Archive for the ‘Anime’ Category

Posted on: August 19th, 2005 by

Writing about web page http://www.ayacon.org.uk/


The fact this even was occurring here at Warwick had escaped my notice until a trip to the shop revealed a Piazza festooned with Chiis and Narutos.

Not that I would have attended, while I do like the animation and the songs of the ones I’ve seen, I can’t imagine myself dancing to them, and at the first sign of karaoke, skits or doushinju I’d be taking to the hills.

Bai bai.

Posted on: August 18th, 2005 by
game front cover Writing about web page http://na.square-enix.com/games/starocean/

Title:
Star Ocean: Till The End of Time (PS2)
Publisher:
UbiSoft
ASIN:
B00029P9NM
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
This game is made by Square-Enix (formerly Squaresoft), who were responsible for what many regard as the pinnacle of console RPGs – the Final Fantasy series. You may have heard of them.
This, though is not a Final Fantasy game and while I would be a liar if I said the bonus DVD featuring FF12 footage did not inflence my buying decision, I was kind of hoping there’d be a decent game on the other disc, too. I was wrong on two counts: there are two other discs (only the second 2DVD PS2 game I’ve encountered) and it’s rather a fine game.Square have done some other games besides FF before, and while some (like Unlimited SaGa) felt like they were made up of ideas rejected for inclusion in the next FF, others were sufficiently different to stand on their own.

Star Ocean
There was a “Star Ocean II” on the PS1, but it’s rather rare, and whatever SO1 ran on I can’t find it – so I’m reviewing with no knowledge of the series as a whole.
The whole style is the anime-type thing we’ve seen before, so if spiky hair, big doe eyes and pointy noses and ears rub you up the wrong way, it’s not for you.
It is two types of game squished together. In the main you explore around, talking to people and advancing the story much like any other console RPG, with all the usual levels, equipment, magic skills as well as a few other things like inventing and cooking which I haven’t managed to unlock yet after about 12 hours of play. The other part is the battles – they are real-time button-mashing affairs, switching between characters at will while the configurable AI controls the other party members, in battle you gain various trophies which are redeemable later. For some reason these trophies require a whopping 1.2Mb of your memory card (with each save game taking 500kb) – and are not transferrable, so plan your memory cardage before playing.
Despite the name, the boxart and website pics – I haven’t seen much in the way of space adventuring, having consecutively crashlanded on two “underdeveloped” planets and had to utilise my sword-swinging and face-punching skills to sort them out. Remember the Prime Directive, space cadets.

Controls
Overall rather well done, certainly very simple and hard to make an error. When you’re in a small room your character seems to move a bit fast, though, and it can be a bit frustrating to get them to line up just right in order to activate usuable items. There is no indication items are usable, apart from obvious treasure chests, so it’s trial and error for a while until you learn to spot them. Battle is okay, there are a few more moves than just hit-hit-hit and it’s actually quite a small part of the game time-wise.

Attention to detail
The character models are quite well done and used in all the cut scenes – a few sword-poking-through-the-character and “steel hair” glitches, but you almost expect them in these types of games. The backgrounds though, deserve a rather special mention, still in a cartoon style they are much more detailed, and while they do have a stack of reusable stock furnishings they do manage to make every location seem custom-drawn. While many locations are simply labelled “Private Home” they have made the effort to make them all look unique.

Fun?
Yes, it’s quite fun. I’m still playing it and taking time time to enjoy it, too – rather than rushing to the next quest. Will I play it again when I’ve finished it? Very unlikely.

I’ve given it four stars – while it’s not as jaw-dropping as Jade Empire, I expect it will last me a lot longer.

Posted on: April 20th, 2005 by

Have been playing 16 hours now, so it can’t be that bad – having 108 characters to collect/choose from certainly adds to its longevity.


Lilin from Suikoden IV


Fina from Skies of Arcadia

I would probably still rate it second to Skies of Arcadia (not bad for a 5-year-old Dreamcast game), but a much closer second than I initially thought.

Posted on: October 11th, 2004 by

Writing about web page http://ga.gloriousff.com/forums/

Got it at last, but it took 5 hours to install on Friday night.

7.5GB space needed to be freed on disk, 7 CDs to put in, 5 CD-keys to enter in the correct places, credit card details to be entered, handles, passwords, email addresses and secret codes. Then the updates – 2.5 hours of them!

Finally get to ‘Create Character’ – I spend about an hour in there, too – but that’s my own fault, then into the game and….the control method completely sucks. Using the keyboard my hand starts to ache after about 10 minutes and using the mouse is probably the worse control method I have experienced since that idiot Twinsen in LBA.

So, bought a new gamepad on Saturday – a PS2-a-like one with two analogue sticks and rumblyness and it’s now perfectly controllable – although it feels rather odd sitting at the desk, and I’ve yet to find the most comfortable position.

I don’t know if I can just install it on another machine (without all the credit card/codes nonsense again) but it could go on the laptop which connects to the TV, and be almost like the PS2 version I wanted in the first place.

Anyway the actual game I’ve only played a ‘mere’ 10 hours, and have just got rid of my newbie ‘?’ sign and haven’t really done much yet. Can’t go too far without the monsters getting too hard, and noone around seems to be looking to team up with a little Taru RDM. Plenty to do in the village though with quests that even puny level characters can do.

The link is from a group who gave me a linkshell, which means I can hear them whereever in the world they are – usually it seems to be just chat, but I anticipate it will be useful as I get into the game more and can call for backup.

People in the start town don’t seem to be that talkative, just running to the auctions or (boringly) fishing, and the ones that do talk seem to be trying to chat each other up – I don’t know about anyone else, but that just seems so wrong to me. I haven’t yet found the /emote command to ‘barf all over the fawners’.

I’m still learing stuff and am just trying to discover things for myself, rather than reading guides, hassling the mentors or running around shouting ‘any1 no were 2 get teh hero sheild???’ – fortunately, there’s not too much of that, which did surprise me – but then these are people who have managed that 5-hour install…

Posted on: August 25th, 2004 by

Writing about web page http://shop.ubi.com/Prod_ExtDesc.asp?catalogid=159&id=37

Probably a bit late in realising this, but FFXI will be PC-only in Europe, which is rather a disappointment. Not only did I really want a nice console-based online RPG without wasteful (because I prob wouldn’t play it non-stop) subscription charges (Everquest, PSO) but I was kind of interested to see the hard disk the PS2 version comes on. The connections are clearly just for a standard IDE disk, and I have faster, larger examples lying around if only I knew how to format them and get the PS to recognise them.