Final Fantasy XIII : Where has the past week gone?

First off, I am not going to go into the story line of the game. Just know two things : 1. Good vs. Evil and 2. Big monsters.

I knew that Final Fantasy XIII was going to be different but I didn’t realize how much.

The very first thing that I noticed was the linear, tunnel like, “exploring” that your character/party did. Almost like the Tomb Raider series, running through buildings, caves, and the what not. There is very little expansive territory to search through. Of course there is an area where you go through side quests and massive beasts are all around.

Second thing is the battle system. In past games I would make two teams, making each person with certain strengths knowing that if my team leader died that I would have to use the next in line. Nope, not this time. If your team leader dies during battle, you have to start the fight over. This is frustrating when you have been hacking away at something for 10 minutes. There were several times where I would just stare at the screen in dismay,going, “I almost had it! WHAT THE CRAP!” But overall, the battle system is easy to learn and upgrade.

The cutscenes are gorgeous. This is where you spending big money for that TV and sound system comes into play. The playing graphics, for that matter, are gorgeous as well. Often I could not tell the difference. The one thing that I did find funny is that each character had to have their “We can do this speech!” cutscene. Some of it is quite high school drama and some can get to the point where you want to turn the volume down.

The main problem, it is very petty, with the game is the map. You are able to view a map of the area and some of it is difficult to see. There are no markers saying where each spot leads to and you do not have the ability to mark it. I can’t remember if other FF games did the same. I just find it odd and annoying. Some of the caves start looking the same and running down a path for 20 minutes before realizing that you are going the wrong way is a time waster.

I also find it funny that every and I mean every Final Fantasy follows the same character stereotypes.

  1. There is always a bad ass lead character that is driven and will throw themselves in harms way no matter the cost. You will play them the most.
  2. Always a macho, testosterone, “dude”.
  3. A cute, flirty, giggle giggle girl that can do major damage.
  4. A random, easy going black guy that feels like he has nothing to live for. You always want to use him but in the end he is a so-so character.
  5. Someone with a staff who is rough, tumble, and secretive.
  6. The useless guy. Sometimes is a animal.

Overall Final Fantasy XIII is wonderful. Even with little flaws and occasional bad acting, it is still worthy of your attention. If you are the type that does not enjoy long epic adventures, you might want to look somewhere else. I am currently clocking in 60+ hours, still have all the side quests to complete, and have not beaten the final chapter.

This is a buy for those who know what they are getting into.

Mini Ninjas : Its like Calgone and Japanese feudal warfare wrapped up in one.

Charming, relaxing, and simply fun. Mini Ninjas is a great game from start to finish. The game offers a surprisingly long gameplay adventure, I logged in around 12+ hours.

I was not thinking that this game was going to be too difficult or frustrating. Knowing by the cover that it would appeal toward younger ages, I figured that if I wanted it to be more difficult I would have to make it that way. The replay value is fairly low and for the perfectionist player it offers several trophies/awards to obtain with multiple runs at different difficulty levels or replays of different stages.

The story is wrapped around a little ninja named Hiro. His master has sent him, along with Futo, on a journey to destroy the Evil Samurai Warlord. Along the way they rescue other ninjas that had been captured. The rescued ninjas are playable characters and have certain strengths. Hiro, for the most part, is the most used and is the only one that can use the powerful Kuji magic.

The graphics are quite stylized and the music is very relaxing. Some of the levels are fairly large and offer a lot of exploring. Parents watching their kids play will want to join in because it is very inviting. My wife and I shared gameplay duties. It was just fun!

The game has been out since September 09. I would figure that you could find it for fairly cheap or easily available to rent.

Dante’s Inferno : B to the A, my friends.

If I were to be taking a vacation to Hell, I would want Dante as my tour guide. The man stitched a cross into his chest and kills Death! That is . . . insane.

Okay, here is the deal. I am going to mention the bad first. Get it out of the way, sweep it under and get on with our lives.

1. There are about a dozen camera snafu’s that block or hinder jumps, movements, and attacks.

2. Every once in a while you will get a “AWW Come on man, I hit that button!” moment and you really did hit that button.

3. You would think that the lower levels of hell were as freakish as the first 4-5 levels. Just sayin’.

Other than those things, I could not find anything wrong with Dante’s Inferno.  The controls were fairly smooth. Combat was clean and feverish. It keeps your attention all the way to the end. Some people have complained that they thought there would be more variety of bad guys the farther into Hell you went, I didn’t mind. The Devil can only employee so many.

It is obvious that Visceral Games wanted to freak you out with the first 4 stages of Hell. The screams of the damned and the cries of unbaptized babies that chase you will stick in your ear. All the stages are done very nicely, but Lust makes you go “What are these guys drinking?”.  The pure shock and awe of Lust will make you giggle at first. It turns into a game of counting how many penises and vaginas you can see. Not to mention the main demons of the stage. They beat you down with . . . wait for it . . . their vagina tonuges.

Another, image that made me laugh was when I fought Lucifer. He is quite fearsome and well endowed. At first I thought that he had three legs. Nope.

So, yeah, this is not for the kiddies.

Sure you can compare Dante’s Inferno to God of War, but you can compare those games to hundreds before them. One great thing is that there is plenty of downloadable content out now and in the near future, including a multi-player mode. I will pick this game up when it goes on sale. It was an enjoyable 14 hours.

Rent, then buy if you want the DLC packs that are offered. Either way, it is worth your time.

God of War III better be able to make me lunch.

Every morning I open up my browser and read the headlines, press releases, and Woot Deals. Anyway, God of War III better be able to kick my butt through my television, go into the kitchen, make me a sandwich (no mayo), and force it down my throat with the love of Kratos. With as much hype as it is getting, you would think that it is setting itself up for harsh user scrutiny. Sure the critics are raving about the  ultra violent, eye candy. But what if common Joe Gamer does not get the idea of it?

Everyone has seen the big action flick of the year *ahem*Transformers 2 *cough* that looked so good in the previews, critics raved that it was “MIND BLOWING”. Went and sat through an hour and a half of explosions, only to feel full with popcorn. Not filled with the excitement that makes you want to be that guy in the movie.

All I am saying is that, Kratos, you have a lot of eyes, ears, and thumbs waiting. You better deliver.

On another plane of existence, I will be doing reviews  for Bayonetta and Battlefield : Bad Company 2 in the next week. So keep watch for it.

Warhawk is $14.99 on PSN

The 32 multiplayer game, Warhawk, is $14.99 for a limited time. Available only on the PS3 through their PSN Network. From personal experience Warhawk is one of the best games to land on the PS3. Warhawk was released in 2007 and has several DLC packages, that are also on sale. There is still a rabid following for the game and servers are always filled. Games can go from mild to total chaos in seconds.

One of the greatest things about the game is that it gives the player so many options for gameplay. Fly a Warhawk, destroy with a tank, snipe from a mountain top, or just run around laying mines, players can change up the gameplay on the fly.

Warhawk is the only game that I continue to play on a weekly basis. This is the best way to spend $14.99! GO GET IT NOW!

Infamous : Karma is a bitch.

How cool would it be to wake up and have super powers? How much cooler would it be to blow the city up with a new weapon and then wake up with super powers? In Cole’s case, mass destruction found him first.

In Infamous you are Cole, a delivery boy that opened a package and blew the city up with the Ray Sphere. Of course, he did not know that was going to happen. After the blast, Cole wakes up to find out that he can control electricity. He is a human battery, able to heal or kill. The choice is yours.

Throughout the game you have karma moments. Choose to do the “good for all” or “good for you”. This makes your hero or villain meter move, affects the story and how the people in the city react to you. You gain experience during the karma moments, side missions, and when you kill/capture a member of on of the three gangs in the city.

The story is hard to follow at first and the thought of “What?” and “Why should I care?” happens often. It was not until I was 6 hours into the game before things started to click. The story really tries to force you to have feelings for some of the characters, but it is very forced. Cole’s “girlfriend” is a total “B”. You are manipulated by everyone in the story and seem to lap dog your way through the game until you decide enough is enough. By then it is too late – the game is over. You will find yourself spending too much time doing the same objectives over and over and over and over . . . and over.

In the end, you are drawn into a decent story that really leads to a sequel. Sucker Punch could have an amazing game on their hand for a number 2.

The controls are fairly smooth. Sometimes a little touchy. The screen can often fill with chaos and you can not figure out who is shooting who but the fights can be very intense. Voice acting, graphics, and map layouts are top notch. There is just too much repetition in mission styles to really say that it is breaking new ground.

There is about 20 hours of gameplay. That includes all side missions and doing the good and evil campaigns. Rent it if you can or buy it when you see it for $20.