Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon: Early Ideas

I had kind of hoped to have a full review of the game done by now, but there is much more to this game than I had initially thought.

After seeing the initial pics, I had written this game off as a FF kids game. I decided to buy the game after hearing positive things about it. I’m glad I did.

The graphics resemble FFIX in quality and style, which can be good or bad depending on your tastes. The world is entirely 3d, althigh I would have thought the Wii to have enough muscle to push it a little farther. The framerate is smooth, except for a few spots, but nothing the detracts from playing.

The audio is stellar, using remade songs from past games all the way back to FFI. There is recorded dialog galore, which helps to further immerse you. I found it to be a nice touch that when you unlock the jukebox in town, it tells you both where the song was used here, as well as what game it was originally from and where, provided you’ve heard the song ingame so far.

But the gameplay, now here is where the game really shines. Provided you can make it past the first… half hour or so of tutorials and intros, the game has the familiar challenge to be expected from a FF game.

The game is a dungeon crawler. The dungeons are randomly generated each time you enter, so if you die, you can go right back in, and it’s a whole new dungeon. Death, of coarse causes you to lose all items in your inventory, but the do allow you to keep your equipment, so its not a total loss. I’ve been racking my brain as to which Diablo knockoff the dungeon style reminds me of, but the name eludes me.

There are side quests, like fishing for cash and expanded bank room, words and phrases for cards, and a gardening quest which I haven’t gotten to yet. In the mog house there are mini games, which can be played online.

The equipment is simple, just weapon, armor and necklace, but it is a bird, after all. The nice touch here is that you can hit the blacksmith and hone weapons and armor to give it + bonuses. Each type has its own limit as to how far it can be honed. There are also seals, which are effects and bonuses. Each piece also has its own number of seal slots. You can fuse like items together to combine seals and honed bonuses. So you could take a +2 fire and a +3 water, fuse them together and have a +5 with fire and water. You can also unseal items, so if you find an item with good stats, but a bad seal, it can be removed. Or, if you just want to swap out one seal for another.

The entire dungeon is turn based. Every monster is visible, so no more random attacks. Each square of movement is one turn, then the monsters can move one. This is good for strategizing your attack, or just stopping for a smoke. The mobs have random drops within the range for the dungeon and there are chests with items. There are visible and invisible traps of varying types on each floor.

One nifty addition is the job system. As you play, you unlock 10 classes of characters which you can choose from at the start of each dungeon. Each class shows the chocobo dressed to look the part, and have their own stats and abilities. The monsters drop “job points” which level you chosen class. You remain primarily melee, as each classes abilities all use SP, and yes, mage spells are “abilities”. This isn’t much of a detriment, it makes for a bit of an adjustment to play style for each class.

Some dungeons are “special rules” dungeons, which you cannot enter with items and equipment. You can drop everything into the bank from the entrance, also a nice touch. The conditions in here vary wildly from dungeon to dungeon. Some are 1hp for you and all mobs, full hunger with no food, etc. These dungeons range from maddeningly difficult to downright fun.

At the church, you can go back to dungeons that you have completed, so level grinding is an option.

All in all, so far, this is a tremendously fun and addictive game. There aren’t many new games these days that I can play in long runs, but this is definitely one of the few.

Volcano Ecigs

Bioshock PC Review

Just finished playing through Bioshock, Now I see why this game was raved about so much. It can be finished in one all-nighter, but then so can most games nowadays. The art deco design with steampunk elements mixed in provide for breathtaking visuals. I found that the real world styling lend the game a much greater “you are there” feeling. The creatures, err “people” fit well with the game’s style. My pair of 7950gt’s ran the game quite nicely. The only change other than resolution that I had to make was turning high detail post processing off to smooth out the framerate.
The sound is wonderful and setting the game to run in 7.1 made me forget that my card doesn’t support EAX. Music fits the time frame and all the sounds are well made and add to the creepiness of the game. The “moan” of the big daddy will haunt me for days.
The controls are your basic pc fps setup, and I couldn’t see playing this on anything but a keboard and mouse.
The plasmids and tonics add a RPG element to the game as well as something to manage to effectively play in the current area. Plasmid and weapon upgrades add nice visuals, making the plasmids show your hand as more enhanced. The weapon upgrades change the visual of the weapons from basic to very steampunk. I so want a handgun that looks like the maxed one. Tonics get upgrades as well, but the tonics are more passive effects, so they aren’t as noticeable.
Researching enemies with the camera gives you added damage as well as the occasional tonic, so snapping a few pics of unsuspecting enemies is always a good idea. Little sisters will wait after the big daddy is killed, so snapping pics of them nets you a small health and eve bonus for each research level.
The story is a basic game story, tried and true, making it overwhelmingly predictable, but the game is so well done that you tend not to notice. Diaries are a nice touch, copied from doom 3, giving you more back story and info of the area.
I had one crash, well, strange lockup really, during play which caused my computer to think it had no video card. It strangely sorted itself back to normal once I closed the game from the task manager. This would have likely cost me an activation before the 3 install limit was lifted as the pc even thought the hardware had changed.
Overall, this game is a definite must have if you play fps’s. The stunning visuals, creepy sound and great gameplay will leave you coming back for more.
The install limit lift is a great thing too. Now if only the rest of the games with install limits can have them lifted as well. I’m looking at you, Gears of War. There was an entire, full shelf at Best Buy yesterday. I know I’m not the only one who shies away from games with crippling DRM. Companies have to see that crippling games with oppressive DRM lowers sales and increases piracy. Just common sense. Lifting that limit would get me to buy a copy.

Guitar Hero 3 Legends of Rock: Wii

I am, by no means, a fan of this game. I should start there.

“Well, why buy and review the game, then?”

It boils down to popularity. Some of my friends absolutely love it. I have a change jug that I dump my pocket change into nightly. I told these friends that when that jug gets to have enough for the game, I’ll get it, but I’m not paying out of pocket for it. Two months and a Gamestop sale later, I had it. I sent one friend a text to tell him and he was at my house in 10 minutes, despite the fact that he owns the game. With this month’s GameStop sale on the Nyko Frontman, I had the extra guitar.

Now first off, I used to play the guitar, so I find the game insulting for a few reasons. There’s the button layout. If it was six buttons across the neck, one for each, string, it could be much more accurate of a simulation. Secondly, the assholes who constantly hear a song and say “I can play this song, it’s easy”, of course referring to GH or RockBand, not realizing that a real instrument requires much more skill than five buttons and a toggle can provide. This doesn’t sway me from the game, but it is an annoyance due to it. Finally, my real reason is that I wasn’t a big fan of Simon as a kid, so putting music to it, doesn’t help much. In the end, this is what the game is, Simon with music and you can see the next color coming, so even the memory skill required there is eliminated.

So, on to the game.

I’ve seen my friends playing GH in hi def glory on the X360. The same experience is here on the WIi…mostly. The music is the same, but the difference is what is lacking. Being how the Wii has no storage big enough to accommodate DLC, there are no more songs to get until the next version comes out. The lack of HD on the Wii isn’t all too noticeable, but it is there. The biggest drawback is the lack of horsepower in the Wii itself. The game occasionally has stutters, up to about a half second, but clearly noticeable while playing the songs. The music continues, but the graphics pause.

The guitar is well made, and the differences between the Wii guitar and the other versions are not noticeable in gameplay.

So, what else is there to say? If you have a Wii and can’t afford another console, but want the game, go buy it. If you have another console or a pc, you would be happier in the long run getting that version.