Late to the Game: Final Fantasy XIII and the Siren Call of RPGs

lightning

I have an admission to make: I pre-ordered Final Fantasy XIII all the way back in 2010 (paid almost full price, too!), played it for about an hour and twenty minutes that March and then proceeded to leave the game untouched for more than three years. Even still, when Final Fantasy XIII-2 came out, I went ahead and bought a shared copy with my brother. He beat it immediately, and I let the game sit on my shelf unplayed until just recently. Why did I put off playing these games for so long? A combination of things, really: I tend to avoid long games until I’m in the right mood for them, and a lot of people were super-critical of FFXIII when it first came out. It sounded like a disappointment and a time-sink, and I wasn’t in the mood for either.

However, after I recently knocked out Demon’s Souls, I found myself craving more good RPG experiences. The FFXIII games were the most logical place to look, if only so that I might finally clear out my backlog of 360 and PS3 games in preparation for trading in one or both systems. I started out with XIII-2 because conventional wisdom is that it corrects all the missteps of XIII, but even though the game was a lot of fun, the story was convoluted and confusing. I felt like I was missing something, so I decided to give XIII a shot after all. Much to my surprise, I’m really enjoying it – the battles are a lot of fun once you can paradigm shift – and I’m already a good twenty hours in after just a few days.

So why was everyone so hard on the game? Was it just a case of preconceived notions, or is there something genuinely missing?

Continue reading Late to the Game: Final Fantasy XIII and the Siren Call of RPGs

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 76: Much Doge Delay

the gamersushi show ep 76

We’re back with an on-topic cast as the crew gather to talk all the video game news that’s fit to print…or talk about. Whichever.

Leading off, Eddy gets sad about Watch_Dog’s delay (much disappointment), Anthony bemoans the current direction of Final Fantasy, I talk about Ryse: Son of Rome’s crunch, Jeff soliloquizes about The Wolf Among Us and we close with some Grand Theft Auto 5. So, it’s a pretty full cast.

Listen, rate the podcast (it’s very important that you do this since we lost all our previous ratings) and enjoy life. We’ll be back soon with another episode.

0:00 – 2:48 Intro
2:49 – 12:24 Watch_Dogs Delay
12:25 – 21:03 The Death of Final Fantasy
21:04 – 33:14 #RyseFacts Crunch Tweet
33:15 – 43:06 The Wolf Among Us
43:07 – 1:05:48 Grand Theft Auto 5
1:05:49 – 1:09:34 Outro

GamerSushi Asks: The Continuing Story?

Mass Effect 3

There are two types of franchises in video games: the ones like Final Fantasy, where each game is a completely separate world with new characters and new experiences and the ones like Mass Effect where there is a continuing narrative that flows from game to game. These two aren’t the only franchises that are like this of course, but they are two of my favorite and I think they best represent the example I am trying to make. So I wanted to ask the GamerSushi Universe which type you prefer.

Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. With Final Fantasy’s template, you know every time that you are getting something radically different from the previous game. Sure, certain themes and elements will be the same, but it’s kind of exciting to get immersed (or annoyed) by a whole new world with new characters to fall in love (or hate) with. Not to mention new gameplay ideas and mechanics that seem revolutionary compared to the previous entry. Far Cry 3 is a great example of this. There is a downside to this, though: as we saw with Final Fantasy VII, sometimes the game is so popular that deviating from that story will only irritate its legion of fans. Final Fantasy VIII is all but forgotten by Square Enix these days. It was only years later that they thought to capitalize of FF VII’s success, but by then it was too late. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: The Continuing Story?

The Wikipedia of Retro Games: Hardcore Gaming 101

Hardcore Gaming 101

Welcome to Did You See This Wednesday! As part of the GamerSushi Schedule, it is my duty to bring you cool stuff that you might have missed while you were looking at pictures of Grumpy Cat. And if you have any new ones, send them to me.

Today, we aren’t bringing you an article, we are showcasing an entire website, one that I have spent way too many hours on: Hardcore Gaming 101. HG101, as we like to call it, is a site devoted to educating people about retro games and also maybe getting them interested in something they might not even know about. The site is exhaustively well-researched, with tons of screenshots, artwork and information. I have described it as “The Wikipedia of Retro Games” and I think that is an accurate description. On top of that, it’s pretty hilarious to read as well. Just take a look at this description of why Edward from Final Fantasy IV would never work in a modern FF game: Continue reading The Wikipedia of Retro Games: Hardcore Gaming 101

Final Fantasy: Forging The Future

FF ALL

I’ve thought a long time about how to write this. I knew I would need a Final Fantasy article honoring its 25th year in existence (if we go by the Japanese release dates), but I wasn’t sure what the angle should be. I’ve already written so very many posts about Final Fantasy that the readers probably think I am trolling them. I’m not. It’s just my favorite game (as you might have noticed) and it’s the one that always gets my blood pumping. But I’ve conveyed that already, many times before. I thought about letting the whole thing go by, but that didn’t feel right either.

So rather than talk about the past of Final Fantasy, which admittedly was when people still cared about the series, I’ve decided to talk about the future of Final Fantasy and what I think I can be done to salvage the once-proud franchise. There are tons of articles out there about this very subject, but I hope you will agree that I have shown enough credibility regarding Final Fantasy to make my voice stand out against the cacophony of chaos currently clouding the Internet like a sudden squall. (See what I did there?) Continue reading Final Fantasy: Forging The Future

Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Final Fantasy 13-2

Two years ago, Final Fantasy XIII caused quite a stir among long time fans of the series. As the long-awaited current generation entry into the legendary franchise, expectations were high — and disappointment was even higher. While the game managed to have some quality gameplay mechanics that changed the formula for the better, the story and some of the design decisions seemed like an enormous step backward for the series. In many ways, fans have considered Final Fantasy XIII-2 to be a “do-over” or an apology for the lackluster Final Fantasy XIII. But does it go far enough to resolve fans’ woes? Continue reading Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

GamerSushi Asks: Ultimate Box Sets?

Beatles

Box sets. Staples in the music industry for years and more recently in the movie industry, yet they are foreign to video games. This needs to change. One of the traditions of the holiday season is the release of a legendary band’s box set, usually including all their music that has already been released with the addition of goodies like live recordings and songs released solely in other countries. Now that the Harry Potter movies are done, the first thing Warner Bros did was release a giant box set of all the movies. People eat this stuff up.

Aside from the recent trend of HD collections, video games don’t receive the same treatment. This honestly is a crime. Video game companies should be more respectful of their own past, in addition to being aware of the desires of their most ardent supporters. There are a great many franchises out there that are getting long in the tooth. For some of them, their best days are likely behind them. What better way to still make money off an IP and keep it fresh in people’s minds than to do an ultimate box set, just like they do in the aforementioned mediums.

My personal choice for an ultimate box set would be the (surprise) Final Fantasy series. Imagine a collection of every single Final Fantasy game, containing every version of each game, from all the different platforms it was ever released on, complete with art books, soundtracks, developer’s commentary that played when you enter a new area, perhaps. You can leave out all the spin-offs, but if they were to do this for the core games, I would pay upwards of a few hundred dollars for that.

What say you? What franchises out there would you like to receive such a treatment? And what would you like to have included in the box set? Speak now or forever hold your peace.