Let’s Review: Mega64’s Final Fantasy III LP

FFIII Art

We’re starting the Let’s Review series of Let’s Play reviews off with a bang! Up first is Mega64’s very own Final Fantasy III Screenshot Let’s Play. The Final Fantasy franchise is pretty famous in the gaming world. For many, the franchise is regarded as one of the best Japanese Role-Playing Game series ever made. In particular, Final Fantasy VII is often considered the peak of the series. It was this title that made Final Fantasy a big name here in the west, but what about the titles before it?

Well, this is where the number ordering becomes slightly more convoluted. Final Fantasy IV was known as Final Fantasy II in the west, and likewise Final Fantasy VI was known as Final Fantasy III in the west. This isn’t helped when the follow up to III in the west happened to be VII. Essentially, this means Final Fantasy III may refer to either the third or the sixth title.

At this stage, every numbered Final Fantasy game has been, eventually, released in English multiple times, with one exception. The original Final Fantasy III has only ever re-surfaced once, on the Nintendo DS. For many fans of the NES version, the DS remake was just lacking. Between the slow pacing of the battles, the ultimate classes becoming crippled, and one of the most memorable moments in the game losing most of it’s impact, Final Fantasy III for the DS was pretty shitty. So what about the original “superior” edition? That remained forever unreleased in English – at least officially. Fortunately, many fan translations of the original do exist on the internet.

In Mega64’s Let’s Play, the gaming experience is expressed fairly well. This was my own first experience with the original title, and I experienced a sense of wonder in the previously referenced scene – even in a Screenshot Let’s Play – through the Let’s Player’s portrayal. On top of sharing a rare game that, frankly, deserves far more attention that it gets instead of being forgotten in time, the Let’s Play is filled with moments of sheer comedy gold.

Before Mega64 began the Let’s Play, the users of the Something Awful forums were asked for the names of the characters. This resulted in Stalin being the hero of the tale, accompanied by the ghosts of his predecessors. And so begins Stalin’s journey in his fight against capitalism, as he fights corrupt monarchy after corrupt monarchy.

The Let’s Play also gives players a glimpse into the mechanics running in the background as he explains, in a little more depth than the game manual itself, the class system. Particularly the hidden aspect of how a character’s growth is calculated. Mega64 explains strategies fairly well, as well as expressing the reasons of his failure whenever he dies. However, unlike the most terrible kind of Let’s Player, Mega64 edits out the deaths unless they add substance to his work. Usually, the Mega64 would passively explain whether he died before, how many times he died and why, while carrying on with the dungeon in the successful run. And can I stress again just how humorous the entire Let’s Play is?

It’s honestly a brilliant Let’s Play, and anyone who has yet to experience Final Fantasy III in it’s original form should read through this. It’s an absolute classic.

Let’s Solo Final Fantasy III (Because I’m Insane) by Mega64 

Let’s Take a Breather: Diablo III Infographic

So much writing… damn. Who’d have thought a blog specifically created to publicise my video game reviews would require so much writing, right?

Well anyway. I’m taking a breather. It’s good to get some content that’s far easier on the eyes. As a result, I’m going to show you guys an infographic on Diablo III that my friend produced. Enjoy!

Diablo 3 facts

(All credit goes to Bloodsugar, be sure to check out more of his infographics!)

Late to the Party – Modern Warfare 3

MW3 Teaser

I recently subscribed to LOVEFiLM – an online service where you may rent games and movies. I’m still in the free trial stage and I’ve decided to make the most of it before I decide whether I keep it. For me, this is the best chance to try games that I wouldn’t necessarily buy, or haven’t had a chance to. NeverDead and LA Noire were two examples of this, respectively. This week, I received Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Asura’s Wrath in the mail.

The first disc that I slot into my PlayStation 3 happened to be Modern Warfare 3. Talk about late to the party; this is the first time I’ve played this particular Call of Duty. The thing that interests me about this title is just how bipolar the internet is in it’s attitude towards the game. Modern Warfare 3 is apparently both the greatest game ever made, and the worst game ever made. There rarely ever appears to be any form of middle ground – at least, that’s the case on the internet.

I’ve only just finished the game but I’ve yet to play it’s main function: multiplayer. Because of the title’s focus on its multiplayer component over its single player campaign, I still consider this a first impression article rather than a review. I ask of you to keep in mind that any opinions following may not consist with the final review and will not include multiplayer.

As it’s own game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is honestly a good game. That’s right. I said it. The controls are smooth and well refined, and the action is well paced. It’s what you would expect from a best seller. So why does the game get so much hate? The issue is, it hasn’t changed at all in five years. At best, it’s become more over the top (which makes it more fun in my opinion), but it still very difficult telling it apart from the previous Call of Duty titles. That’s the main issue, and that’s why this is going to be a short post. If you’ve played the previous games then you know exactly what to expect from Modern Warfare 3. It’s the exact same game, if only with some extra guns. This is the controversial issue.

As a game, Modern Warfare 3 is fun and exciting. It’s simple and easy to play, and ultimately delivers a pleasing and rewarding six hours of gameplay experience in it’s campaign. As a sequel, the game does little beyond extending the story to warrant it’s own existence. Frankly, it fails as a sequel. Furthermore, I’ll add that the game just seems rather forgettable. There’s a high chance that I will remember little of my play-through of the game and, in fact, I am already failing to recall certain moments.

The game doesn’t deserve the hate though, it’s certainly a good piece of entertainment. Unfortunately, it seems to be nothing more than a Bay movie in video game form. It’s a fun yet shallow experience. And that’s okay too. If only Activision would stop milking it.

In conclusion, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a good first-person shooter but ultimately fails as a sequel. Your money is better spent elsewhere if you already own another title from the franchise. Of course, I doubt that will stop you. If you’ve never played the franchise then I suggest you at least give it a rent. It’s still quite fun.

NeverFun: NeverDead Review

Neverdead neverfun

The first time that I learned of NeverDead, it was when I was watching the Pre-E3 Konami Conference last year. It came out of nowhere and looked pretty damn fun. We had an immortal who couldn’t die, clearly designed to have a badass attitude, and an over-the-top action game with Megadeth playing the theme music. Yeah, that was pretty sweet.

Jump to the launch of the title, and bad reviews flood the internet. I didn’t really read them, but the reception to the game was clear. Still, I stubbornly decided to give it a chance. This was meant to be a first impressions post, to be followed by a review later on during the week. However, I ended up finishing the game before I could write my impressions. Welcome to my review of NeverDead.
Publisher: Konami 
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Release Date: 3rd February 2012
Platform: PlayStation 3 (reviewed), Xbox 360
Rating: PEGI: 18, BBFC: 15
Bryce Boltzmann is an immortal, cursed by the demon king Astaroth after the demon murdered his wife. Five hundred years after the incident, Bryce now works for an organisation hunting demons with partner Arcadia. The game’s plot is fairly simple and predictable. There was not a single unforeseeable twist. This wasn’t because of any form of overshadowing or anything of the sort. No, to the contrary, the game completely lacked  any actual development. Plot twists were literally pulled out of the developer’s ass, and Bryce’s character warmed up out of nowhere. The character begins cynical and lacked compassion, and yet two cutscenes later he was a warm and compassionate character, who cared even for strangers. 
The underlying plot and characters could indeed be interesting, and in fact I found myself warming up to Bryce as a character, but they were executed poorly. It feels like the story was implemented using concepts, rather than being fleshed out in later design iterations, and that is a shame. As a whole, the story is generally warm hearted and tries to be fun, it doesn’t take itself too seriously either. Falling off a building, being smashed into pieces and your head rolling over to the woman to ask if she’s okay? That’s great. Bryce becomes a character whom I feel compelled to like, but unfortunately I can’t call him a good character. The other characters? I needn’t comment, because they’re more or less background noise. 
I’m not going to lie though. Despite Bryce being of particular focus as a character, the story as a whole isn’t really the point in this title. NeverDead’s real significance lies in the immortality as a game mechanic. Unfortunately, it’s this feature which also most prominently lets the game down. 
NeverDead gameplay

As you fight waves upon seemingly endless waves, Bryce can gradually lose limbs during the onslaughts. Players can lose arms and legs, leaving the protagonist hopping around swinging his sword wildly with one arm. This feature has some very high moments, such as when fighting the third boss. During this battle, the player must throw his arm into the mouth of a giant bee(?) demon, for it to be devoured. Even though the arm has been dismembered, the player still has control over it. Here, the player shoots while his arm is inside the monster’s stomach, allowing him to reveal the weak point to shoot at with his remaining, attached, arm. I like this use of the mechanic, even if it isn’t exactly obvious and the game needs to inform the player. Unfortunately, this example is the only true moment where the mechanic shines. 

It’s safe to assume that the inability to die leads to the game becoming significantly less challenging. This is completely true to an extent. While the game rarely challenged my skill, it still challenged my patience. Fairly frequently, a monster would manage to strike Bryce leading to his head to come flying off. The player needs to roll around, avoiding the demons that vacuum your head into their stomach (leading to a game over) and try to attach himself to the body. It only ever takes one hit before you’re left searching for your body. This feature just interferes with gameplay and completely breaks up the flow of the action. It’s frustrating and it’s just tedious. Actually, tedious is an apt description for the entire game, let alone this mechanic.
NeverDead is just incredibly monotonous. Between the lack lustre music (with the exception of Megadeth’s NeverDead track which plays a whole one time during the game) and the incredibly underwhelming variety of enemies, the game just gets repetitive far too quickly. The chapters appear to drag on, and even the battles actually last longer than they should. Whenever the player appears to defeat every enemy in the area, more waves continue to spawn – and the player can’t progress without clearing that area.
Easily the best feature of the game, NeverDead does feature the best destructible environment I have ever seen in a game. Almost everything can be destroyed, and there’s a chain reaction if played right. It’s so seamlessly integrated that I never actually noticed it – despite using it to my advantage on many occasions. 
So, the game doesn’t exactly ooze style in its gameplay, being as dull as it is. Does it’s graphic style save it? No, it doesn’t, but it certainly helps it be less boring at times. The game is graphically distinctive, albeit on a subtle level. But that’s actually pretty good. 
NeverDead has the occasional redeeming quality, but it just feels like a game that went straight to the implementation stage from the very early concepts. Nothing seems fleshed out, despite some very well polished mechanics such as the destructible environments. 
For what it’s worth, NeverDead is a title that seems to have heart, but fails to deliver anything substantial or truly fun. The development team got excited by the concept and went straight into making it. What could easily have been a neat little title has, consequently, become a rather forgettable title. Unlike Bryce, the title isn’t immortal by a long shot and will probably not survive through time. I can’t say I disliked the game, despite finding it ridiculously tedious as I trudged through it; I actually liked the game. I just probably won’t remember it this time next year.
(This is not fact by a long shot. The entire review is strictly the opinion of myself. And for those who really require a score, NeverDead scores 4/10. Whilst the game could have features that make it unique, these are poorly executed. Overall, the game can’t even be considered mediocre.)

Updates and Stuff

Just thought I’d let you all know that my exams are finished. That’s really all there is to that update, but I may as well take this as a time to look into what you can expect from me in the coming weeks.

I’ve recently gotten a hold of both LA Noire and NeverDead. Expect some first impressions of those. Furthermore, I completed Final Fantasy XIII-2 (nearly 100% as well), so I’ll be getting started on my review of it. That should be due in a weeks time, tops.

All these big titles though, it’s a bit unfair on indie titles, right? I’ll be starting a video series, sometime preferably soon, where I will be doing first impressions on them too. Since they’re all mostly on PC, it makes filming them an option and a great way to explore and express their unique flavours – since everyone knows a rule to be indie is to do something unique.

I’ve also got plans to create a Let’s Play series, but nothing like the shoddy LP’s you usually get on YouTube. In fact, speaking of Let’s Plays, a biweekly segment on the blog will be about looking at other Let’s Plays found on the internet and sharing them. It’s a good way to share a game, or even back up my own reviews. Look out for those too.

So as you can tell, there’s going to be a lot of content once I get started. I’m just taking a minor break from working so much lately (and by a minor break I mean a couple of days) and then I’ll get started on all of that. See you next time!

Little Update

Started work on writing my Final Fantasy XIII-2 review, so that’s expected to be online by Monday. I’ve also got my last exam coming up, so that’ll explain why I’ve not been so active on here. I chose a horrible time to start all this. Screw it, I’ll stick to it anyway!

I’ll probably start writing some news articles because, while it still requires the research (I’m not going to copy paste news articles from anywhere), it just isn’t as long and requires less effort than a full review. That, and I think it’d be interesting to touch on some gaming news. Maybe I’ll have a set day for reviews, a set day for news and a set day for impressions, but we’ll see what’s happening.

See you guys soon.

Tommy Wi-Show

Tommy Wiseau Tommy Wi-Show

Honestly, I’ve been putting this off for a couple of days because I’ve been hesitant about posting this, but I’ll get to that in a minute. I’m going to answer a simple question that you probably didn’t ask: “Who is Tommy Wiseau?”

Tommy Wiseau is an actor, director, screenwriter, and everything else (think YouTube videos where the kids in their bedrooms even take credit for their light being switched on). One would think he had talent considering the multitude of roles that he partakes one. It’s easy to be mistaken, but it’s actually also kind of true that he does have talent. He’s the right amount of bad for comedy gold. Where did this happen? The Room. If you’ve not seen The Room, I highly recommend it. It’s pretty damn funny.

But now back to the subject. Last year, Tommy Wiseau released a new show involving video games. This was named Tommy Wi-Show, and it was part review, part comedy, part whatever the hell you can call it. What I can tell you is that it wasn’t good. But that’s a given with Tommy Wiseau. That makes it funny, right? Wrong. Unless you’re some douchy hipster wanna be kid who idolizes the man, there’s nothing good about this show. And that’s what’s heavily disappointing.

In the Tommy Wi-Show. Wiseau plays himself, or “TW”. Every week (or every month once the show lost user interest until it’s demise), TW would be transported to an alien world to play video games. He would be scored by a particularly annoying (see “forced” to try and be evil, but unaware of it’s morality and opens it’s heart) alien. Every week (or month, whatever), TW had to play a new game. Each episode would attempt to be witty, but in a subtle manner. This often failed miserably, but I could see what they were at least trying to do. Or maybe that was me looking too much into it, because surely something couldn’t be this bad?

So far, it sounds like something Wiseau would do. It sounds like a terrible setup, but maybe it could be funny? I thought so too. It’s why I tuned into it. The lack of humour stems from the fact that Wiseau now knows he’s awful. He’s become self-aware and that’s what leads to him killing any form of humour that can be found in his works. Instead of being hilariously bad, he tries to act it instead. And, if The Room taught us anything then that would be that the man just plain can’t act. There’s nothing genuinely funny, because it’s so blatantly forced. When you’re aware of what made you popular, and try to be so bad that it’s good to recapture it, it just doesn’t work. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t.

Wiseau falls flat on his face, bad. Now, why was I hesitant about posting this? Because I’m going to share the video, and the video generates him money. Here it is anyway.