Tag Archives: MMO

Final Fantasy Explorers forces the player to endure

At the beginning of 2018, I was real close to getting Monster Hunter: World. In fact, it’s now the beginning of 2019, and I’m still thinking about biting the bullet. It’s a genre I’ve always been intrigued by, but terrified to get into due to what seems like a massive amount of complexity and menus and history to learn. However, this newest iteration, which jumps from the realm of handhelds to big boy consoles, seems to be somewhat more friendly to people like me. Or what kids back in the day referred to as n00bz. Side note: if you know what kids refer to people like me nowadays, please let me know ASAP. However, instead of getting this, I dug through my Nintendo 3DS collection and found something similar called Final Fantasy Explorers. It both compares and does not compare.

Final Fantasy Explorers is an MMO-lite that revolves around the titular group of explorers from the rural town of Libertas who hunt the world for crystals, objects which are the source of life and civilization for the world. The most major source of crystals is the new island of Amostra, but they are guarded by fearsome beasts that the explorers must fight. So yeah, surprise, surprise–it’s another Final Fantasy game dealing with crystals as the magical MacGuffin, but then again I wasn’t expecting much in terms of story from a Monster Hunter-like game. They generally are about fighting big monsters and crafting cool gear from their dead, shredded body parts. Also: cats cooking.

For the most part, the combat, which is the bulk of what you do in Final Fantasy Explorers other than stare in horror at confusing menu after confusing menu, is pretty solid, even though one of the shoulder buttons on my Nintendo 3DS is not working properly. It’s a bit hack and slash, with some spells and special abilities thrown in for good measure. To start with, Final Fantasy’s signature job system is here, which adds variety to the battles by letting you equip a mishmash of weapons and abilities tied to your chosen profession while in town. Spells and skills can be tweaked and tailored however you want using special mutations learned in battle, which can make them much more effective, so there is plenty of customization to work with. Personally, from my three-ish hours so far, I’ve been sticking with the Freelancer job, which is kind of your all-around job, capable of both casting basic spells and also wielding decent weapons for physical attacks. Alas, I’m currently stuck trying to beat the legendary flame djinn known as Ifrit.

Let me get more detailed. By default, you have a simple, quick attack that you can mash; however, squeezing the left or right bumpers grants you access to one of eight hand-picked abilities–some magical, some physical, and some related to your current job and weapon. The best strategy is to chain all these abilities together to begin building up something called Resonance. Once you have enough, you can squeeze both bumpers simultaneously and select one of four crystal surges, which supercharge all your abilities for a limited time. This is wisest done during boss battles, as most of the generic enemies you fight along the way are easily dispatched with simpler attacks.

Like Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy Explorers is probably meant to be played with other real-life people in your party. I don’t have access to those kinds of friends; I’ve only ever played online on my Nintendo 3DS with Animal Crossing: New Leaf and some cooperative multiplayer thingy for Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Thankfully, solo players get the ability to gather essence from some downed monsters and create your own monstrous allies, who will wander after you and join you in combat. Unfortunately, their path-finding is terrible, but you can fuse them other monsters and materials to up their level or unlock perks. I currently only have one monster following me, a level 8 goblin that carries a large cleaver. What’s nice about this is that you can basically recruit your favorite Final Fantasy monsters, such as Cactuar, TonBerry, or Chocobo, like they are Pokemon. Fine by me.

Look, I haven’t played a whole ton of Final Fantasy Explorers yet, and I plan to give it a few more hours, but I can already begin to see the grind here. The real hook for me is seeing all the things from various Final Fantasy games on display, such as summons, characters, spell names, etc., plus the option to basically dress up your avatar as, say, Sephiroth or Tina. If this ultimately doesn’t do it for me though…there’s always Monster Hunter: World.

2017 Game Review Haiku, #86 – Cibele

Explore Nina’s life
Her poems, photos, desires
Voyeuristic glimpse

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

It’s lights out for the Destiny 2 open beta

I never got into the original Destiny, but I sure watched a good amount of coverage on that game via those chuckleheads over at Giant Bomb, enough so that I felt like I understood the ups and downs of Bungie’s latest sci-fi first-person shooter that wanted to be a big ol’ massive multiplayer extravaganza, but was severely lacking in the story department. Still, people went ga-ga for this thing and constantly cried out “The shooting feels great!” to any naysayers while I contently hacked away at Borderlands 2 and the online multiplayer aspect for Gears of War 4. That all said, I may be interested in checking out Destiny 2, especially now that I got to nibble a bit off the larger loaf via the recent free and open beta.

What was in the Destiny 2 Beta, you ask, probably already knowing the answer, but helping me segue into a new paragraph nonetheless? Well, it features activities from three core experiences to use the company’s own words: Campaign, Cooperative, and Competitive play. I’ll talk a bit about each below and my experience with shooting alien monsters that were shooting at me and accidentally hitting the “dance” button one too many times. Mmm-hmm. Evidently, you could visit a specifically hub section called the Farm, but only at a special time, that which I did not know. That’s fine. I prefer not to be social.

The campaign mission is called “Homecoming,” and it’s a mix of single-player action with some wave-based enemy elimination near its end where other real-life players can join in to help out. You are responding to an emergency distress call from the last safe city on Earth. Also, I forgot to mention, you get to pick an already decked-out character at the start of the Destiny 2 Beta, and I went with the Hunter class. I also tried out its two subclasses, namely Arcstrider and Gunslinger, preferring the latter greatly, but only after I figured out how to activate my super ability; I’m sure original Destiny players had no trouble with that, but the game never instructed me on how to pull this off, so I had to look it up in the control options menu. Anyways, it’s a short, linear, and perfunctory mission, where nothing goes wrong, with some story stuff at the end involving the word “light,” sometimes capitalized as “Light,” that went completely over my teeny tiny head.

Next up is the Cooperative Strike called “The Inverted Spire,” which tasks you with infiltrating an enemy stronghold alongside two other Guardians to take down all active threats. Also, here’s a bit of descriptive text that is lost on me–The Cabal awoke something deep beneath Nessus’ surface. Right. So, I went into this with two other players, one of who spent a long time jumping around the milk waterfall and trying to reach out-of-reach platforms. Eventually, you get to a big boss fight at the end, which is where everything went to crap, especially because communication was non-existent. I died, they died, we all died, and I eventually dropped out (sorry, peeps with gamertags I can’t remember). I can imagine this being easier and more fun, as well as rewarding, with a dedicated group of friends that are able to issue commands to one another. Plus, there wasn’t any loot to pick up, which is an important element for a loot shooter.

Lastly, there’s Competitive Multiplayer, and several versions of it to try out. I don’t think I could tell you what mode I played, but it was one team versus another, and we were trying to control certain points, indicated by capital letters, on the map and keep the opposing team from getting them. I wasn’t great at this, but I did manage to shoot a few guys and hold a flag for some seconds. It’s very quick and somewhat chaotic, and despite my constantly changing affection for Gears of War 4 online multiplayer, this was most certainly not for me. I felt like I barely had a chance to do anything, and when I finally did and something went wrong, it went bad fast. I’m sure there’s a whole cut of the population that loves this, but if I’m to play any Destiny 2 down the space road, it’ll likely be campaign stuff and Strikes, but only when I’m with a trusted group of Guardians. If such a group can exist.

So we’ll see come September if I’m interested in picking Destiny 2 up. I can concur with those that shouted about the shooting feeling good. It does. It really, truly does. I also like its overall look and the names of the weapons and pieces of armor and the tougher enemies, but I also want a good story, sue me. I don’t want to have to piece things together via websites and an app on my phone. I want characters, and I want those characters to interact with me in a meaningful way to get me to care about Earth blowing up or things going dark or whatever the plot turns out to be. Perhaps I’ll wait a bit and see what people have to say about it. Maybe while I do that I’ll play through all of Halo: Reach. Er, maybe.