Zero Punctuation: Age of Conan

This week, Yahtzee of the Escapist magazine sets his sights on the MMO AoC. The results are about on par with most of the reviews I’ve read, but dealt up with the Y man’s signature style and comedy.

Volcano Ecigs

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.

Zero Punctuation: Alone in the Dark

Sorry I’m late in posting this, this week.
Yahtzee over at the Escapist has reviewed Alone in the Dark by popular demand with results to be expected by every other review of the game.

On a side note, I’m almost ready to put up a review of FFF: Chocobo’s Dungeon.