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About
I play video games and they are pretty cool I guess. Unhealthy obsession with Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and The Legend of Zelda. I will annoy you by talking about these things in excess.
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Xbox LIVE:Paradox me
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Hi there. You may know me as that guy you don't know, or as an argumentative jerk in the front page comments that annoys the crap out of you. Everyone else seems to be doing one of these, so I thought I'd give it a try. Better late than never (or not).

I have long, pretty red hair


Exactly like this, but red.


Your concept of masculinity is stupid. Men deserve to wear long, flowing locks just as much as women, and I do. I go to great lengths and spend more money than I probably should to ensure that it's silky and well taken care of, because there's no excuse for walking around with a bird's nest on your head. As sad as it may be, I put more effort into it than any other aspect of my person.

I don't drink



I'm not sure why, but it's a decision I made way back in high school. No, I don't think I'm better than you (stop asking, geez), and if you can handle your shit then I really don't care what you do. Except drugs. Just thinking about that stuff makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

Considering my diet, lack of exercise and certain health issues, no alcohol has probably done me a world of good.

Anxiety's a bitch



This and depression seem to be pretty common among Dtoiders, judging by others' blogs, and they're every bit as horrible as they've previously been described. I'm lucky in that my anxiety hasn't kept me from enjoying life, although it takes every opportunity to try. Everyday things that most people do without thinking have proven to be hurdles. I'm worried about looking silly while mowing the lawn, pumping gas, checking out at a store, etc., and it kept me from getting my driver's license until I was 22.

When it comes to talking face-to-face, I can usually get by looking something like a normal, well-adjusted person. Formal situations are where I run into trouble—job interviews and professional settings are an absolute nightmare. Phone calls, video/voice chat and so on are also difficult. I've always said that I didn't like multiplayer gaming, but I'm just too nervous to join games and talk and play with people.

On the whole, I think I hide it well. Most people would never know, and those that do haven't said anything.

I would like to be an animator..



..but I have no plans to pursue that dream. I was okay at art when I was younger, but it's not a skill that's improved with age. No amount of practice has ever shown any real improvement and I'm reaching a point where I have to find something realistic to fall back on. Nursing is looking more and more like that thing, but I'll always have an immense appreciation for animation, even if I won't be the next Osamu Tezuka, Hayao Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon or Walt Disney.

I burnt a hole in our floor trying to make pancakes



I was home alone while my parents and brother were out shopping. It was around supper time and I was getting hungry, so I decided I'd make myself some pancakes. I wasn't completely sure how to make pancakes. After mixing what was in my mind batter, I poured it all into a big pan that was on the highest heat setting. It quickly formed something that was in no way a pancake and started smoking, so I panicked, went to throw it away and toss the pan in the sink. However, the sink was full, and in a moment of genius I just set the pan on the carpeted floor, which instantly melted through to the hardwood floor and burnt it. After a call telling me that they'd be home soon, I took a rug from another room and put it over the hole. Playing it off like nothing happened, my parents quickly realized that there had never been a rug in that spot in the 50 years our family owned the house. They had tile installed that Summer.

There is often a cat in my ceiling


Actual cat in ceiling.

I don't know what he does up there.

I love baseball, but neither play nor watch it



I'm not a sports person. I've never really watched sports, only casually played basketball growing up and go golfing with my dad and brother once or twice a year. Otherwise, I just don't really care about any of it.

Baseball is the exception. Something about the game itself, its history and the people who have played it just speaks to me. I realized this much too late for Little League, and watching any sport on TV bores me to tears. Going to games is the only way I'd care to experience MLB, and that's not an option for me. That just leaves baseball movies, which lend themselves perfectly to my romanticized view of the game.

Mega Man Legends 2 is my best gaming find so far



I found it at a local shop for $12 a while back, and I guess it goes for around $100 now. That shop went out of business not too long ago. Coincidence?

I once had a promising future as a mangaka



I was obsessed with Hamtaro back when it first aired on Cartoon Network. At one point I convinced myself that I could make a successful comic book by tracing Hamtaro art and writing my own dialogue.

I couldn't think of a 10th thing
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A few things before we begin:

No, the seventh generation isn't over just yet. Despite the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One, 2014 will still see a number of high profile releases such as Tales of Xillia 2, Lightning Returns, Persona 5 and Drakengard 3. Due to boredom and a desire to gush about the things I like, I'm jumping the gun. Preemptive Strike, get it?

I'm defining the generation by platform rather than release dates or the power of said platforms. PS2 is sixth generation, 3DS and Vita are eighth. This excludes a couple of great games from the running, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

Without further ado, these are my favorite JRPGs on the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS and PSP.



10. Final Fantasy XIII/XIII-2



If you're still reading, congratulations on keeping an open mind! I like you. Unless you're plotting against me and/or writing nasty things in the comments.

Listing two games in the same place feels a bit like cheating, but I like them both equally for different reasons. Where the original was linear to a fault and slow to open up, XIII-2 gave players access to its core mechanics in a more timely fashion while also attempting to address complaints of linearity with larger areas, side quests, monster taming and alternate endings. These changes, along with several refinements to combat/Paradigm Shift, made for a more enjoyable gameplay experience.

At the same time, you no longer had a full cast of playable characters, and the overall tone of the game wasn't that of your typical RPG adventure, which despite the original's less-than-stellar storytelling was a feeling that I thought it captured quite well. If only by visual cues alone, XIII's journey felt grand.

Both games were absolutely gorgeous, with XIII perhaps being the nicest looking game of this entire generation thanks to both its art direction and technical achievement. Hamauzu's score for the original was also extremely well done, handily earning its place in the series alongside Uematsu's fabled work.

They're flawed games that weren't at all what I was expecting of Final Fantasy—and as disappointing as they were unexpected—and yet I still enjoyed them a great deal.


9. Valkyria Chronicles



A distinctive watercolor art style, an emotional story with a large cast of likable characters and gameplay unlike any strategy game I've ever played (granted, I don't play many strategy games), it's hard to imagine not liking Valkyria Chronicles. Despite some easily abused orders and classes, I still found it to provide a satisfying challenge without ever feeling like a chore. It's one of this generation's most pleasant surprises, and while its sequels aren't bad by any stretch of the imagination, the handling of this IP will also be one of the generation's biggest disappointments.


8. Blue Dragon



There isn't too much for me to say about this one. I'm a sucker for Akira Toriyama's art and it was really neat seeing it come to life in HD for the first time. A lovely score by Uematsu accompanied what was a pretty swell traditional JRPG, with my only real complaint being some pretty awful screen tearing. Not on the same level as Mistwalker's next game (more on that later), but pretty darn good in its own right.


7. Tales of Vesperia



I've never had a particularly strong attachment to the Tales series. Phantasia, Destiny, Eternia, Symphonia and Abyss were certainly good games, but they've never grabbed me the way their competition—both large and small—managed to in their respective generations. That is, until Vesperia came along.

Besides there being a metric ton of content (much of which I've yet to do), it boasts some of the finest cel-shading I've ever seen, what was the best Tales combat system yet and easily one of my favorite JRPG protagonists ever. The plot drags on a bit as they often do, but it was still quite epic. As far as I'm concerned, Vesperia reached heights that the series has fallen woefully short of ever since. I don't speak of it often as it's a tired subject, but I would pay obscene amounts of money for Vesperia PS3 in English on either PS3, PS4 and/or Vita.


6. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch




Studio Ghibli + RPG, what could go wrong? Lots of things, really. Luckily, nearly everything went horribly right with this charming collaboration. I say nearly, because the combat is sort of a mess. Poor party AI and some pathfinding issues are a drag on what could have been a truly excellent combat system. It's serviceable, however, and the rest of the game more than makes up for its shortcomings.

The art direction in general is lovely, while Ghibli's admittedly sparse animations are a real treat. Short but sweet, they almost felt like rewards for reaching in-game milestones, like how I saw the CG cutscenes in certain PSone RPGs. The story's simplicity was refreshing, as was Oliver's character.

This is possibly Level-5's best original RPG yet.


5. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies




There's one series that I look to when I want a quality, old school JRPG, and that's Dragon Quest. "But DQIX has multiplayer now, it's ruined!" you may be screaming, and I can't say that I agree.

Sure, there's multiplayer, but nearly everything that I've come to enjoy from Dragon Quest is still intact; a party of blank slates didn't have any real impact on my enjoyment of the game, although I would have preferred a pre-defined cast. The art direction shines, making it one of the few truly good looking 3D games on the DS and character models displaying your equipment was a great addition.

All in all, Dragon Quest IX is probably my second or third favorite in the series.


4. The Last Remnant




i.e. the most criminally overlooked game Square's made this generation.

Okay, so the Xbox 360 version had its fair share of technical issues, the PS3 version never surfaced and people don't usually look to PC for JRPGs, but this is still one of the most interesting JRPGs this generation, and an honest attempt by Square at trying something new.

Combat is turn-based, but instead of controlling single characters in a party you've got multiple 'unions' made up of up to five characters battling opposing unions. This makes battles feel much larger in scale than your typical JRPG. There are a ton of side quests, the story is solid (although the main character is sort of a doofus) and the game looks really sharp on PC, in addition to running much better than its 360 counterpart.

It's not only a great game in its own right, but also exactly what I wanna see more of from Square.


3. Radiant Historia




Ask anyone what their favorite Atlus game is and you'll likely hear one of two things: Shin Megami Tensei (proper) or Persona. Fine choices, and obvious ones seeing as they're flagship franchises. I'm of a significantly less popular persuasion, adamant that Radiant Historia is the best thing Atlus has ever made.

Blasphemy!, you're shouting at your monitor. Maybe. However, a traditional band of adventurers appeals to me more than a group of high school students ever could, as will a fantasy setting over modern Japan. It certainly helps that Stocke's crew are a genuinely likable bunch, that manipulating both enemy positions and turn order is a nice spin on an otherwise straightforward turn-based combat system, and that the game has one of the most interesting implementations of time travel I've seen in a game. Oh, and it has an absolutely brilliant score by the equally brilliant Yoko Shimomura.

Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself here, but I deem the game worthy of favorable comparisons to Chrono Trigger for its subject matter. Had it released two decades ago, I think we'd be have a beloved classic on our hands.


2. Xenoblade Chronicles




Ever since Final Fantasy XII, I've been waiting for another developer to tackle a game of that scale―a JRPG with an expansive, unique world to explore. Monolith heard my prayers and delivered what is perhaps the most mesmerizing game world I've ever seen.

It isn't just large though. Not only is the setting itself unique (living on a giant?), but the individual areas that make up this world are varied, unlike so many other open world games. Dense jungles, a snowy mountain, massive plains and a sea with islands floating overhead, each with its own identifying structures and geography. No copy/pasted terrain here.

Just as breathtaking was the game's score, which was composed by a group that I wasn't at all familiar with. Yoko Shimomura and Yasunori Mitsuda contributed for a couple of tracks, but the bulk of what is probably the second best OST of the last decade was done by people I'd never heard of before.

The insane amount of side quests were repetitive, but you really didn't have to do most of 'em, and the game was plenty long to begin with. Combat, while nothing revolutionary, was solid, and each character had an interesting play style. I thought the affinity system was pretty neat as well, especially the heart-to-heart scenes.

It's hard to believe that we almost missed a game this good. It's one of two JRPGs this generation that I'd include in an all-time 'greats' list. The other is...


1. Lost Odyssey




This is it. This is my―y'know what, let's drop the J―this is my RPG of the generation. This game has filled me with so many feels. I liked what Mistwalker was doing with Blue Dragon, but they worked some magic here and just knocked it out of the park.

Between the classic turn-based combat, the premise of immortals and the many lives they've lived, the incredibly well written "A Thousand Years of Dreams" sequences and another classic score by Uematsu, no other RPG has left this sort of impression on me in years. Everything comes together in such a way that, in my opinion, demands a place alongside the genre's greats, and earns it.

I could go on, but I think I've talked enough. Instead, I'll leave you with some honorable mentions.

Nier - Unremarkable but solid gameplay, too much recycled content. Its story and incredible OST nearly make up for these shortcomings. Seriously, this is the greatest OST of the last 10 years.

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together - I wasn't sure about including remakes, although if I did this would certainly be near the top.

Persona 2: Innocent Sin - Again, a remake. My preferred vision for Persona; an interesting cast minus all of the repetition that Social Links bring, demon negotiations ŕ la SMT proper, no randomly generated, all encompassing dungeons and, most importantly, no awful calendar system.

Anywho, thanks for reading my first blog post. Hopefully it sucks less than I think it does.
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