, but I just can't seem to time jumps to avoid getting stomped to death. I'm having to conclude, after struggling with most of the bosses from That One Guy in Chapter 9 onward, that I just kind of suck at this game. Which is sad because I enjoy the Paradigm Shift system, I am just... clearly not using it right. Somehow.

On an unrelated note, I really wish Rygdea had more scenes.
joiedecombat: (hot)
Dear Squeenix,

Thank you for Snow's shirtless scenes.

Love,
[livejournal.com profile] joiedecombat

Okay, but aside from that, now that I am getting further into the plot I am noticing that where FFXIII is succeeding with characterization on all six of the party characters, it's sort of falling down on the supporting cast. Which is to say that I still don't really know who the main villain is going to end up being, and while Cid is pretty and Rygdea cracks me up, they are mostly not around, so it's hard to get a feel for their characters. And Rygdea might just be eye candy and not intended to have much depth (I am not sure yet, he's been in all of two scenes), but Cid needs more screen time to fill the role they've got him playing. Jihl Nabaat, likewise, could do with a bit more fleshing-out, and so could Yaag Rosch. Remains to be seen how that'll turn out.

The six main characters, however, are absolutely winning at characterization. I love Lightning, I love Snow, I love Fang, Sazh is cool, Hope is becoming cool, and Vanille isn't irking me like she was at the start. (And [livejournal.com profile] annwyd, when you get the opportunity to play, I suspect you might enjoy the subtext between Fang and Vanille.)
joiedecombat: (Rinoa)
I'm now maybe fifteen gameplay hours into FFXIII, at Chapter 7 (of 14), far enough in to have some actual opinions beyond "ooh, shiny."

Spam about the game mechanics )

Spam about the story and characters. No real spoilers, just natter. )

And... I think I'm done for now. No doubt I'll have more to say later when I actually figure out where the plot's going.
joiedecombat: (heroine)
Report on first half-hour of Final Fantasy XIII: so far, the women are kicking ass.

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August 2012

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