Category Archives: Final Fantasy

Still Kicks My Butt

Behemoth-King

I’ve played a lot of Final Fantasy X.  I’m not a master but I’ve been around the block.  Even so, this game can still kick my but, and it’s been just long enough since I last played I forget some important things.

Last night I decided to play some more FFX-HD before I went to bed.  I’ve been having fun taking my time with this game since it came out.  Been leveling all my characters up evenly and haven’t had any trouble at all so far.  I spent about an hour last night working through one of the final areas in the game.  I was gaining levels and loot like crazy, pretty much cruising through the area until I met the Bohemouth King…

He was pretty tough straight away, able to kill off any of my characters at will with his “Heave” move.  But I was fairly charged up so I would quickly bring them back into battle.  I whittled him down and finally dealt the death blow, and that’s when I forgot that the Bohemouth King dishes out a massive party wide attack when you kill him.  You can’t avoid it, it’s just what he does.  And it wiped out my entire group.  GAME OVER.

I lost an hour’s worth of progress, experience and loot.  At first I was pretty pissed.  And I won’t lie… I’d love to have all those sphere levels back (about 8 per character) that I didn’t get to spend.  But I always talk about how I wish I could go back and re-experience my favorite games without being so jaded.  Well I look at this as a moment where that particular wish was granted.

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Downtime

It feels kinda weird, yesterday and today not doing much productive around the house.  I suppose there’s a few things I could busy myself with, like organizing the garage, or getting the old server stuff migrated over to some new hardware.  Nothing critical though, and instead I’ve spent my time watering the grass and playing Minecraft.

There’s a lot of work that needs done, but it’s all in a holding pattern right now.  The Cutlass is at the transmission shop right now getting rebuilt.  The Jeep needs to be looked at next.  The Toronado is ready for ball joints, but I only have half of them, the other half should come in tomorrow.  Don’t get me started on the long list of stuff the Black Car needs.  The Toro obviously has kinda just been sitting there a while, but the Jeep and Cutlass both kinda all happened at the same time.  It’s a giant sucking sound to the bank account… but oh well.  Just a setback, nothing more.  Small potatoes in the grand scheme of what’s important in life.

So I sorta feel like I’m procrastinating if I kick back and game a bit.  But in reality, I couldn’t get much done right now in the automotive realm if I wanted to.  So the only real procrastinating I’m doing is by NOT gaming.  I keep talking all the time about how I don’t have as much time to play games as I would like to, so if I don’t take advantage of that now, I’m being a bit hypocritical.

So I’m off to play some more FFX-HD.  What a fantastic game.  This is probably my 4th playthrough of the game and it’s totally time well spent.  Even with the backlog I have piling up.  Oh yeah.  I need to update my Backloggery.  Welp, add that to the list!

I leave you with this video of Luke playing Duck Hunt for the first time.  =)

One of the Best

I can’t tell you if it happens the moment I finish certain games.  When the game I’m playing becomes one of my most beloved.  But without a doubt, after time, there are some games I’ve played that stand out far above the rest.  Guild Wars, GoldenEye 007, Super Mario Bros. 3… all of these are games that the memories stick with me.  And Final Fantasy X is very much in their company.

This game first came out in 2001, the year I graduated.  I spent part of the Christmas holiday with a friend, James, in San Antonio.  He had recently gotten the game and was in the middle of playing it while I was there.  The graphics were amazing.  That was my immediate draw to the game.  But as I watched him play, so much of the game felt larger than most.  The soundtrack, the world, the story.  It was grim, sad, and kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next.

ffx

I left San Antonio long before James beat the game.  I myself didn’t own a PlayStation 2, so I had no means to play it for myself.  Months went by and I didn’t think about it much.  I was very much a Nintendo fanboy so I spent my time playing Gamecube.  Around my birthday in 2002 (I think) I took some of my birthday money and bought a PS2 bundled with Gran Turismo 3.  One thing Nintendo didn’t have was a realistic driving game that was anything like GT3.  So without much thought about Final Fantasy X, I snatched up the console.

I don’t remember when I finally bought Final Fantasy X.  It was long enough that the game had dropped in price.  I remember seeing it on display at a music and game store in the Manhattan Town Center Mall.  It was $20 off or so and it really wasn’t until that moment that I thought about all those great experiences again.  The more I thought about it, the more I figured it was a no-brainier to pick up.

I played it, several of my friends played it with me, and after several weeks, I beat it.  Like I said in the beginning, I don’t know if at the moment I saw the ending that I was hooked on Final Fantasy or not.  But sometime between now and then I’ve become quite a fan.

Let’s move ahead about 10 years.  The PS3 is out and the PS2 is quickly becoming “retro”.  Ouch.  Very quietly it’s announced that Final Fantasy X is getting an HD remake.  WOW!  I’m excited!  All of a sudden, I have the urge to re-live the story all over again.  But if this game is coming out soon I didn’t want to dilute the experience by replaying it now.  So I hold off.

ffx hd logo

Weeks go by and there’s no news.  Months go by… maybe it was cancelled.  There were never even any screenshots shown.  But Sony press conferences come and go, and not even an acknowledgement of the game.  Then about 6 months ago, some news that not only will it be Final Fantasy X, but it will also include X-2 and many of the international features that never made it to the US game!  Then the soundtrack starts showing up on news sites and Youtube.  Finally it’s a real thing.

This weekend, the game finally materialized.  I relish these experiences as an adult, because it makes me feel like a kid again.  I was always anticipating some game back when I was younger and it always felt like forever before it released.  I probably haven’t felt like this about a new game since Skyward Sword.  And this isn’t even really a new game!

I’ve been playing it pretty hardcore since Thursday night.  It’s as much fun as it ever was.  Between X and X-2, I could play them both, then just immediately start back at the beginning of X and have just as much fun as the first time though.  Partly because the games are so lenghty, but mostly because they’re just so good.

I would love to watch Andrea play the game through.  It’s such a great game that the only part that sucks is the lack of people to share your thoughts and feelings about it with.  I know she respects that it’s one of my favorites, because she pre-ordered this remake for me before I did!  I suppose that is enough for me.

Backlog

Decided that it was a day for some retro fun.  I picked up Final Fantasy III off eBay a while back.  Weeks ago actually.  I just today finally got around to beginning a file.

While I’d call myself a fan of the Final Fantasy series, my experience with this game is essentially zero.  I’ve heard it’s awesome.  And many people think it’s the best Final Fantasy game of them all, and some people even think it’s the best game ever made.  Again, I can’t comment on any of these claims because until today, I’d never played it!

So far I’m about two hours in and I have to say I’m enjoying it thoroughly.  Even in 2013 this game is compelling.  I can see how in the early 90’s this game would have been epic.  Not that it isn’t epic now, but it’s not really fair to compare this game’s presentation with something from today’s hardware with HD, surround sound, and fully orchestrated soundtracks.

It hasn’t been too difficult, but I have to confess, I really didn’t understand how to use save points AT ALL for a long time.  I thought just walking over the save point activated it… nope not so much.  A fact I only found out after I got my but kicked in the Vargas fight.  It was pretty obvious to me I was supposed to use Sabin’s “Blitz” command, but I failed to notice any explanation on how to use it!  I kept getting “Invalid Blitz Input”.  I died… then found out all those save points I thought I saved at… didn’t.  But after some brief frustration and going all the way back to the first arrival at Figaro Castle… I regrouped myself.

After an event like that, most games I put away and think, I’ll come back to it when I’m not so pissed (Metroid Prime).  But this time, I was so thoroughly enjoying  the game, that I really wanted to get back where I was, and see where it was going.  It took me about 45 minutes to get back to the Vargas fight (ACTUALLY saving frequently along the way this time).  And I made it a point to pay close attention to where it explains how to use that Blitz command.  Only it DOESN’T!  I can only assume in the instruction booklet it explains how to “Blitz”, because no where in the game did it even hint at what to do.  And as far as I can tell, that’s the only way to win that fight.  I had to seek the guidance of the internets to figure out what I was supposed to do there.

You know, there was a time when all you had was an instruction booklet and maybe a friend that had played the game before you to help when you got stuck like that.  You might be able to go buy a magazine with some hints in it at the store, but that would require your mom taking you there, and you know darn well, Mom wasn’t going to take you to the store solely to buy a magazine for a video game you were stuck on.  So you had to REMEMBER you wanted that magazine the next time you happened to be there.  And even then, you were lucky if begging her to buy it worked.  So thanks for the Internet, I guess.

I think for the rest of tonight, I’m going to play some Guild Wars 2 before it’s back to the weekly grind of work and my 1.5 hours of free time each night.  Man, being a grown up is grueling sometimes.  Remind me to write that blog about how I vowed to make gaming a priority for life back when I was 15.

B.G. Willers Podcast – Melting Snow

The storm has finally moved on!  I’ve been a bachelor for a few days so I cranked out a podcast.

Topics:

  • Winter Storm Agatha
  • Vectrex… again.
  • Backlog of games grows
  • Andrea got Guild Wars 2!
  • EA Wants Games to Cost $69
  • Podcast Music
  • Mystery Song

DOWNLOAD HERE

I’m taking it easy.

It’s weird.  This past week hasn’t been too crazy, but sitting here this morning relaxing, it sure feels like it has.  Honestly the weekend is going to be more crazy than my week, but I think I’m going to combat that by just going with the flow.

We are getting Luke to the photography studio (AKA JC Penny) to get some professional pictures taken.  One of these days I’m going to save up and get me a nice DSLR camera and just take my own pictures.  A gal I work with got one last year for Christmas, and it’s amazing the quality those things can produce in conditions that the little point and shoot can’t handle.  But alas, it’s lower on the list of priorities.  Of course I’ll be sharing the pictures of Luke once we get them.  To get your complete fill of Lucas pictures, just follow Andrea on Facebook!

I wish I had time to play some Skyward Sword this weekend.  That’s not going to be in the cards, but I will be keeping my 3DS handy and I hope to knock out Super Mario 3D land.  I’m having to go back to some of the early levels and get star coins that I missed so I can progress into some of the later levels.  Apparently there’s a toll on Princess saving plumbers in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 came out a week or two ago and that will probably be the next game I get after I beat Zelda and Mario.  I’m not in a huge hurry because I still have a decent backlog of games to work on, plus all the old games that I always keep going back to.  It’s not like I really need another new game right now.  I have found that I really can only handle keeping up with one system it seems.  I remember back in the college days when I had the Gamecube, PS2 and the Xbox, there was just not enough time, let alone enough money, to keep up with all the great games that come out.  You just have to let some of them go.  Hopefully XIII-2 doesn’t become one of those games.

Time to get this weekend rolling!

Podcast for reals yo.

Heavy gaming talk in this podcast.  Lots of stuff about Super Mario 3D Land, Guild Wars & Guild Wars 2, plus more Skyward Sword, but no spoilers!

Podcast music as always.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Phoenix Down’d

Well I successfully revived the case I had destroyed in my last post.  The restored case is the one on the right, and the one that is all original is on the left.

The clear plastic doors on these 4 disc cases are exactly the same as the larger half of a standard CD jewel case.  So I swiped a couple old cases from work which were being used to store old station imaging discs from 1993.  So now this copy of Final Fantasy VIII is actually in a case that is in part over five years older than the game itself!  Kinda ironic.

So all is right in the gaming world again.  I’ll move forward with the plans of selling one of them on eBay and maybe put that money towards a Vectrex… or something like that.

Well Crud

When Andrea picked up the PlayStation off of eBay a while back she also picked up a copy of Final Fantasy VIII.  Which is totally awesome… but was also the only PS1 game I already owned!  What are the odds?

So with two copies of the game, I figured I’d keep the nicest one, and sell the other on eBay.  So I went to take the stickers off the one I was to sell.  Let me tell you, taking 10 year old stickers off is no fun at all.  So I figured I’d bust out the trusty GooGone.  That was a bad idea as it turns out.

GooGone not only dissolves the sticky gunk you can never get off from stickers… but also dissolves the very plastic CD jewel cases are made of.  Turns out they warn you about this in very fine print on the bottle.

It doesn’t look too bad in some angles.  But when the light hits it right, it’s awful.

Good news is I think I can rob a few empty jewel cases from work and replace the pieces I screwed up.  But tell all your friends.  GooGone is some serious stuff.

Final Fantasy XIII accomplished

Well it took me forever, but I finally beat Final Fantasy XIII.  Very worth it.  Several folks on the IGN boards were pretty critical of it, but I thought it was great.  Different than the few I’ve played, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Since FFX is the first game in the series I’ve played I always seem to use that as my benchmark.  I’m a sucker for the cinematics and the new game didn’t leave me disappointed.  While several of the scenes are pre-rendered at some high dollar CGI studio, a majority of them are real time and running on the PS3 hardware.  They blend surprisingly well, and in the video I posted above, if you aren’t paying attention, you probably can’t tell which is which.  I have to glance down at my original NES and just appreciate how far video games have come.

The story is another good ole’ “save the world”, “will we ever see each other again” tale.  The thing about these games and the stories (for me at least) is that they are so damn long, and at times so frustrating, you can’t help but become emotionally invested in the characters.  Even if the story isn’t a literary masterpiece.  When you finally just beat some hard ass boss and you feel that sense of relief and victory, you also see those same emotions coming through the characters in the game.  And when you fight that enemy and win, still only to have someone they love ripped away from them, it makes you want to know why.  I’m a geek like that I guess.

So I’ll admit, against the grain of the Final Fantasy purists that spin ye olde tails of classic turn by turn, overworld exploring, 8-bit times, I play the game, for the scenes and stories in between the battles.  I still enjoy PLAYING the game, don’t get me wrong.  I love customizing the weapons, and filling the screen with huge numbers with the best of them.  But if it weren’t for the dessert, I probably would skip the meal.  There I said it!

In FFXIII The battles are pretty automated in that you aren’t picking every single attack, but you do get the ability to issue specific orders to the character you are controlling, and focus your party’s attacks on a single target.  The real meat of the battle system is setting up paradigms.  Basically mixing and matching combinations of specialties which you can readily switch in the middle of battle.  You don’t have the luxury of having enough experience to just make everybody specialize in everything, so it’s best to diversify the disciplines of your characters so you have the flexibility to adjust to whatever the battle calls for.

All in all, I’ll probably find myself playing this game again sometime soon.  The end wasn’t quite what I expected (in a good way) but I wish sometimes the endings weren’t quite so perfect.  But then again, there’s my FFX bias shining through again.