I’ve made some decent progress on this project since I started it! Amazing how much you can get done if you figure out a way to hold yourself accountable… So let’s talk about some of these games:
FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 & LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII
I feel that overall the Final Fantasy XIII series is unfairly maligned. It is certainly not the best in the franchise, but it isn’t the pile of shit that so many people seem to think it is. When I started this backlog project, I had already completed the first game and was about halfway through the second. I enjoyed my time with the first game and the second felt like a reasonable continuation. Since XIII-2 pretty much just focused on two characters, though, I didn’t care that much about what was going on, so I just wanted to finish the game as quickly as possible. The protagonist was portrayed physically as an adult, but behaved and reasoned like an emo teenager, which drove me nuts. Still, the battle system was fun. I liked the paradigm system and how clever use of debuffs could turn a difficult fight into a faceroll. I kinda suck at games sometimes, so I like things that make fights easier and honestly, it’s a different type of skill to be able to use status effects and planning to take a boss down more easily. It’s called strategic thinking…
That to-be-continued ending, though. WTF was that? I’m glad I didn’t play this game when it was brand new. I’m pretty sure I’d have been pretty pissed off about that blatant cash grab. (Today I’m a bit more accepting of the idea that the game was planned to be in 3 parts. Back then, probably not so much!) So I started playing Lightning Returns and absolutely HATED it. I gave it a few more days of playing for a few hours each time. And I still hated it. When I thought, “Okay, time to work on my backlog game,” I was filled with a sense of dread instead of excitement or determination. This is the first time I’ve made a conscious decision to NOT complete a Final Fantasy game. Ever.
So why? I am a firm believer in the idea that a video game should be fun and this game just did NOT feel fun to me AT ALL. First of all, the looming time limit created a constant feeling of anxiety. Even with game mechanics in place designed to mitigate the time limit, it just completely stressed me out. Second, the Schemata system was EXTREMELY confusing. Even after reading the in-game tutorials, I couldn’t really figure out what I was supposed to do as far as upgrading my gear or whatever. I would find these new outfits everywhere, but wasn’t sure how to use them or whether they should replace something else. Maybe I should have put the game on Easy instead of Normal? Ugh. Easy setting on a JRPG? Hell, no. And finally, talk about annoying characters and non-compelling story. I spent so much time rolling my eyes that I’m pretty sure I saw my brain more than the game.
A lot of people really liked this game. Fun means different things to different people. That’s totally cool. You can enjoy it for me! 🙂
NI NO KUNI II: REVENANT KINGDOM
Between finishing FFXIII-2 and starting Lightning Returns, I played Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. This game was AWESOME! Although I beat the game, I’m still trying to 100% it. SPOILER ALERT: The story was very Ghibli and very Japanese in that everything ends up good. Even the bad guys, pretty much. That idealistic tone is one of the major complaints other people have with this game. I didn’t mind it. Maybe it was because I had just come from FFXIII-2, where the ending was absolutely depressing. Who knows… Another major gripe with the game that many people have is that the battles are too easy. Personally, I found them to be just right, although as I gained levels, it DID become rather faceroll-y if I wasn’t fighting optional bosses or something. I’m still working on getting high enough to tackle the entire post-game bonus dungeon, so if you want a challenge, beat the game and unlock that.
The one thing I hated in this game was the skirmish battles, which are like real-time strategy battles, I think. (I honestly don’t know. I hate playing RTS games…) Fortunately, if you grind enough, your units become so powerful that you can just mow everything down without really trying. I need to defeat all 50 skirmish battles to get that 100% trophy, so I’m still working on that. Ugh.
Kingdom building was definitely fun. I felt compelled to level up every building and research every ability just for completion’s sake, but this benefited me in battles, as well. If you decide to play this game, DON’T NEGLECT YOUR KINGDOM. Although you don’t need to totally max it out to beat the game, if you don’t level up your kingdom, you can’t progress story until you do. And in order to do that, you need to recruit a certain number of people, which generally involves completing side quests. I watched someone do this on Twitch. I was amused and felt sorry for him at the same time.
I will post again when I hit the 100% completion mark.
The other game I beat recently was Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology on 3DS. I enjoyed it immensely, but if you want to get the true ending and the new true ending, just use a guide. I honestly don’t know how people do it without it. This game involves a LOT of time travel between two different timelines. Sometimes you can’t do something in one timeline until you’ve done something else in the other. Then there are the side quests that only open up in certain times after certain events, etc. This was an excellent game. I highly recommend it.
I added a few other games (besides Lightning Returns) to the “Nope, Sorry!” category. Here are my explanations:
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons – I really wanted to play this game because I enjoyed A Way Out a LOT. (Same crazy guy developed it.) Unfortunately, my brain just couldn’t handle the separate controls per hand. I was constantly pressing the wrong buttons and going in all the wrong directions. It literally gave me a headache. Some of it could be done one side at a time, but not everything, so I had to give up. 😦
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse – I SUCK at platform games. I fell to my “death” around 15 times in the same location during the 2nd level of the game when I finally decided to stop banging my head against a wall.
ICO – This REALLY bummed me out. The camera in that game made me SOOOOOOOOO sick. Motion sickness in games is a huge problem for me. I’ve tried to power through it and I end up having to lie down for 2-3 hours. Not worth.
Shadow of the Colossus – Given that this game was by the same people as ICO, I was worried that I’d get sick from it. I didn’t, although the camera REALLY SUCKS. Unfortunately, it was just TOO hard. I got past the first two Colossi and it took me 30-40 minutes EACH! (I shit you not.) I really enjoyed trying to figure out how to defeat them. I may go back to this game later. I liked it that much!