Saturday, December 31, 2016

“A Final Fantasy game for fans and first-timers.”

I guess this is sentence will count as your spoiler alert.

As of last week, I’m pretty confident that I’ve hit the point where I’ve seen everything that I think I’m going to want to see in Final Fantasy XV’s universe. We’ll see if one of the updates that Square recently detailed will interest me enough to boot it back up, but I’m skeptical as of now.

Final Fantasy XV is simultaneously a confusing clusterfuck of disappointments and a handful of intriguing steps for the series. What began in 2009 for me was being sold on the premise of something I’ve wanted since I was a child, a Final Fantasy game with a real-time combat system (even if it was only a spin-off at the time). Instead it entered a prolonged state of development hell and was eventually re-purposed as Final Fantasy XV.

That ‘process’ took ten years and what we ended up with is a mess as far as I’m concerned. It’s not an offensively bad mess, but definitely one I’m flabbergasted whenever I just sit and think about it.
What it was, what it is and what it could have been are so separate it’s fantastic.

So what is it?

2016 Biggest Surprise, 2017's Biggest Hope

I definitely did not expect this to be my personal game of 2016.

Dragon Quest Builders is a game that while flawed, wears those blemishes on its sleeve. It upends the lore of the first game in the series and runs with it to deliver one of the more endearing times I've had with a game this year.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Variety Hour | Eating My Words

Some brief updates and musings on a few of the rabbit holes I've jumped down over the past few month.

Final Fantasy XV

More ironic than a franchise called “Final Fantasy” being one of the longest-running gaming franchises in existence is this new endeavor Square-Enix has made to stubbornly turn entry since XIII into its own platform. Though some good came out of the weird mess that was who-knows-how-many-games-with-Lightning, there’s clearly something counterproductive at work here, and it’s something SE refuses to acknowledge. FFXIV I will give a pass because it’s an MMO, but I’ve already started to see the signs in FFXV’s production as well. I still plan on giving the game a chance whenever it releases, but I stopped actively caring about it years ago, along with Beyond Good & Evil 2 and The Last Guardian. There’s a reason why plenty of us are so enamored with Final Fantasy XIV and it’s because it’s actively showcasing what made the series unique and loveable before X happened, which is the point where the series began relying on a weird and heavy-handed gravitas it never earned in titles past IX (again I’m exempting XI and XIV because their natures are very different). Right now, XV looks like it’s going to be the same mess that XIII was initially, which isn’t surprising but kind of sad, especially since Square clearly is reacting to this (even if they don’t realize it), by doing this platforming of single worlds and things like dragging VII out of its casket for a remake. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if I wound up enjoying World of Final Fantasy more than whatever XV eventually presents as, hell I wouldn’t surprised if I enjoyed Heavensward’s next patch more than I do XV.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ansel - Mirror's Edge Catalyst (2016)

I recently built myself a machine primarily aimed at making use of NVIDIA's new Ansel technology[1]. Mirror's Edge Catalyst was updated yesterday, becoming the first game to make use of it. Unfortunately there is no super resolution feature or other whistles available for it as of now, but a solid freecam is always welcome as far as I'm concerned. Expect similar albums to turn up making use of this in the coming months[2]. Make sure to click on the images if you wish to see the full resolution (4096 x 2304), the full album will be posted below[3].

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Addendum | The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt | Music

Turn The Music Off, At Least Sometimes

“The soundtrack in Wild Hunt is often cloying and overwhelming. At times—usually in cutscenes—it can be just right, but when I explored the open world I sometimes wanted the damned cello solos and wailing combat-vocals-lady to chill the hell out. Try going into the menu and turning down the music entirely. The game feels different; there’s more space as you explore. Every time I do it, I almost immediately stop noticing that there’s no music. I usually turn it back on for main story missions. The problem isn’t really the game’s score but its implementation. Hopefully, someone will come up with a small mod that makes exploration music trigger much less frequently.”

Kirk Hamilton, Tips For Playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt[1]

I had quite a bit left over from my last post, passages and topics I wasn't able to fit in for some reason or another. After looking though all of them, this was the one I chose to refit as a smaller post. I really enjoyed the music in The Wild Hunt, but I very much agree with the above quote. The music can more than often be overbearing and intrusive to plenty of the game's best moments. More often than not, its usage reminded me of a meal’s ideal spice container breaking and pouring all over everything.