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Kaiza Urai's blog

3:32 PM on 03.13.2014

That was Onix-pected - Kaiza's Reviews of Pokemon, Old to New

This blog almost didn't exist, thanks to BBCode issues and formatting errors and lots of annoying crap almost exclusively designed to ruin my day. However, I have taken a crash course in HTML, which makes BBCode seem all the easier to me, HOORAY!
I have taken some feedback from all of the lovely people who didn't lynch me after my last post, and off the back of that I have decided to make a new set of not-quite-so-mini-but-still-mini reviews. From Final Fantasy to the generation-spanning and much loved Pokémon series. Now, before I start, I would just say please don't rage if I talk bad about your favourite game/Pokémon/Gym Leader/Character etc. This is just my opinion, and I hope to hell it doesn't affect anybody else. So, without any further adieu, let us begin!

Oh, and by the way. Spoilers. Just saiyan.

Pokemon Generation 1: Red, Blue, Yellow and Green

We do adore looking back on the original generation of Pokemon, don't we? Gazing back through our rose tinted spectacles at the games we loved as a child. Remembering the choice between Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charmander. The joy of plodding at 1mph through half of the game because you cannot run and the movement speed is horrible. The 378 Ultra Balls you had to use to catch Mewtwo the first time because you used your Master Ball on the first legendary looking thing you encountered, which was Zapdos. I only found out later that they have the same catch rate...

Anywho, the first game, with the original 151 Pokemon. This, of course, was the first Pokemon game I played (My starter was Squirtle, by the by) and even when I was little I was noticing some of the awful design choices this game had. I mean Ekans and Seel. A SNAKE and a SEAL. Really? I mean it was the first, so I need to forgive it some things but the game that came up with Mewtwo also spawned Seel? Not to say all of the designs were bad, some are still amazing today (Blastoise and Kabutops being prevailent examples).

Another bit of a design flaw was the original spritework, now I don't mean the Western Release spritework, as horribly proportioned as it is. I mean the original spritework, the sprites from the Japanese Red and Green, before they were edited for western release. Have a look at these beauties.






Besides the monstrosities of the sprites, which even with the limited capabilities of the GameBoy could've been better, the game was a very solid game. Reasonably good storyline, challenging gameplay (for its target audience) and a diverse range of Gym Leaders made this game a treat. However, it was not all sunshine and rainbows. The balancing of Generation 1 was terrible, if I am going to be brutally honest. The psychic type reigned supreme, as nothing but itself resisted it, and only 3 bug moves really existed, I mean you could grab an Abra, teach it psychic and watch as Uri Geller annihilates everything that stands against you.

Pokemon Generation 2: Gold, Silver and Crystal

Just over a year after Red and Blue came out in the West, the next generation hit.Generation 2 left a huge impression on me. The spritework improved dramatically, the world was amazing, the legendaries were fantastic and they introduced my favourite Pokemon.

Gold, Silver and Crystal improved heavily on the first game, giving some sort of reason to the main character's travels that is somewhat explained within the game, instead of just leaving out of the blue. The gym leaders in this game are fantastic; they have personality, they are varied in theme and...

Please, no. Not that place. I don't wanna go back...

Could be quite challenging...
The addition of two new types helped too. The over-powered types of Psychic and Dragon were tempered by Dark and Steel, new types which respectively resisted the two RGBY powerhouses, stopping the Uri Geller rampage from taking over the entirety of space-time.
Beyond this there is not really a huge amount to say, Crystal added the idea of end-game content using the Battle Tower and Gym Rematches, and generally improved a formula that already had rooted itself in the hearts of a generation.

Pokemon Generation 3: Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald

At this point the staying power of Pokemon was becoming hugely apparent, as its fan base grew exponentially year on year. While not adding any more types to the formula, Generation 3 did a lot mechanics wise. Gen 3, firstly, acknowledges the fact that your character has a father, by making him a Gym Leader, and while not being a mechanical change it adds a surprisingly large amount to the depth of the game. Sure, your mother doesn't have a room for 3 more generations, but we can't ask for miracles.

As the series expanded the spritework became phenomenal, Generation 3 had some really good sprites, and while they are rather dated now, they looked fantastic at the time. The designs had improved quite a lot too, with Pokemon like Absol, Metagross and Rayquaza adding to Pokemon's badass count.

Anyway, my original point was mechanics and now I shall return to it. Double Battles added a huge amount to Pokemon, opening up a whole new world of tactics and possibilities in combat, and were a major part of the battles throughout Generation 3, they even added moves especially for use in Double Battles. The moves were separated into Special and Physical moves, adding another layer to the gameplay, and berries were separated into a wide variety of species, including status heals, health recovery and more.

Again there is a diverse range of Gym Leaders, but then again at this point they hadn't run out of ideas yet. The world is also a big plus, I adore the world of Gen 3, evil teams and all. Team Aqua and Team Magma, I found, were much better than Team Rocket from the first 2 generations, and this helped me enjoy the story of the game a lot more.

However, the biggest part of the game that made me fall in love with Gen 3 was the Battle Frontier. This theme-park of combat was the perfect kind of end-game content. It had all the different battle types available, and even a host of unique boss battles thanks to the Frontier Brains, the real final battles in the game.

Overall, Gen 3 is my favourite generation, and I still find myself going back to it time and time again.

Pokemon Generation 4: Diamond, Pearl and Platinum

Generation 4 is a mixed bag for me. It's world was great, I loved how amazingly different each area of Sinnoh was, and how well it all meshed together. I love how the gym leaders and Elite Four besides Steven played an actual part in the story and made a difference that wasn't wandering around in the final city waiting for Rayquaza to turn up. There was a problem though. The male protagonist looked like a douche, I mean he is nothing like Black 2/White 2's but really? This was the first game where I chose the female main character on looks over the male one.

The Poketch was an alright gimmick, could've been quite a nice thing to keep around, but nope, it was removed. Just another passing thing like the Pokegear and Dive. Too bad you couldn't change the colour of the actual device itself though (pink really isn't my colour.)

I wasn't as fond of the Gym Leaders in this one as the previous 3, just something about them seemed off, such as Roark being like a pussy Brock. Cynthia was a fantastic Champion though, and my favourite so far.

The Story in Gen 4 is amazing, Team Galactic are a good villain team, and Cyrus is a great villain, but something about the Grunts...

Bowl-cuts and jumpsuits it is, boys.

I don't know what it is, but bowl-cuts =/= intimidating.

The designs of the Pokemon, as a whole, are pretty good in Gen 4. The legendaries look boss as all fuck, especially Darkrai, and the starters are all pretty cool too. I mean there's a penguin. What is not to love.

The Gen 4 Battle Frontier I found incredibly lacking, to be honest. This was, when it boils down to it, nearly completely down to a lack of the Battle Palace, where I spent so many hours in Gen 3. The Frontier Brains I didn't hugely like all that much either, but then again, you can't win 'em all.

Pokemon Generation 5: Black and White (Ah, the colour thing falls down here, grey it is)

Compared to the other generations, I found Black and White rather lackluster, if I'm going to be honest. Apart from one, albeit rather sizeable, area I found it was just missing something, a certain je ne sais qois. The world was really lacking, it just seemed rather bland to me. The designs were a mixed bag. It had its bad designs...

Others were a little more impressive...

Just look at that majestic mother-fucker.

I despise the C-Gear. I tend not to play online hugely, and it just sits there in the bottom of my screen mocking me, telling me how much I suck for being an anti-social bastard. The games are becoming more and more online-centric, and that can be a good thing for a lot of people, just not me. I'm happy with my Poketch.

The place where Black and White shines is the story. These games have the best story of any Pokemon for one solitary reason. It's the dark Pokemon game. It deals with animal cruelty fantastically through Team Plasma. Actually, just Team Plasma alone are fantastic. The grunts look like Templars, they act kinda badass. And then we get to the head(s) of Team Plasma. Ghetsis and N.

Ghetsis is an amazing villain, with the cunning double bluff of being a liberator of Pokemon just so he can rule as the only person in control of them. He is also N's abusive adoptive father, having locked him in a room as a child and drummed his ideals into him until he was shaped into Ghetsis's perfect domination tool. The only problem is that N actually cares for Pokemon, more taking on the ideals of the ruse than the real plan.

How tortured N is doesn't really become apparent until one area though. His room. I haven't said anything on the subject of Pokemon music yet, mainly because there isn't much to say. It's Pokemon music, it is iconic. However here, just listen. This is the N's Room theme from Black 2/White 2

Just... listen...

I adore N, he is probably my favourite Pokemon character for good reason. He has real depth. to his character. Even though his is an antagonist, and does some pretty dark things, he's a good guy. An anti-hero, really.

Overall, the story of Black and White is all there really is. Triple battles and Rotation battles are not really used much and I don't really like them, but it did some new things, and added some awesome characters.

Pokemon Generation 6: X and Y

Nintendo really outdid themselves this time. I love Pokemon X and Y. You never notice how much of a difference moving in more than 4 directions makes until you can, the movement feels so free! And you have a father! And your mother has a bedroom! This is amazing!

Anyway, I find nearly everything in X and Y was done really nicely. They kept new Pokemon to a minimum, even though they introduced a whole new type in Fairy, and what new Pokemon there are look really nice. Also, the CG models used in battles now look astounding, the attention to detail in creating and animating all 700+ Pokemon with all signature moves is incredible. Nintendo had the balls to push the boat out and by god did it pay off.

Well, the main thing that was new and big that was added was, of course, the Mega Evolution. Super Saiyan 3. This was interesting. Some turned out really nice.

Because you're worth it

On the other hand, some made a mockery of what they were "improving"

Team Flare I also had mixed opinions on, they were basically Team Galactic in their aims, even Lysandre had major similarities with Cyrus. Even the Grunts looked fucking stupid. Actually, the grunts are worse in X and Y, they imitate the Ginyu Force. That is unacceptable.

I also hated all of the "rival" characters barring Serena, and I especially hate Tierno. Something about him made me despise him beyond recognition. However this was not my main problem with the game. That would be this, it was pitifully easy. Even though it took my Delphox up to level 80, it was still not really challenging at all. 3 of the Elite 4 were taken down by the Swagsire alone!

The world was alright, it being based off of France was nice and refreshing, and the introduction of Character Customisation is very much a welcome addition. The way it managed to incorporate around 500 of the Pokemon into one region is greatly appreciated, as is the way the game is giving a little love to the older games.

All in all, Pokemon X and Y were really good, despite the shortcomings. It changed the formula up a bit, and I respect that. It went out and did something different and reaped the rewards. Now to wait and see if the Strange Souvenir is going to amount to anything.   read

5:04 AM on 02.18.2014

Fubar Fantasy - Mini Reviews of the series that won't end.

Right, ok, never tried one of these blog things before, so here we go.

With the recent release of Final Fantasy XIII-3: Lightning Returns from her holiday to Nicaragua, and the very heated discussions on the Final Fantasy franchise, I thought I would put in my two cents on the topic of Final Fantasy games, in order of release. Bite-size reviews, if you will. Yes, the series has gone downhill. Yes, Tidus is annoying. Yes, Lightning and Cloud (Post FF7) have as much character as a Big Mac, but I will save any real comment on those topics to be reused time and time again throughout the course of this blog-post-thing. By the way, spoilers. There will be spoilers. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I: Ah, the original. The Final Fantasy that started the Never-Ending Fantasy. That game I admittedly put down because I got lost for 3 hours after the first encounter with Garland after which I didn't know what to do in any way, shape or form. I honestly can't pass a huge judgement on this one, but I didn't really like what I played of it. Can't blame it, really. It wasn't until much later that Final Fantasy really started to kick off... And peak. I'll probably pick it up again later, give it another shot.

II: Final Fantasy II was... ok. Not brilliant, not bad. I first found Firion as a character through the Dissidia Final Fantasy games, as I was born too late to play the first 6 Final Fantasy games, but I try not to be too addled by nostalgia to fanboy over anything in particular, thus I played the old Final Fantasies a while back, to try and see what the fuss was about and why FFVII wasn't the best in the series. The main thing that left a lasting impression here was Mateus. My god, you kill him, he takes over Hell. Come on that is badass.

III: If there was one Final Fantasy game I really didn't like straight off the bat, it's 3. I'm not even going to say anything about the remake (god forbid) but the idea of all of the main characters being children. I don't know why but that just makes a series about monsters and magic lose so much credibility. The most prominent villain throughout the game, Xande, is left completely lacking in backstory and you just have to take the game's word for him being evil. The final boss, the Cloud of Darkness, comes out of nowhere at all, and replaces him in Dissidia. They knew Xande was crap, they kept him out of Dissidia. While i'm on the topic, Onion Knight. My god he does my head in. Stupid name, annoying character, enough said.

IV: From the crap to the crazy. My main impressions of IV is that it is completely batshit insane. Cecil is a brilliant character, and actually has some noticeable depth. Golbez is brilliant too, but the feuding brothers is not the idea here. The idea is Golbez's plan. Collect the Dark Crystals to unlock the path to the moon. Why? We don't need to know. Also, the airship is named the Enterprise. I don't think that was a coincidence. I don't care, its hilarious. Its wacky. Its Final Fantasy IV.

V:  I'm not sure what they were smoking when they decided Exdeath's true form should be a tree, but I don't even care. Bartz (Or Butz, as he was named originally. Not being immature) is personally a horrible main character but I just don't know what it is about him, it might be that he is a little too "cookie cutter", a bit of a generic hero. Happy-go-lucky but knowing when to get serious. Just not my thing. Nice to have a chocobo as a main character though.

VI: One of the most popular Final Fantasy's, for good reason. Terra is a brilliant main character. Goes to show perfectly that fanservice isn't necessary to make a popular female protagonist. She does identity crisis without being all Cloud about it, does amnesia well, such a rare thing nowadays. Her interactions with Kefka are outstanding. With Kefka's Joker-like persona and fantastic dialogue, this is by far one of, if not the, best Final Fantasy game. It even deals with suicide! That takes stones. Dayum, Square, what happened to you?

VII: Ah, the prodigal son. The game that everyone remembers and 95% give total unconditional praise. The game with pretty damn awful dialogue for a large chunk of it. A badly explained and convoluted, if very deep and interesting, plot. The characters, oh lord the characters. The majority are ok, with only a few standing out. Vincent is basically Shadow the Hedgehog without the rivalry, he uses guns, he's emo, he's constantly in mourning about a lost love, his hair is black. He's Shadow. Cait Sith is hilarious, if confusing in what he actually does. He's a sleeper agent, but then he dies, but then there are more? And Cloud, I could write a separate blog on Cloud. In the original VII he was great. Cynical, witty, actual character. The problem lies in Square itself. I don't know what possessed them but they decided that Cloud needed to suffer chronic depression and become a giant emo. I mean I can understand that he would be depressed, and a depressed main character could work so well! The problem is they made him a male Lightning. No personality whatsoever, just broods and whines and broods and kicks the crap outta stuff with his Super Saiyan hair. Still one of my favourites though. Just don't get me started on Advent Children.

VIII: Twilight. That seems to be the angle they were pitching for here. Teen romance between characters that don't fit at all. Squall has little to no personality, and at this point I was worried that everything was going south for square at this point. I was only a few games wrong, points for trying. The other characters are fine, no problem, it's just Squall. I do like that they tried something a bit different with the gameplay though, that was cool.

IX: IX was brilliant. It does require that you have played the other Final Fantasy games for you to appreciate it, but if you do it is fantastic. Vivi is an amazing character, and one of my favourite Final Fantasy characters of all time. Zidane is a nice change of pace from the previous two brooding lone-wolf type characters. Having a womanizer as the main protagonist is quite funny, and this game more than makes up for the flaws in the previous games.

X: Again, could do a whole blog on my thoughts of this one. I didn't hate it as much as everyone else, Tidus was annoying as all hell, but I just focused on the amazing badass that is Auron and everything turned out OK. I tried to like Tidus, he was another happy hero that wasn't a bland, generic template but no, the laughter. Oh, god, the laughter. No. No. Make it stop. MAKE IT STOP! Jokes and forced laughter aside, I really didn't mind X. The sphere grid was a great levelling system, the Aeons were memorable, and my guilty pleasure of the Final Fantasy series had to be Blitzball, though I can't put my finger on why that was so addictive.

XI: Didn't play it, don't know.

XII: I liked XII. Not as much as others, but I liked it. I used Basch over anyone else wherever possible, and avoided Vaan like the plague, but the new idea on gameplay was kind of refreshing. I didn't like that they removed the victory fanfare because of it, though. Generally, I like the world of Ivalice a lot, and XII fits in nicely. The license system can fuck right off though.

XIII: Here we are, XIII. Home of some of the worst characters ever. In total I liked 2 characters. That's it. Sazh and Fang. Sazh was my favourite, he was the voice of logic, and actually had some depth, he was even funny. Fang is just a badass and I like that in characters. Problem is with her that most of her scenes are with Vanille. Yeah. I'll get to her. Hope is just doomed to grow up into Cloud, not as depressing but some of his scenes, especially when he is with lightning. Lightning is Lightning, no personality besides being Angry or Serious. Two settings. Vanille has a voice that makes me want to put an industrial piledriver through my earlobes and a personality to match. The gameplay consisted solely of running through linear hallways and mashing auto-battle. It was, however, astonishingly pretty. But that is it.

I hope you enjoyed my very amateurish reviews of the main games, please don't rage at me if I didn't like what you read here, opinions wise. Kaiza out, I am probably about to be lynched for saying I didn't mind Final Fantasy X. Bye!   read

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