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    Lightning Returns…But Will I?

    2014 - 03.14

    I love Final Fantasy games. I’ve been playing them since FF7 on the PSone. They always tend to have fun stories, beautiful artwork, and fun gameplay…until now. Final Fantasy 13: Lightning’s Return is FF’s latest installment in the series and the last part of the 13 trilogy. Before it came out, I heard about some of the changes they were going to make. I was hopeful and had a positive outlook on the changes. Then I actually played the game and man was I disappointed.

    Change and experimentation is good. Anyone who’s played a couple FF games knows that each one is a little different. FF13 introduced the ATB system, FF10 had a progression tree, jeez…FF8 even had a system where you collected your powers from the monsters (kind of like Pokemon) My biggest and main gripe with LR is it’s progression system.
    Gaining Experience

    In most FF games the way you get stronger is by simply defeating monsters. The bigger the monster the stronger you get. In LR, that’s not the case. In LR the way you gain experience is by completing side quests and helping people out. It can get pretty tedious sometimes just running around fighting monsters to level up, so this premise sounded pretty good. In actual practice though, it’s not. Usually you’ll be sent to go find something and at times it can be difficult to know where to look next. To make matters worse, certain locations are only available after midnight. Ok that’s fine, I’ll go do another quest in another area. But the monsters in that area are too strong right now. Ok then, I’ll just go to an inn and fast forward time. But the world is coming to an end in a couple of days so you should make the best of your time and do quests(More about that annoyance next). Ok so, I guess um…I’ll just keep running around finding clocks for example. FAIL

    Time Limit

    LR only gives you a couple of days to complete the game. I’m ok with that. It gives the game a sense of urgency. I assumed it would be like Majora’s Mask where you were able to turn back time to complete more quests. I assumed wrong. The days go by and at the end of the final day the world blows up, fades to black, GAME OVER. Now I kind of start to panic. I calm down, okay I’m sure I’ll be able to keep my upgrades and any main quests I’ve completed. Wrong again. I do keep some of my gear but every quest is reset and I have to start over again.

    I don’t mind playing a game again. Actually, I think replayability in a game is important. But come on, I put 30+ hours into it only to have to start over again. Most of those quests weren’t even that fun to begin with. It’s like working on a school assignment for weeks, having your computer crash, attempt to recover it, and only get half of the data back. FAIL

    Second Chance

    The Final Fantasy series’ artwork, music, cut scenes, and battle system are still one of, if not, the best in the genre. But will it be enough to bring me back to LR’s broken gameplay mechanic. I don’t know.

    Favorite Emotional Scene from Game of the Year – The Last Of Us

    2014 - 01.11

    With IGN awarding the game The Last Of Us with game of the year, I figure it’s about time I share with you my top emotional scene from this game.

    The Setup –

    The Last Of Us takes place in a post-apocalyptic zombie infested world. One of the main characters is a teenage girl named Ellie. Ellie was born and raised during the apocalypse. Her childhood has consisted of living in military compounds and running away from zombies. Ellie lost her parents at a very young age.  She also lost her best friend Riley because of a zombie attack. After the attack, it’s discovered that Ellie is immune to the zombie virus. She is then introduced to Joel who has been put in charge of taking Ellie to an important laboratory to find a cure for the virus. Joel is an older man that lost his own daughter during the beginning of the apocalypse.

    At one point during their journey to the laboratory (by this time more close friends have died)Ellie runs away. She finds out that Joel is trying to leave her with his brother and be free of the burden of taking Ellie to the laboratory. Joel catches up to her and finds her in an abandoned house. The scene then follows…

    The Elements of the Scene –

    Up until this point, Ellie has been very strong and independent. She is constantly telling Joel that she can take care of herself. The soft lighting, the stuffed animals, her curled up seating position, it all reminds the audience that Ellie, despite of the horrors she’s faced, is still just a scared girl.  When Joel tells Ellie that she “…has no idea what loss is.” you can see the mixed emotions of being scared, sad, and infuriated to the point that she even pushes Joel. Also notice that they chose a flat camera angle during their dialogue. The camera is not angled low or high despite the fact that Ellie and Joel differ greatly in height (I think they might have cheated a little to achieve this effect). This helps to show that neither character is stronger or weaker than the other. They both have had their share of hardships and loss. Their body language communicates what they are trying to accomplish. Ellie stands directly facing Joel even leaning in a bit as if to say “I’m going to take control of my life for a change” Joel on the other hand is facing away from Ellie, turning his back to her as if to say “I don’t want to face my problems and be reminded of the daughter I lost.”

    Congratulations to the creators (Naughty Dog)! They have definitely helped bridge the gap between Movies and Video Games. To hear more about the game, check out the link below to hear what IGN had to say about it. But if you really want to enjoy the game, just play it. Trust me, even if you don’t usually play video games you’ve got to play this one.