Friday, June 24, 2011

Final Fantasy Superfriends

When I first heard the rumblings of Square-Enix creating a fighting game based on Final Fantasy, I thought someone was playing a joke.  Even when factual evidence of this game's existence and development came to light, I was still skeptical:  I figured that yet again, this was another episode of "Wouldn't it be cool IF" where the company was once again showcasing the power of all the cool things they could do with the Playstation 3, much like when they teased us with that tech demo of Final Fantasy VII years ago.


However, as time went on, I soon discovered that Dissidia:  Final Fantasy was eventually going to be a very real thing in our world.  Even more surprisingly (given the quality of the screenshots) it was going to be on the PSP.  When these facts began to slowly sink in, I became fearful.  Why, you ask?

Need I say more?

The last time Square-Enix attempted something remotely resembling a Final Fantasy fighting game, it produced interesting results, to say in the least.  Ehrgeiz was not a bad game, per se, it was just a faux Final Fantasy fighting game.  The original game, developed by the creators of Tobal No.1 and published by Namco included a cameo by Cloud and Tifa.  When Square ported the game over to the Playstation, additional characters (Yuffie, Vincent, and most notably, Sephiroth) were added in.  These characters had no impact on the story, despite so many of them being there.  They oddly felt out of place, as if they were just copied and pasted in:

Like this.
While Ehrgeiz was not a terrible game, it was nevertheless a forgettable one.  Thus understandably, I was a little skeptical of Dissidia.  In spite of the stellar graphics, as to be expected of any Square-Enix game, my cynical gaze viewed it as another sad attempt to milk the Final Fantasy franchise for all that it was worth.

After spending time playing through this game, however, I was pleasantly surprised.  While Dissidia is filled with its share of flaws and has a somewhat laughable story, it manages to combine fighter and RPG elements to create an experience that, while likely not winning it game of the year status, nevertheless manages to create a *fun* experience that will offer fans of the Final Fantasy series hours of distraction.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Backlog Begins: Nocturne

Since this is The Backlog, where we discuss playing the games we never had the time or inclination to before, it seems only appropriate that every now and then those problems resurface and bear discussing. After all, this blog is nothing if not a venue for the pursuit of discovery and intellectualism, where you'll find only the tip-top of class and sophistication.

Man, when are they gonna get to Sephiroth's theme?

Several weeks ago, I sat down to play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, the first offering of the SMT series for the PS2. In the time since then, I've made it somewhere around, and this is just estimating, a fifth of the way through. I've had more than enough time to make it further, I just . . . haven't.

But that's how this whole thing gets started. That's why I've got more than a dozen games I've played, some of them extensively, but still have no idea how they end. You get into a game, you even like the game, but when it comes down to it the distractions which pile up and take you away from it just prove too great to overcome. No matter how fun something is, if you find yourself having to put it down and then try to get back into it again a few days later, over and over again, sooner or later you're going to stop trying.

This isn't the fault of the game. Nocturne is actually very engaging as JRPGs go. It's challenging, like all of the SMT games I've played so far, and with much more freedom to roam than the Persona series allows. The characters have been developed enough thus far that I'm genuinely curious to see where everyone ends up. It's got me wanting more, but things keep coming up, and each setback seems to put me further and further away from the finish line.

It's just . . . it's so FAR.

So what this post is really about, though I will discuss the game, is how a backlog begins.