Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Finally Fantasy (III) is Complete!

Victorious (Ignus usually looks like that after a boss battle)

I wanted to finish Final Fantasy III before the end of the year and I got it in just under the wire.  My drive to power through the rest of the game and wrap it up was because I was stuck for such a long time.  The last 20% of this game took me months and months simply because I didn't want to spend time grinding levels.

I would not recommend Final Fantasy III to other people.  It's the most grindy Final Fantasy game that I've played so far, and I've played most of them at one point or another.  FFIII was most definitely a slog, especially toward the end.  I'm not a fan of games that have mandatory level grinding to finish the game and unfortunately this falls into that category.

It wasn't a horrible game by any means, it just wasn't nearly as good as the other entries in the Final Fantasy series that I've played.  It had a more fleshed out story and better characters than FFI and FFII which is nice to see.  I also enjoyed the remastered 3D graphics which were a nice change of pace from the 2D sprites of the last two games.

It's been interesting to see the emergence of Final Fantasy staples over the course of the first three games.  Jobs finally made an appearance in FFIII and I had a lot of fun playing around with my party composition.  It's not as refined as some of the later job systems, but it gets the job done (pun by accident, sorry).

I don't know what else to say about this one.  I'm glad it's done.  I might take another break before diving into Final Fantasy IV.  From everything I've read it has a much better story than any of the first three games, but I dread the potential grind of a new title.  After this one, I definitely need a game with minimal or no grinding to keep me interested.

Total Completion Time: ~24hrs (over the course of 18 months)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Little Strategy in Your Handheld

I've been playing a lot of games for my 3DS.  Right now I'm playing through Fire Emblem: Awakening and enjoying it a ton.

The older I get the more I move away from real time strategy games and start to appreciate the turn-based format.  It's not that my reflexes are bad, I'm only 26, but I just don't have time to devote to getting really good at execution in games.  I'm usually playing less than an hour each night and I'm lucky if that is one uninterrupted block of time.

For me, right now, Fire Emblem: Awakening is perfect.  It's a turn based strategy with interesting mechanics that I can suspend at any time.  I constantly have it near me since my 3DS is almost always close by.  It's great to be able to take a turn and then put it down to come back to later.  Even if I know I only have 5 minutes I still get to make some progress and stretch my mind with some strategy.

It's more character driven than most turn-based RPGs I've played.  If you're a fan of character growth and interaction it will be right up your alley.  Some great character development and customization ties the whole game together.

I've recommended it to everyone that I know who owns a 3DS.  If you have one you should definitely look into it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Constant Companion

I've mostly been gaming during my lunch hour or once my kids are in bed at night.  When I finally get a few free minutes to play a game I almost always turn to my 3DS.  It travels everywhere with me just in case I get an opportunity to bust it out for 5 minutes and play.

It's really an awesome system.  The 3D effect is cool, but not required.  It has a great lineup of games that's constantly growing.  It has support for digital purchases.  It's finally a Nintendo console with decent online play.  It's easy to carry around.  But most importantly, it's fun!

I've had a blast with Mario Kart 7, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Paper Mario Sticker Star, Donkey Kong Country Returns, New Super Mario Bros 2, and Super Mario 3D Land, Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

Not to mention all the fantastic eShop and Virtual Console games I've been playing.  Nintendo has a lot to offer.

They're even catering to our nostalgic impulses.  I had a few weeks where all I played were the two Legend of Zelda Oracle games that intertwine.  They're amazing entries in the Zelda franchise and I had never finished them before.  I picked them up together for about $10 for Virtual Console and loved every minute of them.

The more they expand the lineup of new releases and nostalgic games the more I love the system.  With Pokemon X/Y, Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Mario Party: Island Tour, and Smash Brothers 3DS all around the corner I'm excited to see how well the system does this holiday season.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hearthstone May Be a CCG for Me

There's a wave of hype building for Blizzard's new digital CCG, Hearthstone.  It's winning me over.  It's strange since I'm not normally a CCG guy, but I think this one could be for me.

I've dabbled in various card games over the years.  I've used other people's decks and played a little bit of Magic the Gathering and the Pokemon card game.  I got seriously into the Game of Thrones Living Card game for about a year.  It helped that one of my friends owned every single card from that game.  I also picked up a starter kit for the Netrunner Living Card Game and loved the ideas in it, I just didn't have anyone to play it with consistently.

So that's where I'm coming from.  A little of bit CCG and LCG knowledge paired with one year of fairly intense play (and a tournament) for the Game of Thrones LCG.

Why does Hearthstone appeal to me so much?  Well, it's the first digital card game created by a proven AAA video game design company.  I know that it will be super polished.  That's what Blizzard does.  A simple look at the UI already shows how much effort they're putting into this game.

They're doing things you can't do with a physical card game.  Persistent health is a really cool concept that doesn't translate to physical cards.  Digitally, you can easily add and subtract health to a card and have it appear directly on the card.  Not only that, but you can send a creature back to an opponent's hand with a negative effect still on it.  They're just scratching the surface of the unique things a digital card game offers, but I can't wait to see more.

It looks like a solid CCG.  From what I've seen it looks like a well developed game.  The creators obviously know their stuff when it comes to card games and it shows.

I can't wait to get my hands on Hearthstone.  It's always best to get in on the ground floor of a CCG or LCG.  It's when everyone else is still learning and their isn't a huge backlog of cards to pick up.  If you're interested in CCGs this will be one you should try out at launch.

If I get a beta key I'll definitely be writing more about it.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gone Dark

It's been a busy year.  I haven't written on here in about nine months, and I feel pretty bad about that.  Sometimes you just have to drop things to free up time for others.  In my case, I have 2 little kids, I moved my family, and I've been teaching myself the programing languages in a typical web stack (HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, MySQL).  My time is essentially accounted for with all of this on top of my full-time job.

I'm finally starting to feel the stress and the crazyness let up, so I'm hoping to write more.  If all goes well, you should see more posts here soon.

The last nine months have been busy but I have found time to play games.  I just haven't had time to write about them.

Steam and Nintendo have been my companions when I can find free time, all of my gaming has been taking place on PC and my 3DS.  My (fifth) Xbox 360 died a few months ago and I didn't feel like replacing it again.  I can basically play everything I want to play on PC through Steam for cheaper, so what's the point of re-buying yet another 360?  My 360 was used 99% of the time as a media streaming device so I ended up replacing it with a Roku which turned out to be a fantastic idea.

I just touched on a ton of topics which I can (hopefully) flesh out in later posts.  Sorry for my long absence.

I'm back!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I always like to feel like I'm making progress in life.  It's not just my career or family life, this extends into my hobbies as well.  I always have multiple things that I'm working my way through.

Generally, I have a game I'm playing, a TV show that I'm watching, a book that I'm reading, and a skill that I'm learning.  At any given time in the past 10 or so years I guarantee that I could name all four of those thing for you at the drop of a hat.  Every night I make some progress on one of those things.

Even when I have a "lazy day" I know that one of those will move along a little bit.  Does anyone else find themselves in the same mindset?  I find that I literally can't sit in front of a TV and just watch random stuff all day.  I feel like I'm not making progress on anything that counts and it drives me crazy.

Right now I'm finishing up watching Game of Thrones Season 1 again.  I'm in the middle of reading A Clash of Kings (Song of Ice and Fire Book 2).  I'm playing through both Final Fantasy III and Dishonored, depending on my mood.  And I'm learning Javascript with the help of a book and a fantastic website called Code Academy.

What type of things do you make progress on when you have free time?