Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Final Thoughts on Final Fantasy VII

Last night I finished playing Final Fantasy VII, so I can now confirm my prejudice that FF7 is overrated. The game itself is decent, but it didn't impress me nearly as much as some other RPGs of that era. Chrono Trigger (released a couple of years prior) and Fallout (released later that year), are both better games in my opinion, and many people believe Final Fantasy VI to be superior to VII. It seems to me like FF7's success is primarily a result of the times, of being perhaps the first major RPG on the PlayStation and, for many young gamers, their first RPG.

After numerous failed attempts at playing this game, I mentioned in my first impressions article that, after finally finishing the first disc, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was enjoying FF7. Unfortunately, as the game progressed, I started to grow weary of it, and the game stopped impressing me. There was still a ton of stuff left to do in the game (defeating the various Weapons, collecting final limit breakers and ultimate weapons, etc), but I was ready to be done with it and just pressed to the end. So here are my thoughts on the second half of Final Fantasy VII.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Impressions of Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII is one of the most iconic video games of all time, and as with virtually all popular games of legend, I've never played it. Well, I've tried numerous times -- twice on the original PlayStation, and once or twice more on the PSP -- but never made it past the first disc. I always inevitably got bored with it, or had to put the game down for weeks at a time, and upon returning had no idea what I supposed to be doing. I don't have much fondness for Japanese RPGs, but I've always meant to finish FF7 just to see what the hype was all about.

So I've been playing FF7 on-and-off for the past few weeks (basically during downtime at work), and for the first time ever, I've actually made it past the first disc. For the first time ever, I've actually seen that fabled cutscene where Aeris dies. Since this is such a long game and I'm taking even longer to play it, I figured this was a good point to stop and document some of my initial thoughts and impressions on the game. I may or may not do a final review of the game, if I don't have anything substantial to add to this article, but I wanted to get my thoughts in writing before I forget everything. So here are my initial impressions of Final Phantasy Star VII.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt is Kind of "Meh"

Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt is the third DLC campaign for Borderlands 2, and as the title suggests, it didn't do much to impress me. This seems to be a continuing trend with the BL2 DLCSir Hammerlock's strongest (perhaps only) selling point is that it features some really interesting environments that provide a much-needed change of pace from the typical BL2 scenery, especially after Torgue's Campaign marked a return to drab desert wastelands. The maps are huge and promote a lot of fun, engaging exploration (even though, in typical BL2 fashion, it isn't always rewarded), which is almost enough to make this a passable DLC on its own.  

The big issues with this DLC lie with the quests. The main questline itself is way too short, easily finished in under two hours -- half that time if you just plow through it. The main quest is straightforward and devoid of any interesting twists or other such developments in the plot, and there's very little reason to care about the practically non-existent "conflict" between the Vault Hunters and the new antagonist, Professor Nakayama. The central conflict is even introduced as a nuisance that Sir Hammerlock has absolutely zero interest in, and he only reluctantly sends you off to deal with Nakayama so you can go about the hunting expedition further undisturbed. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Torgue's Campaign is Kind of "Meh"

I just finished playing the second Borderlands 2 DLC campaign, Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage. It was alright, but I wasn't particularly impressed by it. It features a number of mechanical improvements over gameplay elements that were introduced in Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty, so it's nice to see that Gearbox are actually learning some lessons in their development process, but it also features a much less interesting story in a far less interesting environment. And there's not even a whole lot of unique loot to get out of it. 

In this DLC, you travel to the Badass Crater of Badassitude to compete in a gladiator-style arena organized by the manufacturer of Torgue weapons, Mr Torgue himself. The premise is vaguely similar to the second DLC from the first Borderlands, Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot, except with a more fleshed-out story. After being cheated and disgraced in your first arena match, you go around knocking off other gladiators, working your way back up to the top of the leaderboard for a chance at retribution and the grand prize that awaits the arena champion.