My Final Fantasy XIII Impressions

March 12, 2010

Graphics: Gorgeous.

Better than Killzone and Uncharted 2? Due to the vast difference in approach, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Does it really matter which one looks better though?  It looks great!

Final Fantasy always makes up whatever it lacked in tech with great art design. Also, the lip synching done very well so far which is impressive seeing this is coming from a Japanese developer whose primary language isn’t Engrish.

I’m also surprised that FFXIII runs automatically in 1080p on the PS3, one of the few I can think of. I think it’s only MGS4, Virtua Tennis, Ridge Racer, Wipeout Fury, and now FF XIII.

Sound: Great music so far. Typical FF-type music so far but WTF? Where’s the Final Fantasy fanfare theme when you beat an encounter? Nostalgia fail!

Gameplay: I have barely touched this system but I really like it so far. It’s quick and you really have to pay attention to what’s going on at all times.  I Just got to the point where they started rolling out the Paradigm Shifts and Crystarium stuff and it opens up a lot then.   This is also super streamlined as well.

I still need a lot of time and fight some tougher battles to test this battle system, but I really like it so far.  I just had a “lightbulb turns on over my head” moment with the battle system where I got one layer closer to really understanding it.  Good stuff so far.

Things I noticed: First of all, potions now fill the HP of all of your characters in the party which is different from previous games. Not only that, but you are automatically back at full HP after every encounter. Seems like these things were done to streamline the game, which I’m fine with.  Some might argue that it takes away some of the strategy, but it was more “busy work” than strategy so I’m fine to see it go.

Gripes: The camera gets a little wonky around tight spaces.  It has this momentum to it that throws me off when I’m using the R stick to move it around. It just feels off somehow.

Also, I wish the L stick had a little more analog to it.  As it stands, your character only has two speeds walk or run.  This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if there was a dedicated run button like there is in Lost Odyssey, but it throws me off after playing so many games with analog movement.

Overall, I’m really digging it so far.  Stay tuned for further impressions once I get farther into the game.

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Killzone 2 Demo Impressions

February 5, 2009

 

Just played through the demo twice and came away quite impressed. Here are a few things that I noted:

  • The reactions the Helghast have when they get shot are great.  I had one guy that I shot in one side of his chest which caused him to spin around and then I shot him in his legs and his legs got swept out from under him. All of this happened all in one motion and it was very fluid
  • The graphics are amazing. The game really does a great job of capturing the chaos of war…more so than any other FPS since the Normandy intro in Medal of Honor: Frontline. I even played some COD4 right after just for perspective’s sake and although COD4 runs a little smoother, Killzone 2 looks significantly better.   The ground textures in the beginning part of the demo were noticeably worse than the rest of the graphics, but nothing that’s worth complaining about. 
  • As far as gameplay, I found the controls to feel natural after only a few minutes. I’ve heard complaints about the way the recoil works in this game, but I love the way the guns felt. They’ve got realistic recoil and are pretty accurate once you learn how to use them.   Whoever that Gamespot guy was saying the game was slow is full of shit. Not only does your character run at a fine pace, but it feels like he runs faster than your character in COD4. Not only that, but your character in Killzone 2 has a great feel of weight to him, especially when running around and jumping. Another thing worth noting is that they actually did something smart with the explosive barrels in one of the areas of the demo. I shot a container that was holding 4-5 of them, causing the explosive bottles to spill all over the floor. I did this to the 2-3 containers that were in the room. Then there is a huge barrell in the room that I shot that caused an explosion that was damn near the size of the room. I killed 5-6 Helghast with that explosion. 🙂
  •  Sound is great. If I have any complaint it’s that it was hard to make out what some of the characters were saying because of all the chaos going on around you.

 

Overall, I’m happy with the demo and all it did was convince me that I’ll enjoy Killzone 2 when it finally comes out.


The 10 minute review: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of The Patriots (PS3)

January 22, 2009

 

First off, Kojima really outdid himself with the direction of the cutscenes.  They were brilliantly directed and the voice acting has to be some of the best I’ve heard in any game.  David Hayter really makes you feel Snake’s pain and man does he go through some rough times throughout this game.  The graphics in this game are incredible and definitely raise the bar for anyone else that expects to compete.  There’s a part that I won’t spoil for you at the end that almost looks like CGI, it was incredible.

Secondly, the sound quality and directional audio is some of the best sound work done in a game.  It really puts you in the middle of a warzone.  There were also some boss battles where sound was done so well that it was a legitimate strategy to defeating that particular boss.  

Gameplay was the best that the MGS series has ever seen.  The threat ring is an ingenious idea and it makes me wish that MGS3 had it.  It’s so simple that even my wife who knows nothing about video games understood how it worked just by watching me play.  What makes the threat ring so great is that it puts the focus back on Snake and not on the upper right hand corner where the radar would normally be.

Another update the gameplay received is the fact that the stealth is completely optional.  You can either play the game like you have in the past, or you can go in guns blazing.  Although I played through the game trying to be as stealthy as possible, it’s nice to know that the option to not do so is there.  Also, the game’s camera system has been updated to a third person behind the back perspective compared to previous installments that went with an overheard perspective.  This was much needed and helped a lot in terms of modernizing the series. 

Story-wise, it’s still Metal Gear.  There’s a lot of exposition at times, but the story is interesting so fans of the series will hardly care.  Sometimes the story toes the deep end of the convoluted pool but it reigns itself back in most of the time.

Overall, this is the best MGS game I’ve played and one of the best games I’ve played this generation. The only complaint I have is that the story gets a little nutty right at the end (after the credits), but my complaint wasn’t enough to take away from my overall experience.  This is one of the most polished games I’ve ever played and Kojima Productions almost OCD-like attention to detail shines through and through.