Final Fantasy VI Mobile – First Impressions

There recently was a sale on FFVI on the iOS market, so as a big fan of the game, I figured why the fuck not? While I’m not a fan of playing mobile games on my phone or iPad, I enjoyed the game to try out the remaster, and honestly how can you fuck up one of the greatest RPG’s of all time?

Like most mobile RPG ports, it’s a tad bit awkward to control in the game, but because it’s a top-down 2D game, it’s not too bad, it just takes a bit of getting used to. My main gripe with the controls is when you try to interact with anything with a exclamation point, say a character or opening a chest, the virtual d-pad will appear, so I have to fiddle around to get around the D-pad and activate the event. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s quite irritating.

Navigating around the menus are pretty simple, though that’s also a thing that you have to try to actually fuck up, but you’d be surprised. They did get rid of the option to have your character walk or run, and you have to equip a relic to allow to run, just like the SNES version. It was a nice feature in the PS1 and GBA ports, so it makes you wonder of all things, why this was a feature that was removed. Also the boots make you run ridiculously fast, it was like in the PS1 game when you were running along with the relic. I wish there was an in-between speed.

Battling is a hit or miss so far. The interface is mostly fine for the battles, the sub menu for selecting an enemy takes a bit getting used to, but it’s largely fine. For some odd reason, they got rid of the familiar ATB bar from the series, but it’s not entirely gone. Instead of the bar, they have your characters’ menu pop up when it’s their turn. It’s sort of like Chrono Trigger, but without the ATB bar. One great feature is the auto-battle, which is great when you’re grinding. Battles go by so much quicker, and you can multitask and do other things while you’re grinding your ass off, especially for the end game.

Now for the biggest gripe about the remaster, the graphics. Let’s start with the positives first. The towns and dungeons look fine, and I will go and say that I think they look a lot nicer than the original. This is what I think a higher resolution remaster of an SNES game should look like. They did the same with the monsters, the normal enemies and bosses look very good, and take advantage of the large resolution and add a lot of extra detail to them.

Where the graphics fall short is with the character sprites and in the overworld. Character sprites look very amateurish, and like many have claimed, look like they were made with the program RPG Maker. If this was a fan remake made with RPG Maker, I’d be impressed, but seeing as this is from the actual company, it’s kind of disappointing, and even a tad bit sad. They look mismatched from the rest of the backgrounds, making the whole experience really awkward. I thought I was in the “it’s different so it sucks” camp when I saw screenshots and my opinion would change when I play the game, but even after playing the game, it’s just not working out.

The overworld is a bit odd looking too. While I was never a fan of mode-7 overworlds in SNES games, I was initially glad to see it gone, but they had to mess it up by making these odd polygonal towns and castles that look really out of place in the sprite based nature of the rest of the game. Even more out of place than the cartoony sprites. To quote the AVGN “What were they thinking?”

FF6 mobile isn’t terrible by any means, it just takes a lot of getting used to. It’s not unplayable, and while the odd sprites and overworld aren’t necessarily visually appealing, it doesn’t ruin the overall gameplay which is what really matters. As a long-time Square Enix fan, it’s just a bit sad to see a lack of quality in the remaster.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory – Review

Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is your average anime themed RPG. It was also the third game released for the Neptunia series, it also takes place after the events of Hyperdimension Neptunia mk.2 which was released February 28th 2012. So is this game worth a look and can it interest you? Well there certainly is promising aspects but also its fair share of knacks as well. See if this anime RPG is the right kinda game for you to buy.

Story
The story takes place after the events of Hyperdimension Neptunia mk.2 and not much of recent has gone on in the nation of Gamindustri. Besides the nations of Lowee, Leanbox, Planeptune, and Lastation competing for dominance though, and a odd girl trying to promote the uselessness of CPU’s. One day though when Neptune and Nepgear get in a argument and Neptune leaves Planeptune she encounters the odd girl and is later sucked into a void. This throws her into a alternate dimension where she doesn’t exist as Planeptunes CPU goddess but another girl named Plutia instead. How will Neptune get return to her dimension which is also experiencing issues of its own while she is gone.

Gameplay
The gameplay is like your average RPG where you level up, buy equipment that can make your character stronger, and explore dungeons and such where you can battle enemies. Other features were included too but that will be looked over later in this review. Starting with the battle system it is the same as what was incorporated in mk.2 when you entered a battle. Basically there is a set area on the map and that area is the size of the battlefield space, you move your characters freely around in this space to get close and attack enemies. If you push against the border of the battle space it will allow you to retreat and leave the battle.Up next is the button combination moves where you can mix and match different moves to unleash stronger attacks against your foes. Its a interesting way of doing things being able to string together different combos which unleash all sorts of attacks you can unlock down the road as you progress in level. There are indeed special attacks for each of the CPU’s that can as well be learned and utilized through the game. It certainly overall adds a different feeling then the normal means for attacking you see in RPG games, and can be fun creating lots of combos that you feel gives you the best chance to win. The game itself also has adequate difficulty, but not too difficult.

Like most RPGs you will traverse many dungeons and you do so in this game as well traversing through the 3D environments provided. Of course enemies roam the areas and if you hit them first you can get the jump on them in the battle, of course it goes vice versa as well if you get hit first.There are also lots of areas to unlock for each continent and some are even references to certain game titles released, depending if you are in Lowee, Leanbox, Lastation and such. When you also go into a CPU’s city like Lastation you can also talk with the random NPC’s whom always have something to say and also are references to other games.

Quests are also a thing and do help you with the goodies they reward you with. Though some make it so you need a second playthrough so you can take on their challenge in defeating some of the strongest foes in the game. Completing the quests is important though especially if you want to get the maximum grade for each chapter of the game. Though quests can be halted though not only by lack of level but also lack of areas unlocked.

Unlocking new areas however in this game goes hand in hand with the new scout system. You are allowed to send scouts out and while you are fighting enemies in dungeons they search for things. Sometimes they are unsuccessful and bring you nothing, sometimes they bring you money, new scouts, unlock new areas or adding bonuses like more money aquired after battles or stronger enemies in dungeons. You also can give them more money for hopes of greater success, and if this scouts are successful in doing their duties they level up. Overall it is a very interesting system added into the game that you will indeed use a lot for quests and such.

Music
The music in the game is enjoyable and has some good tracks to offer. You have some of the more calmer tracks and places like the desert and forest dungeons for some tranquility followed by more upbeat tracks when you reach the retro cyber themed stages. Of course many more exist down the list and provide for a good listen. Below are some tracks from the game series you can take a listen to:

https://prox.icyboards.net/watch?v=VDd7-_OzchY

https://prox.icyboards.net/watch?v=7uvbUy5mfFg

https://prox.icyboards.net/watch?v=rHh_-xvmcOg

Visuals
The game itself has good in it with its visuals, the characters designs and portraits are nice and the areas are something to look at as well. There are also CG’s that get provided throughout the game at certain points which adds as a plus as well. Graphically the game will not wow you but hits the bullseye as a solid looking game. Unfortunately in terms of dungeon layout and design thats where things get rocky. As an example in the game there will be a forest dungeon you can enter, lets say one in Lastation’s continent another in Leanbox’s continent, the issue arises when the layout for the dungeon is not different and there is really not much variety to the stage. Many more forest dungeons exist in different continents but the result is still the same with the layout being a rehash with barely any changes. The same goes for dungeons with desert themed areas having almost a photocopy layout of eachother. So overall you will really start feeling like you’ve been to the same place multiple times without change.

Conclusion
Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory can certainly offer enjoyment to your average anime or PRG gamer providing a fair experience. While some things could have been done better such as the environment layouts in dungeons which is a major negative do to it being what you spend a good sum of time in there are things the game does fair in. It may not be the game you will take for a second playthrough unless you are barking for a different ending and completing all quests but is something that will last you a good amount of time. Overall it can give you a fairly good experience and with funny humor, and a adequate challenge making for a solid game.

Story:8/10
Graphics:7.5/10
Music:7.75/10
Final:8/10

Persona 3 FES – Review

Persona 3 FES for the PS2 later PS3 is a upgraded version of the original Persona 3 game for the PS2 released in 2006. The game combines your average high school life and also your average RPG styled elements all in one in a very fulfilling experience. So what does Persona 3 bring to the table and is it a game worth looking at? Though more so if you have played the original Persona 3 FES is playing this upgraded version worth your time?

Story
In Persona 3 FES you fill the shoes of a nameless protagonist in the scenario called “The Journey” whom is set to live at the dorms of the city of Iwatodai to attend Gekkoukan High. What our protagonist does not know is the city is a victim to an incident 10 years ago that unleashed the beings called “Shadows”, it is not until he first encounters one that he unlocks the power called “Persona”. The power of the Persona’s is the main means of destroying the creatures called shadows, and due to having the potential our protagonist is then joined with the group called “S.E.E.S” with their leader Mitsuru Kirijo. From there on out he, along with other group members such as Yukari Takeba, Junpei Iori, and Akihito Sanada plus more are tasked with venturing the tall tower of Tartarus, to not only discover its purpose but to destroy it, and eliminate the Dark Hour.

The added story then follows after “The Journey” and moves on to “The Answer” which is one of the bonuses in Persona 3 FES in which takes place very shortly after the first stories events. The group S.E.E.S is going to be disbanded, and most people go their separate ways. Though a girl named “Metis” stirs up trouble before loose ends get tied in a mission to protect her sister Aigis, as she says. Not only that but a area called “The Abyss of Time” exists beneath the dorm which is the main cause of a apparent time freeze. Now the member of S.E.E.S must band back together to solve this final incident with the peculiar new robot girl Metis as their guide, and also find out the answer to the tragedy of their leader. Its now Aigi’s turn to step in the shoes as the leader and bring everything to a close.

Gameplay
In terms of gameplay for the battle aspects you take your average four persona party into a dungeon and battle monsters. You can however command your party certain things such as focusing on a single enemy, supporting or healing, or even fully assaulting, disregarding support. This adds some control to your party members and allows you to have some power over them. One other thing to be noted is the use of “Analysis” where you scan enemies to reveal their weaknesses and strengths against your attacks in battle. These remain the same in both “The Journey” and “The Answer”.

The next thing that should be discusses is the encounters. The game has a 3D environment and you waltz around Tartarus where you can find treasure boxes and a quick getaway out from the dungeon. Enemies patrol certain areas and sometimes might be guarded rare treasure boxes. Depending if you sneak up and hit an enemy before it notices you or hits you first will depend if you get a player advantage in the battle. This allows you and your party members to attack the enemies disregarding their turn order for one turn cycle. Though if you get hit first the enemies get the edge and can attack you. If you also manage to hit all enemies with their weakness and knock them down you can preform a all out attack in which all your party members attack at once against the enemy. Though you can choose to relent and not do so.

Next is the after battle rewards as sometimes after a battle you don’t have to settle with just XP and items. You also have a shuffle event where tarot cards appear before your screen. These can have Persona’s you can get, bonus XP cards, healing cards, and money cards. There are also cards though that are possessed with Death and if chosen can summon him. Blanks are also another type of card which gives you nothing. To chose a card you simple press any button and watch them as they shuffle away in different patterns. Once they are done you select the card you want, sometimes you get a “second chance” event where if you choose a particular card you can get another. You also have a extra chance even that will pop up every now and then which will let you try the shuffle again if you chose a blank or death card.

The unique aspects of the battles for Persona however are targeted at the Persona’s themselves. Your party members are stuck with what they have but you are a special exception and can use vast amounts of Personas and switch between them in battle. Each Persona has their own abilities and of course strengths and weaknesses. Mind you if your Persona is weak against Agi then you will be knocked down by the attack due to it being your weakness. So when choosing a Persona be mindful of its strengths or weaknesses. Keep in mind that Personas also have “heart items” which are rare items attached to a Persona. You may also level up your Persona but over time it won’t bring the same impact to battle even if you level up, making it so you need to fuse certain Personas and obtain stronger and stronger ones which can be done in the “Velvet Room”. Keep in mind that Personas also have “heart items” which are rare items attached to a Persona. When you level up a Persona a certain amount you get the heart item for that Persona. Back regarding the Velevet Room it is a place where you can also accept Elizabeth’s side quests which gives you new items, quite useful as a matter of fact upon completion. She also bears holding to the Compendium where you register your Persona and can re draw them out at anytime if they are needed, of course at a fee mind you. Unfortunately this was taken out of “The Answer” making you have to search extensively around and re visit dungeons for past Persona you may need for a certain fusion.

Next is the social link system in the game. This allows you to build closer bonds with your school friends, and fellow S.E.E.S group members, though only the girls from S.E.E.S can be bonded closer with. This gives you more perspective on the characters life, and a chance to better know them. You can rank a social link to level 10 which completes the link for the particular character, each character also have a designated arcana such as the death, chariot, and hanged man. Leveling links important because it also impacts your Personas. If you want to make a Persona of the death arcana and have a lvl 7 link it will receive lots of bonus XP leveling it up, but making a Persona of the Emperor with no social link level will give it nothing. Plus maxing out a link will give you the strongest Persona of that link, such as Asura being the maximum of the Sun arcana social link and Surt the maximum of the magician. Though overtime if you abandon a social link or if you decline to hangout with a friend in place of another that can cause a reversal or decrease in the level. If you are also aiming for a peculiar girl and have her at the point where she develops feelings for you things will go bad if she sees you are also paying attention to other girls as well. This can also cause a reversal so it is wise to max out one girl characters link, then do the next. Though there are no links in “The Answer” so now all Personas must be leveled up manually.

Finally other things you can do is visit places like the arcade and increase your character stats like academics or charm. Or do some karaoke to increase your courage. This pays off as some social links can become locked if you don’t have a high enough character trait, this can also impede Elizabeth’s quests. Outside of that there are your average shops that get updated after every full moon incident and stuff like interacting with random NPC’s too or finding a new person that is possible to develop a link with. Though for “The Answer” for the whole story you are mainly confined in the dorms and the Abyss of Time and its dungeons so not much other environment gets introduced.

Music
The music that plays in the game when visiting certain areas around the city is nice as well. Mainly jazz styled or rap based in a sense. There are of course some rock tones and instrumentals as well. There are tracks that give off the dark feeling something is amiss and other tracks which feel vibrant. The soundtracks for the school and Tartarus change those which add a bit of a refreshing tone, when killing shadows or roaming around the school halls. Below you can see some examples of the music you can expect in the game, starting off with “Mass Destruction” which is a theme you will hear a lot of, “Battle for Everyone’s Souls” a more rock feeling song, and “Memories of You” the games ending song.

Visuals
Graphically wise the game isn’t bad, the Personas look pretty nice and each and every one of them have a nice design to them. Enemies also have a nice outlook to them as well as the character portraits that appear when a character is speaking. The visuals though for Tartarus aren’t necessarily bad but through most of the floors in a single block/section of the tower are repetitive. Plus it is the only real place you consecutively visit, though due to its importance it is obviously understandable why. Stuff like the design of the city is also nice too, from the backstreets of Port Island to the livelihood of Gekkoukan, there is certainly a broad scale of stuff to see in the game. There are also animated cutscenes that appear from time to time, and though they may not be the best looking of things they are not bad by any means.

Conclusion
Persona 3 FES can be a very fulfilling experience for a first timer into the Persona series, or a persona whom has played the original but wants to experience the bonuses. The Journey scenario will definitley give you lots of gameplay fulfillment that will leave you putting many hours into it. The added scenario “The Answer” is quite fulfilling itself. Though it requires more backtracking to get certain things, you shouldn’t miss the compendium if you aren’t looking to create a Lucifer to fight alongside you. Overall both stories make for a pretty good experience, to the average RPG gamer and fans of the Persona series. It also will give you a good challenge and a game that will require lots of hours of time into it before completing the dark yet wonderful story.

Story:8.5/10
Graphics:8/10
Music:9/10
Final:8.5/10

Persona 4 Arena – Review

Persona 4 Arena is a continuation off of the events of Persona 4 for the PS2. Though hold back your breathe because its not another RPG styled game, rather it now incorporates a fighting system for it. So is such a thing at all worth a pick up or chance or is it something you can do without? Some might be divided and some accepting of it but its up to you whether or not you truly think this game will be worth your own time in playing.

Story

The story follows all of the main characters from Persona 4 as well as some characters returning from Persona 3 in this story. It takes place sometime after the events of the Persona 4 game and Narukama Yu, the official name given to the Persona 4 nameless protagonist is returning to Inaba. Everybody awaits their return to a peaceful Inaba ever since the original incident of the T.V world ceased to exist, the killer as well caught and peace was restored. Things aren’t right with the Persona 3 cast either as during a shipment of a highly classified weapon went wrong and Mitsuru and Aigis are now in persuit of it which soon leads them to the small town of Inaba. Akihiko gets called along as well as our old heroes are back in the heat of things, this time no longer venturing the tall tower of Tartarus, but the depths of the T.V world.

Gameplay

In terms of getting started you can choose any of the main characters from Persona 4. Yu, Yukiko, Chie, Teddie, Kanji, Naoto, and Yosuke to play as. Though some are only unlocked after completed another characters story. There are also the Persona 3 characters that make their appearance again years after the events of Persona 3. These characters include Akihiko, Mitsuru, Aigis, and Elizabeth. You will also be able to play as Labrys down the road when she is unlocked, whom is an important figure in the story. However one thing to be noted is that even if you go through a characters story you don’t fully complete it. Once Labry’s story is completed then you can fully pass a characters story getting the actual ending. Though for the most part most stories follow up the same way, besides the character you are playing as introduction the things leading up to the end is not that much different. All characters encounter eachother and fight eachother, then encounter general Teddie at one point and attempt to save Labrys or protect her from unleashing her shadow self. Then all characters will end up facing their shadows until reaching their own endings which is usually different. Though Labrys is the only one whom does not directly follow through with these events.

The gameplay is what you would expect from you average fighting game. String together long combos and attacks and beat up the opposing opponent, though this time with the help of Persona’s. The Personas can be uses to make your attacks even more deadlier as they do such things like cast bufu skills and freeze your opponent, or even confusion and fiddle with the your movements. This adds a little something to fighting being able to hit your enemies with the elements and aliments from the Persona series that can go in either your, or their favor if they manage to hit you with such attacks. There are also instant kill attacks which require a combo sequence and a certain amount of power stirred up before executing with each character being able to summon their own final attacks to obliterate their enemy.

During your time off of the battles is mainly reading through text though. More so it plays like your average visual novel but everyone has their own respective voice actors of course and character portraits. An interesting thing though added is the chance to make choices as the story progresses, this can actually end your character story quickly, or keep it moving forward and closer to the truth. The game after each battle and before each battle will ask you if you want to save though re loading before the choice is not a problem. Though re stating what I said in the first paragraph even if you go through a characters story until Labry’s story is completed you can’t fully complete each story or so the aftermath of what happens for each.

Besides all that there is a recording feature as well in the game and multiplayer. The recording feature can be used at any time and let you record your matched as well in multiplayer and arcade mode. There is also your average training mode where you can go up against the CPU and practice your characters moves and attempt and getting better at the game. Its a interesting feature regarding the recording feature nonetheless, especially if you are in to cooking up gameplays.

Music

The music in the game uses tacks from the Persona 3 and Persona 4 series. This is a interesting touch as you have two series that focused on two different genres of music combined into one game. It feels nice re hearing some of the old Persona 3 tracks while on the menu screen of Persona 4 Arena and in battles, and the same goes for the Persona 4 tracks. Though it is not bringing anything really new to the playing field, it will bring you back to some of your favorite tracks regardless of which games music it is.

Graphics

Graphic wise is pretty good, from the sprite models and the visuals that appear on screen it makes for a good seen. Plus the backround that is filled with shadows and other things related to the T.V world are nice too. Not only this but if there is something that has taken a leap it is the animation scenes in the game that appear every now and then. They are pretty well done and are a definite positive in the game. The portraits for each character are nice as well, and seeing how different the Persona 3 characters are is interesting as too. So overall graphically and visually the game hits well.

Conclusion

Perosna 4 Arena can be a satisfying game for both the average person who loves fighting game, and Persona fan. Though some will be disappointed that Arena is not a RPG sequel from Persona 4, if they can accept it being a fighting game they will find enjoyment out of it. Though a fighting game lover might be confused about what everyone talks about as there is a lot of talking about the events of Persona 4 and some of Persona 3, the characters explain some things, so things won’t be bad in terms of understanding things. The story can be a bit of a rehash and having to play through some of the other characters again can be a little tedious, though seeing the investigation team set out on another adventure and the shadow operatives, Mitsuru’s newly formed group, and see them clash together can make for a interesting ride nonetheless. It also feels good to hear some of your favorite soundtracks again from the previous games bringing back some nostalgia. All in all Persona 4 Arena can be a good experience for anyone.

Story:8
Music:9
Graphics:8.25
Final:8.25

Radiant Historia – Short Review

This is my first short review, so please bare with me while I work out a format for these.

Radiant Historia is a game produced by Atlus for the Nintendo DS. After going on a spree looking up DS RPG’s, this one kept popping up a lot, and it looked really really good, so I snagged. Well good thing my research was right, it was really really good. Something Atlus never disappoints in, is releasing very unique RPG’s that other companies just don’t have.

Radiant Historia is big on alternating between two different timelines. Early on in the game, it seems like a simple decision on what you want to do, and then you realize that choice is what splits the game into two major timelines. Sadly the game will initially think all of your choices will be like this, but with the choices in the individual timelines are all choose your own adventure style, where bad decisions send you to a dead end, and good routes progress the story.

Sometimes that both of the choices you’re given are bad routes, this is where the two timelines come into play. Basically what you’ll do, is pick a timeline, then keep playing until you reach a roadblock in the story (both choices are bad endings), and switch over to the other timeline, rinse and repeat. What will happen, is that you’ll learn or do something that more or less unlocks the good choice┬áin the opposite timeline.

The battle system is quite interesting. Everybody is on a gid system, and everyone is restricted to their individual square. These grids work in two fashions: one is where there’ll be attacks that can attack multiple squares, and the second is where strategy comes in. When you have a chain of your party members attacking one after the other, you can smack an enemy into the square of another, and the rest of your party in the chain will do damage to both of those enemies. You also have freedom to change the order of attack, including switching the enemy’s turn with yours. Though this will have a penalty of having lowered defenses until the end of your turn. This makes the battles much more interesting, and so much more strategy.

The music is also friggen fantastic and adds to the mood when you’re adventuring through the game. Also the graphics are reminiscent of some PS1 RPG’s where the buildings and such are polygonal, and the characters are sprites. The only difference is that it’s just straight top-down, and the backgrounds aren’t pre-rendered.

Radiant Historia is a great game, and is definitely a game that will take up your time and dedication. If you can find a copy, definitely go out and grab it.

Conclusion: 9/10

Breath Fire 3 – First Impressions

Breath of Fire is Capcom’s JRPG series, and this is my first foray into the series. I did no prior research, and found the PSP copy of the game lying around, and realized it was a PAL version and the PSP port wasn’t released in the US and jumped on it. So I went in completely blind.

The button configuration took a bit of getting used to, as most other RPG’s have a very similar configuration. In this game, triangle is run, square is menu, and to move the camera around, you hold R and you move the D pad around. Speaking of rating the camera, most of the time it feels a tad bit pointless, as you can only move it around for looking purposes, so it centers back to its original position, and it also only moves a couple of degrees, so it feels almost useless.

Graphically, it doesn’t look so bad. It doesn’t look that much better than an SNES game, and it has a 3D-ish feel to it. It also isn’t based around having pre-rendered backgrounds, so the world does feel a little more liberating. Gameplay so far is pretty standard with turn based combat and random encounters. Though there is a minor complaint with the battles. The game is trying to be innovative and┬áinstead of changing to another screen for battles, it happens in the same map you were in. While it’s a little neat, it kind of gets annoying depending on where you are on the field. If you’re under trees or near a wall in a dungeon, then your party or the enemy will be blocked by the trees. So there’ll be times where you can’t tell what the hell you’re fighting.

Storywise, can’t say much as I’m only a few hours into it. So far I have no idea what the actual story is, as they’re still trying to develop the characters, or so it seems like that’s what they’re doing. You pretty much go on little shenanigans here and there, and I finally got to a part where evil shows its ugly mug, so maybe the story kicks up from here.

For now, the game feels a bit average, but it’s still early on in the game, so who knows how this’ll kick up. The later parts of the game look interesting from what I’ve seen, so this probably just has a slow start. Looking forward to how this will turn out.