Tag Archives: Final Fantasy IX

Grinding Down’s new year gaming resolutions for 2015

gd new year gaming resolutions

I’m strange. Sometimes I like to openly talk about a challenge or new goal, such as when I decided to draw 365 bad comics over the course of an entire year, while other endeavors are handled more privately without anyone being the wiser. In fact, I’ve already started on a few over the last several months, and some of those plans will never be brought to light. I’m okay with that. I’m the shyest man yearning for recognition, afraid to be recognized. Again, I’m strange.

As far as I’ve seen over the last few days, game resolutions generally boil down to the same idea: play that game. Whether I do or not is the real challenge, and I’ve had some ups and downs over the last few years when it came to this, but I’m willing to put it out there again, a list of games I own, want to play, and then put away (in my mind).

In 2013, I wanted to beat five specific games I had previously played but never saw credits roll. I ended up beating three of the five, and though my math skills leave a lot to desire, I thought that was pretty good, especially when you consider that Chrono Cross is no short romp through an alternate dimension.

For 2014, I naturally wanted to beat those other two names I missed out on, but that never happened. Then I started playing Suikoden and Suikoden II, with the (laughable) idea I’d get through the rest of the series in short order now that I own all of them. Well, all except for Suikoden Tierkreis. Cue wet fart sound effect? I also had illusions of grandeur for the Metal Gear series, completing the first five games, with plenty more to go. Not “swings and a miss,” but more like “swings and good job, you’re on second base,” now waiting for another player to hit you home. I’ll get through both series in due time, hopefully before Gameageddon actually happens.

With that, here are my gaming resolutions for two thousand fifteen (that’s how all the cool kids are writing it this year). Trumpet blast a-hoy:

1. Stay one step ahead of Giant Bomb for its Metal Gear Scanlon feature. That means I’m not rushing through Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater just yet, which is also the last of the bunch that I’ve actually played. Peace Walker, Guns of the Patriots, and Ground Zeroes will be totally new experiences to me, and I’m looking forward to them greatly, but I don’t want to burn out either on too much too fast. I enjoy watching Dan and Drew react to the wackiness that is Hideo Kojima’s mindset, but only after I’ve swallowed the crazy sugar first.

2. Since I didn’t get to them in 2013 or last year–double shame on me!–both Final Fantasy IX and Radiant Historia are first on the list of must-see-all-the-way-through items. I really don’t want to arrive into 2016 knowing those cute, cuddly critters are still clawing at my ankles, desperate for attention.

3. Silent Hill 3. There, I said it. Or rather, I wrote it. Even though I’m still not over my harrowing time with Silent Hill 2, I must persevere. I’m not ready to explore why.

4. Come up with another new feature at Grinding Down for the year. Games I Regret Parting With seems to be a big fav, but I’ll eventually run out of those to dissect. I used to do Achievements of the Week and Half-hour Hitbox, but those lost steam after awhile, mostly because I lost steam. If you have any ideas or niches you’d like to see my cover, y’know, other than all these unheard of freeware joints or obscure point-and-click adventure games, let me know. I’m interested if you’re interested.

5. Get proper equipment like a microphone and learn how to stream better in preparation for  the next Extra Life event. I want to do it again and have friends over and raise lots of money for those that need it more than me. I’m even hoping to hold out on several games still in hopes of playing them live that during those twenty-four hours.

All right, we’ll stop there. Resolutions are tricky because you can just keep stacking them, and like I said, for gaming stuff, it often ends up being a list of games you want to play. I have too many to even start counting, and most of them are long, lengthy JRPGs, like Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny and Xenosaga. Cue mad scientist laugh? Yeah, cue it hard.

What are some of your new year’s resolutions, gaming-related or not?

Here are the videogames I want to beat in 2013

Roadblock on Harris

Resolutions for a new year of gaming always start with good intentions, but quickly fall apart for me. For instance, I believe I said that I wanted to play fewer games in 2012 and devote more work to my art shtuff, but I just don’t know if that actually happened. Certainly, with Steam’s Summer, Fall, and Winter sales and all the indie bundles that have hooked me, I’ve acquired a bajillion games, though I’ve not played many of them. But I still feel like I got through a ton. If my Games Completed in 2012 tag is to be believed, I’ve finished off 40 games in the last 365 days. Some may argue that DLC and episodes of episodic gaming don’t count, but those folks can go suck a lemon; if they end in credits of any kind, they are a separate entity.

For 2013, I see myself completing around that same number again (38 in 2011, if you’re curious), but I want to clear out more backlog before anything new takes over. And not just recently acquired videogames, but some “classics” from the yesteryears that I keep meaning to get to, but never do.

So without further ado, here are the games from my pullulating collection I want to beat in 2013. Because really, they are overdue. Most are RPGs. So that could throw a wrench in the speed factor, but whatever. Love me them are-pee-gees. And yes, I’ve never finished any of these before.

Chrono Cross

chrono cross32yk

Yup. Never finished Chrono Cross in all my years of owning the game. I seem to get as far as the part where you switch over and control Lynx and then…just lose interest. Which is a shame. I’ve watched Tara play past this part, but she took eventually puts the game down and doesn’t return to it. But there’s so much to love about Chrono Cross. All you diehard Trigger fans that swear it is a terrible sequel can say that just fine, but I think it’s harder to deny it’s a good game. The battle system is fun and offers up strategy and variety at the same time, and the ability to mix/match your party keeps you trying new characters out. Granted, of all the games here, this is the one that worries me the most, as I just don’t understand why I keep getting to the same part and then stopping. Hmm…

UPDATE! I beat Chrono Cross and devoted a whole week’s worth of posts to the mighty RPG.

Silent Hill 2

Silent-hill-2 screenshot

As a rule, whenever I talk about Silent Hill 2, I have to link to this classic journal comic of mine. Anyways, based on our last save, we left things in Silent Hill very badly. And by that I mean we are extremely low on ammo and health and stuck in a place filled with enemies. An apartment building, me thinks. Not sure if it is worth trying to go on–or even possible–or if it’d be better to start over and just practice conserving from the very start. If I beat this, it’d be the first Silent Hill game for me. Out of them all. From what it sounds like, it’s the best one, too.

UPDATE! I beat Silent Hill 2 and got the “Leave” ending.

Final Fantasy IX

final-fantasy9-1

I love this game. I love the varied characters and designs, the silliness, the charm, the card-collecting mini-game, the way you earn abilities permanently through battles and earning XP, the brilliant story, especially the opening scenario with kidnapping a princess who wants to be kidnapped. I think that influenced The Stolen Lovelight for sure. And yet…I always get to a place and then walk away. Don’t really know where that is in this one, but it’s somewhere between the second and third discs.

Radiant Historia

RadiantHistoriaFightingPalomides

I was quite smitten when Radiant Historia came out. In fact, I desired it so that I pre-ordered the game and got a free five-song soundtrack included with my purchase. It’s an adventure built around the idea of parallel universes and altering minor details to create dramatic changes later on. The battle system places an important of where each character and enemy is to dish out damage. I played for a good while, but eventually put aside, distracted by something else. Unfortunately, with a game like this, even though it has a handy “timeline” built into the menu, it is quite easy to quickly lose your place and thus any enthusiam to continue on. From what I’ve read, Greg Noe completed it, showing him how to love JRPGs yet again. Now that I’m done with Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, I’m going to dive back into Paper Mario: Sticker Star and then start over in Radiant Historia just after that. Well, that’s the early plan, at least.

Primal

ps2_primal_03

I’ve already written at length over Primal and how I think it’s pretty underrated and generally fantastic. Just go read it elsewhere and know that I plan to see this one through. Heck, I mean, I’ve only seen one of Jen’s transformation forms in all my time with the game. I think I last stopped because I got glitched, but maybe I just couldn’t find the puzzle solution.

UPDATE! I finally saw all the realms in Primal and did what I could to restore order to these alternate planes; alas, in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have kept playing, as the entire game is better remembered for its early parts and not the frustrating swimming and combat that pads out the remainder of your time spent. Oh well.

Right. So that’s one Nintendo DS game, two PlayStation 2 games, and two PlayStation 1 games. Five games I want to beat in 2013 alongside whatever new and old comes across my plate. I think I can do it. The trick will be maintaining focus and enduring. That can be hard with games I don’t enjoy, but these five are all ones I appreciate in various ways, so in short–let’s do this.

What videogames–new or old–do you want to beat this year?

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy is one earworm of a 3DS game

In case you’re not up to snuff with your urban dictionary terms, an earworm is “a song that sticks in your mind, and will not leave no matter how much you try.” This can be either a good or bad thing, depending on who you are. For me and for Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, it’s a delightful problem to have right now. To hammer home this point, let me inform you that I haven’t missed a single daily Rhythmia bonus–extra points alloted to those that play every consecutive day–since I bought it on release day, way back on July 3, 2012. Mm-hmm.

But what is Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy? It’s a good question, and one nobody should be afraid to ask. The answer is both simple and strange: it is a music rhythm game à la Elite Beat Agents, as well as a “thank you” to fans of the Final Fantasy series.

For the rhythm part, you tap the touchscreen via three different on-screen prompts to the beat of a song: a single tap, a tap and hold, or a directional swipe. Sequences vary in difficulty, and you play them across three different types of scenarios. The most enjoyable for me are Field Music Scenarios (FMS), which has the leader of your party of four strolling across the screen from right to left while you handle all the prompts. The other two are Battle Music Scenarios (BMS) and Event Music Scenarios (EMS), both of which are enjoyable, but can be distracting due to too much happening outside of the button prompts. For the EMS, you’re basically tapping over a movie playing, and it can be hard to not focus on Zidane chasing after Garnet, especially for a fanboy like myself.

Speaking of that, the other half of Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy is all about the fans. Whether you think Final Fantasy IV is the best or still can’t get over your nostalgia and claim that nothing beats Final Fantasy VII or are somehow head over heels with the latest hall-walker Final Fantasy XIII…all the mainstay games from the series are represented here. Each game seems to get three songs (with each song getting three different difficulty ranks), and for your party of four, you can pick some recognizable people, all with their own skill sets. And this is where rhythm game and RPG fuse, letting your team level up, earn items, and unlock spells to cast during events. My team of four–all now around level 50 or so–has been like so since the get-go: Zidane (leader), Squall, Vaan, and Terra.

At first, the game seems to be limited on things to do, but after just a bit you’ll have opened up new levels of difficulty, as well as Dark Notes and CollectaCards and music not tied to a specific game. And those Dark Notes…oh man. They are basically randomly generated levels, each containing a FMS and a BMS, but you won’t know which ones until you try it out. Often, they are extremely tough and really challenge your response time, but clearing them successfully is an exhilarating feeling. When you beat one, you unlock another, which is always a higher difficulty. However, there is plenty of reason to replay Dark Notes as you fight one of three potential bosses, and they all have a chance to drop rare items or colored shards, which you use to unlock new characters. Right now, I’m working my way towards getting Vivi on my team–see ya, Squall! I know, you’re surprised.

So, it’s a surprising game, and might not be for everyone, but I’m enjoying it a lot. Not enough to consider buying DLC at $1.00 a song though, as I think there’s plenty of tunes here for my enjoyment, but yeah. For those curious, my favorite songs to play are “Mambo de Chocobo”, “Terra’s Theme”, and “Over the Hills”. What’s your favorite Final Fantasy song? You are not allowed to answer with “One-Winged Angel” by the way.

All right, back to it. The music, it’s a-calling…

2012 Game Review Haiku, #20 – Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy

Tap to cast a spell
Tap to defeat a big boss
Tap to stroll through field

For all the games I complete in 2012, instead of wasting time writing a review made up of points and thoughts I’ve probably already expressed here in various posts at Grinding Down, I’m instead just going to write a haiku about it. So there.

Five things make a post, and eff you up button

Well, it’s been a busy few days at Grimmauld Place in terms of videogaming. Good thing I have this bloggy blog of mine to put all these random happenings and thoughts. Otherwise, the world might never know what it’s like to play a dancing game on a breaking pad or how deep my love for all things LOTR goes. Anyway, let’s get to the Heading 3s and text below them…

Moar Used Games

After the great success of my first trip to the local GameStop near our new abode, I decided to head back and see if I could find any other titles off my “desired PS2 games” list. Alas, nope. I mean, yeah, some of the bigger titles are there, like Bully and Kingdom Hearts, but those are still around the $20+ mark, and I’d rather find the rarer titles first and wait for those numbers to eventually drop. Instead, I got Mega Man X7, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ($1.99 ha!), and Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA (for my wife, I swears). Haven’t tried the first two yet, but a good portion of my weekend was spent watching Tara put DDR SuperNOVA to the test; if you’re my friend on Facebook, there’s a video of her going through the song selection while two dogs look heavily uninterested. Also, the UP button on her DDR mat isn’t as responsive as the other buttons, leading us to scream “Eff you up button!” a whole bunch. Not “Eff you, up button!” but “Eff you up button!” The missing comma is important.

Pre-order Hoarder

Generally, I’m not a pre-order kinda gamer. There was that one time eons ago when putting down a few bucks on Final Fantasy VII not only nabbed you a guaranteed copy of the game, but also a t-shirt. I like t-shirts, and this liking of t-shirts strikes again. I also pre-ordered Radiant Historia to get a bonus CD, but other than that…nothing else has made me feel the need for lockdown. Well, until 11/11/11, I guess. Yup, I pre-ordered Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7. Why LEGO would come out on the same day as Skyrim is beyond me, but both games feature dragons, and so that’s a-okay. Also, I believe I am getting a t-shirt with my LEGO Harry Potter pre-order; something about Dumbledore’s Army, but I wasn’t asked for a shirt size so it’s probably one of those XXL or a child’s small. Time will tell.

There’s a midnight release party too, which is just another reason I should schedule to not work that Friday. Too tempting to pick up the game and then not play it for 7.5 hours.

Informed about games

I also decided that I was tired of constantly being asked if I wanted to upgrade from a regular GameStop Power Playa thingy to a silver account. So I did that. Bonuses include coupons for “buy two used games, get one free,” which is fine by me as that’s mostly how I shop, as well as a subscription to Game Informer. I haven’t subscribed to a gaming magazine since the PSM days, and I do miss it despite everything now being available on the Interwebz; still, the magazine is put together rather nicely. Hopefully it’ll fit in our mailbox, let alone reach it.

Ass Neglect Zoo

I’ve been putting this off for a long, long time, but I finally bought a copy of Mass Effect 2.

A new copy, too, which means I got some kind of activation number for the Cerberus Network. Not sure what that means, but it looks like I get a new dude for my team. I’m sure I’ll find out eventually. The reason I’ve waited so long is that I was hoping for a “Game of the Year” or “Master” or “Super Space Marine” edition, which then collected all the DLC and little add-ons the game’s been harvesting since its debut back in…oh my, the beginning of 2010. I’m sure a month before Mass Effect 3 comes out, some special edition will be released. Oh well.

Garnet Tries Harder and I am Trying to Finish This Comic

Zac Groman of Magical Game Time is putting together a zine all about Final Fantasy IX and is asking for submissions. Despite it not being a paying gig, I can’t resist and am working on a little comic about my favorite scene from he game, where Garnet is trying to blend in with the common-folk of Dali. Gotta complete it before the month’s end, but here’s a little preview for y’all:

Okay, that’s five things, which is good enough for a post. Expect plenty more content this week though as I’ve only skimmed the surfaces here. Didn’t even get into the horribleness that is Monster Rancher EVO. Just you wait. Just you wait…

30 Days of Gaming, #7 – Favorite game couple

Mario and Princess Peach, Sonic and Amy, Solid Snake and Meryl Silverburgh, Cloud Strife and Aeris Gainsborough, Mr. Pac-Man and Mrs. Pac-Man. These are some of the most famous gaming couples. Many are borderline platonic; others are not.

It’s unclear to me, and maybe most of the Internet, if my favorite gaming couple loves one another romantically, or if their friendship, their dependence on each other is what rings truer in their hearts. Certainly there’s some past adventures they do not speak of, some tension and flirting. Hard not to charm it up when one half of this equation is the suave, cocky Balthier, and the other is the super old, but super vivacious viera warrior Fran. Together, they try to rule the skies.

First, some Final Fantasy XII backstory. Balthier is a young sky pirate and the pilot of the airship Strahl. His copilot is seemingly the complete opposite, an otherworldly viera—that means rabbit-like—woman named Fran that is extremely sensitive to Mist magic, as well as a truly seductive lisp. They depend on each other, and they depend even more on their ability to take from anyone what they want, and it’s this blatant thievery that gets them mixed up with Vaan and Ashe during the chaos of a rebel assault on the palace.

And so they are a team, a couple. Pilot and copilot. Voice and reason. Hume and viera. It’s never openly said that they love each other, that their feelings drop deep, but the subtle looks they share speak volumes:

You meet them as one entity, and you’ll never see them as anything else but together. There is no Fran without Balthier, and the other way around. When out grinding for bazaar items and experience points, you’re allowed to use a three-person team. This usually meant Vaan and two others: Ashe, Basch, Balthier, and Fran. Sorry, Penelo. Battling monsters and using gambits isn’t for kids. Anyways, I never separated the combo, and they worked well with each other, both offering ranged attacks and strong Quickenings. However, come the end of the game, I had to rely on Basch the Tank for most of my boss slaying. Still, these two characters remain my favorite gaming couple for what they don’t say and are only closely followed in the franchise by Zidane and Garnet from Final Fantasy IX.