It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

 

You may have noticed a low frequency of posts this week, which I honestly blame on a combination of fall semester brain detox and a little open world RPG by the name of Final Fantasy XV. Sorry about that.

Last week was pretty stressful, having crammed two major term papers whose due dates just happened to be one day apart. Yuck. I ended up getting A’s on both, but by the end of the week my brain felt like it was taking a dump out of my ears.

With the fall semester behind me, it’s time for some much needed gaming R&R.

ffxvgroupshot

As I mentioned above, I’ve been playing a lot of Final Fantasy XV. I just hit the 30-hour mark last night, having spent most of my time exploring the open world, fishing, partaking in monster hunts, and turning in side-quests.

I haven’t been this engaged in a Final Fantasy since FFX released in July of 2001, but it’s not without its problems.

EDIT: Finished the game tonight and it had a strong finish. Definitely a contender for my GOTY.

For starters, the story has serious pacing issues. Although you could chalk it up to spending most of the opening hours getting acclimated with Final Fantasy XV’s nuances, it took me nearly 15 hours to reach chapter 3, but the same amount of time to finish up the following 6.

I’ll save the in-depth analysis for the review I’m hoping to write, but in a nutshell I just haven’t felt invested in the story at all. Four friends travel from one kingdom to another in hopes of bringing an end to their war by marrying Prince Noctis (the hero) to Lady Lunafreya (his childhood friend and Oracle). That bit is fine, it’s just what occurs between the bookends that fails to gain traction.

ffxvnoctis

***

EARLY GAME SPOILER: For those of you that watched Kingsglaive, you already know how the opening hours of Final Fantasy XV play out–Noctis’s father, King Regis, is slain during the peace negotiations, which plays side-by-side with the game’s first chapter. Noctis and Lunafreya are then falsly presumed dead by the media (in true propaganda fashion), so you spend a large majority of the game travelling across Eos in your sweet car in order to meet up with Lunafreya in Altissa.

***

The narrative just feels infinitely plagued by the 10-year development cycle, which I assume went through many, many changes. By introducing a few characters without much emphasis on their back story, and then expecting the player to become invested immediately when shit goes south, it feels more half-baked than it does important.

Again, I’ll save the in-depth analysis for the review.

While the story doesn’t seem to matter much right now, I am thoroughly enjoying the open world, its stunning visuals, and the sense of brotherhood and friendship that grows within each of the four main characters. It really does feel like I’m driving across the country with my best friends, stopping to take pictures, play virtual tourist, and taking part in whatever tickles my fancy–monster hunts, chocobo rentals, fishing, etc.

Actually, now is a good time to apologize to anyone that follows me on Twitter, since I’ve been sharing a TON of screenshots. Prompto, one of the four main characters, loves to take pictures and you can dig through them whenever you rest. You can save up to 150 of them, but the game makes it incredibly easy to upload your favorites directly to Twitter or Facebook. And boy do I love sharing screenshots.

ffxvprompto

I also really dig the more action-focused combat, even as a fan of the more traditional turn-based/menu-focused Final Fantasy games of yesteryear. You only have full control over Noctis, but you can unlock and assign tech commands to his friends that can then be issued mid-combat. Noctis has a few tricks up his sleeve as well, being able to warp across the battlefield, phase through attacks, and swap between four different weapons or spells on the fly. If Square Enix wants to take the Final Fantasy VII Remake in a more action-focused direction, I think something similar would work incredibly well.

Final Fantasy XV hits a lot of nostalgic notes as well, which has been fun. Prompto will occasionally hum the Final Fantasy victory theme at the conclusion of battle, or the chocobo theme when you’re just running around. While cruising in your car, the Regalia, you can listen to music from earlier Final Fantasy games. There was this surreal moment I had where I was driving to my next quest objective while listening to Final Fantasy VII’s Cosmo Canyon theme. I thought back to how much I loved that world and those characters, and just how much the series has grown since 1997. We’ve certainly come a long way since piloting the Tiny Bronco, haven’t we?

I haven’t been playing anything other than Final Fantasy XV, but I did pick up The Last Guardian. I’ll probably jump in to that next and, since it’s a shorter 8-hour game, segue in to World of Final Fantasy in hopes of finishing it up before the spring semester begins on January 9th. With any luck I’ll finish both before the end of the year so I can consider them for my Top 10 Games of 2016 post.

What about you folks? What are you getting in to this weekend?

 

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31 thoughts on “It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

  1. Not really into Final Fantasy myself, although I might try one of ’em one day – most likely not XV though. I’m late to the Just Cause 2 party so I’m playing that, as well as the usual Fifa and Rocket League. Waiting for Christmas still!
    Reuben

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I watched Kingsglaive right before starting the game. Really enjoyed the film and felt it added quite a bit of backstory to the opening chapters.

        Rumor has it that FFXV will release on PC later next year, so here’s hoping. I just finished it about 10 minutes ago and it ends on a strong note. Really strong contender for my GOTY.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I wrote my top 10 games of 2016 already :). December never has a great lineup of games so I usually release my list every December.

    This weekend has been nothing, but Salt and Sanctuary, and Pokemon so far. I’m glad you’re enjoying FF15. It’s not a game I would rush out to buy a console for :).

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    1. December is usually the month where I try and catch up on certain things I missed earlier in the year, but The Last Guardian kinda threw a stick on the spokes. I hear it’s an average length of 8-hours which is enough to finish in two days, maybe even one if it sucks me in enough.

      I’ll have to check out your 2016. I must have missed the Twitter post about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Once I saw that Sean Bean was voicing Regis, I knew how that was going to go lol.

    I spent about six hours playing WOFF. Well…I spent about four of those hours making a Mirage spreadsheet because I’m an organization fiend when I put my mind to it (and am running on massive amounts of caffeine). I’m still in the same area right before an optional boss fight that I might tackle tonight if my husband stops playing Destiny anytime soon.

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    1. Haha, oh Destiny. I actually miss playing that with my girlfriend and our mutual friends.

      I just finished FFXV. Took about 40 hours and there’s still plenty of post-game stuff to do (flying car, adamantoise world boss, etc). It ended on such a strong note and may end up my GOTY. SO GOOD.

      Now I can start WoFF tomorrow, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad to hear it ended well! Ack, friends like you are starting to wear me down about it hehe. I really, really do detest the actiony change, but it sounds like this game is at least worth me playing it to review it. I can add it to my great Final Fantasy play/replay project.

        Yassss, great, I’ll have someone else to talk to about WOFF. My husband started playing, too. He’s about four or five chapters behind me. I keep stopping to go back to the Girl’s Tearoom and the Coliseum, and I have to maintain my ridiculous spreadsheet so playing is even more time consuming. I don’t care. I love projects like this.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If you end up not enjoying the actiony combat, easy mode prevents you from dying by summoning Carbuncle to heal your party to 100% when Noctis drops to 0 HP. Nice way to just enjoy the story!

        I *just* started WoFF an hour ago. Started over to refresh my memory. Next Friday we shall talk!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Oh that’s a nice perk! I’m glad they put that in there for us old fogeys used to turn based combat hehe.

        That’s a good idea. I’ve been hearing rumblings that people are calling it Final Fantasy meets Pokemon derisively and I say whatever. Final Fantasy is awesome; Pokemon is awesome, and Squeenix did a great job combining them. If you take two great things and put them together (as long as you don’t fuck it up) it doesn’t diminish!

        Yasss, can’t wait to hear where you are. I get a little more play time this week being off tomorrow.

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      4. So far I’m enjoying WoFF quite a bit, I just hope my Pokemon tendency of wanting to collect EVERYTHING doesn’t burn me out. I’m already getting slightly irritated by how often Lann and Reynn miss standard attacks! *grumble grumble*

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      5. So confession, I made a Mirage spreadsheet because I’m that kind of person lol. It took me like four hours to do it, and it’s ridiculous. I do love Excel though. I attempted to do a Pivot table, but that seemed above my skill level. Regardless I know have a spreadsheet, so i know which Mirages have Water, Fire, Thunder, etc and other things. Keeping up with this may very well make me more neurotic, and I can definitely see the burn out potential of keeping up, but I’m determined to, er, catch ’em all :p

        Do you mean they miss regular physical attacks? I think once you get to raise your Agility stat that should improve! I’m annoyed with my own learning curve. I thought you had to defeat a mirage first before you obtained its prism so I missed getting Yuruba in the beginning a a bunch of ones from the coliseum (though I was able to go back for those). I also thought you had to have a free spot in the case you were carrying, not realizing you could just have the caught Mirage sent to Serafie. I really, really hope there’s a case upgrade at some point in the game, because I’d love to carry more than ten at a time, but I have doubts that will happen.

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      6. I’m reading someone’s advice on GameFAQs about an early grinding spot in Nether Nebula. You have to transfig a Copper Gnome to a Mythril Gnome at level 10 and buy crash or smash or whatever breaks the big rock in there. Then you capture a Floating Eye and learn Flutter to glide you across the gap behind the big rock. You get 6k XP per win, but everything there has ridiculous amounts of health, is only weak to wind, and beat the living shit out of me. I have no idea how they grinded out there as early as chapter 5.

        Apparently once you capture a Valefor and get the wind attack that hits everything you can one shot those groups to power level your weaker mirages. But… I have no idea when Valefor shows up in the Colosseum.

        Every guide I’ve read so far says that absolutely nothing in WoFF is missable, so I may just press on with the story using my favorite squad and once I get stuck go back to grind stuff. No need for me to burn out straight out of the gate, haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I found that spot a little while ago! I was tying to locate Zapt and Fritt because I fought Shiva so got Bablizz. No luck. I think they show up later.

        Don’t feel bad about not being leveled enough for a grind spot (how ironic is that?). I was trying to do one with the Flan Princess and Malboro Menace at the recommended levels, and she kicked my ass. My attacks just aren’t strong enough right now. I might go back later since when you first get a Mirage it’ll level up really quickly.

        Valefor should show up fairly soon. I was a dumb ass and didn’t realize you could capture coliseum Mirages initially hehe. I just went back and got him. The only thing is you need Copper Gnome to have the Throw Stone ability since Earth magic is Valefor’s prismunity, but since he’s flying, you can’t do an earthquake or something like that.

        Nah, especially since nothing is misable, which I really like. It’s why I don’t sweat if I can’t catch a Mirage from the start now. I can always find it later.

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      8. I agree. Especially when you know the game will have DLC (since there’s a season pass). They’re already talking about adding in new bosses and timed events, even a god mode item, so it’s good they have a post-game option for those of us that have already finished the game well ahead of this new update.

        I was a little upset that Sword Art didn’t have a post-game. I have to load my end-game save and go to “play solo” in the multi-player lobby, which is weird design.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Is that actually a Chocobo selfie? lol FFXV looks amazing! I’m looking forward to your review.

    I’m still picking away at Metroid and Fallout 4. I picked up a copy of The Last Guardian this week though. I’m rushing through Fallout 4 so I can play it. I don’t want to leave myself with a mess of unfinished games…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, haha. Prompto takes 10 random pics every 30 minutes of play time, which you can go through and pick and choose your favorites whenever you rest or make camp. The game lets you save 150 and I think I had 120 by the time I finished. Really adds some personality to the characters.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Good to hear that Final Fantasy 15 was worth the wait. I probably won’t buy the game until next year because I still have too many unfinished stuff to complete. Right now I am still reading Steins;Gate 0. Have three more endings to unlock.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m pretty much wallet shot from holiday shopping, so I’ll be playing some stuff in the backlog, and old favorites. I’ve really been enjoying the Flashback Portable all week though. It’s been great firing up old 2600 games in public. It got a lot of use replaying Frostbite on it, via the SD Card, as I played it getting coffee on my last free day. Another great example of a game that is still fun over 30 years after its release.

    Beyond that, I’m probably going to get some Overwatch in since they’re starting the next season, and I’ll shoot for the Torbjorn skin/costume. Blizzard also added a 1 on 1 duel mode recently which is pretty fun. I’m also going to try to get in some rounds of Toxikk, and I’ll probably fire up some Giana Sisters.

    By the way, if you follow Black Forest Games on Facebook, they’re giving away PS4/XB1/PC download keys for games developed in Germany every day leading up to Christmas. It’s a digital advent calendar. Pretty cool of them. They give one game away a day, and all you have to do is comment. They choose one winning comment a day. It isn’t very often you see a company do something like this.

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    1. I saw they were doing that and even entered their holiday event where they’re drawing one random entry to receive their entire catalog. I have Rogue Stormers on my PSN wish list, so here’s hoping for a sale. With such a ridiculous backlog that’s about to get even bigger after Christmas, it’s definitely something I’ll have to wait for a price drop on just to have it sitting on the back burner.

      Have fun with OW, my dude. I wish I could get in to those types of games, since I love Blizzard.

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