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Kishinfoulux's blog

12:23 PM on 01.25.2010

Final Fantasy VII had the greatest opening of all time...OF ALL TIME!!!

Well okay maybe not but it's damn near one of my personal favorites. There's just something incredibly special about the way this game kicks off. The way it throws you right into the thick of things. It all begins simple enough, with a view of the stars and the camera panning around. It begins to slowly descend and the stars and sky fade to reveal green lights and a flower girl. The music creeps in and begins a slow buildup. The flower girl walks down a dark alley to arrive at the street. Vehicles of the futuristic variety drive past and several civilians are seen throughout. The camera slowly pulls backwards and upwards, the music still building. Farther and farther back it goes revealing a grand view of Midgar. Mako Reactors and the Shinra Building are seen clearly. The music kicks in and the title is revealed..."Final Fantasy VII".

I'll never forget how in awe I was when I witnessed that spectacle. It was just so wondrous and magical. At this point I'm soaking it all in and preparing myself for the hero to wake up in a town somewhere like most RPG's tend to do. Things will start off slow and than slowly begin to build from there. This wasn't one of those games.

As the epic score continues to blare, the scene rapidly cuts between the gorgeous view of Midgar and a high speed train. As it does this, the camera begins to zoom in more and more, following the train to its apparent destination. The train comes to a complete halt and two guards are stationed at the stop. The music picks up the tempo and you just know something is about to go down. The way the game seamlessly went from FMV into actual gameplay was absolutely mind blowing to me.

My mind is trying to process all these amazing things I'm witnessing, while two individuals emerge from the train and proceed to handily dispatch the guards. Two more people join the fray and one of them calls to someone. A certain spikey haired protagonist somersaults, one handed, over the train to land gracefully on the platform below. Everyone heads towards the buildings entrance, but the main character is met by two more guards. You enter battle for the very first time and you realize that Final Fantasy VII has officially begun.

I can't say many other games have captured me right off the bat like this one did. I mean your main character is working with what is, essentially, a terrorist cell that plans on blowing up a Mako Reactor. You actually succeed in doing so and when it's all said and done you just realize you've played one of the greatest openings of all time. No amnesia (well not til later anyways), no child of destiny, no waking up in your room in a quiet village...none of that. You are Cloud, a mercenary, and you go and perform a terrorist act to oppose a corrupt corporation. Maybe you guys are doing the right thing, or perhaps you're not. All that matters is that this was the starting point for one of the greatest games of all time.

I'll see you in the funny papers.

Kishin out.

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1:02 PM on 01.22.2010

Easy Does It

People play video games for varying reasons. Some like to challenge themselves. They covet being the best and squaring off against the very best competition possible or crave that high score on the leaderboards. They love that intense rush of their skills being pushed to the absolute max. These people purchase a new game and immediately shoot straight for the hardest difficult level that's available. Easy/Normal difficulty? Pffffft...doesn't apply here. Dante Must Die or bust.

I'm not this type of gamer. If anything I'm the exact opposite. I like to relax and just kick back when it's game time. I don't want to endure severe frustration, or kicking holes in my wall. I just want to sit on my chair, lean back a little, and set the experience to cruise control. I'll pretty much always play on the easiest difficulty settings, no matter what the genre. As a result I'm not a very good gamer, in terms of skill. It's never been about that for me though. Just give me a fun time and I'll be happy. I mean work and life in general is a pain in the ass enough right? Why would I want my games to torture me too?

I'll never be as extreme as this guy.

Final Fantasy XIII gave me the idea for this blog somewhat. I was watching a preview video of it and it was mentioned that if you are vanquished in battle, instead of warping back to your last save point, you actually start right in front of the very enemy that last bested you. Personally I kind of dig this. It saves you a lot of trouble and keeps the pace of the game going, by eliminating the need to go redo areas that you ran through previously. Does it make the game easy? Sure seems like it. It also takes out a bit of frustration though. I've seen mixed reactions from people about this idea. In some ways it reminds of the whole "No Death" mechanic in Prince of Persia 2008. That game seemed to cause quite a stir, with the fact that you couldn't really die. In reality the game acknowledges that you screwed up but instead of making you sit through a "Game Over" screen and go back to the title screen it just kept on going. I enjoyed this system. Many, it seems, did not.

The main complaint of Prince of Persia 2008 was that it was too easy and that just turned a lot of people off to it. Why would you want to be punished for misjudging a leap of faith and plummeting to your doom? You took a chance, didn't make it, and so the game brings you back to the point of your last leap. No harm done right? This feature made me enjoy the game immensely. It kept things rolling, even if I missed a ledge, and it encouraged me to experiment a bit and take more chances. I guess some people would've preferred if the game made you sit through a bunch of menus after you die to get back into the game. Why? I have no damn clue.

I'm totally gonna respawn right in front of you.

Let me just make something clear here. I do not have anything against gamers seeking a challenge. In fact I respect them, in a way, because they are so dedicated and put in the hours to perfect their mastery of their respective games. That is quite commendable. What I DO have a problem with is those very same gamers having an elitist attitude to people like me, who prefer to play something on "Liquid Easy" as opposed to "Big Boss Extreme". I'm fine with you enjoying the game the way you want to enjoy it, so please let me enjoy the game in my own way as well.

It's not like I'll completely shy away from those "difficult" games. Games like Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry, etc. I actually enjoy them. They tend to completely kick my ass, but I still have a grand time with them (when I'm not getting blasted by rockets coming from off screen anyways). Those games are challenging enough to me. Why would I need to ramp up the difficulty level? I have nothing to prove, nor do I seek to challenge myself. I just want to have fun. That is all.

I'll be playing on "Human" Difficulty, thank you very much.

So there you have it. I like my games done easy. I find them more enjoyable that way. Some people don't and prefer a challenge. That's cool too. Just don't hate on me or give me flak for playing something the way I want to play it. I certainly wouldn't do that to you, so please return the courtesy. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go play Uncharted 2 on the easiest setting. But that's not a problem right?

I'll see you in the funny papers.

Kishin out.   read

9:12 PM on 01.20.2010

Why do I let games intimidate me?

First off this is my debut Blog. I really struggled to come up with a topic or idea for this initial entry. Then today it hit me like a shovel to the face. I downloaded both Ikaruga and Braid off of XBLA today and the idea for this blog was born. Throughout my "gaming life" I've had this particular quirk about me. I'll hear about a game and read all the rave reviews and praise. The game will interest me greatly, until I learn of the gameplay mechanics involved or any other complexities. I'll go from a being a bee to honey to a fish fleeing from a shark. For reasons I can't really explain, I've passed up on playing several stellar (or I assume) games because the gameplay elements and/or mechanics intimidate me. They either strike me as too complex or I just feel I won't grasp them properly. No fun can be had if I don't understand the controls right? Might as well just pass the game up than and wait for something a bit simpler. Of course I'd be a complete and utter moron for doing this, and admittedly I have on far too many occasions. There have been a few shining examples, however, where I just took the plunge and gave said game a shot. The results are almost universally positive.

One of my favorite games on the DS and I almost didn't play it out of fear of the battle system.

TWEWY (The World Ends With You) is considered a must have by most DS owners. The game really makes great use of the capabilities the DS possesses. It's got a superb soundtrack, a very interesting plot, and an incredibly fun battle system. Ah yes, the battle system. I read nothing but glowing reviews for this title and the one nagging thing that always stood out to me was just how seemingly intricate and overwhelming the combat in this game appeared to be. I mean how could they expect me to control not one, but TWO characters on TWO separate screens at once? Surely I would not be up to the task. So I let the game slide by. And time passed. A lot of it. Eventually a gaming drought occurred and, long story short, I bravely went out and picked up the game. Upon completing this excellent title I immediately recall myself mentally scolding my mind for not allowing me to pick up this quality title sooner. I won't profess to being some sort of TWEWY master or anything of the sort. Hell I'll be honest, I button mashed that top screen like it was going out of style. That didn't stop me from having a hell of a time with the game though. You see even though I may not have mastered all the in's and out's of the battle system, it turns out that didn't matter nor was it really required of me to enjoy the game.

I thought the clever puzzles would conquer me and almost didn't bother.

As I mentioned earlier I downloaded Braid today. I'm not very far at all, as I've only completed World 2. This is another game that I hear nothing but good things about. The puzzles and time elements scared me off though. I don't consider myself all that intelligent. I just quickly assumed I'd get frustrated with the puzzles and not want to be bothered. No one wants to get frustrated while playing games. I just want to relax and enjoy myself. Once again I must thank my boredom for spurring me into action. What I discovered was a game with a terrific graphical style, great music, and obviously some brain teasing puzzles. Yeah I got stumped. Who cares though? I either just thought about a new solution or asked for advice from someone. I had fun playing and that's all that really matters.

This game kicked my ass...and I still got joy out of it.

Now Ikaruga is a legitimately difficult game, or at least most seem to think so. Especially to new comer to the genre. The wasn't anything fancy scaring me away here. Just over the top difficulty and controller chucking fits of rage. I gave it a shot and yeah the game pretty much crushed me, even on the easiest setting. I still had a damn good time with it though. I know I'll never be a pro at the game, but that's not necessary and maybe that was the exact attitude I had that was preventing me from trying all these games out.

I suppose the point I'm trying to make is that you shouldn't let these things frighten you. You may discover that you pick up things quite easily or that you don't need to learn every minor detail to progress successfully. Just look at the three games above that I would've missed out on if I had let these games intimidation factor scare me out of giving them a chance. You never know what type of amazing experience you could be missing out on. It never hurts to try right?

I'll see you in the funny papers.

Kishin out.   read

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