Category Archives: video games

What I’m Playing: Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae

Final Fantasy XV has had a tumultuous history, but it’s held a whole lot of interest since it was first announced way back in 2006 under the name Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Intended to be part of a nebulous pseudo-series entitled¬†Fabula Nova Crystallis, the game would draw on mythology from Final Fantasy XIII for its base setting. Since then it has undergone dev team changes, a platform change, and even a name change to become Final Fantasy XV proper. The game stands out in the series as well. While Final Fantasy has been pretty willing to play with new settings and systems, XV marks an even further departure from the series’ fantasy roots by taking place in a fairly modern world. The game follows four male protagonists in a kind of road trip story, with a tight focus on a small group.

With the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0, we got a fairly robust look at XV with the included multi-hour demo, Episode Duscae. While the game could still change quite a bit before launch, it’s an intriguing peek into what’s being cooked up.

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Unnecessary Top Ten: PS2 RPGs

Sometimes, you have to balance pathos with something fun. It’d be easy to talk forever about the pain of loss, but sometimes it’s nice to just let go and do something fun. They might be the filler of the internet, but so help me I love top ten lists. It gives you a good view into the mind of the writer, and the context of a full list can introduce you to something you’ve never heard of. If I see a top ten list with nine of my favorite things on it alongside one I’ve never heard of, number ten is a pretty solid bet.

I started really enjoying games on the NES, with Dragon Quest being the standout on the system. I was baffled by this text representing gameplay, and intrigued by this game that could take several days to complete. I watched my mom beat it time and again before finally trying it myself. Though it didn’t have the action of Contra, or require the reflexes of Mario, I found the pace, the progression, and even the bare-bones story pull me in and never let me go. The grind for a copper sword at the beginning of any Dragon Quest game is still one of my favorite gaming experiences, and has solidified me as an RPG gamer first and foremost. As the PlayStation 2 has one of my favorite RPG libraries of all time, it seems as fine a place as any to stake my flag and shout my opinion from the mountains, certain that there is a legion below desperate to know¬†my opinions. As an added bonus, today just so happens to be the 15th anniversary of the PS2’s launch- I had no idea when I started this list, but let’s pretend I have just stellar timing.

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The Tales Series and DLC – A Love Story

I’ve spent a good portion of my teenage and adult years enamored with Namco Bandai’s Tales of Series. These games all follow the same naming convention, Tales of <Usually some made up word>, such as Tales of Symphonia or Tales of Xillia. These are pretty traditional Japanese RPGs in most respects. You control a group of teenagers and twenty somethings whose personal trials eventually give way to a quest to save the world. Swords are swung, monsters are bashed, and out-of-place side activities are completed. What really makes the games stand out from the crowd is the battle system. A real time system taking some cues from fighting games, the real joy is playing cooperatively with up to four players. In my younger days, I tackled these with friends, while nowadays my wife and I eagerly await each new release.

It’s a shame the series seems dead set on destroying itself.

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My New Hat Tells a Story

Visual feedback in video games has always been a big deal to me. I love seeing that new sword reflected on my character, or seeing what a new area that looks utterly unique, or even just pulling off a difficult and flashy move. While I’m certainly not a stickler for graphics, I’ve always liked some visual feedback to chart my progress in a game. I assumed this was common, but a conversation with a friend has me rethinking why people prefer some games to others.

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