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


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


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?


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.

3DS Final Fantasy’s Rhythm Is Going To Get You

“Hey, Anthony, did you hear about the new Final Fantasy game for the 3DS?”

“No, why? If it’s another stupid Crystal Chronicles, don’t even tell me. I can’t live with the disappointment.”

“It’s not. It’s actually a rhythm game, sort of like Elite Beat Agents, but with Final Fantasy characters and music. It’s called Theatrhythm.”

(Stunned silence) “Is there a video?”

“Why, yes, right here…”

[youtube width=”500″ height=”310″][/youtube]

“Oh…my…GOD! Did you see Ultros from Final Fantasy VI? And the awesome boss theme? And the dance scene from FF VIII? And that annoying song from FF XIII that somehow makes me still want to go back and play it? Why is this the first game for the 3DS I MUST HAVE???”

“Because you’re a sick and twisted FF fanboy who’s iPod is filled with this crap already.”

“Fair enough.” (Throws wallet at PC)

So…what do you guys think? Am I a moron for thinking this might actually be cool? Or is it just the nostalgia of that sweet FF music that is calling to me?

Fly Your Fanboy Flag


Fanboyism has been a hot topic around here lately and I am pretty happy with the respectful, but fierce debate we’ve been able to generate. However, it’s time for a change of pace, as we mainly have been talking about what fanboys annoy us the most and other issues of that sort.

So, in this topic, let’s talk about what games, systems or franchises that you are a fanboy for. We all know there is one thing out there that has won our hearts we will never get over it. That one entity that you will always buy, always defend and never trade in.

For me, as most of you know, it’s Final Fantasy. I love everything about the franchise and even the ones that are lackluster and that I crap on sometimes, I still love more than most other games. Square Enix has got a hold on me and despite my confusion at their current downward spiral, I will be there until the bitter, fiery end.

So what about you? What out there will you never turn your back on? Has anything you loved ever disappointed you so much that you actually did? Hit me with your comments!

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Announced

Final Fantasy XIII-2

JRPG fans unite! Hello? Is this thing on? Well, anyways, those of you who enjoyed the latest installment of Square Enix’s flagship franchise, Final Fantasy XIII (and I know there are some of you out there) can rejoice because more of Lightning and company is on the way. Square Enix has officially announced Final Fantasy XIII-2 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The game will be out in Japan before the end of the year and in the U.S. and other regions next winter.

Despite the Internet ravings, FF XIII sold pretty well and garnered mostly positive reviews. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit and though I was divorced from the story, the ending was still rather touching, so I am anxious to find out what happens next. And more of Lightning is never a bad thing.

What say you? Is this a chance to make some quick cash for Square Enix or are you actually curious to see where the story goes? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Playstation Blog

Transferring Franchises from East to West

Legend of Zelda

Japanese game development has had some bumpy spots as of late. The old school game dudes can’t seem to catch much of a break, and some would argue (and by that I mean me) that they are losing touch with gamers outside of their own country. I wouldn’t say that they are getting worse at what they do by any means, but there seems to a part of the industry that’s moving past them. So what about all those classic Japanese franchises?

That’s why CVG has put together a list of 7 Games Japan Should Give to Western Developers. I’m not entirely in agreement with everything they’ve got down on here, especially with Final Fantasy, which is just one title removed from being a really excellent series again. Likewise, they list Resident Evil on here as well, but Resident Evil 5 was a huge hit, a critically acclaimed game and was designed with many Western sensibilities in mind. Also, many racers should be striving to achieve what Mario Kart has done even in recent years. It’s hardly stagnant. Those aside (plus the really ridiculous names they’ve given the titles), I agree with the rest of the list, particularly Legend of Zelda.

Interestingly enough, we did a feature very similar to this last summer. So what do you guys think of this? Would you take those Japanese franchises and give them to Western developers, or leave them where they are? Go!

Source – CVG

Would You Rather: RPG Edition!

It’s been some time since we’ve done the Would You Rather game here at GamerSushi, so I thought it would be best to unveil one, this time with a theme: Role Playing Games! We’ll probably do one of these for different genres in the next few weeks, and I’m particularly excited about some of the answers you guys will no doubt unleash upon us.

In Would You Rather, I simply ask a series of questions, and you follow up with your answers. Give as much or as little explanation as you want for your choices, but we all know that we like to see the reasoning behind the madness.

Don’t let your answers suck, though. Your punishment will be to sit and watch Anthony play through each Final Fantasy game. He’ll do it, too, just to be a stickler.

Continue reading Would You Rather: RPG Edition!

Bioware vs. Square Enix: An Unbiased Analysis

JRPGs vs. WRPGs seems to be a hot topic as of late, thanks to comments from a Bioware employee that Final Fantasy XIII is not an RPG. This is the stuff fanboys crave, which, in political terms, is called “red meat”. It stirs up a nice frenzy and everyone pontificates on what an RPG is exactly, but nothing ever gets accomplished. Just like Congress.

Well, I’m here to take a small look at the differences between the way Bioware and Square Enix approach their respective video game franchises. These two, I think it is safe to say, are the biggest RPG powerhouses on either side of the Pacific, so it turns out the little controversial comments mentioned above were a perfect jumping off point for me.
Continue reading Bioware vs. Square Enix: An Unbiased Analysis

A Little Bit of LOL: Video Game Facebook

Facebook is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, one where the slightest misstep can end up as an embarrassingly tagged photo that leads to an awkward conversation with your parents about boundaries of privacy. Of course, for all the evil that Facebook has brought upon our world, there’s sometimes a lighter side to these things.

Take for example these five bits of video game character Facebooking. The sad thing is, I think we all know people whose posts are at least a little bit like this. Check out the pictures after the jump.
Continue reading A Little Bit of LOL: Video Game Facebook

Words of Wisdom From An Older Gamer

yodaLearn from my mistakes. I am 28 years old and I have played games all my life. I have learned some lessons about games and thought it might be beneficial to pass those on to you whippersnappers, to prevent you from making some of the mistakes I made.

1. Don’t buy a game you aren’t going to play right away. If you are buying it the day it comes out with the intention of playing it down the road, don’t. If the drive to play it isn’t there now because you have something else to play, then what makes you think it will suddenly appear later on? Answer: it won’t. And you will end up with a giant backlog of games that most likely you will never play because something new is always coming out. If you wait a week or two, I promise that insatiable need you feel to possess that game will dissipate, leaving a profound and new understanding about yourself. Also, it leaves $60 bucks or so in your wallet. Win/win?

2. Don’t be blindly loyal to a console. I was a Nintendo kid, like millions of others. But when Final Fantasy left Nintendo for Sony, I bought a Playstation and I have been with Sony ever since. Now, I still buy whatever Nintendo console is out there, but later, for a cheaper price and I use it as a second system and nothing more. If the 360 is your thing, but the games on the Wii or PS3 look good, don’t punish yourself out of some misguided loyalty to Microsoft. Trust me: they, nor Sony or Nintendo, give a crap. Play the games you want. Whatever system it may be for.

3. Games matter. Consoles don’t. Graphics? Sound? Online? These things matter not. If you want to know what console is right for you, then look at the games. Games determine what wins in the console wars, nothing else. Not fervent message board chatter, not how many people play online and not who has the better E3. It’s the games, stupid.

4. Reviews do matter. But they also don’t. See, don’t worry about the score a game gets. Read the review, in fact, read several reviews of a game you are looking at buying. You know what type of game you like, right? Scan the reviews to decipher if it is the kind of game you will like. If so, then the score doesn’t matter quite as much to you. If you love hack & slash RPGs and the reviewer gives one a 5, but for you it sounds like a 10, then get it! On the other hand, reviews don’t matter. No one really cares what game gets a 10. No one will remember that. So if a game you love gets a low score, who cares? Are you so insecure that someone else’s opinion might alter yours?

5. It’s a game. Enjoy it. We all forgot this sometimes, but don’t let the extraneous crap let you forget the fact that you are playing this game for fun. For enjoyment. To escape from the horrors of the real world for a bit. Don’t become obsessed with tiny details that ruin the fun for you. If you like single-player games and despise online games, that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with that. If you only like playing in groups, then do so. Don’t let someone else try to tell you what you should like or dislike. Have fun.

6. Don’t cosplay. Seriously. Never do this. Unless you are a really hot girl, don’t ever do this on any day that is not Halloween and even then, it might be pushing it.

The Boldest Series Of All Time: Final Fantasy

final-fantasyVideo game sequels are so different from movie sequels. Video games have the advantage of trying new things out, listening to what worked and what didn’t and then forging ahead with that knowledge in mind. Movies could do that, but clearly, they choose not to. The point of this is that some game sequels are way out there compared to the originals.

The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is a prime example, as is Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. Both were sequels to very successful games and both were met with a tepid response. Oh, sure, you will find someone who will try to tell you that both games were the actual pinnacle of each respective series, but that same person probably thinks they understand David Lynch’s movies…and they don’t. Trust me.
Continue reading The Boldest Series Of All Time: Final Fantasy

Where Have All the JRPG’s Gone?

lost-odysseyGrowing up, gaming was all the same thing to me. Things were either platformers, brawlers/shoot-em-ups, or fighters. That’s all that gaming fell into, and I was happy with it for a time. But then something magical happened. I played a Japanese RPG, and my world changed. I didn’t know that gaming could tell a story. I had no idea up until that point that I could care about a game’s characters or miss them when I had read the last bit of text. It was truly an eye-opening experience.

Since then, I have played a lot of JRPG’s. Probably too many, to be honest. In college, I remember I would rent anything that looked remotely like a JRPG, and played it until my eyes bled. I loved the concepts, the stories, and I really liked being able to level some guys up and fight through hordes of baddies. It was all extremely appealing to me. However, somewhere along the line, things have taken a drastic turn southward in JRPG-land.
Continue reading Where Have All the JRPG’s Gone?

Generation Gap: Video Game Stories

51hz0r4pdnlA while back, I asked what video games you fell in love with  in terms of story. Not surprisingly, most of your responses centered on games in the more recent era. This is an obvious trend because in the old days, games did not need a story to exist. But now, we need motivation, cut-scenes, back-story and lots and lots of twists. Too many, some would say. Like me. I think that people’s love for game stories depends on when they started playing.

See, when I was younger, stories in games were very basic. Some games didn’t even try to have one! Endings were short, usually text based. Hell, people were stunned by Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past’s FIVE minute ending. Minds were blown, heads exploded, etc…Since I have been playing games since about 1986 or so, I have a different perspective than someone who started in 1996. I play the game for the GAMEPLAY. If a game has a great story, awesome, but it’s only a bonus. If a game has poor gameplay, I don’t care how good the story might be, I am not playing it.
Continue reading Generation Gap: Video Game Stories

Keeping It In The Family

sopranos_lMore and more it seems that gaming is becoming a pasttime for the entire family. Thanks to the Wii, we can even get the grandparents involved, although my grandma did play Top Gun, Contra and Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers with me when I was sick one day. It was cute to see her play Top Gun. She even shot me down once or twice!

In my family, gaming has been around since I was born. My mom and dad both played on the Atari and Intellivision. My mom used to reset the game if she died anywhere on the first 3 levels of Pac-Man! She also loved Burger Time, a game where a chef runs over lettuce, tomatoes and other parts of a sandwich in order to drop them to a platform below the level and complete the sandwich, all the while being chased by a couple of hot dogs and a pissed off egg. That egg always was the hardest to avoid.

My dad also had a Commodore 64, which was very big in gaming. He was one of the first people I ever heard of who invited his friends over just to play games. My uncle and him would play this horrible football game, with lousy graphics and control, and sit there and talk trash and argue and have a great time. It was fun just to watch them. He has a PS2 and still plays PC games, to this very day.

My older brother was once a loyal console gamer. We discovered Final Fantasy together and had a great time playing Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance on the PS2. Now that he has kids, his console days are over, as they play the Wii and he sits all alone in the corner, playing World of Warcraft non-stop. It’s kind of sick. My little brother just got a PS3, so we play online against each other all the time. I hooked him on Final Fantasy and he introduced me to Suikoden, a PS1 rpg that is amazing. Go download it on the PSN, it’s like 5 bucks. Before all that, he mainly played Pokemon, which I gave an honest try and just could not get into it. Not after having played epics like Final Fantasy and the Legend of Zelda. My older sister just plays the Wii, although she had a GameCube and Nintendo 64 and always played any Mario games that came out, like Tennis or Golf. She ignores most other games, which is kind of typical of a girl gamer.

So you see, gaming has been a part of my life since I could ever remember. I have played every system from the Atari to the Wii and my family has been there to for me to leech off and try new things. I am the only one now who is really into gaming, but I prefer to think of myself as the last man standing, rather than the last one who refuses to grow up.

What about your families gaming history? Do you still play together?

GamerSushi Asks: Favorite Video Game Stories

We all love to play games, but some of us enjoy the stories that come along final-fantasy-vi-advance-1with the game even more. Myself, if a game has a good story, its a bonus. Rarely do I get caught up in the plot and characters. I try not to skip the cut-scenes, but I find myself getting impatient sometimes. Other people live for the cinematics and can’t get enough of them. This is a generational thing, I believe and I plan to delve into more in a future post. Before I can do that, I want to know what game stories you guys like.

Personally, I have a few that I really love: Bioshock’s twists and atmosphere really drew me in to the world of Rapture. I enjoyed the first Halo for its simplicity, but the other games tried too hard to be clever, while also rehashing the original’s story. RPG’s are my passion and Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana and the Final Fantasy series have all rocked my world. Final Fantasy IV, VI and XII are my favorites with Tactics right up there. Tactics had a rough translation, so its hard to get all the little nuances, but the sheer epic feel of the world won me over.

What games had a story that you really enjoyed? Did any blow your mind? What about them did you like? Was it the plot, the characters, the setting and atmosphere? Don’t hold back! Be as specific as you like.