Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King: WiiWare

In FFCC:MLaaK, you take on the role of the king in a new land. From the looks of things, it appears to be a sort-of sequel to FFCC for the gamecube. (It’s on my list to play through) You enter the kingdom with Chime and Hugh Yurg as assistants. Soon, you have helpful moogles and a penguin to guide you. As in FFCC, there is a crystal in the center of town which used to hold off a deadly miasma that had gripped the planet. The miasma is now gone, making the crystals merely decorative now. This crystal can apparently speak and grants you the power of Architek, which allows you to rebuild the kingdom from your memories.
The gameplay is reminiscent of simcity and warcraft 1-3, minus the exploring and fighting. You rebuild you city using elemantite as a resource. Each house built allows you recruit one adventurer. These adventurers explore the dungeons as you command and return with elemantite and gil. The gil is used for upgrades to your shops and training halls, allowing your adventurers to purchase better items, skills and spells. You build houses, shops, training halls and parks.
To command these adventurers, you post behests of what you want them to do and they choose which they would like to do, or ignore you and do their own thing. While the adventurers are out, you can wander your city, building structures and talking to the citizens. Talking to the citizens, while not required, builds morale, allowing the game days to last longer into the night and gets you side quests for your adventurers. They also tell you when they would like new buildings, which the moogles can draw up plans for.
This does get rather repetitive, but with the amount of things to manage, you can keep busy for the whole game day and for the strategy gamer, this is quite addictive. I found myself glued to the game over the labor day weekend and was provided with enough variety to keep me playing.
The graphics look like reused models from FFCC (at least the character models), which isn’t a bad thing as it keeps that FF feel to the game. Slowdowns and framerate drops are frequent, especially with a lot of buildings and characters in frame. There could definitely have been more optimization here, but overall, it isn’t so bad as to draw you out of the game. The graphics are nicely done, and suit the game well.
The sound is short clips, with nice background music. There is no spoken dialog, but it is not needed. Overall the sound is well done and good quality.
All of the cutscenes are done in game, which keeps the size of the game down and a consistent feel throughout.
As the first big name game on wiiware, Square-Enix had some high expectations to live up to with this game. I would say those expectations have been easily met, as this is a solid game, well worth the 1500 wii points ($15). S-E has added DLC (for a small fee for each) in the form of additional dungeons, different citizen races and buildings (which I’m told can be unlocked by playing well) and outfits for yourself and Chime. If you haven’t played a wiiware title yet, this is a great introduction. Just about all gamers will find a fun and addictive game here.

Volcano Ecigs

Burnout: Paradise: PS3

Ok, with all the comparisons and posts about BP and Test Drive Unlimited (which I absolutely adored on the PC) on the net, I expected something similar to what TDU offers. What I got was a whole nother experience. These games are on entirely different pages, and any comparison is a moot point as they are so different that it makes it apples and grapefruits.

First and foremost is the gameplay. BP doesn’t just condone smashing the other cars, it has missions based on it. There’s the Marked Man missions, where you have to survive the other racers trying to wreck you, Road Rage events where you rack up a number of damaged opponents, Stunt Runs where you rack up points by doing stunts and boosting, and the standard races, where you win by any means necessary.
Add into this the “open world” aspect, which does seem kinda tacked on. It is a good breakaway from work and life in general to just go rampaging around town, wreaking havoc…..I used to do this in TDU, to other players dismay. There’s smashes, gates scattered across the city blocking shortcuts which can be used in races, jumps, which don’t need to be explained, and billboards, which are a fancier, usually tougher to get to version of smashes. There’s also the Showtime mode, where you try to make the mos fantastic, multiple car pileup you can. Based on your experience, you can make a tremendously long crash. This all adds for a fun distraction, although the “open world” aspect is poorly implemented. I say this because, after being a TDU player and seeing how well done the open world aspect is done there, there are some major features I miss. First and foremost is the ability to click the map and pop to that spot. This would be a welcome addition for many of the races which take you across the map, then if you fail, you have to drive all the way back to the start. Second is being able to see other players and challenge them on the fly.
Not to say the online aspect of BP is bad, its pretty straightforward and easily accessed, You can enter or start challenges for players on the street you are on. A nice touch is the support for the Eye, which can show you reactions when you take down a player, which can sometimes be a bad thing…..a very bad thing, depending on what they show you.
Every intersection is an event, which is limited to the basic type and your progress gets wiped with each license, so if there’s a specific event you excel at, you can do it for each license. This is also a detraction as events are limited to the four basic types and can get old fast.
The soundtrack is…alright. There are a few good songs, some old burnout songs, and classical music for some odd reason. There is currently no way to add your own music, but one you set up the musical selection, you can weed out the songs you don’t like.
The graphics are buttery smooth and although not quite up to pc graphics, are quite superb for a console.
My main gripe for the first few hours of playing the game was the “tutorial” info that it pauses the game to tell you, much of which is common sense. Then there’s the crashes, which show why there’s no name brand cars as car companies nowadays refused to let games show their cars in damaged states. When you crash, the game whites out the screen, goes into a spectacular crash scene, while time is continuing for the other racers, which is great to see the first time, but utterly annoying afterwords.
The DLC is automatic, which is a great touch. When there is an update with new content, it downloads for you and seamlessly integrates itself.
Overall this game is great fun for the destruction minded racer and will provide you with hours and hours of gameplay. They just might not be on end.

With that all said, I end this with Yahtzee’s brilliantly hilarious review from The Escapist.

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock: PS3

With my upgrade, I figured I’d give it a whirl and put up a review.
Here’s my review of the wii version. Since it’s the same game, I’ll just go over the differences here.
First off, the guitars. They are the same size and roughly the same weight as the wii guitars, maybe a lillt lighter. They are wireless, with a usb receiver to plug in for each one, sadly, no bluetooth. The only real difference is that the wii has an analog stick where the d pad is, the PS button and the lack of vibration and sound provided by the wii remote.
And the game itself…
The graphics are naturally much better on the ps3, boasting a nice, high resolution, consistently smooth framerate, and, it looks like, better lighting. The sound seems better on the ps3, but that could be the comparison of optical cable to component.
Having storage on the ps3 means downloadable content. New song packs can be found in the add-ons section of the PSN store. I picked up the handful of freebies (Dropkick Murphys for free? woot!). Track packs have 3 songs each and are $6.25. Singles are $2.49 each. After download, it’s just a click to install them.