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About madbuk

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  1. Progress Update: #465 - Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Out of all the games in the XIII trilogy, this was the one I had the lowest expectations for and also simultaneously the most interest in. It just seemed so different, which if nothing else can at least result in an interesting experience even if it is bad. The time mechanics were the most off-putting aspects at first glance, but having now played it... I kind of liked it? Every NPC acting on a schedule and things showing up within certain timeframes is something that's not very original in gaming but the added layer of an actual time limit in this made it all the more pressing that you showed up on time for these things instead of procrastinating on them for a few in-game days until you feel like it. I don't enjoy the stress of min-maxing schedules, so I used a guide for this just like I do for Persona games, so I can hardly say I got the "full experience", but I still appreciate what they were going for and commend it for how different and unique it felt despite being the third game in a trilogy (which itself is only 3 games in a massive franchise) - as someone with no particularly strong feelings towards Final Fantasy, the evolution of the XIII trilogy has been interesting to behold and I've really enjoyed how different each game in the trilogy has managed to feel, not only from a story perspective but also from a gameplay perspective as well. It has been one of my favourite aspects of the trilogy really. Another thing I appreciate about this game is the way it made fighting optional. You don't get XP, and it's much easier to run from fights than XIII-2 and especially XIII. It may sound odd, since this is a JRPG and thus combat should probably be one of the main attractions, but... sometimes you just want to focus on the quest you're doing, and fighting everything you encounter can really pad the playtime, something the first XIII was very guilty of. That doesn't mean fighting was pointless - you get drops (necessary for quests), gil, and a resource called EP which can be used on various powerful abilities (for both inside and outside of combat scenarios), but it definitely didn't feel like each missed fight was making me more underpowered. I also liked this new combat system a lot, it retains the XIII auto-battle DNA whilst also offering a lot of freedom, even moreso than the paradigm systems of prior games because you can fully customize which abilities are available in which "paradigms" of this game, which can lead to some pretty in-depth strategizing as you try and match up the abilities you want to use with the passive benefits of the new paradigm system. Honestly the biggest setback of the gameplay for me is purely cosmetic based, considering I heavily mitigated the scheduling with a guide so that didn't bother me at all - this game has a heavy emphasis on outfits, to the point where each outfit has its own gameplay benefit and use. The problem lies in that some of the outfits are... not that great to look at, one of the ones I liked using was an outfit called Dragon's Blood, but it's also arguably "fanservice"ly designed, which usually just disgusts me. It wasn't terrible, certainly better than a lot of JRPG costuming can get, but you'd think with a game that ties stats to its outfits they'd at least let you transmog it so that outfit A looks like outfit B but still has the stats/abilities of outfit A. Plot wise... probably the weakest of the trilogy. Which is a shame because the core concept of it is very interesting, and the ovearcing narrative has its moments, but most of the main quests just weren't engaging at all and the sidequests even less so, they're certainly not Yakuza substory-tier, they're more on par with generic NPC western RPG quests. There are a couple memorable standouts, but most of them are just forgettable filler. Overall I enjoyed this game, more than the first XIII but arguably not as much as XIII-2, but it's a close call. The trilogy as a whole isn't anything amazing, but it's better than I expect Final Fantasy to be and I'm glad I took the time to play them all.
  2. #465 - Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

    1. MidnightDragon
    2. ihadalifeb4this
    3. charxsetsuna


      Congrats,  final fantasy plats are no small 


  3. It could quite easily be considered a commentary on capitalism, how Pac-Man is the sole person consuming all the wealth in the maze whilst eating the poor ghosts in the process. And the ghosts respawn and he does it again, the rich continues to get richer by preying on those beneath him and only he is able to collect any of it at all.
  4. Videogames always have been and always will be political, this isn't a new thing. Pac-Man released in 1980, 42 years ago now, and has political themes, and I'm sure you could trace them back even further. Just like books, movies, music, and art are political as well. A person's or group's views will always bleed into their creative work whether intentionally or not, because a lot of creativity is driven by beliefs.
  5. Progress Update: #464 - 3D Dot Game Heroes Another game on the PS3 backlog finally completed. This was almost a contender for the slowest completion I've ever gotten (8 years, 4 months), but it falls just short of Gran Turismo 5 (8 years, 6 months). Which was quite surprising to see, it really doesn't feel like it has been that long since I first began this. It's also the final physical PS3 game I own that I hadn't completed, so from now on my backlog (for PS3, at least) is entirely digital. Backlog details aside, as for the actual game itself... disappointing really. Zelda has always been very hit or miss for me, I absolutely adore Ocarina of Time and like aspects of the other games too, but I always stop playing before finishing any of them (apart from OoT, which I have played to completion multiple times). This game definitely falls short of Zelda in general though - the way the game ties all your weapon upgrades to being at full health is pretty dumb, it means as soon as you get hit, the game becomes miserable to play because your sword no longer has pierce (which is practically essential in some dungeon rooms), is extremely short, and deals far less damage. The lower damage input isn't so bad, but the other aspects are just annoying for the sake of being annoying. It actually made the difficulty where you die in one hit one of the most fun parts of the experience, because at least your sword is always at full power there. A big part of any Zelda game is the exploration - finding items, heart pieces, magic upgrades, etc., and 3DDGH is no different, but where 3DDGH fails with this that Zelda doesn't is the world is often pretty annoying to navigate, and isn't very fun to explore when you're in your weakened not-full-health state because certain enemies feel designed for you to have the max potential of your swords available. And sure, just don't get hit lol, but it's just tedious to deal with if you do get hit and as a result I never really enjoyed the exploration aspect. Another thing in this game that is different to the Zelda games I've played is that there are a lot of missable events, some with very short availability windows. This also kinda discouraged guideless exploration for me, because if I couldn't max everything and get a "perfect" save naturally due to the sheer number of missables, why do any of it at all? That's one of my favourite aspects of Zelda, finding all the heart pieces and maxing out your health meter. The minigames are also pretty terrible, due to the hitboxes being pretty bad (a problem the entire game exhibits but is exceptionally noticeable in the minigames) and due to the stiff controls despite requiring extreme accuracy. The requirements did get nerfed in a patch... but we never received that patch in EU, so I had to suffer with the original requirements instead. I can't say it's a terrible game - the dungeon design is pretty good, which is perhaps the most important part of a Zelda game - but it just wasn't fun to be so underpowered most of the time with not much you can really do about it unless you're willing to waste your red potions and heal immediately after getting hit. Definitely doesn't come anywhere close to something like OoT.
  6. #464 - 3D Dot Game Heroes

    1. DrBloodmoney


      Nice work 👍


      A hell of a game! 

    2. MidnightDragon
  7. Progress Update: #463 - Final Fantasy XIII-2 After playing Final Fantasy XIII and being... pretty underwhelmed, I wasn't sure what to expect from this really. XIII wasn't bad - I liked it more than VII and X - but the story was quite generic, the characters were mostly forgettable, and the backtracking was horrendous. A solid 5 or 6/10. I had heard that this one had much less backtracking involved and was a more streamlined experience, which appealed, so I decided to give it a try despite my lackluster reception of the first game. I'm glad I did, it might be my new favourite FF (it's either this or Type-0, but I played T-0 so long ago now idk how trustworthy my memories of it really are) although it still didn't strike me as anything particularly special. I liked that the game focused on two main characters - a lot of this was very reminiscent of Trails in the Sky, and I've raved enough about that franchise in this thread already so I shall refrain from turning this into another Trails shilling post. The most I'll say is I don't think this game quite achieves the same heights that Sky managed to. There were some subtle changes to gameplay in this that were pretty nice - paradigm shifting no longer being a gameplay-interrupting cutscene is much appreciated for example - but also introduced some not so nice things as well (Pokemon? Really? Why?) Overall I'd say it was a noticeable improvement compared to XIII. It's also a much prettier game graphically than XIII was, which is impressive since XIII was already gorgeous. The OST is better too overall I'd say. As far as the story is concerned, I was not expecting this game to be anything even close to what it was after playing XIII. The complete shift in narrative was honestly pretty nifty, caught me off guard quite well. Makes me interested in seeing what Lightning Returns will do, because I have no idea. I definitely intend to play it in the future because this game rekindled some speck of hope in this series, but will I play any others (besides X, because I already started that) after Lightning Returns? ...Doubtful. I think I'm probably going to call it quits after this trilogy, end on a high note because if the other FF's I've played have taught me anything, it's that it's probably not a series I'm going to enjoy most of the time lol.
  8. #463 - Final Fantasy XIII-2

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. madbuk


      @Beyondthegrave07 Definitely better. Still wasnt exactly blown away, but there were so many improvements in this, from things as minor as animations (i.e paradigm shifting) to things as major as the plot actually being somewhat interesting this time.


      Did a full writeup here 

      but yeah the tldr is it’s probably my favourite FF so far

    3. The Arizona Ranger
    4. ihadalifeb4this
  9. Progress Update: #462 - Shadow of the Colossus After playing and loving ICO, this game was a big disappointment to me. There's the foundations for greatness here for sure, but overall it just feels like wasted potential. The empty, barren open world at first was repetitive to traverse through every time you defeated a colossus, but I eventually began appreciating it because it does set the tone and atmosphere of the game very well. It's a shame, then, that the game sabotages that barren wasteland feel by inserting 200 or so collectibles to gather up, that don't even really do anything to help you. On the PS4 version you can apparently ignore them completely, I didn't have that luxury since this is the PS3 version, but even so... why even have them? It's just so unnecessary. As for the colossi themselves, I went into this with the expectations I was about to play a platforming game where you climb up giant beasts to try and find their weak spots to ultimately take them down. The first colossus, and to an extent the second one, reinforced this belief before it quickly devolved into obscure - and occasionally nonsense - environmental puzzles instead that weren't as fun. #11 for example tasks you with getting the colossus to ram into a brazier, which then, for no apparent reason, causes a wooden stick to spawn in the level that you can then pick up and light on fire to scare it. But there is absolutely 0 indications or hints for any of this, and I will be eternally wondering where on earth that stick came from. As for the actual act of climbing the colossi, that in itself brought its own frustrations with how a lot of colossi just would not stop shaking whatsoever, so you'd grab onto them and have control completely taken away from you for so long that your stamina has ran out and you've fallen off. The shaking was just anti-fun, and apparently dialed down a lot in the PS4 remake, and made fighting these things a chore a lot of the time. This definitely didn't even come close to ICO for me at all, and I don't plan on ever playing the remake (despite owning it via PS+), but it's not all bad. There's a solid blueprint here and it was an interesting and fresh idea, just executed very poorly. And I'd rather have that than a game that is bad and generic.
  10. #462 - Shadow of the Colossus

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. nestamar5


      Nice! SOTC has a fantastic soundtrack.

    3. Gommes_


      Awesome! And it was even on the PS3, which is significantly harder.

    4. ihadalifeb4this
  11. Progress Update: #461 - Final Fantasy XIII I have finally conquered another of the Final Fantasy games that has been sat on my profile unfinished for years. It's a shame that this game falls so short since it seemed so promising at first glance - I honestly wish that it truly was the hallway simulator that everyone made it out to be, because it gets significantly worse once you reach the open world-esque portion of the game. The story and characters are pretty bland as I have come to expect from FF games, with the only real standouts being Lightning and Fang. And even they weren't that special either tbh. The combat was alright - I like it more than VII's and I think I like it more than X's too. The Crystarium was much better than X's overcomplicated and overly grindy sphere grid - in this, all you have to do is beat enemies, get CP, and advance through the nodes. No praying for RNG drops to let you level up like X has you do. The game is also very pretty, especially considering how early in the PS3's lifespan it was released. What ultimately killed the game for me was the absolutely dire running speed and backtracking involved in doing everything the plat requires. You have mission stones scattered all across the world, with fast travel options being frustratingly limited that makes getting to each one a chore as you run at 1mph through corridors that have enemies blocking your way that you're forced to fight. And then you run back through that corridor again, and again, and again, with the enemies back in your way each time. It's way too tedious - especially after having played 5 Trails games and gotten used to having a turbo mode for travelling with. It's hard going back after that. I hear XIII-2 is more linear with less boring backtracking involved, and that sounds more to my tastes so I'm still interested in giving it a try, especially since I already own it. That won't be any time soon though.
  12. #461 - Final Fantasy XIII

  13. 100% - Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones

  14. Progress Update: #460 - Arcania Well I did have a post about this but as I pressed the submit button, everything got wiped. Cba to type everything out again, but long story short is this was a mediocre game I got at a very cheap price that ended up being strangely enjoyable to play despite its mediocrity. I appreciated the linearity, because that's partly why I enjoy JRPGs more often than WRPGs, and I appreciated the unlimited inventory too. Combat was janky and hitboxes were questionable a lot of the time, but it did its job well enough. The leveling system and skill tree were basic but serviceable. I know nothing about the story due to a bug that auto-skipped every cutscene for some reason, and the environments were nice and diverse. They look like PS2 era environments (maybe that's being generous actually), but that didn't matter to me tbh.