Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Worst Ninjas You'll Ever Meet

I mentioned a few months ago that one of my bridge games of choice was Naruto Shippuden:  Ultimate Ninja Storm 2.  I've since finished the game, twice over:  Once while attempting to unlock everything so I could transfer things over to the Enabler's PS3, and another time when we both discovered that UNS2 was one of those rare selections that doesn't allow for inter-PS3 transfers (thanks, jackasses).

Although it was a frustrating process to go through again in some ways, a few good things came of this.  For one, it allowed the Enabler, who hadn't seen much of the Naruto: Shippuden anime to get an abridged version of the first 120 episodes in under a few hours.  It allowed me to become slightly more proficient at the game.  But most importantly, it spurred an important conversation point between us where we agreed on one point, which ultimately changed the focus of this point merely from a comparison of two Naruto games, to this:

With very few exceptions, the ninjas in Naruto are the worst ninjas you'll ever meet.  Due to its masterful presentation, Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 unintentionally does a great job of highlighting this. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Breath of Fire slash Dragon Age

"Even with its handful of new features, Breath of Fire III breaks little new ground. Die-hard RPG fans may find it entertaining, but those looking for something new in this increasingly static genre will come away disappointed."
- Joe Fielder, GameSpot, 5/14/1998

"[...]any way you slice it, here's the fantasy RPG you've been waiting for, the one that will keep you up late at night, bleary-eyed, because you have to see what happens next. Like the best fiction, Dragon Age will sweep you up in its world, so much so that when you're done, you'll want to experience it all over again."
- Kevin VanOrd, GameSpot, 11/3/2009

Somewhere along the line, I can't help but feel like we lost our way.

Here. Right here is where we lost it.

The Breath of Fire and Dragon Age games present two similar stories with one very important difference. In Breath of Fire, dragons are a misunderstood, oft-persecuted, and ultimately greatly beneficial race. of which the main character is always a member. In Dragon Age, fuck dragons.

This fucking guy.

Other than that, when I look specifically at the third entry in the Breath of Fire series, there's a lot of similarities to be found. Both feature silent protagonists who are members of an ancient but dying order. Both have Camp modes where you can get meaningful dialogue from your teammates, or just be reminded what you're supposed to be doing. Even the supporting cast is pretty similar. Each team has a big, imposing-looking guy. Each one gets the blonde supporting lead/love interest. There's even two crazy redheads to go around.

Also the mostly-naked sorceress.

Now of course no one would confuse the teen-friendly Breath of Fire III with the more adult-oriented Dragon Age: Origins, but for the point I'm trying to make, their similarities are enough to warrant the comparison. As far as the differences in graphics and gameplay, if Dragon Age had been published in 1998, it might not have looked or played terribly different from a Breath of Fire game. Yet as you can see from the reviews up there, the attitude towards DA:O was that BioWare was shipping the Second Coming, whereas Breath of Fire III was generally received as "yeah, it's not bad, if you're into that kind of thing."

Rapture only available through DLC.

So let's do a quick comparison of these two titles and try to answer the question; was Dragon Age: Origins really that much better, when accounting for advances in technology, than Breath of Fire III, or have our standards as game buyers just dropped to the point where we think it was?

Friday, August 26, 2011

He's ok as long as he's not the leading man.

I have finally come to terms with Vaan and realize that he is a good choice of a character in Final Fantasy.

Hold on now.  Before you take up your pitchforks in rebellion, or ask David to commit me to a mental institution, allow me to elaborate.

Over the last few months, I've played through the story mode of the second Dissidia game, and short bouts of Final Fantasy Tactics A2:  Grimoire of the Rift.  Rather than cringing every time Mr. Painted-On abs took the screen, I was chuckling at his appearances.  It wasn't until a particular conversation with David yesterday, after a stint with FFTA2 that it hit me:

I was able to tolerate, and even like Vaan this time around because he wasn't the main character of either game.

While it's extremely popular to dislike Vaan due to Final Fantasy XII, in reality, he is a solid character that shines most as a supporting character.

To explore this idea more fully, we're going to take a brief look at FFXII, while also looking at his appearances in other games.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Soulless Machine.

Earlier today, David and I had a conversation.  Since he's too busy to draw anything and my artwork sucks, here's the conversation:

David 9:38 pm
I feel bad for not writing anything in so long.

 Ayn 9:39 pm
You're Jewish, not Catholic.  Get over it.

 David 9:39 pm
You're right.  Jews get guilt from other people, not ourselves.
Primarily mothers.

 Ayn 9:40 pm
I really feel like most PS3 RPGs lack..

 David 9:40 pm
You can only get that from handhelds these days.

 Ayn 9:40 pm
See, I've had some 360 RPGs that have that.
Arc Rise Fantasia had it, too.
Baiten Katos as well.

 David 9:41 pm
I still haven't played that.
Though I did finally find a copy of Tales of Symphonia.

 Ayn 9:41 pm
In some weird, twisted fucking way, even Unlimited SaGa has it.
The devoured, corrupted, twisted souls of child soldiers, anyway.

 David 9:41 pm
Probably because it drains your own.

 Do you share the same sentiment?  Have a hard time getting into your PS3 games?  Let us know in the comments section.