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Bravely Default Review

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Welcome back everyone to my esteemed blog.  The JRPG genre has been faltering in recent years, leaving some fans wondering, will there ever be a true JRPG that can remain true to the old-fashioned mechanics while blending new intuitive elements?  Square-Enix, of all companies makes an attempt to answer that question with their newest RPG Bravely Default for the Nintendo 3DS.  So, does Square-Enix still have what it takes to bring out a good JRPG?  Let’s review.


Graphics:  
Bravely Default sports a wonderful array of graphics.  Character models are very well done with Akihiko Yoshida taking the lead on the character artwork.  Monster designs are very impressive, with some creatures being cutesy, and others fearsome.  The most outstanding aspect of Bravely Default is the world itself.  Locale in this game, especially towns have hand drawn backgrounds that really pop.  The characters sprites seem to blend in beautifully with these environments.  This is something that is often attempted, but rarely executed well.  Square-Enix attempted and delivered.  Score: 9/10

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Sound:  Naotaka Hayashi and Sound Horizon’s Revo combine their talents to bring an excellent musical score that blends compelling music to draw you in and keep you there, especially in over world and battle scenes.  The voice acting is fairly hit or miss.  Some voice actors actually take their roles seriously, while others sound as if they are just being a mouthpiece to get a paycheck.  Score 8.5/10

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Gameplay:  Bravely Default features a typical RPG storyline.  You play as Tiz Arrior, a young man who loses his entire home after the wind crystal is taken over by a malevolent force.  It is then you run into Agnes (Ah ness) Oblige, the Wind Vestel that everyone is after.  You, Agnes, Ringabel and Edea run into each other fairly early in the game.  This is a good strategy, because it allows you to get acquainted with these characters, know their individual stories, and eventually become attached to their personalities.  The gameplay of Bravely Default is amazing because it blends traditional RPG elements, such as the job class (approximately 20 classes) and a new aspect to the traditional RPG battle system. Enter the Brave Default system.  This element gives players the option to choose “Brave” an offensive approach that allows them to act multiple times at the sacrifice of AP, or “Default” a defensive approach that allows you to gather extra AP to unleash attacks on your foes without penalty.

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Some of you may think about just going all out brave the entire time, but the more your AP goes into the negative numbers, the more times you are unable to act with that character until it replenishes.  This brings a refreshing tune up to the traditional turn-based RPG engine, while keeping the nostalgia alive.  You can also use skills that other players who are further in the game have already obtained via the abililink feature, and link with friends to help rebuild your shattered village.  This game has a huge amount of features and a challenge to match.  Score: 10/10

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Bravely Default is the JRPG fans have been dying for.  The story is great, the characters are fun, and the battle system is among the most fun and challenging gaming mechanics I have ever played in a JRPG.  Don’t miss out on this game folks, this is a keeper!

Final Score: 9.5/10

 

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 Demo Review

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Welcome back friends to another edition of the gaming angel.  Things have been quite frigid in my neck of the woods, so frigid that my internet was blown out.  I also celebrated my birthday so that took up a large majority of my weekend.  Now that my internet capabilities are restored, I can get back to the gaming goodness, and give to you all my unbiased feedback.  Without further adieu, let the blogging begin.

Square-Enix or Squeenix, as they have been referred to in recent years has suffered a lot of financial setbacks.  They are not only suffering financial setbacks, but they suffer from a deficiency of bringing quality games to fans.  Early this week, Square-Enix released the very small downloadable demo of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 for the Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 gaming consoles.  As many of you know, this particular installment of the once amazing franchise has been called the worst of the entire series.  Most complained about the extreme linearity of the first, whilst complaining about the very defragmented and confusing story of the second.  Now, we have the third installment of the Final Fantasy 13 saga.  The question is does this installment look like a worthy follow-up?  Read on to find out.

Graphics:  LRFF13 is beautiful in terms of presentation.  The few areas of the demo were very vibrant and impressive.  The characters are similar in design, and of course the CG movie sequences are as amazing as before.  This is definitely a sugar overdose in the eye candy department.  Score: 10/10

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Sound:  Masashi Hamazu does a very admirable job with the musical score but, it will never be as beautiful as the work of Nobuo Uematsu.  Score: 8.5/10

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Gameplay:  The battle system of the game has had a very shocking makeover.  It has been remade into a more real-time battle system consisting of using only Lightning.  You can actually move her around the battlefield in a defensive pace.  Lightning possesses an ability called schema (job class).  To those who are familiar with the garb system from Final Fantasy 10-2, you will be more than acquainted with the schema system.  You can equip up to three schemas for battle purposes, each with 100 ATB.  You have set skills assigned to a particular button.  You can use these skills until the ATB for that schema is depleted.  Once it is, you must quickly switch to another schema while the depleted one replenishes.  It allows for fluid gameplay, while adding a strategic element when fighting an opponent with a particular weakness.  This is a vast improvement over the battle system of the previous installments.  The storyline is still difficult to grasp this early in the game.  We can only hope that Square-Enix will give us an impressive story to make up for the previous two games.  Score: 8.5/10

Demo Final Score: 9/10

Since Final Fantasy 13 has not been doing well, I say give the demo a shot.  By all means let me know what you think.  Stay tuned when I review Bravely Default.  Until next time dear gamers.

Tomb Raider Review: Exploration, adventure, and a sexy heroine resurrected!

ImageHappy St. Patrick’s Holiday to all of my dear readers.  Welcome back to my esteemed blog.  We have seen several video game franchises make several attempts at returning to the spotlight of their glory days (Duke Nukem, Splatterhouse).  Unfortunately, these attempts have failed miserably, and have only succeeded in damaging the franchise’s reputation.

Now another franchise has made an attempt at a divine resurrection.  Lara Croft became the sexiest video game character ever with the release of Tomb Raider for the Playstation 1 in 1996.  Since 2003 Tomb Raider seemed to fade out and most people considered the franchise to be extinct.  Crystal Dynamics had other plans for the series however.  They have completely redesigned Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider franchise in it’s entirety.  So, does Tomb Raider have what it takes to make it’s way back into the spotlight?  Let’s find out.

Graphics:  Anyone who is familiar with the Tomb Raider series will instantly notice how beautiful the game is, not to mention Lara Croft’s makeover.  The environments are very lush and detailed, and whenever Lara suffers an injury you will instantly notice the effort that was put into the beautiful details of the character and environments.  Score: 9.5/10

Sound:  The musical score is very well done, and fits the scenario of each location and situation within the Tomb Raider world.  Jason Graves, who is best known for his work in the Dead Space series does a fantastic job of creating the right music for the right situation.  The voice acting is also very well done with Camilla Luddington leading the way as the voice of Lara Croft.  Score: 9.5/10

Gameplay:  Fans of Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted will feel right at home with Tomb Raider.  The gameplay mechanics have the same stealthy tactical mechanics and action packed gun, and arrow shooting as both game franchises.  Real-time situations and environmental dangers will have you thinking quick on your feet.  The storyline is also intriguing and told through cut-scenes, and in game voice dialogue throughout the adventure.  Score: 9.5/10 

Issues:  The only issue that I have with this title is the multiplayer.  While it was a cute attempt to add a little more variety to the game, it fails miserably.  The multiplayer is very dull and pointless to say the least.  While gamers might be entertained with this for the first hour or so, the interest will die very quickly.

Tomb Raider has made a huge return to the gaming spotlight in a big way.  Lara Croft is back, sexier, stronger, and with more attitude than ever before.

Final Score:  9.5/10

Thank you very much for reading everyone, and be sure to subscribe and tell your friends about my blog.  Tune in next time when I give my review of BioShock Infinite!  Til then friends, take care!

Lucas

Final Fantasy classic is being remastered to HD!

ImageHello everyone, and welcome back to my blog.  Since the release of the Playstation 3, fans have been crying and pleading with Square-Enix to produce a remake of Final Fantasy 7.  Square-Enix has been avoiding this subject matter for quite a while, but they are bringing back a classic Final Fantasy title to HD for the Playstation 3 and PS Vita.  The chosen title is Final Fantasy X.

I feel your frustration everyone.  Why Square-Enix is prioritizing other titles over a Final Fantasy 7 remake is beyond me.  I think a remake of Final Fantasy 7 will really boost sales for them immensely.  So ladies and gentleman gamers, there you have it the remastered version of Final Fantasy X.  It will be the same game, only a lot prettier.  Graphics output on Playstation 3 or the OLED screen on the PS Vita, which ever way you go, you’re in for one amazing replay of a classic RPG.

No release date is confirmed as of yet.  So, I guess we’ll just wait until we see it pop up on the PSN.  Thanks for reading my blog and be sure to leave comments and feedback.

Lucas

Final Fantasy 13-2 the story continues, but at what cost?

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As many of you may already know, fans all over the world including myself felt cheated by the inconclusive ending of Final Fantasy 13-2.  So of course the question everyone is asking is, will there be a Final Fantasy 13-3?  Well, those of us that own the game probably notice the downloadable content option at the title screen.  Well, in a recent interview via IGN Motomu Toriyama stated that the game will have scenarios (paradoxes) for Lightning, Snow, and Sazh for download via PSN for a price.  So you have to pretty much pay to see the complete story, and multiple endings.  

I can honestly say that this is an outrage.  It’s bad enough that fans are forking out a huge chunk of cash for the game, but now Square-Enix is actually charging their fans more money to experience the complete story.  I don’t have to express my opinion on this issue, but I would love to hear your opinions.  Do you think this is fair?

Don’t forget to follow my blog, and again your insights are always welcome and appreciated.

Tune in next time when I give a thorough review of Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning.

Thanks,

Lucas