I did finish the last of
the August Final Fantasy 4: The After Years chapter/tale this
weekend. The would be the Lunarians' Tale. I don't know
what to say after this latest set of tales. Actually, I do
know what to say.
In Japan, when
these episodic games came to cell phones, they were structured a
little differently. In particular, Kain had a separate tale,
instead of being part of the opening chapter. It was also, as
far as I understand, the final chapter before the big conclusion
started. I think this is important, since Kain's Tale really
brought the bulk of the tales together. Kain encountered Porom,
Ceodore, Cecil, and several other characters. On top of that,
his chapter started around the beginning of this whole chaotic
affair, chronologically, and ended right where the main game will
pick up when the game concludes next month; with Cecil being
So, instead, we
end with a batch of three tales that seem minor in comparison.
There are some minor spoilers in this following rant, but I'll keep
them minor and mostly inconsequential.
For one thing,
Porom is mostly filler on what the other characters are up to.
Her tale bounces from the basis for what Palom is doing, to what
Rydia is up to, and ends with a brief start to the Kain section,
which already was more properly covered, out of order, in the start
of the game (US game, that is). Then we have Edward, who is
not only somewhat dull as a character (it's been 13 years...get over
Anna already, or at least move on some with your life), but he's
also in a dull tale that features no boss fights and no real drama
beyond him stating the obvious (Cecil is an imposter). This
all concludes with the Lunarians' Tale. This tale at least
includes a few good boss fights (three, to be precise), but is a bit
of a chore to play out considering the battles all revolve around a
guy who gains no HP when he levels and another guy who gains nothing
but HP when he gains a level. Between Golbez and FuSoYa, you
either have one real character, or zero...it's a glass half full,
glass half empty thing.
I guess the fact
that you do get boss fights again and two challenge dungeons can
make the final tale a bit interesting. However, after playing
through FF4 and seeing Golbez as an offensive powerhouse, it's sad
to see how lame his offense is and how he really doesn't make up for
it much with any other abilities. Golbez is a lot like M.
Bison in Street Fighter 2. Until Champion Edition came along,
M. Bison was beyond broken. However, once you could play him,
he just seemed a little more grounded in reality. The big
difference, however, is Golbez is less than a normal person...he's
just weak and unimpressive compared to a real powerhouse, like
Cecil, Kain, or even Edge.
On a side note, if
you want some confusing fun, kill yourself at the end of Golbez's
chapter. Let's just say the laws of time seem to get messed up
when killing yourself in a flashback results in the world ending via
a game over screen.
At least next week
I'll have some more fun with gaming when Professor Layton 2 comes
Not much worth saying
today except for one thought;
Go away! I've had enough of this bullshit of Favre and his
flip-flopping. Maybe it's time for him to follow Steve Largent
into politics. Although, while I respect Largent for both his action
on the field and being a consummate politician, Favre would be at
home in the major style of American politics; his inability to stick
to anything he says.
One day he's
retired, then next he's back. Then he's not really back since he is
not 100%. Then he's back again. Then he's gone. Then he's playing
for another team. Then he announces he will retire...but he's not
really...or is he? This is bullshit on the most basic level.
I'm not happy
about Favre returning since I've never liked him. However, the most
frustrating part is that it's hard to follow real NFL or even sports
news when this primadonna is on the front page of the sports section
like the football world revolves around him. I mean Favre should at
least have the decency to do like some other hall of fame members
(and future HoF types) and quit while on top. Beyond that, quit and
remain out of the spotlight. I guess I'm just not happy with anyone
who cannot be a man of his own word.
this is just my thinking, I figure Favre just was
being lazy and skipping the training camp with this latest "I'm
retired...not" escapade. I mean he comes back just in time for the
pre-season...just a little late for training camps? That doesn't
sound like he's being lazy...noooo.
I just hope when
Favre announces his intention to walk away again, in January, and
then announces his full retirement again, in February, that he
sticks with it this time. Of course, I wouldn't be surprised to have
this flip-flopping behavior as an NFL tradition for many more years
to come. After all, there's been older QBs in the NFL.
I went ahead and
downloaded all the new Rock Band songs yesterday. I can say all of
them offer some good fun on guitar (expert). However, I have to say
that not many of them really stand out. I think in all honesty, the
only ones that stand out any are No Rain and I'm Shipping Up To
The one thing that
sets these two songs apart are that they have some very unique
rhythms with some fun and interesting hammer-on sections. Beyond
that, these songs also have the most distinct sound of the set for
this week. I mean where you have a lot of alternative, these are the
two songs that have something a little different to add to the
I hope to see more
come along from Dropkick Murphys in the near future, in particular.
I think the only other band that seems to offer anything of this
style in Rock Band, so far, has been The Dead Kennedys, who were
featured quite a long time back in a three pack. I mean there just
seems to be a lack of punk lately in the game. Yes, we do get
pop-punk stuff from time to time, but I'm talking of good old dirty
punk. I mean a little Sex Pistols or Death (look them up on
wikipedia...the punk band Death, not the other Death references)
would definitely be a great addition. Even more Dropkick Murphys or
Dead Kennedys would be awesome.
Anyway, to avoid
just helplessly rambling, I'm going to stop this post about now. Too
much is on my mind to remain focused, and most of that falls into
the WTF category as I watch primary election results come in from my
region and wonder how some things could happen as they did.
I finally had to break
last night and buy a new HDD for my 360. So, now I have a 120GB
drive in my 360, and am down way too much money. There's nothing
like how overpriced the 360 hardware is. A new HDD that's basically
what would work in a PC, but with so strange of a connection that
you must buy the specialized proprietary one? We'll just charge you
about quadruple for it! A wireless network adapter, but it's certain
to work unlike a PC designed USB wireless adapter that is more than
likely to not work? We'll charge you triple the price! A battery
pack that will not last more than a couple of years? We'll charge
about double (versus rechargeable AA batteries that would also
work), but only because they have no life span!
Anyway, I had to
take the plunge since I was down to less than 1GB left on my "20GB"
drive...and that left no room for anything new beyond a few Rock
Band DLC songs...which is all that was on the damned drive. A few
save files and a bunch of RB songs.
At least this gave
me room to actually install RB2. I don't know how well it works, but
I've heard a lot of good things about load times being improved on
an installed RB2 versus disk ran. I didn't check since...
I also downloaded
Shadow Complex. After watching a couple videos and hearing the hype
(like winning a billion best of E3 awards...for whatever that's
worth), I decided to take the plunge. I have to say it was a good
decision for a cheap game that very well should sell on a disk for
full price. This isn't like Braid, which is an awesome game but
feels like an arcade title. This is a full game with awesome
graphics, great detail in the cut scenes, and full voice acting.
Anyway, if you
don't know the game, it's safe to say that it borrows heavily on a
few other games of the past. It has the Metroid style of action and
exploration. I mean you have Metroid weapons and abilities in nearly
everything you can do. You can get missiles, the ability to run
super speed (to destroy objects), wall jumping, a flashlight (like
the Super Metroid X-Ray ability), a double jump, and even the
grappling hook. You also explore a area with a nice map reference
that shows your next goal and marks save rooms and so forth. This is
the spiritual successor of Super Metroid. The only real thing Samus
didn't have in Super Metroid was the ability to make some awesome
looking melee attacks against foes, make her enemies scream (there's
an achievement tied in to this one), or to go for headshots (and
this one as well).
You also have the
twists of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night by throwing in
experience to level up. Sadly, the teleportation rooms didn't also
come over from SotN. However, you gain stats with each level, and
that's a hell of a lot of SotN did with the Metroid concept. Best of
all, unlike SotN, you don't just get experience from killing foes.
You also get XP for each item you obtain (it pays to be a collector)
and for each map square you uncover (it pays to be thorough). This
just makes you want to do a little better and look a little deeper.
Speaking of which,
there are some cool bonuses to collecting in this game. Beyond just
increasing health, grenade capacity, and all that, you also can find
a super powerful ability via collecting all twelve of a certain
item. You can also start with all of the weapons if you beat the
game and find all of another type of collectable. These bonuses
really do make you want to keep looking deeper into every possible
The game also
borrows off of Metal Gear Solid a bit. You have the same basic plot
idea of a terrorist organization trying to take down the world,
while using shiny technology of the modern age. You even get a few
fights with Metal Gear style robots and there's a couple helicopter
fights. Most of all, you also get the training missions of a Metal
Gear Solid game, with a VR style setup.
Lastly, the game
uses Uncharted a bit as well. It's not as heavily obvious as with
the other three "borrowed" games. However, if the protagonist of
Shadow Complex is not Drake (of Uncharted), then I must be confused
as to what game I was playing when I thought I beat Uncharted. I
mean you are basically playing the role of Drake (down to looks and
attitude), and are constantly trying to save your girlfriend/love
interest, who is just like what's-her-name in Uncharted (sorry, I
really couldn't say what her name was...but she's the only female
character in that game, so it's not hard to figure out).
Still, I don't
want this to sound like I'm complaining. I love Shadow Complex. In
fact, if it didn't borrow so heavily from Super Metroid, I just
wouldn't be enjoying the game this much. So, while I'm only about
25% into the game (after a good couple of hours...still, it is
short, like a Metroid title), I fully recommend this game.
I was first planning to
add some thoughts about Shadow Complex today...but then I saw the
Rock Band DLC announcement for next week. Well, I think I need
to say, a few times over, "it's about f$#@ing time!"
First off, we
finally get more Billy Idol, including Rebel Yell...which is the
song I've been wanting for RB since the early days of RB1. Then we
finally get some Fleetwood Mac DLC to round out the one track
already in RB2. This makes two bands to now have enough songs for a
challenge in the challenge mode. Then we finally get some Jet DLC.
Sadly, it's only one song (no challenge mode yet), but still it's
not a bad song and it adds another band that's been overlooked for
largest "about f#@$ing time!" goes to Tom Petty finally coming to
Rock Band. Once again, it's not three songs (only two), and it would
rock to include Free Falling...but I'll take what I can. I mean Tom
Petty is one artist that has been desperately needed for Rock Band
for a long time now.
This type of DLC
announcement makes me glad I now have enough HDD space to handle a
lot more songs. I mean this would have been the final nail in my
20GB HDDs coffin. Too bad my bank account is still going to be angry
Complex...wow! The more I play, I more blown away I become. As I've
unlocked more abilities, I just realize why this game is so awesome
more and more. Yes, it is basically a Super Metroid clone...but it
goes so much deeper with some new tactics and some awesome 3D
effects in a 2D game world.
I still am maybe
50% through the main game, but I did finish all of the Proving
Grounds challenge packs last night. I have to say that most of this
"virtual" levels are awesome. A few do get annoying (the second one
in the final challenge pack comes to mind), but the majority are
worth a play. More so, the final level is a full on mini version of
the actual campaign. You start with nothing (except a gun, a few
grenades, double jump, and only 100 health), and slowly build up
with health packs, new abilities, new weapons, and all that fun
stuff...but in a space that is more in line with taking 15 minutes
(for a first time, far less on subsequent plays) than the four hours
or more that the campaign will take. However, you also have no save
feature, so it will probably take longer than just 15 minutes with
the enhanced challenges versus the normal campaign.
The only problem
with beating the challenges before the campaign is that it can
disorientate you when you re-enter the campaign. I mean I still
didn't have the double jump when I started the campaign again after
finishing the challenges...and my thinking I did have it caused some
While I want to
keep playing this game for a long time, I do hope I finish soon.
Between new RB songs, Professor Layton 2, and a wife who's getting
annoyed with my new obsession, the madness needs to stop soon.
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