Keep a tissue at the ready as we bid Tim a fond farewell. But before he takes his final bow, we explore the light and dark sides of BioWare with Star Wars: The Old Republic and the Mass Effect 3 demo. Plus The Horror Geek tackles Final Fantasy XIII-2; surely it can't be worse than its predecessor... or can it? Featuring Tim "Yup, I put my name first" Spaeth, Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Richard Naik.
The worst reason to hate Final Fantasy XIII is because of its linearity. Non-linearity doesn't necessarily improve a game, and following a constrained path doesn't necessarily make it worse. All Final Fantasy games, including the most highly praised ones, have been essentially linear in both story and world design.
Despite respectable review scores and reasonably good sales, Final Fantasy XIII is widely derided, for many good reasons and a few bad ones. Defenders of the game often point to the battle system as the game's saving grace. I found myself sharing the sentiment when I played through the game recently.
Last time I checked in, I explained how I quickly went from level 1 to level 10 doing Guildleve quests at Camp Black Brush outside of the starting city of Ul'dah. The grind to double digits was really fast (far faster than it was in Final Fantasy XI before Square Enix made leveling so much quicker in that games). With mobs in the region giving less experience and skill points (experience needed to grow in physical levels, SP needed for leveling your specific job or class), I decided it was time to head to the next Guildleve hub—Camp Dry Bone.
In the last entry, I spent a lot of time talking about what signing up for Final Fantasy XIV was like, how you create your character, and how the game compared to Square's previous MMO, Final Fantasy XI. Moving forward, we'll be taking a look at my first few days in the game's world and how everything works.
As someone who spent many thousands of hours (and no, I'll not state the exact number here—it's been repeated enough times on the podcast already) with Final Fantasy XI, few folks were more excited than I when Square Enix surprised everyone at E3 a few years back with a trailer for Final Fantasy XIV. Longtime fans knew SE had been working on a new MMO for some time, but when the trailer debuted with Galkans, Tarus, and Elves, it was extra cool—if only because we were basically getting a high def sequel to FFXI.
Kingdom Hearts II is a really messed up game. It's got awful pacing, the grievous re-usage of almost all the content from the first game, and a narrative so incomprehensible it makes the Star Wars prequels look logical. Still, I'll be damned if I've ever seen a better JRPG combat system. It's like my good friend Tim Spaeth's irrational love of Too Human's combat, except mine is totally rational and sensible. The one area where Kingdom Hearts II really succeeded for me was with it's bosses, which I've mentioned before. It's got all shapes and sizes of boss, and it does them all extremely well.
At first, I held off writing this article because everyone was too busy talking about how Final Fantasy XIII is a terrible game, then it was because the game was "too old" to talk about. Fortunately, the recent release of Metroid: Other M has reignited conversation about the portrayal of women in games, and given me the perfect opportunity to get this article out of my mind and off of my back. This article does contain major spoilers.
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