Tag Archives: Final Fantasy

Video Blogging & 2016 Game Awards

Happy New Year?

Well regardless of how you feel about the new year, and the festive season in general, I hate it. To me it’s a gigantic “end of term” report card. It’s a time to reflect on what you’ve done since the previous new year, and invariably bring forth a seasonal depression when you realize that actually, you’ve not done very much.

I’ve had a particularly dull year – enhanced by the fact that 2016 was pretty crappy all round. The media have really jumped on the doom and gloom bandwagon with celebrity deaths, unexpected election results, refugee crises, mass migration, cold war re-ignition and appalling devastation and terror in the name of religion. ūüôĀ

Well, I can’t fix any of that, but I have decided to contribute some of my measly knowledge to society in a more visual and all round proactive way. As well as increasing the frequency of the written stuff, I’ve already started to record some video.

My plan is simple, I have no particular focus for the videos, but they will be about code, and electronics, and technology, and recording my efforts to learn, and perhaps even teach, tech engineering from first principles. As always, if anyone finds this useful, its a bonus.

Right, on with the ceremony!

The OneLoneCoder Blog Video Game Awards 2016

Welcome to the inaugural OneLoneCoder Blog Video Game Awards! Here we award Javid’s to the best games I played during 2016. Note, that this may not necessarily be the year the game was released. Let’s introduce your incredibly enthusiastic host – Javidx9!!!

thejavidaward_lores

“Here, Have a Javid…”

Now without further ado, let’s get onto the awards! <insert generic fanfare>

Best Major Game

Also known as “AAA” titles, this category is for the big boys, millions of pounds spent on a media budget alone, and usually a very large file size!

Nominations

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Naughty Dog

Final Fantasy XV
Square Enix

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Ubisoft Quebec

Dirt Rally
Codemasters

And the Winner is…

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

“What a superb game. Not only is it engrossing to play, but it oozes game engine polish at every opportunity. The fact that the playing modality radically changes whilst you play and you don’t even notice is a testament to the sheer master-craft of its¬†designers. Only a game where people not playing can thoroughly enjoy watching it being played is truly worthy of a Javid. Well Done!” – Jx9

Best Minor Game

These games come from the lesser known developers or even “indy” developers. They will never gain huge acceptance, some people will think they’re just plain weird, but what do they know. Often the best games are the ones where they spent money on the game, and not on it’s marketing.

Nominations

Windlands
Psytec Games Ltd

The Witness
Thekla

Goat Simulator
Coffee Stain Studios

Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture
The Chinese Room

Elite Dangerous
Frontier Developments

And the Winner is…

The Witness

“It is rare that a game today¬†connects with me on so many levels. The Witness is a game hampered by its trailer and social networking as it can’t give away the secrets that lie within. The intelligent design of this intellectual and ‘explorational’ behemoth is without comparison, and I am certain¬†the developers sacrificed years of their lives fine tuning what I can only describe as not just the best game of 2016, but perhaps, just maybe, the greatest and deepest game I have ever played.” – Jx9

Special Mention Of The Year

This award goes to a game that may not be up for being the best or the worst, but there was something about it that just makes you think “yeah… it’s alright that”. This year’s special mention goes to Windlands.

“Perhaps it’s a gimmick, or a fleeting novelty, but the sensation of flying still puts a grin on my face every time I boot it up. Take a good run up, look sideways and jump. And DON’T LET GO!” – Jx9

Second Place Turd Of The Year

Automatically, according to the Javid Academy Rules, Destiny wins the First Place winner of this award, therefore to make this category more relevant, we select the runner up.

And the Winner is…

I Am Setsuna

“Oh. This was disappointing. You see, it’s not a bad game, just not a very interesting one. Indeed, it does channel a little nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ of console role playing games, but playing it I can’t help asking for a little more, well, colour, depth, strategy, story, exploration, music, humour…, you know, like how they used to be!” – Jx9

 

So that’s all for 2016. Join me in the new year. I’m trying to get better at this!

Jx9

 

World of Final Fantasy first 14 Hours and 6 Minutes impression

No Spoilers exist within this review!

woff_rev_title

So WoFF (World of Final Fantasy) has finally arrived. I like the abbreviation WoFF. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of this game’s existence until two months ago, but the second I saw the trailer, it ticked all the right boxes. I picked up the pre-order PS4 version (with the Sephiroth Summon – of course ūüôā ), and I’ve played 14 hours and 6 minutes of it so far, and what a remarkably compelling experience it has been.

First things first. I am a Final Fantasy fan. I started with FFVI, then played in this order VII, VIII, IX, X, I, IV, V, XII, II, III, Crisis Core, Dirge, Tactics, XIII, III-Remake. Despite that looking like some secret code predicting the apocalypse, it is in fact a representation of some¬†2000 hours of my life. To be fair FF isn’t always good. As this is the internet, and this is a FF post, it’s obligatory that I thrust my order of preference upon you. I like VII the most (it was the right game at the right time), and I despise XIII and VIII. The others are somewhere in between…

So when a new FF game is due out (and by the way,¬†there is a very imposing one due next month, yay) I usually don’t hesitate, I’m a fanboy after all. But next-gen RPGs have been a little naff in my opinion. Open world gaming has it’s place, but it does facilitate very lazy game development (re: cheap and quick).

For example, take a large but mostly empty map, break it into regions, in each region have a little hub, at each hub have a list of quests. Now tell the player to solve all the quests (kill “wibble” or Collect X “wibble” or Deliver X “wibble” or Defend “wibble” or Craft X “wibble” into a “mega-wibble”). At each hub, one specific quest will give you permission to visit the next hub, once a number that describes you is large enough. This approach to RPGs permits millions of quests and DLC, but it all just feels like incoherent time wasting (looking at you Destiny (in the bin)) – surely there is more to gaming than making numbers bigger? Admittedly that’s a hugely philosophical gaming theory bottomless pit there an definitely the subject of a future post.

I¬†scoured a few p/reviews online before its release. All very positive, but we both know that the true reviews are in the comments. “It looks crap – why have they done it in a cute style?” and “Its rubbish – you can’t even move the camera!”. Firstly, didn’t the universal population complain about any FF game that featured realistic characters? Secondly, other than XII, which other FF game do you have full camera control in? WoFF has adopted a graphical style in the vein of earlier FF games (ie the good ones) and you know what – it’s fantastic.

Big Dudes - Great!
Big Dudes – Great!
Little Dudes - Cute!
Little Dudes – Cute!

WoFF is without a doubt an absolute fan service game. It contains countless elements from across the entire FF franchise. It wraps it up in a nostalgic blanket of Active Time Battles fused with Pokemon and Ni No Kuni, and the best part is – WoFF understands it is a fan service game. At last, no angsty teenagers and gloomy rivalries, no quests to die and temples to respect. This game realizes there is no way to sensibly fuse all the FF content into a single experience so it does not really try. The main two protagonists are frequently breaking the fourth wall, and the supporting cast are equally bemused by what’s happening. It’s just downright fun. Now what makes it even better is combining it with nostalgia and the option to enjoy it all at your own pace.

So far its been quite linear, but it’s just been a great ride, with funny stories and character acting, engaging and thought provoking battles, and it offers a constant sense of achievement. If I’m feeling adventurous, it provides nooks and crannies to explore with tougher foes. Make no mistake – this game is all about the monster hunting and battling, but the environments are pleasantly distracting and absorbing that you don’t mind a bit of back tracking.

This all looks eerily familiar - and I like it!
This all looks eerily familiar – and I like it!

WoFF is really a giant menu. I know that sounds terrible but trust me here, it’s a menu that’s loads of fun to use. On the whole it’s a slick and polished experience. There are a couple of niggles regarding the modality of the buttons in different areas of the interface, but hey VII defaulted to ‘O’ being confirm!

Menu - See 14:06 hours
Menu – See 14:06 hours!

Take a look at the menu – blue with white borders and a little hand – it’s this attention to detail that makes WoFF great. They made the characters look like they’re out of Kingdom Hearts (an equally great game) and the monsters are FF legends. Cool, so what kind of skills development system does it use? Well taking all the best things from previous games it uses Materia and Sphere Grids! Great!

Yup, rectangular spheres
Yup, rectangular spheres

Combat is slick. They give you a fast forward and auto-command feature. Grinding (and you will need to grind) feels much less, well… grind-y. The combat works by collecting and growing creatures (past FF enemies). Each creature has a skill tree that you populate to provide commands and abilities to use in battle. You then merge creatures into “stacks”, which look ridiculous, but the final “merged” creature blob is¬†an amalgamation of¬†skills, abilities, defenses etc. This gives you phenomenally deep¬†control into how you battle. Collecting creatures requires specific tasks to be performed in battle, so no just ‘X’ mashing here. Actually it’s ‘Triangle’ to attack in WoFF but hey.

Battles look a little silly, but that's the point - this whole game is silly
Battles look a little silly, but that’s the point – this whole game is silly

At the end of each battle a pleasing number of progress bars fill up, levelling all your new friends as necessary. So in summary, you need to increase the count of creatures you have. You need to increase the power of each creature. You need to increase the number of things you find, and places you visit, by increasing the abilities available to you. Who said there’s anything wrong with just endlessly increasing numbers? Well there isn’t when between every number increase, there’s 10 minutes of interactive plot, 5 minutes of nostalgia, and, err, 30 minutes of utter awesomeness!* All delivered with a superb level of shine¬†and challenge to keep it slick and fun.

*Note: there is not usually 45 minutes between battles.

Is it good? Abso-F&^%&ing-yes if you know your Final Fantasy. It’s probably only OK if you’re really into monster collecting games (wow, that’s really a genre now). For the regular Joe, likely it’s not for you.

If you recognise this - HOW CAN YOU NOT HAVE THIS IN YOUR LIFE???
If you recognise this – HOW CAN YOU NOT HAVE THIS IN YOUR LIFE???