Welcome to a blog of infinite wisdom and magical fun...Just kidding. I'm a gamer with a huge taste for adventure. If you'd heard of a genre of gaming, chances are I've played it. Nothing is foreign to me.
Some of my favorite games include anything Zelda or Mario related, Street Fighter III: Third Strike, Metal Gear Solid 3 and the Yakuza series. I'm an old school gamer at heart, but I do enjoy my PS3 and 360. Nintendo fanboy all the way, though.
I have some pretty strong opinions about the things in my life. Be it my friends, family or any kind of media, I often let my personal feelings get in the way of fair judgement. If I ever offend you, please let me know so that we may both grow together.
I have many different forms of contact, but I'll link you to the two best.
On Twitter today, Phil Fish of Polytron has confirmed that Fez 2 will be canceled. This comes right off the heels of a debate that Fish was having with Marcus Beer from GameTrailers "Annoyed Gamer" segment.
A series of high-school quality insults were thrown back and forth before Fish tweeted, "im done. FEZ II is cancelled. goodbye." This isn't the first time that Fish's mouth has gotten him into trouble.
In the past, Fish was cited as claiming that Japanese games suck. He later clarified that modern Japanese games was what me meant, still doing no good for his public image.
There are also tweets where Fish has insulted fans after they made some snide remarks about the original Fez not being released yet.
My person two cents: I think Fish should cancel the game and disappear. He constantly is making the games industry look like some childish playground with ridiculous antics like this. I understand if he wants to voice his opinion, but instead of throwing a literal temper tantrum, why not act like an adult?
A few hundred thousand people have handed money over to Polytron in support of Fez. The fans are the ones who made you famous and helped you climb out of the rut that was the 5 year development cycle for your only game. Instead of acting high and mighty, I think it's time you were cut down to size.
If I never hear another thing from Fish again, then honestly my life might be better. It's hard to remain optimistic about gaming when imbeciles like him spout off without thinking.
[i]Late to the party on finishing Lost Odyssey, Iíve decided to chronicle my adventure through each disc of the game. Kaimís struggle resonates with me strongly and Iím hoping to figure out some lingering questions about my life by defeating this game.
This blog is entry 3 in a series of 4. After I complete each disc, I will give my reaction to itís specific content. Think of this as an extended review or analysis. You can read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 by clicking on the links provided.[/i]
With purpose, life really isnít so bad. An eternity might seem like forever, but having happiness and a set goal will make any extended stretch seem quick. Kaim learns this at the end of Lost Odyssey, but I sadly just cannot reciprocate the feeling. I enjoyed the game, sure, but it definitely needed some trimming.
For starters, I got so damn lethargic about completing the game that I actually just skipped playing it for an entire day. I went about reviewing another game and watching some Game Grumps while contemplating if I truly wanted to see Lost Odyssey to the end.
I pride myself in finishing everything I start. Other than the odd RTS games that conquers me in terms of raw skill; there isnít a game I havenít beaten. I love finishing things to their bitter end and will do so to the detriment of my own health. Lost Odyssey really pushed me to my limits.
I fully understand why JRPGs didnít take off this generation. When a single battle takes upwards of 25 seconds to load, you know thereís a massive problem. Getting through the final dungeons with a party thatís over leveled is tortuous. I was killing the mindless cronies in single blows, yet I still had to take about 4-5 minutes out of traversing the world to do so.
The general performance of Lost Odyssey is also deplorable. The framerate constantly crawls along and the game tends to not read faster enough, making for random stuttering and enemies failing to commence their own attacks. I seriously thought my 360 was either going to explode or eat the game alive.
Then thereís the nonsense of no manual saves. I know this is a staple of the JRPG sub-genre, but I really hate wasting an hour on a failed boss attempt only to have the power go out and me to lose my progress. I threw my controller in a fit of rage and was very close to smashing the game.
I also have to make mention of how linear the first three discs truly are. People always complain about Final Fantasy XIII being a hallway for 30 hours, but Lost Odyssey is very much the same thing. When I got to the fourth disc, I realized how little I actually saw of the game. I had to start looking up a guide just to proceed.
Even with these odd design choices, it does feel nice to see such an epic to conclusion. Lost Odyssey isnít the longest game Iíve ever beaten, but plowing through 4 discs worth of content and sinking 45 hours into a journey with some great characters is just awesome.
I am saddened that the short stories in the ďThousand Years of DreamsĒ didnít continue to be as strong. The writing never ceases to amaze and genuinely move, but the integration into the main plot just vanished. The first story in the game came to Kaim when he was at a motel, reeling from the loss on the battlefield.
By the end, you simply just go around and collect the ones you missed. There are some specific to the fourth disc, but they honestly serve no purpose other than to further flesh out Kaim. It feels like a missed opportunity to expand upon the rather generic main plot of the game.
The final dungeon also has a tremendous amount of busy work. You go around pushing buttons and moving a platform in a move that honestly feels like padding. I canít think of any justification for why youíd need to move an elevator left or right, other than to aggravate the player.
The final boss is also a pushover. There are two creatures you fight in the final area, but the first one is stronger. Even some of the random encounters were harder to deal with than the penultimate baddie. The battle rages on long enough to drill in the sense of urgency, but holy crap was I exhausted.
That simply sums up the fourth disc of Lost Odyssey: confusing and exhausting. A story with a clear focus and exemplary detail devolves into a deluge of yelling and overly long battles. At least the ending isnít a cop-out.
With the game being over, Iíd definitely recommend it to the hardcore RPG lovers. Casual fans may find some things to enjoy, but the archaic design is certainly an acquired taste. I would have never been able to tackle this game a few years ago. Maturity has helped in that regard.
I do wish that the novelization of the ďThousand Years of DreamsĒ was available in English. Those short stories drove me to tears almost every time. I cannot imagine how my life would be like without them, which is probably the point.
Learning to appreciate my mortality, coming to terms with the passage of time and accepting that life does get better: Lost Odyssey certainly teaches one to look on the bright side. I just wish that every facet of the game were truly golden.
Late to the party on finishing Lost Odyssey, Iíve decided to chronicle my adventure through each disc of the game. Kaimís struggle resonates with me strongly and Iím hoping to figure out some lingering questions about my life by defeating this game.
This blog is entry 3 in a series of 4. After I complete each disc, I will give my reaction to itís specific content. Think of this as an extended review or analysis. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 by clicking on the links provided.
For a game so profound in its narrative, Disc 3 of Lost Odyssey is a tremendous let-down. Focusing more on exposition and repetitive scenarios, I really could not think of any themes, motives or even motivations. Kaim and crew are purely on a quest for revenge and thatís that.
Even so, Disc 3 does highlight one of the biggest problems with the JRPG genre; lack of innovation. I do not mean to say that JRPGs are necessarily bad games, but without a strong story hook for the duration of 8 hours, I have no idea why this game was spread across 4 discs.
JRPGs, in more recent times, feel like padded affairs. Everyone remembers the distinct locations of Final Fantasy VIIís 4 discs and how the plotline advanced between them, but Lost Odyssey is purely extending the game length to meet some arbitrary goal of value.
Which scenario sounds more impressive? Option A; I beat this epic RPG that took me 60 hours and spanned 4 discs. Option B; I beat a profoundly deep RPG that I was able to blast through in 15 hours. One of the core problems with RPGs are that characters need time to develop and players need to feel like their skills are growing over the course of a vast journey.
If you cut down on all the fat and trim out the excess, an RPG just feels too short and not grand enough. When you pad out the experience, you begin to forget what came before and continue trucking on simply because youíre 30 hours in.
Even with that criticism, Lost Odyssey is probably the best JRPG ever made. I cannot imagine how else to really continue this dated genre of gaming. It has its place in history and is fun when done with such grandeur, but there is nothing left untapped. Having played so many in my day and finally tackling this treasured little cult hit, I can rightfully say that I just do not want more.
Xenoblade Chronicles rekindled the fire that died in me a long time ago. The characters were fantastic, the story had tension and urgency and the modern ideas fused with core Japanese development philosophies made for a highly addictive romp of made-up words and silly costumes.
Lost Odyssey, by extension, just feels tired. Kaim is a fantastic way to explain why morality is so important in making mundane tasks matter, but his main goal is just a retread of classic RPG narratives. The big bad guy has massive power and wants to take over the world. You and your motley crew of misfits embark across the world to stop him. Rinse and repeat scenes with dramatic build-up and massive boss battle payoffs.
Disc 3 even shows the children characters as hopelessly lost and a bit selfish. The desire to see oneís deceased mother again is something that could have been propelled into a deep examination on how death impacts us all. It could have also shown a loss of innocence or maybe a grasp of the past to further empower our futures.
Instead, the idiot kids hijack a train and completely obliterate Kaimís plans to meet with the kings of two nations to stop a war. Nice going jackasses. When the first short story in the game made me weep, why at 25 hours in am I now regretting investing so much time into this game?
It just saddens me to see such a monumental writer like Hironobu Sakaguchi failing to create believable children, or at least ones who donít needlessly prolong the game to justify a fourth disc. Even the FMV cutscenes are short, pointless and add nothing of value to the narrative.
Speaking of worthless, one of the boss battles is actually a QTE. I had no idea what they meant when ďTutorial for Battle Escape SequenceĒ popped up. I thought the game was becoming an action RPG for a few minutes. Instead, I just had to mash X, Y, A and B a bit in a very generous time frame.
We also get a very awkwardly sung song. I think that is somehow become a modern staple of the JRPG, as even The Last Story had one of those. Whatís worse is that the song is inserted into the game to get some ham-fisted romance subplot going. BLECH!
When the battle music kicks in and the camera angle for attacking overtakes the screen, though, I canít help but be enamored. From an audio/visual standpoint, Lost Odyssey rocks. The game even lets you select from 5 different voice over languages, making for an absolute delight to Japanese enthusiasts (and even Italian lovers).
I have to say that after finishing Disc 3, Iím not quite sure what to expect from the finale. Hopefully the game kicks itself into high-gear and provides a strong sense of closure. I want to know how Kaim is going to deal with his past and how heíll change the world for the better.
Even if I donít get that, at least Lost Odyssey exists as a tremendously over-the-top love letter to a genre that might cease in the near future. Japanese developers have a way of creating some truly fantastic worlds; I just wish theyíd bring that creativity to their game design more often.
Late to the party on finishing Lost Odyssey, Iíve decided to chronicle my adventure through each disc of the game. Kaimís struggle resonates with me strongly and Iím hoping to figure out some lingering questions about my life by defeating this game.
This blog is entry 2 in a series of 4. After I complete each disc, I will give my reaction to itís specific content. Think of this as an extended review or analysis.
Our past holds many triumphs and hardships, but failing to retain those memories will only lead to repeated failure. Disc 2 of Lost Odyssey makes its message very clear; always remember the past. Keeping remembrance in your heart will only lead to a better future.
Thatís not to say that one should dwell on the negativity, but never forget those feelings. The sadness and crippling anxiety that come from the death of a love one; the embarrassment brought on by saying something stupid in school.
Any little event that may be insignificant holds some power to teach. Without mistakes, one cannot ever hope to grow. Without remembering mistakes, though, one will certainly be cursed to repeat them. This is what the main villain of Lost Odyssey hoped to achieve.
Gongora, a sorcerer of unspeakable power, had wiped the memories of the immortal beings in an attempt to contain their power. Without remembrance, what damage could they do? To keep them in check, he hired a lackey to erase their minds when the time came.
An immortal without a past is essentially a dead man. Emotions mean nothing and killing seems so simple. Loved ones will fade into darkness and there wonít be a thing you can do. All of those techniques you acquired have vanished and left you an empty shell.
Gongoraís power was not strong enough. Kaim and his friend Seth slowly regain their pasts during the events of Disc 2. Stories come back that all relate to cherishing the past and keeping the traditional alive. The future will be taught from the mistakes made prior.
One particular story struck a delicate chord for me; the story of an old man spending his entire life making shoes. Nothing in life mattered after he lost his legs, but Kaim gave me a pair of shoes to fix. This sparked joy in the manís heart and gave his frail existence a purpose.
He would never be able to travel the world, but the shoes were like children to him. He loved and cared for them and the comfort exhibited by them was noticed by everyone. Once people bought a pair from this man, they could never settle for anything less.
The man never really developed social skills, but his craft was refined to the point of perfection. While he could not recall the many faces that came into his life, Kaim was an exception. He starts by giving the usual discussion of purpose, but when he finally catches a glimpse of Kaimís face, he remembers it all.
The power of remembrance stuck with him. If he lost his meaning along the journey, would the shoes still retain their quality? The smiles of people did not even matter to him; he simply wished to craft shoes.
That kind of purpose is a thing I lack in my life. I remember most of the pain and suffering that Iíve caused and has been inflicted upon me, but I still have no reason to live. My skills have grown stagnant and my passion has faded. My exuberance is a mere dream.
When I harken back to the death of my aunt, my eyes swell and I lose hope. That pain usually drives me forward. Without the memory of her, I honestly would have no reason to continue.
Using that pain and reading this story, I see that even people with nothing can build aspirations. Why give up when youíve lost your legs? Life isnít over until you say so, damn it! I just need the strength of this old man.
Disc 2 does more than focus on Kaim. His compatriot, Seth Balmore, is also given some detail. Her dreams deal with isolation and solitude. Being that she was a pirate, getting captured was a frequent occurrence to her. She never expected to be locked in a pitch black cave.
When one is immortal, waiting for death is not an option. You simply have to exist. Humans have the option of death to look forward to. After our strings of life are cut, we get to move on from this world.
Seth cannot. Scream and cry as she might, there will be no ending to her suffering. Agony is her only friend. A winged creature comes to her rescue in a miraculous fashion and that restores her hope. She remembers for the rest of her days how much this beast means to her.
Gongora later controls that beast and uses him to take Sethís son away from this world. With the beast attacking, Seth has no option but to retaliate. The buildup of agitation and misery are things she uses to hunt down Gongora. She will never cease remembering.
The idea of remembrance also extends to one of the puzzles in the game. A haunted house gives you the goal of finding some plates and assembling them in the proper position. The original combination is present in only one room and you must remember the precise location.
Better yet, the area where you drop the plates is tilted, so you really have to strain your brain to figure out placement. It nicely sums up the theme of Disc 2. Without remembrance, you will be lost. Your life will be for naught and your future actions will never increase in prowess.
As I continue my travels with Kaim, I find myself growing sadder. Iím sad that this game has to end. Iím sad that Kaim and Seth will never know the eternal bliss of death. Iím mainly reminded, however, that I possess no positive memories of my aunt.
Her funeral is plastered in my mind, but I cannot recall any moment from my childhood where I laughed with her. I never spent a day apart from my mother in youth and now itís beginning to take a toll on me. Recalling memories is not easy, but I could be cursed with simply losing my past.
Whatever the case, Lost Odyssey is definitely not a game for carefree and cheerful people. The ideas brought up will teach them to never take advantage of their position in life, but I would hate for any bright faced individual to get sucked into turmoil.
Hopefully Kaim will change that on the next disc. He and I both need it.
Late to the party on finishing Lost Odyssey, I've decided to chronicle my adventure through each disc of the game. Kaim's struggle resonates with me strongly and I'm hoping to figure out some lingering questions about my life by defeating this game.[/i]
This blog is entry 1 in a series of 4. After I complete each disc, I will give my reaction to it's specific content. Think of this as an extended review or analysis.
My short life has been wrought with peril. Over the years, Iíve caused pain to others and committed petty crimes. I had to deal with a relative succumbing to a disease that slowly killed her. I saw my friendís mom the night before she died, painfully gasping for air and clutching to a final straw of life.
Sadness permeates my life. Even the most mundane of insults will make me weep. When I do bring a smile to someoneís face, the elation that takes over me is unmatched. No matter how pitiful I may actually be, making another person happy is unmatched.
What if I had done this a thousand times before? What if I saw death frequently? What if I could never die? People and places and events would become meaningless over time. My own impact on the world would fade, yet I would still be cursed to walk.
These are some of the ideas brought up in the Mistwalker RPG, Lost Odyssey. Main character, Kaim Argonar, is an immortal. For him, time means nothing. He is in no hurry to do anything because life is an absolute dread for him.
After a rather hectic battle, the world of Lost Odyssey is struck with a meteor. Conjured by some form of magic, everyone in the vicinity is obliterated. Kaim, however, cannot die. He simply braces for impact and black outs. Upon waking up, none of his memories are retained.
Over the course of the game, these dreams slowly return to Kaim. One of the first stories that come back to him hit me close to the heart. Kaim spends many years traveling and doing battle, living the life of a mercenary. He frequently visits a particular inn because of a special girl.
This girl was born with a disease that will eventually claim her life. She cannot travel or leave her hometown because of the inability to fend off sickness. Many travelers tell her stories of their various exploits, but Kaim takes a particular interest.
Kaim has seen centuries of anguish before his very eyes. He has taken countless lives on the battlefield. He was committed crimes that have ruined lives. For this sickly girl, though, Kaim decides to retell of the exuberant wonder of life in an effort to remind him of the love in the world.
When the girl is on her final breath, Kaim is filled with a deep sadness. For a human, death is but a mere sidetrack of life. When one dies, the thought of an afterlife gives them hope. No one is ever truly lost when death brings peace. Kaim will never have that, though.
I began to bawl my eyes out when I read through this story. While 25 might not be at the cusp of youth, I am still a young person. I have at least four more decades worth of life ahead of me. Will I be able to deal with such death again? Does the thought of my own death somehow make others more tolerable?
If I couldnít die, would I be as cold and calculated as Kaim? The man still retains emotions like an average mortal, but is usually so cut off from regular expressions as to stand pale and stoic in the face of everything. Even anger is vague and futile to him.
More of his memories detail the loss of one of his families, a period where he was incarcerated and a short tale about how he restored hope in a lost childís heart. These memories donít percolate in his mind because of his emotions, though. He only remembers because they were brighter than the rest.
Living for a thousand years makes life insufferable. Why should one feel sick over the death of another? When you are tasked with living endlessly, death is simply old news. It will happen again and there will be no reprieve for you.
Somehow, Kaim is able to recall these thoughts. Even to a man who makes the word ancient seem young, these memories are stained into his mind. They remind me exactly of how I view my own past. The evil I have spread is seared upon on brain.
Happiness is but an unreachable goal. I know that I have experienced happiness before, but I just fail at conjuring that emotion anymore. Even with people I see regularly or hold dearly, I manage to shut them out and shelter myself.
When Kaim meets his grandchildren, he doesnít even know how to compose himself. He is so detached from the very notion of love that he simply speaks sagely and then pats the kids on the head. He knows how they feel, but canít recall how to express it with them.
Seeing his long lost daughter finally triggers an outburst of sadness from Kaim. No matter how uneventful a death is, losing a personal loved one will never be easy. Kaim canít even hold back the tears.
When all is said and done, depression isnít the thought that remains in Kaim. Hope is what he has. Even though the passing of a love one temporarily hurts, their death brings hope for the future. These kids are not devoid of emotion and they will learn to move on.
Kaim will never experience an afterlife, but he can certainly make a personís short time better. This shows me that I can, as well. Instead of focusing on how disgruntled I am or how painful life has been, if I center my life on making others happy, then nothing can truly be awful.
The first disc of Lost Odyssey has shown me how thankful I should be for my mortality. I still have enough sense left to realize even sadness. Without an eternal clock constantly losing precious seconds, I wouldnít even be able to muster up ambivalence, let alone any strong emotions.
As I continue my journey with Kaim, hopefully uncovering his past will help me move on from the darkness in my own. No matter what Kaim has done, his present being is still righteous. I would consider myself the same way, as well.
I was a bit busy at SGC this weekend. Not intent to sit on my ass and enjoy everything, I got some interviews about upcoming games! These were posted to a site I'm contributing to, Gamer's Association.
Since they deal with upcoming games, though, I figured I'd post them here as well. You guys are more than welcome to check out Gamer's Association. We'd appreciate some more views.
The first interview is with Cassie Chui. She is a level designer for Electronic Super Joy. I really enjoyed my time with the game and even handed some cash over to her for her hard work.
When I saw Craig, I knew I had to chat about the upcoming AVGN Adventures. I like that he gave me a sneak peek of things to come, as well.
All in all, this SGC was definitely a lot better than the previous years. Getting indie devs to come down and showcase their works was a fantastic idea. If this becomes a recurring thing for Screwattack, I'll gladly attend every convention they host.