Cyberphile

the love of all things electronic.

Final Fantasy XV – First Impressions — November 30, 2016

Final Fantasy XV – First Impressions

I got my Deluxe Edition of Final Fantasy XV in the mail yesterday, which comes in a Steelbook case with the Final Fantasy XV movie, Kingsglaive on Blu-ray, and some DLC. While I was waiting for my 9 gigabyte update, I wondered if you were supposed to watch the Movie before the game or vice versa, so I did some research. As it turns out, there’s a 5 episode anime (you can watch all five compiled together by clicking this link here) that explains the backstory of the 4 main characters prior to the game. I highly recommend this for anyone wanting to play FFXV. After finishing Brotherhood, it’s recommended you watch the movie, Kingsglaive, so I did just that.

Wow. Kingsglaive on Blu-ray was amazing. The (cg) animation quality was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before; absolutely beautiful, and at times I had a hard time remebering I wasn’t watching real actors on a real set. The story of Kingsglaive begins right around when the game begins, but I too, would highly recommend watching Kingsglaive before starting the game, as it explains a LOT, and does so much better than the game does. Essentially, Niflheim has an advanced technology and is conquering and sweeping up nations in the land of Eos. The last bastion against Niflheim is a city in Lucia, Insomnia, protected by a magical crystal that creates a magical barrier by the king’s control. Niflheim obviously is looking at world domination and will stop at nothing to do so, but I’ll stop there to prevent spoiling any of the movie or game. Kingsglaive follows a member of the king’s elite unit, the Kingsglaive, who is an elite tactical strike team with magic gifted from the King himself. Nyx (voiced by Aaron Paul) is your typical serious hero character, but his character does some decent development throughout the story. The action is balls-to-the-wall amazing and the spectacular animation quality only enhances every moment. It is truly eye candy. Honestly, if you want to play Final Fantasy XV, this is pretty much a requirement, and if you like action or just want to see a beautiful cg movie in general, go watch Kingsglaive. I personally loved it and am very glad I have it on Blu-ray. It does a great job of exciting the viewer to play FFXV.

When you boot up FFXV, you’re met with a message that personally worried me a bit: “A Final Fantasy for Fans and First-Timers”. After the over-the-top crazy awesome action and ending of Kingsglaive, I was pumped to start FFXV, but, of course, that same kind of enthusiasm was quickly replaced with a boring, but important tutorial. After the tutorial was a slow start, but not in a bad way. My action-packed expectations from Kingsglaive were not met, but my enthusiasm was replaced with a different one: an excitement to explore the world outside of Insomnia. Crafted together in a sort of “highway gas station” style in the mid-west, the world is charming, full of character, and just begs you to explore it. And you absolutely can. The overworld area is a sandbox, where you can go more-or-less where ever you want, and they use the breaking down of your princely vehicle, the Regalia, as a tutorial to explore around a bit before getting back on the open road.

Taking place before the climax of Kingsglaive, we join the main character and his 3 buddies pushing the broken down Regalia to the nearest gas station. You have your angsty hero, a FF staple, Noctis, Prince of Insomnia and heir to the throne, on his way to marry Princess Lunafreya of Taenbaum(sp?), a childhood friend, as a peace marriage between the two warring nations. Then there’s the prince’s personal guard, Gladiolus, the prince’s caretaker (sort of) Ignis, and the prince’s friend from school, Prompto. Each has their own personality, and their playful banter with one another really makes you feel like part of the group. Their chemistry together is really nice, and it’s cool to have a group of friends as the main characters of an FF instead of heroes coming together to save the world. Again, see Brotherhood for more backstory on this.

I’ll talk more about game mechanics tomorrow, this is more of a story/setting/first impression post. And honestly, I’m impressed. I’m enjoying the game, the setting, and the characters quite a bit, but there’s one thing that irks me in the back of my mind… Would I be enjoying it as much if I didn’t watch Brotherhood and Kingsglaive? I sincerely doubt it, as those two things really bring you into the world and familiarize you with the characters. Not only that, but FFXV itself has a very weak opening, and does not explain things itself, in fact, it practically assumes you’ve seen the movie, as at the point in the game when the climax of Kingsglaive is happening, they show you some broken up, semi-incoherent clips of the movie sort of as a “if you’ve seen this, you know what’s going on”.

All of that said, I’m enjoying FFXV so far. I’ll give you more details on the mechanics and stuff tomorrow. Those of you who have seen the anime, watched the movie, or started the game, what do you feel about what I’ve said so far? I’d love to hear our opinions.

What’cha Playin’? 11/29/16 — November 29, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/29/16

As you can tell from the review I posted yesterday, I put some serious time into Gauntlet: Slayer Edition. I managed to complete the story on the hardest difficulty, and I made it to floor 50 in endless mode. That means that I’ve completed all of the really hard content and I can do the grindy stuff at my leisure. Yay! That said, the grind will probably take a long, long time to complete, as they all involve killing x amount of enemies with certain skills.

Other than that, I downloaded the Amnesia: Collection on PS4, which includes Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Justine, the add on content for the original game, and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. The Dark Descent is one of my favorite games ever, and once I complete that, I can finally put a review up for it on the List of Best Games Ever. Some games are on that list but without a review simply because the last time I played the was so long ago that it wouldn’t be an accurate review; I’d simply be remembering it all from memory, and that does not make for good content, in my opinion.

Also, Final Fantasy XV releases today after many many years of development, and I’ll get that in the mail at some point. I’m not sure if I’ll start it today, but I’m really hoping it’s good. If it’s not, I probably won’t buy another Final Fantasy brand new anymore. This is your last chance, Square Enix!

Did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

 

Gauntlet: Slayer Edition – Review — November 28, 2016

Gauntlet: Slayer Edition – Review

My Gauntlet: Slayer Edition review is now live! You can read the full review from the Review page, or by clicking here.

Also, did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

Here’s the bottom line if you don’t have time to read the full review:

Pros

  • Fun, fresh, dungeon crawling action, especially with friends.
  • Local and online multiplayer available for every activity.
  • Fun and unique characters makes replaying fresh.

Cons

  • Somewhat short story and repetitive content.
  • Frustratingly unfair enemies, especially late-game.
  • Less fun solo.
  • Shared lives.

Final Score: 8/10

At any rate, Gauntlet is really fun and addicting when it’s not overwhelmingly frustrating. If you have some friends who can appreciate a good dungeon crawl, take them into the Gauntlet, and you’re surely have some great fun. Solo is still fun, but as is true with the arcade classic as well, Gauntlet is best played with buddies with a need for greed.

Happy Thanksgiving! — November 24, 2016
What’cha Playin’? 11/23/16 — November 23, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/23/16

Thanksgiving break is finally upon us, so I’ll have plenty of time for some gaming. Yesterday I made some decent progress in advancing the main story in Daggerfall; previously I was only really doing odd jobs trying to advance my reputation in an effort to unlock potion making, but it takes FOREVER to raise your rank, so I stopped once I could at least buy potions. Daggerfall is neat and huge, but sometimes the randomness of it weighs on you. Sometimes in a good way, especially when you’re not sure what to expect, and sometimes in a bad way when you realize you’re doing the same things over and over again, just in different randomly generated locations. Maybe I’ll talk more about this tomorrow.

Did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

What’cha Playin’? 11/22/16 — November 22, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/22/16

Over the weekend, as you may know from the review I posted yesterday, I downloaded Clustertruck. It’s great fun, and I highly recommend it, check out my review if you haven’t. Over the weekend I was able to go home and hang out with my friends, so we played some original Super Smash Brothers on the N64, and I got a chance to check out Gauntlet: Slayer Edition, the newest Gauntlet game. It’s really fun, and gives me a Diablo sort of vibe, which is a very good good thing. Since getting back into the Elder Scrolls series, I’ve been really into high fantasy, so the new Gauntlet strikes a good chord with me. In fact, I really want to go back and play the older Gauntlet games. Maybe I’ll be able to talk about those more in depth soon.

Did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

 

Clustertruck – Review — November 21, 2016

Clustertruck – Review

My Clustertruck review is now live. You can read the full review from the Review page, or by clicking here.

Also, did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

Here’s the bottom line if you don’t have time to read the full review:

Pros

  • Fast-paced, arcade-style, pick-up-and-play gameplay that has you playing “just one more level”.
  • A presentation that mostly works for it.
  • Plenty of variation in level design, and the Ability/Utility system lends well to extra playability.

Cons

  • Simplistic to non-existent backgrounds.
  • Can be completed pretty quickly, especially if you’re skilled.
  • After you complete it, there are few reasons to play through again.
  • Inability to remap controls on PS4 (Get it on PC instead, if you can).

Final Score: 9/10

Clustertruck is great fun. Though I personally feel as though the $15 price tag is a little steep for the amount of time you get out of it, the amount of fun you’ll have during that time is well-worth it. If you’re looking for some fast-paced, arcade-style, pick-up-and-play action, pick it up, especially if it goes on sale for $10.

What’cha Playin’? 11/17/16 – The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall — November 17, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/17/16 – The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall

So, I started Daggerfall. I’m a big fan of the in-depth level of freedom for building your character, and dialogue is a huge step up from Arena. Graphics are better and a big bonus is mouse look, even though I was so used to the somewhat clunky controls from Arena. I know I said Arena was huge, but Daggerfall is huge in a completely different, and seemingly much more populated way. I’m not very far yet, and I’m kind of stuck looking for something to kill for a quest in a huge and confusing dungeon right now, so… I’ll have to say more about it later on.

Did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

Starting Daggerfall Soon — November 16, 2016
The Elder Scrolls: Arena – Review — November 15, 2016

The Elder Scrolls: Arena – Review

My the Elder Scrolls: Arena review is now live. You can read the full review from the Review page, or by clicking here.

Also, did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

Here’s the bottom line if you don’t have time to read the full review:

Pros

  • A challenging pen-and-paper experience.
  • The story and dungeon crawling will have you craving more every time you set it down, with a great payoff at the end.
  • Neat ideas like realistic travel times, a randomly generated (and HUGE) open world, and holidays set new standards for RPGs.

Cons

  • Difficult and seemingly unfair sometimes.
  • You practically have to read the manual.
  • Lack of variety, especially as you near the end of the game.
  • Glitches and bugs.

Final Score: 6.5/10

Ultimately though, the Elder Scrolls: Arena is strangely addicting. The fun comes mainly from exploring every corner of a dungeon, and early on, the bartering and finding your way around town is fun. They did a really good job at making it feel like you were playing a pen-and-paper RPG, even if there was little to deviate outside of the main story. Finally, the ending has a great payoff, and you really feel like you’ve weathered a journey by the end of it. I think it’s flawed for sure, but don’t let the lower score fool you; if you’re in the mood for a DOS RPG and up for a challenge, consider giving Arena a shot.