Cutting the Game out of Video Games

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(Image Source: RPGFan)

Although not exclusive to the medium, one of my favorite things about video games is how many elements are includes within a single work. Everything from level design, artistic style, story telling, cinematic direction, music and numerous other bits contributes to the title as a whole. Each aspect can pull from different inspirations as well as individually succeed or fail, while still coming together as one product.

The game-focused aspects of video games are likely most important to the majority of people. However, sometimes developers simply use them as a vehicle for the overall experience rather than the main draw.

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Taking 70 Hours to Find the Fun in Xenoblade Chronicles X

Xenoblade Chronicles X title screen

I’ve had a rough experience with Xenoblade Chronicles X and, after clocking in 100 hours, my time with it ended prematurely. I overwrote my save with a new file. Whoops. Even before my stupidity ruined my playthrough, I had a lot of trouble coming to terms with my feelings about the game. It wasn’t until the last 30 hours that I really started to enjoy what the title had to offer.

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Love Ruins Everyday Life in Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment

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Role-playing games usually lead the main characters as far away from the starting town as possible. They explore distant regions and visit new villages while rarely looking back. That being said, it isn’t too uncommon for a game to have a home base or main area players come back to. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment isn’t too far from the latter structure with a central city the characters return to after each expedition. However, I’ve never seen a game bring forward the day-to-day aspects of living as much as Hollow Fragment.

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Mini Never-Ending Backlog: Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX [Disc1of4] [U] [SLUS-01251]-front

Final Fantasy IX, the last Final Fantasy for me to sink my teeth into, for now. It’s the final release in Final Fantasy series on the original PlayStation, but encompasses everything the series had been to that point.

Unfortunately, while the game is available on PlayStation Network, it has yet to be updated to HD, leaving it definitely one of the most pixely 3D Final Fantasys.

Video after the jump.

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Mini-Review: Dislike Final Fantasy XIII? Play Final Fantasy XIII-2

FFXIII 2 Resized

Bring up Final Fantasy XIII and you’ll generally get a group of disgruntled moans from around the room. The title built up a bad reputation for itself that seemingly gets worse over the years. Final Fantasy XIII branded announcements are met with cries for Square Enix to abandon the series and start anew.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII sits on my list of to-play titles for this year, so I can’t talk about Square Enix’s more recent outing. However, I can tell you that if you disliked Final Fantasy XIII, you should at least give Final Fantasy XIII-2 a try.

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Presenting – Frontier Gate

Oh, man. Look at that quality screenshot there. Yeah, I don’t have S-video cables for my PSP. For shame.

I was stress testing my capture card at the time, so I thought while I did so I’d talk about a Japanese demo for Frontier Gate. It’s a PSP Monster Hunter-ish JRPG from Tri-Ace and Konami. And while the game looks like a full on Monster Hunter rip-off at first, in actuality it’s quite different thanks to the turn-based battle system.  This is also an attempt on my part to talk about a game without a script and while playing it  at the same time. So the video is a bit messy. It works though. I got my testing done with this and Anarchy Reigns.

You can check out the video after the jump.

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Disappointment: Wristinsaga III

An article written based on a Destructoid community blog topic, focusing on disappointing releases. You can find my original incredibly old and poorly written Xenosaga Episode III review here.

Not having touched Mass Effect series, I can’t really say anything about what’s going on with BioWare and their ending fiasco at the moment. Somethin’ ’bout cupcakes. Cupcakes or not, I can sort of, kind of, almost, not really relate to them with another sci-fi RPG trilogy that was a bit of a disappointment for myself. Monolith Soft’s Xenosaga was set to be one of my favorite series, and a shining example of the developer’s more unique JRPG designs. I have an undying love for the team, thanks to their engaging and strategic battle systems. Xenosaga I and II were true to this. Critics, however, complained about II being overly complicated. Instead of just taking a step back with Xenosaga III, Monolith Soft basically took it to the chopping block and removed everything but the battle system’s torso, reducing it down to a traditional RPG experience. That alone was a disappointment on my part. It was a liveable change, but good heavens the worst was yet to come.

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