Tag Archives: gamers

My Thoughts On Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

17 Jul

I dug through my garage recently and found something rather interesting: my old Nintendo Gamecube. For those of you who don’t know, this was one of Nintendo’s most popular game systems of all time (it came just before the Wii). My Gamecube was a bit dirty, but I had a Wii to play Gamecube games on so why did I need it anyway, right? Well, to be able to save your game on those Gamecube games one must have a Gamecube memory card. So when I found the Gamecube with both cards in tact, I got quite excited. Soon after finding the cards I ordered an old game I used to love over eBay. Now one thing I’ve noticed about most of these old games I used to play is that they’re never as good as I remember them. However, the game I ordered has proven me wrong. In fact it has proven me very wrong. The game I ordered is better than I remember it being. This game was Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.

Let me start with the opening. You start a new game, and then one of the most beautiful opening scenes you may ever see in a game plays out. You can find it on YouTube, but let me make this known: it’s not the same on a tiny computer screen. And when I had it going on my big, flat screen TV, that has HD picture and a BOSE surround sound system, holy crap did it look and sound incredible. It was like a dream, only it was actually happening right in front of me.

And then there’s the first moments of the actual game. Now I must warn people that if you don’t like walls of text you will not like this game. Because even though they’re few and far between, when they show up they are long. There’s a lot of reading to do in the game, especially at the beginning. But if you endure it, you’ll find the game is well worth however much you paid for it (I got it for $23 on eBay. It is still, to this day, worth $40 to me).

In the beginning you get to create your caravan (more on that later), which can be up to eight characters. The four “tribes”, which I think we should just call races in this game since two of them aren’t even human, are unique in design and all have very aesthetic characteristics. There’s the Clavats who are essentially your generic humans with cool armor and swords, the Selkies who are basically your hot humans with little clothing on (although I think the males look a bit too much like women), the Lilties who I swear to God must be some of the most badass “little people” I’ve ever seen (they’re essentially the beardless dwarves of this game), and then there are the Yukes. I don’t really know what to say about the Yukes since they’re the more mysterious race. You never get to see their faces because they’re always wearing helmets, their bodies are covered in fur, and that’s about all I know about them. They’re very mysterious.

After creating your caravan you get to learn the story of the game. Okay, so the world is covered with this stuff called Miasma, a dark energy that slowly kills anyone who is among the four main races. All other creatures are either immune to it or have become one with it and turned into evil monsters that you’ll fight throughout the game. How the four main races defend themselves from the Miasma is with the power of the crystals. Every town in the game has a giant crystal that shields the people from Miasma. These crystals are powered by a resource that they need again once every year, called myrrh. To find this myrrh, crystal caravans must travel into Miasma covered lands and recover the myrrh from myrrh trees. To get to these trees without being taken out by the Miasma, the people in the caravans bring along a crystal chalice that not only holds a small crystal to protect these people, but carries myrrh for them as well. And lastly, each  myrrh tree is defended by an evil boss monster, which is usually at least four times your size (or in a Lilty’s case, eight times).

That’s a brief version of the plot. Remember, even after all these years I still haven’t beaten it, so expect other surprises throughout the game. Before I get into a few more good things, I want to talk about the only thing that I feel is a flaw in the game: the multiplayer. Now I’ve heard that a lot of people had fun with multiplayer in this game and that’s good for them. However, I think that the developers tried way too hard to “innovate” with this system. To play with friends you actually have to go out and buy multiple Gameboy Advanced systems (the handheld before the DS) and Gamecube connecters for each of these Gameboys and use these friggin’ things as your controllers. The excuse for this is that everybody has to have their own personal menu, but you’re telling me I have to go out and buy multiple handhelds just so I can play one game with my friends? I don’t think so.

Anyhow, that’s my one complaint. Other than that, the game is great. One thing that I forgot to mention earlier is that each race has an advantage in combat that the others don’t: Clavats have good defense, Lilties have good offense, Selkies are really fast runners, and Yukes are good with magic. And that’s my way of segwaying into combat. The combat in Crystal Chronicles is unique to Final Fantasy. It isn’t turn-based, it’s real-time combat that requires you to actually be strategic on the spot. You can’t just spam the attack button the whoe time. You have to be ready to quickly alternate between using regular attacks, to firing off spells, to using items, to targeting special attacks, etc. If you don’t like thinking, this isn’t the game for you. Crystal Chronicles requires you to actually think about what you’re doing, not just sit there button mashing all day.

After collecting three drops of myrrh you’ll return home and celebrate your victory, which is always cool to watch. The game’s art style makes it cool just looking at the characters. And while we’re on the subject of art I should mention that the music in this game is superb. Every time you go somewhere you know you’re going to get music that fits the environment, the characters, etc. Especially the boss fight music, I really love that track specifically. It’s great.

Overall this is a great game, and at this point in time it is worth double what you’ll probably pay for it. Crystal Chronicles is charming, powerful, and if you own a Wii and a Gamecube controller (and a memory card) you should definitely pick it up.

VERSUS: Borderlands v.s. Left 4 Dead 2

8 Dec

Hello friendly viewers (and to those who aren’t so friendly, get out). I realize I haven’t posted much in a while, so I’ve decided to come back with a bang. Two great games have been released. Though one isn’t quite as recent as the other, they both feature something that I love: four player co-op.

I’m going to be breaking this duel between the games into several parts. If you’re only interested in one section, just look for it, read it, and be on your way. But if you want a full blow review of the two, and want to know which is really better (in my opinion of course), then sit back, relax, and enjoy the first episode of VERSUS.

BORDERLANDS V.S. LEFT 4 DEAD 2

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The first thing one notices about L4D 2 that instantly makes it better than Left 4 Dead (1), is the drawn out, kickass, rompin’ stompin’ opening cinematic. The characters look better, their voice actors are perfect n ever way, it’s cooler, it’s longer and the excitement one feels while watching it is much higher than that of the first. It also spans across all of the campaigns, not just one, and makes one want to play through the whole game to see how this, that, and the other might have played out. It really is incredible.

Now with Borderlands the story is a tad different. The opening cinematic is awesome, don’t get me wrong. It’s just a different kind of awesome, and unfortunately this different kind isn’t quite as good as L4D 2’s first impression. The opening scene introduces you quickly to the planet of Pandora, and the classes you can pick from. Now I must admit that There Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked is the absolute perfect choice of song for this scene, and the timing is perfect as well, with each characters being introduced in rhythm in a grindhouse manner. Although it’s fun to watch. I’d rather look at the cinematic the L4D 2 has than the one Borderlands plays. Sorry Pandora, but this round goes to the zombie apocalypse.

WINNER: L4D 2

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

STORY

L4D (1) is known for having little to no story. It’s just four (well, now five with Crash Course) movie campaigns that aren’t very connected at all. L4D 2, however, manages to handle this problem nicely by having the first campaign be the very first meeting between the survivors. The introduce themselves to each other in an elevator, and set out to see what’s out there in Postapocalyptia (note the Fallout reference I just made there :]).

L4D 2’s campaigns are also tied together. For instance, the characters might talk about something that happened earlier in another campaign that’s related to the one you’re one. And whatever vehicle you left the last campaign in is in the start of the next one, providing some link between each campaign. It’s not a huge story arc, but it’s something. And L4D 2 comes complete with a company called CEDA (Valve is known for having companies in their games, i.e. Black Mesa and Aperture Science), which was supposed to be protecting people from the infection, but failed miserably. Their jets and helicopters are still flying around, but all of their “infantry” on the ground are now infected. It’s a real hellhole.

Borderlands’ story is…um…yeah. Listen, I hate to disappoint any readers hoping Borderlands would have a nice story, especially with such potential (four unique mercenaries on an alien planet being ordered to do things by a mysterious guardian angel who might have something up her sleeve that will shock gamers everywhere). Unfortunately however, the story is, for lack of a better term, utter crap. I mean, I haven’t beaten the complete story yet, but I’ve gotten far enough to know that this game is not about the story, it’s about the gameplay. The guardian angel isn’t mysterious, just annoying. She feels like she was thrown in at the last minute so people would feel like there might be some inner workings to the story. The opening events of the game are boring (in terms of story, not action) and made me want to shut it off (though the gameplay really saved it big time). Honestly, I pity the writers who worked on it and had to play it afterwards because I have a feeling they know they failed. And so the winner is once again the apocalypse.

WINNER: L4D 2

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

GAMEPLAY

L4D (1) had plenty of great things, but also plenty of flaws. For one thing, there were only five primary weapons, two grenade types, and only one secondary weapon (although dual wield was enabled), along with a few other items not used for combat. In L4D 2 there’s ten primary weapons, twelve secondary weapons (if you include dual wielded pistols and melee weapons), and even a new grenade, an adrenaline shot, and a defibrillator. That’s a large improvement from the last game and gives players much more flexibility with what they use in the game, and greatly influenced my take on the game. Another improvement is the difficulty level. L4D 2 is much more challenging than its predecessor, causing survivors to really have to work together even more. Teamwork is key to completing the campaigns in L4D 2, and I mean key, especially with the new special infected running around. The spitter shoots acid spit at survivors and creates pools of this dangerous fluid when she dies. The charger rams through everything in its path and when it tires out grabs the nearest survivor and begins pummeling him into the ground. And then there’s of course the jockey, who jumps on the backs of survivors and leads them into the hordes of zombies, fires, off cliffs, into the witch, etc. Speaking of witches, in all daytime campaigns the witch will now wander around. She could pop up around any corner, and you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

It isn’t just the regular game that’s improved. There’s also new game modes as well. Scavenger takes survivors to sections of campaigns and has then bring objects around the map (usually fuel tanks) back to the “home base” area to collect points. And then there’s of course the game mode that was revealed in the demo (but not playable): Realism. Realism at first seemed to me like basically the regular game. But that was before I got separated from my team. Realism takes away the blue silhouettes that helped you out so much in the regular game and makes you realize how important they actually were. You can get lost very easily in Realism and not only that, but items are much harder to find in Realism because of the silhouette removal. The tank does more damage than before as well and the witch can kill players in one hit. And I don’t mean knock down, I mean literally kill you in one hit. And remember those closets that helped so much in getting teammates back? Not there. They’re gone in Realism. Hope you packed a defibrillator or two. Now imagine that game mode on expert, and you’ve got a real challenge on your hands.

Now Borderlands has a very different play-style. Borderlands is, for one thing, and RPG at its core. It’s a shooter, don’t get me wrong. But all attacks and stats and such are altered by RPG style perks and statistics. There’s no moral decisions or anything, but the game doesn’t work like that. It work more like this other one game I hate. What was it called again? World of Whorecraft? Something like that. Anyhow, the game flows like that certain other MMORPG, but it’s ten times better. For one thing, the action isn’t slow and boring, but exciting and fun. And not only that but there’s tons of guns. I mean, there may actually be 87 bazillion, just like in the ads. Because there’s plenty of guns. Rocket launching shotguns, flaming snipers, explosive revolvers, to name a few. And I mean a few, because there’s so many guns. It’s crazy how many there are.

Character progression is quite fun as well. Character customization is purely asthetic, but that’s okay for a game like this. It’s more about your abilities than your armor and such. Each class has its own special ability. The hunter has a deadly pet bird named Bloodwing. The soldier has a turret he can drop down equipped with a shield for protection. The siren can turn invisible and move super fast before deploying an energy blast that covers a large space. And then there’s the brick (or berserker) who drops his guns and take out enemies with his fists. All of these abilities are upgradable, and so are a whole bunch of other things like reload speed, what kind of item drops you’ll get, etc.

Exploration is quite fun, and since there’s so many new areas to explore around every corner and so many quests to uphold, you’ll almost always have something to do. And with co-op, question becomes more challenging, but at the same time, more fun. Having buddies around always makes Borderlands a lot more enjoyable. In multiplayer you can duel (like in Whorecraft), and even have 2v2 battles in arena. So if you ever get bored of NPC enemies getting slaughtered at you feet, you can always try and see if you can beat your buddies into the dirt, too.

It was a tough decision, but I think because of the RPG aspect, this round is going to have to go to Pandora.

WINNER: BORDERLANDS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PRESENTATION

The new menu for L4D 2 is sleek and smooth and it’s very easy to find the thing you want to do. It’s also easy to find games and start playing them without fuss. The new musical style is cool too, providing a cool set of tunes to go with your getting into the game, and improving the in-game experience itself. Along with that the daytime campaigns and the new lighting for nighttime campaigns create a much more brilliant atmosphere in the world of L4D 2. Lastly there is of course new wall messages and new side characters to spice up the L4D world, including L4D 2’s version of the companion cube, a cute little garden gnome named Chompski.

Borderlands’ menu isn’t quite as interesting and feels sort of like the menu for a PS2 game (be advised I have Borderlands on the PS3). The in-game menus are cool though and provide easy viewing of items and stats and such. And there’s also that great art style that makes the world more vibrant and colorful. However, bland characters who don’t have that much personality (not that every character in Borderlands is like this) caused me to not be able to appreciate the way it was presented as much. And that’s why Valve has once again triumphed.

WINNER: L4D 2

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

FINAL SCOREBOARD:

L4D 2: 3

BORDERLANDS: 1

WINNER OF VERSUS: L4D 2

Hope you enjoyed the first episode of VERSUS.

Happy Holidays!

LHS Blog Here On WordPress!

4 Oct

Hey viewers! The LHS blog has arrived here on wordpress! You can check it out at the link below. It’s the blog for my gaming clan to view for exclusive updates not seen on the Steam page. First up I’m gonna post the first two episodes of Modster Madness, as reviews on which mods Last Heroes Satnding members should play.

LINK: http://lastheroes.wordpress.com/

Last Heroes Standing reaches 50 members!

2 Oct

I’m excited to announce that my Steam community Last Heroes Standing has reached 50 members. Hooray!

My thoughts on Windosill

27 Sep

Okay, I’m just going to come right out and say it. Windosill it the most enjoyable gaming experience I’ve ever had. This game is unbelievably great. What Flower is to the PS3, Windosill is for the PC. Only in my opinion, it has ten times as much meaning and is ten times as creative.

In Windosill, you control a small steam kart (whom I have named Karty (just go with it)) through a small number of puzzles. You might exoect to play a game where you must utilize your skill from the previous level to beat the next, but Windosill is different. Windosill’s puzzle are all comletely different from each other in every way except for one detail, you need a cube, and you have to slide it a hole. How you obtain them in each task however is completely different for each level. And each level is more and more creative every time.

The game is simple, but it’s so magical and so wonderous that you’ll never want to put it down. I probably sound really cheesy when I say that, but it’s just that good. And it’s only $3.00 on Steam here in the US. Oh, and don’t you dare use a strategy guide to solve the puzzles. It will ruin, and I mean ruin, the experience.

Play Windosill now. I promise you it will change the way you look at games, forever.

My favorite character in video games....ish.

My favorite character in video games....ish.

Modster Madness !Double Feature! (Sep. 26, ’09)

26 Sep

Hey guys! Welcome to the second episode of Modster Madness. If you’ve seen the Zombie Master review, you know the drill: I tell you about a mod of a game, and if you should get it or not. Simple enough right? Well, today it’s a double feature, so let’s get going quick. It’s time to review:

                                                       

MINERVA is a single player Half-Life 2 mod that takes mod storytelling to the next level, engaging you in most of the stuff that is happening. Maybe not so much as Half-Life 2 itself did, but it dilivers more than you’d expect from a mod. The game begins on an island invaded by the Combine. You’re dropped there by a group that is attempting to investigate the island and find out what’s there. You’re directed by a tezt scroll in the upper left corner of the screen (at least I think it’s the upper left, I haven’t played MINERVA in awhile). It tells you to go to certain places on the island and complete certain tasks. The tasks were a bit hard to follow because it was only text and it went by a little too fast, causing me to have to reload earlier save files to learn what my next ojective was.

                                        

In the beginning, it feels like just anyother mod, walking across the surface of the island shooting Combine soldiers, then going inderground to fight zombies, then going up again to fight more Combine. But then, after some time the observer starts to talk a bit about your past. Basically you learn that you betrayed the humans and they’re using you to do their bidding in payment for his sins. Rough. Anyways, the plot definitely thickens as you learn more and more what your group really needs you for (or whether they need you at all). I startedtp actually feel for the character I was playing as, merely because the writing was so good, and towards the end the player will be fully immersed in the story. It’s gripping, it’s suspenseful, it’s really fun.

                                                  

MINERVA is not flawless though. As I said before, I had to reload save files to read text. I think I had to do it eight or more times. Nonetheless, this is a great mod and you’d be wise to play it ASAP. MINERVA: Metastasis, remember the name, because this mod has an awesome story, and really sinks in at the end (which is nowhere near anti-climactic).

And now, onto our second mod:

                                                    

Another single player mod, Riot Act takes place in a Combine prison that’s being attacked by an antlion horde. Your character, named Jamil, had his cell door left open. You escape, find a crowbar (of course) and an SMG/ammo supplying ally in the beginning. As you progress you will find more allies who you able to recruit as you start your riot. In the process you defeat an antlion guardian and gain control of the antlions, as you did in Half-Life 2.

                                      

According to your supplier, Alyx Vance and Gordan Freeman are the cause of the antlion attack. Don’t know how, but they are. That is not to say that it is a canon mod (though I like to think that it is). It’s merely a neat plot point they put in the story. Even though Riot Act is primarily an action packed adventure mod, it does have a plot twist in it that I won’t spoil for you. It isn’t major, but let’s just say I grew attached to my little party after awhile.

Riot Act is about as short as Portal, but definitely long for a mod. There were moments when I thought it was over when it had merely begun. It provides loads of action sequences that make you feel like a super hero. Oh, and the last battle (which I will also not spoil for you) is a really intense and surprising moment. Overall, you should play Riot Act. You can get it from Steam any time you want for free. It’s fun, it’s exhilarating, hell, it’s a friggin’ riot act!

                                          ra_c1l20004.jpg image by snackeater9007

And that concludes the double feature for this evening. This is Liak Lienad, signing off.

WARNING: You must own Half-Life 2 to get these mods.

PWNT, In The Face: The Last Wave

26 Sep

Welcome to the first addition of PWNT, In The Face. In this I’ll give you a short description about how I recently PWNT somebody, in the face.

Okay, so I was playing TF2, and I’m on a server running the Orange X3-B4 map (TF2 guys know that the rule is only two people can play as sniper at a time on this map) and there’s these snipers getting headshot after headshot on my team. So a sniper spot gets open, and I jump into the class, right. I kill both enemy snipers within five seconds of eachother. They come back, kill ’em both in five seconds. They come back, I kill ’em both in five seconds, rinse and repeat a few more times, then one of them gets me. After killing me he does the wave taunt that you normally do as a sniper after beating the hell out of somebody. So, I decided I’d do the same, since I was already beating the hell out of them anyway.

So the guy comes out, he has a clear shot at me, but of course, being who I am, I pick him off and wave. Then you’ll never believe what happened, one of them left the game! I still can’t believe that I beat somebody so hard they ragequit. PWNT, in the face. I waited an hour and a half to see if he’d return, but he didn’t. He had been beaten down to a pulp. Poor guy, but he was still PWNT, in the face.

I am Liak. See me wave.

I am Liak. See me wave.