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Heroes Community > Other Games Exist Too > Thread: Doomforge's review corner
Thread: Doomforge's review corner [ This thread is 9 pages long: 1 2 3 (4) 5 6 7 8 9 ]
Doomforge
Doomforge

Hero of Order
Mayhem Elemental
posted November 25, 2010 04:14 PM

All right guys. I will do a Fallout 2 Review
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I regret nothing, I expect nothing.
NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE!

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Adrius
Adrius


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Inkhornate
posted November 25, 2010 04:27 PM
Edited by Adrius at 16:35, 25 Nov 2010.

I enjoyed FFX2, though it wasn't nearly as good as FFX.

Memory of Lightwaves is one of the best game OSTs I have ever heard.

Also you didn't mention Sphere Break

It was pretty addictive... once you got the hang of it.

EDIT:

Also agreed on Yuna being the sexiest, cutest, most likeable... well everything... ever.
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where is your god now

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Doomforge
Doomforge

Hero of Order
Mayhem Elemental
posted December 24, 2010 06:12 AM
Edited by Doomforge at 06:14, 24 Dec 2010.

I'd so totally lock her in my basement.

ok, guys. Merry xmas, and here's what you wanted

[FALLOUT 2]



Ah, Fallout. A franchise that gathered legions of fans (and extremely ardent fanboys) preaching the post-apocalyptic excellence of this game. A franchise that has seen one of the most sad failures of gaming industry (bankruptcy when the third game was bordering on 90% completion). A franchise (IMHO) effectively ruined by horrible Bethesda game, and mildly revived with a decent New Vegas game.

But forget about those hard times for a moment. Let's go back to the past. In 1997, the post-apocalyptic Fallout game revolutionized crpgs. I know there were many "gun-based" crpgs already, but Fallout was the first that made THAT much success. To implement non-tactical CRPG game that utilizes guns and make it not suck is quite a task. Fortunately, the game did that, and much more. Excellent, climatic music, paired with the "dirty" feeling of abandoned, unfriendly and desolated world. This game was simply awesome, even if short and pretty annoying with the time limit/short character progression.

Fallout 1 was more about the story. Fallout 2, was more about gameplay.

Compare the sheer amount of lucre, optional quests and the relatively weak main plot of Fallout 2 to brilliant asceticism of Fallout 1 and you'll notice that yourself.

There are two ways to conduct this review: Fallout 2 as a game, and Fallout 2 as a sequel. I'm going to try to do both here.

First of all, the game hasn't changed much in mechanics and graphics since the first part, which is a blessing AND a curse. blessing, because the combat system simply is extremely enjoyable, and death animations are SATISFYING as hell. I bet part of the combat system's success is granted via player's feel of satisfaction after seeing those awesomely made deaths of critters. There are games - primitive with graphics, usually - that have that certain "something" in those kill animations that make you grin every time a guy gets blown to chunks by SMG critical or pumped with bullets with radical minigun action. Or cut in half by laser. It makes you kill more. And more. And more. With better gear. In all honesty, leaving the plot aside for a second - if this game was ONLY combat and looting - I'd still play it and enjoy it. The enjoyment is comparable to legend of "satisfying death animations" - Diablo 1.

And why the curse? well, the graphics for the time Fallout 2 was released were getting old already (albeit I don't think this is bad - the design was pleasant to the eye, and is even today, while many "good looking" games of 1990s end look grotesque nowadays.) Bigger problem is that the combat mechanics were abusable to the extreme, and game difficulty in playthroughs after the first one suffered greatly from it. Fallout was a "fake difficulty" game, a notorious "franchise" that is pretty much standard today. The difficulty is a result of the player being not familiar with the interface and methods of utilizing all what the developers gave you, not because the game is difficult by itself. Fake difficulty games are notorious for being incredibly easy once the player learns what works and what doesn't.

Yeah, you know me, I just have to complain about balance. Fallout 2 sucked here. The game screamed abuse from the very beginning, and you didn't even have to powergame! The most obvious thing is horrible economy. Let me explain with an example. The game starts with the player struggling. Even a puny pistol costs a fortune, quest rewards are small, and ammo is hard to get. Then, the player sets for vault city. Somewhere along the road, he encounters "Vault city patrol fending off raiders". He stands there whistling while two armed-to-teeth groups kill each other out, then he picks up a TON of expensive guns and goes to the next town. And guess what: now he can afford everything he wants to. Best armor available? no prob. Better guns for you and team? here you go. A ton of ammo? Sure! You'll still end up with a few combat shotguns in your pocket for later sale.

Fallout 2 sucks here because the player isn't challenged with gear management. The player can get what he wants, and most of high-end gear is simply for sale at a shop in one of the towns. With a single encounter producing more cash than you need to buy a Power Armor (let's skip the ridiculousness of Power Armor being for sale in a SHOP in Chinatown), the player's interest in subquests - and their "material" rewards - lessens. Why to do quests when I can pick a ton of weapons from a ton of encounters that don't need me to use my gun, then sell them and get high end gauss weaponry and power armors?

Even the experience for quests isn't that amazing because a single alien, being not a very challenging enemy, gives you ~900 exp. Killing six of those - pretty trivial with decent aim and Sulik with an SMG - nets you almost 4k exp. And doesn't require any running around, collecting info, skill checks...

Yeah, the game doesn't seem designed to well in that department. Combat yields too much. Experience, loot - you name it. And shops value your captive weaponry WAY too much. A simple way would be to set a rebuy price of 1/30 or 1/50 of item's worth. And there you go, you can collect the shotguns a whole day - you will pay more for the ammo needed than gain. Less exp for killing stuff would also push the game back to the "quest" path.

However, shops aren't the end of the problems Fallout 2 faces. The amount of cheese and abuse a player can unrestrictedly perform is terrifying. At Den, for example, tehre's a casino. You can simply randomly select the options using highest bets, then roll. After like a few rolls of selecting, I always end up going from 100$ to like 5000$. ANd you can keep on going, and going! It's too easy to win, and if you like to abuse the poor system, you can saveload here. It begs for something like the casino closing out or kicking you out after breaking the bank... but nah. You can milk them off 1 million $ if you wish. And it's easy, too.

If you don't like saveloading to gamble, you can saveload to steal. Many NPCs carry valuable items and lots of money at times - even without random encounters, you can get quite rich by stealing. And even with pitiful steal skill, your chances of stealing that shotgun from Metzger - for instance - are massive. The game has no "awareness" check and it doesn't matter that you're stealing from a man standing in the middle of the room crowded with his minions. It doesn't matter too much you're a ****ty thief, too. You just take the gun. save, steal, fail, load, steal, fail, load, steal, success. +900$.

Oh, you can surely say some NPCs have guns in their hands, and those cannot be stolen... well, no, they can't. however, you can still kill every NPC you want to without making the faction hostile... via super stimpack debuff. Simply use like 10-15 super stimpacks on NCR sheriff, wait few minutes, and take that Gauss Rifle off his still warm corpse. Nobody will care. Super Stimpack abuse was never fixed, even in unofficial patches afaik.

Finally, for gamers that already finished the game, there's that "I know there's an unguarded APA lying in a locker out there" problem. You can ignore it, but imho it's catastrophical that there's no skill/level check designed to stop a clever player from doing this too early. If you had to impress the hell of the brotherhood first to give you the task/flag navarro's location (which would mean high level and perhaps a quest or two performed for them first to test you)and then had to pass a difficult speech check to attain permission from quartermaster to take the armor, it would be MUCH better. Right now it's "oh, hello, random traveler in a jumpsuit, armed with homemade pipe rifle! I want you to go to secret  government base full of hi-tech soldiers to steal super secret plans from them. Will you? Oh, thank you, you're too kind". Lmfao.

The fact it's possible to steal those plans being a tribal with 10mm pistol in pocket also makes me kinda sad. It's too easy, really...


Ultimately, the game is easy itself. Eye shots - almost never used by the AI - are extensively used by the players, and their critical hit table - and a massive bonus to critical chance - mean you will be scoring triple and quadruple damage every now and then. What's worse is that pretty much every "grade" of critical ignores armor. Combine that "sniper" perk that makes every hit critical (with luck roll) and pretty much every enemy is paper. This ends up with player killing 70% enemies with a single hit, even WITHOUT factoring the grade 6 "instant kill" critical. Oh well. The AI is dumb, if you hide behind a door they will run in one after another and end their turns next to you, with you holding a big minigun in hand = you can clear all enclave without taking a single hit just because of that. AI will also use bad tactics, burst from half of the map (which means most ammo will just miss), charge at miniguns et cetera et cetera. As pleasant as this carnage is, it's easy as hell.

But I understand that not all players seek challenge in this department, and the game can be - due to fake difficulty - quite challenging for the first time. Which is quite a redeeming factor.

Back to atmosphere. Actually, I have a mixed opinion. The world - compared to much more dark and serious Fallout 1 - is cartoony and overcrowded with stupid mass-culture references. They existed in Fallout1, but they were - imho - quite subtle and funny. In this game, every town has at least two-three "funny" accents. As funny as it might be at times, it's completely murderous to the atmoshpere. How can I really feel immersed in a dirty, slaver-ruled town when the shopkeeper, questioned about the accent, makes an Animaniac-like freakshow? When there's a giant talking rat named "brain" in the creepy ghoul settlement? Seriously, those things are stupid. And unnecessary.

But... there are places without that. And with one of the greatest ambient music of all time (awesome track), the abandoned bases (Sierra Army Depot) hit you in the chest with desolated atmosphere like a truck. It's literally what I loved fallout games most: hi-tech, abandoned military installations. With that creepy music. Very immersive and very spooky. Reminds me of the times I was crawling through sewers in Betrayal at Krondor listening to the best dungeon ambient track ever made.

The main plot, as I mentioned, feels a bit weak to me - the whole GECK hunt seems rather a forced way to connect the games together via Vault 13 - and the subsequent "Enclave kidnapping your village" isn't any better (it basically gives no suspense - it's like heyy, there's a big crowd in flying machines that took our tribe, oh wait, there they are, go get a tanker to get them). It lacks some drama, it lacks a plot behind it. Pretty soul less for the main "adventure". I feel Fallout1 was better by miles here.

However, the main villains - much like the enigmatic master of Fallout 1 - still give the creeps. Just looking at those silent figures in APAs when doing the Salvatore questline makes you shiver. This is sort of ruined by Enclave Patrols - being omnipresent in some areas - that makes those well-designed Enclave guys just another mob to loot from - but aside from that, Enclave is really a well-designed faction, even if a little extreme on the "evilness" (some shades of gray would be welcome. Unfortunately, we had to wait till New Vegas to see Enclave soldiers were humans like every other - with mixed feelings or strong distaste toward killing civilians and experimenting on people)

Finally, there's Frank Horrigan, the easiest boss ever - however, he is intimidating, well-voiced and crazy enough to be a great boss. If only the battle wasn't so damn cheap... aww. Still, very memorable.

And the world. This is the "trademark" of Fallout and freedom of Fallout. You can do whatever you want. It is one of the few games that introduced killable children, the ability to be completely "neutral" (not a goodie-two shoe neither an evil snow). Sure, it had its dumb moments, but you really felt like you could do much in this game. Slaughtering quest-giving towns is such a rare opportunity in games, it felt delightful to be able to do so in Fallout.

There's also a lot to do, a lot to boost your character at (Boxing, Implants). While the game doesn't utilize the SPECIAL system too well (skill checks are too rare, and the difference between high and low stat usually doesn't feel big), it does implement a series of quests that have various options based on your character's talents. It's also one of the few "gun" games that allows a fully pacifistic run without a single death. Kudos for that.

However, there's one more crap to mention: bugs. The game was literally SWIMMING in bugs. Not just typos in coding, but also complex engine issues that took modders YEARS to fix (the infamous level 6 NPC bug for instance. Some NPCs - Sulik, Vic, Goris and Dogmeat - had a level 6 designed, but couldn't reach it because the piece of code used for level uping was missing the "room" for the extra bit of code level 6 produced - I'm no good at explaining it, but it took engine reversing to fix - and like, 12 years, too...). Thanks to Killap and his fantastic Fallout Restoration Mod, Fallout2 may be played today as it was INTENDED - free of bugs, with all the intended content - it's a totally different experience. However, programmers should be ashamed for never fixing a streamload of easy-to-fix bugs that took many years of modding to get rid of. Seriously, two small patches in a game featuring literally thousands of bugs and stability issues? yeah....

All in all, while I complained about this game a lot - it's still awesome. It's one of the few games I replayed around 10 times - and what's better, with the same build! It was just too satisfying to kill stuff, get stronger, make your NPCs powerhouses, demolish everything in sight. I sort of wish there was more factions to kill, more challenges to conquer. The game quickly gives you too much in your hands, and while it's a great feeling to use it, it makes you wish for a bit more, and for a bit longer.

As a sequel, Fallout 2 sort of disappoints, however. It introduces weaker plot, diluted atmposphere (at times) and extremely abusive mechanics. I still greatly prefer Fallout 1 for atmoshpere and plot.

To conclude: fantastic game, albeit you might want to mod it to fix those bugs that prevent a lot of features of the game to surface. And you obviously shouldn't be looking for combat challenge, cause you won't find it here. If you're looking for a satisfying carnage in a big, open and complex world however...

Overall rating: 8/10
____________
I regret nothing, I expect nothing.
NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE!

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Markkur
Markkur


Responsible
Supreme Hero
H5's Map-Making Die-Hard
posted December 24, 2010 12:09 PM

Very good job DF...as usual. <IMO> Most fluid yet. Passing it along.

Be safe and have fun over the Holidays
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My H5 Maps

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Doomforge
Doomforge

Hero of Order
Mayhem Elemental
posted December 24, 2010 02:17 PM

Thank you Markkur Merry Christmas to you too.
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I regret nothing, I expect nothing.
NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE!

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Elodin
Elodin


Promising
Legendary Hero
Free Thinker
posted December 24, 2010 02:46 PM

Yeah, Fallout 2 was a great game. I wish more "modern" rpgs would have the turn based tactical combat system. I prefer it over the "VATS" that FO3 introduced. I miss that hand to hand player charactes can't target body parts in FO3 (except outside VATS.) I was distinctly satisfying to punch someone in the eyes and have their brain pulverized in FO2.
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Revelation

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Doomforge
Doomforge

Hero of Order
Mayhem Elemental
posted December 25, 2010 05:38 AM

VATS was meant to give some link to the past turn-based system... but it was just a bullet time with pause option. A disgrace to call that a "combat system". it's merely a feature.

FPS and turn based are mutually exclussive, I'm afraid. And beth would turn even tetris to FPS.
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I regret nothing, I expect nothing.
NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE!

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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted January 01, 2011 12:20 PM
Edited by Corribus at 12:23, 01 Jan 2011.

Nice work, DF.  Keep 'em coming.  

It's been quite some time since I played either of the Fallout games, and I haven't yet played the third installment.  I might have to go back and check them out again!

EDIT: What I'd like to see from you is a review of one of the early Might and Magic games (pre MMVI).

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Doomforge
Doomforge

Hero of Order
Mayhem Elemental
posted January 01, 2011 04:58 PM

Thanks Corribus Unfortunately, I never played any game of the Might&Magic series.
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I regret nothing, I expect nothing.
NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE!

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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted January 01, 2011 05:42 PM


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Doomforge
Doomforge

Hero of Order
Mayhem Elemental
posted January 04, 2011 05:55 PM

I'd gladly however do another game, if only I played it.

If no request pops up I think I'll do Deus Ex 1 review
____________
I regret nothing, I expect nothing.
NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE!

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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted January 18, 2011 11:41 AM

DF -
Would you mind having a guest reviewer?  

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Doomforge
Doomforge

Hero of Order
Mayhem Elemental
posted January 18, 2011 11:42 AM

That would be really nice go ahead
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I regret nothing, I expect nothing.
NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE!

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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted January 18, 2011 04:42 PM bonus applied by MightyMage on 07 Mar 2011.
Edited by Corribus at 19:42, 18 Jan 2011.

Excellent!

The game I will be reviewing is Final Fantasy XIII, which I just completed.

Let me preface this review by providing some context in the form of my experience with and thoughts concerning the Final Fantasy (FF) series at large.

As most of you are aware, the FF games are a series of Japanese-style role-playing games released over a period spanning two decades.  As a whole, they have been highly acclaimed, and, unlike many video game franchises, each one is wholly different from its predecessor both in gameplay features as well as story elements.  This is, I suppose, a virtue as well as a vice.  While some core improvements are usually retained, and they all share a similar "flavor", by and large each new entry in the series feels like a completely new game.  Nevertheless, though some of the FF games have been stronger or weaker than others, it's pretty much undeniable that they all have extremely high production values, and even the worst FF is probably fairly described as better than the average video game experience.

Now, my pedigree: I own every FF game that has been made, with the exception of FF3 (never released in the US except on the DS*) and the online versions (FF11 and 14).  Up until recently I still was in possession of an original FF1 Nintendo Cartridge, even though my Nintendo has been long gone - something which should be taken as evidence of how much I love the series.  Of these, I have played and beaten every FF game except for two: FF2 I just could never get into and quit very early on, and FF8 I never finished; I abandoned it shortly after arriving on the moon, because the story just didn't hold my interest.  Note that my completion record also includes the three FF Adventure games on the original gameboy.

Obviously, I am a fan of FF, and yet I do not think the FF games are perfect.  I think it would be difficult to rank them in terms of my favorite or least favorite, because they are so different, but for me the high points would definitely be FF4 (originally released in the US as FF2) and FF7.  The low points would be FF2 and FF8.  What I like about FF games is their high production values, consistently good gameplay and unique story lines.  
For me, the FF games generally have very creative settings but I find their execution to be somewhat flat or - unfortunately - downright confusing.  This has particularly been a problem with later entries in the series, as technological developments have facilitated bigger cutscenes, more dynamic visuals and extremely detailed story events which would have been completely impossible with older technology.  While the cutscenes and 3D environments certainly look great, the actual storytelling hasn't kept pace.  This has led me to question whether there is a maximum level of story complexity that can feasibly be supported by the video game format.  If there is, a few of the FF games have pushed too hard against this ceiling and suffered for it.  

In addition to story issues, there have been some gameplay features that haven't worked or failed for one reason or another.  This is really just a ramification of the constant experimentation that FF developers do with the basic FF formula.  To FF's credit, this experimentation usually succeeds in making each new game feel fresh and innovative and so I can live with the occasional poor idea that creeps into a new game.  I do think that sometimes Square-Enix falls into the trap of including gameplay elements for the simple reason that such elements have always been there, even if they don't mesh well with the archtecture of the newly developed game.  A good example of this is the Eidolons (summons), which have become increasingly irrelevant in later installments, and especially so in the game under question, and yet they continue to be included because... well, why?  Thus, in some ways the design of FF games is a contradiction, striving to go in new directions yet stubbornly retaining a few random features for the mere sake of continuity.  I can't quite figure that out.

In any case, when I bought my PS3, one of the first games I knew I had to have was FF13, so let's get to it, shall we?

Graphics and Sound

Ok, we'll get this out of the way.  As you might guess, the production values of FF13 are staggeringly high.  The visuals are simply beautiful, especially when you arrive on Gran Pulse later in the game.  Drawing distances are incredibly long (in environments when they are taken advantage of) and the game keeps you interested if only because you want to see what's coming along around the corner.  Settings are very detailed and bright, although I will say that I was disappointed that the game doesn't feature any creepy environments (i.e., crypts or dungeons of the classical sort).  It's worth mentioning that the game runs very smoothly with nary a hiccup or frame-rate drop throughout.  In addition to the technical aspect, the actual artistic design is very inspired and interesting.  I love most of the creature designs and costumes, the sole exception being the footsoldiers - who look a little too much like cheese-ridden storm troopers - and the main antagonist and final boss, who look - well - very bizarre.  Character models are also very well done, although Fang's hair looks like something you'd find on someone living in a trailer park.  

As far as music goes: it's fine I guess, but I missed some of the nostalgic tunes - including the classic title-screen music.  The battle theme was very underwhelming, as was the victory theme.  That said, some of the location music was interesting - there were a few nice jazzy melodies (a new for the series, I believe).  Given the "mechanical" aspect of the game's themes, I think some more techno, synthetic or industrial pieces would have been more fitting, but that's just a quibble.  Overal, other FF games have offered better music, but it's not terrible or anything.

Sounds: Sound effects are pretty standard fare and the voicework is strong throughout.  A lot has been made of Vanille's voice, but to be honest it didn't bother me as it apparently did a lot of people.  I mean, I wouldn't want to listen to her sing an aria or anything, but prior reviews had me ready to listen to fingernails across a chalkboard.  Her accent is admittedly a little strange at times but given her backstory, this is understandable.

Story

With the exception of FF9, every FF game from 7 onwards (I guess 6 also could fit here) has taken place in a modern or futuristic setting where our heroes still - for some reason - often fight with swords and spears.  Even though they are fighting mechanical beasts, tanks and space-ships wielding plasma or energy-based weaponry.  FF13 continues this trend.

FF13 takes place in the world of Gran Pulse, and, more specifically, the artificial moon-like body called Cacoon that floats above it.  The world of Pulse/Cacoon is ruled by demigods creatures called fal'Cie; however, human interaction with fal'Cie is minimal and for the most part these fal'Cie see to the needs of human beings. (For instance, on Cacoon, they provide light, food, energy, etc. and on Pulse they do things like aerate the soil, create new life-forms, etc.)  Some time ago, the civilization on Pulse, at the behest of the Pulse fal'Cie, attacked cacoon and tried to destroy it.  They were unsuccessful, but the population of Cacoon has feared a new invasion ever since.  Occasionally, the fal'Cie can coerce individual humans into becoming unwilling servants to accomplish some task for the fal'Cie - called a Focus; these servants, called l'Cie, gain magical powers but typically feared and ostracized by the rest of the population.  l'Cie generally don't know exactly what their Foci are, but if they don't accomplish them in time, they turn into a sort of zombie called a Cie'th and live forever that way.  The story involves a group of Cacoonites who get transformed into l'Cie and have to figure out what their Focus is, which as you can imagine involves saving the world from one or more malevolent beings.

Ok, that's the story in a nutshell, and I won't give more potential spoilers.  It touches on themes of fate and religion but it's doesn't smack you in the face with them like FF10 did.

Basically, the setting is quite innovative and the cast of characters is interesting and likeable.  It's nice that the lead is not an angst-ridden male adolescent rebelling against society, as has been all too common in FF games.  There are some good side-stories involving the main characters; the Hope/Snow interaction is particularly interesting early on, though this is resolved before the halfway point.

For the most part, the story is also much more accessable and engaging than that of FF12, which was - to my mind - a confused muddle.  Because of the game's structure (more on that below), the story also flows rather well, proceeding from one event smoothly into the next; there are no long lulls where nothing happens, and this makes the story feel urgent and tense.  Unfortunately, this is not as much of a good thing as it might appear to be.  Furthermore, while the primary narrative is reasonably easy to follow, it does - again, in typical FF fashion - fall apart to some degree in the game's concluding moments.  The main antagonist's motivations are murky at best and the events in the final cut-scenes are rather inscrutable.  For that matter, the game also doesn't start on a high note, throwing the player into the action in medias res and clearing up a lot of details with flashbacks that aren't always as informative as they should be; the first few chapters are quite confusing, particularly because they use lots of confusing terminology introduced all at once.  This might have been intended, but the cut-scenes and dialog do a poor job of describing what is happening and so for the first couple of chapters I found myself just playing without thinking too much about the story.  The game does try to help you out by giving you journal entries to read after major plot points, but I found that these entries did not always coincide exactly with the cut-scene I just watched - for example, the journal entry might discuss cut-scenes that happened in the past as if they were just revealed, or talk about cut-scenes I haven't watched yet.  Nevertheless, reading these entries is - especially in the beginning - almost a necessity, as I would have been completely lost without having them to fill in details and explain terminology that was just completely unclear from the live dialog.  This becomes less of a problem as the story unfolds, and by the end I was not reading the entries at all.

While the quality of the narrative was generally very good (compared to some of the other FF games), one negative consequence of the game's linearity and fast-paced story telling was the fact that the world itself does not come alive like it does in some other FF games.  Because there is no "overworld" - the player doesn't get a sense of how one region fits (both geographically and socially) together with another.  Indeed, it's not completely clear what exactly Cacoon is: moon? planet? Dyson sphere?  There are no towns to explore (except for one of the game's chapter, which plays out more like a dungeon than a classical RPG town) and very few NPCs to speak to, and so the world ends up feeling hollow, with few details being offered except those which can be gleaned directly through the main story arc.  This is especially disappointing because the game's unique setting had a lot of potential.  Another thing which really hurts the game in this regard is the complete lack of back story about the world's creatures; FF12 featured bibliographic entries on each encountered creature, offering an explanation of the creature's personality, history, etc.  While FF13 does offer an index of creatures, each entry only contains statistics about HPs, elemental weaknesses, etc.  Which, for the most part, are useless anyway because... well we'll get to that.  This was a wasted opportunity, not just to flesh out the FF13 world, but also to make the monsters seem relevant.  Why am I fighting a giant mechanical behemoth?  *shrugs*

Gameplay

It is no secret that FF13 was designed with some of the criticisms against FF12 and earlier FF games in mind.  Unfortunately, I feel Square-Enix completely over-compensated for some slight problems with earlier games and ended up introducing much larger problems into the formula.  

First, the level structure.  FF12 was criticized for being too open, too directionless and too slow.  Thus, the FF13 designers opted to ditch an overworld altogether.  Indeed, for the first 10 chapters of the game, the player navigates levels that are little more than long hallways punctuated periodically by cut-scenes or boss battles or both.  There is very little exploration, and rarely is there even a fork in the path.  All "shopping" (more on that later) and business transactions take place at save stations, which are spaced at surprisingly short intervals, which fugitive nature of the main characters, it further restricts the player's exploration and interaction space.  The game does open up briefly in the 11th (and, not coincidentally, most enjoyable) chapter, with a largish area to explore and some side quests to solve, but then it's back to the long trek for the 12 and 13th chapters.

The upside to this approach is that the story is much more tightly scripted and flows at a very measured pace.    There are absolutely no pauses or breaks from the action, and the player never wanders aimlessly, wondering what to do.  In fact, the developers have defended their design as necessary to tell a good story.  I'm not sure that's a defensible argument, and in any case the downside to such a design is far heavier than a the seemless storytelling that is the benefit.  The game almost feels claustrophobic, and though the visuals are pretty, the all-to-brief opening of the game in chapter 11 feels almost like a brief breath of fresh air.  I've seen platformers with less restrictive level design.

Adding to the problem is that until chapter 9, you also have no choice over what your party makeup is.  While there are 6 playable characters in FF13, the game tells you exactly which ones you may use at any given time, and which one is your team's leader.  Thus even as a dungeon crawl, the game fails, because the one thing that should be enjoyable - experimenting with the battle system - is ultimately unsatisfying because you are forced to have your party composed the way the game want you to compose it.  

But the battle system is a whole separate can of worms.

While FF12's main story was one of the more disappointing in the series, where it really shined was its battle system.  In fact, I'd venture to say that of all the FF games, FF12 had the best, most enjoyable combat mechanics.  Thus, I was eager to see what FF13 would have to offer.

Sadly, it is a mess and easily one of the worst in the series.

As in FF12, your party consists of only three characters at a time, and like FF12, you only directly control one of these characters.  However, here the similarity ends.  While FF12 battles take place "live", this is not the case in FF13.  Upon bumping into an enemy - usually impossible to avoid, because of the confined level design - the player is whisked away to a special battle screen.  At this point you direct your controlled character to attack/heal/cast a spell/defend/use an item/etc. and the AI-controlled characters do likewise.  As in FF12.  However, while in FF12 you had Gambits whereby you could script the AI-characters to do pretty much exactly as you wished, you have no such controls in FF13.  What you have are paradigms.

There are six "job classes" in FF13, which, though having fancy sounding names, include a warrior, magic-user, defender, buffer, debuffer and healer.  Each character specializes in three of these, although toward the end of the game you can develop any character in anything if you're willing to level grind.  

Paradigms are combinations of these job classes.  An offensive paradigm may involve two of your characters as warriors (Commandos) and one as a magic user (Ravager), while a more defensive paradigm may involve two healers (Medics) and on defender (Sentinel).  To control your party during battle, you may switch between paradigms at any time.  So, for instance, you might start off in a Paradigm that emphasizes buffing and debuffing, then switch to one that maximizes offensive firepower, and then, when you've taken some abuse, quickly change over to one where your support characters are medics or defenders, before switching back to offense.

This sounds good on paper, and indeed it might work out really well, but there are some serious problems with its implementation in FF13.

For one thing, you have no control over how the AI characters prioritize what they do.  So while you might have twenty status ailments that need removing, your medic focuses on healing rather than esuna-ing.  Nothing you can do, unless of course your main character is a medic, but you can only perform an action on one target on a turn, even if you have enough action points to cast the spell three times in a turn.  So you'll have to do it all manually, which is practically impossible in this battle system.  This goes for debuffs as well - if you are fighting an enemy that is vulnerable to slow and deprotect, and you'd rather it be slowed, the AI controlling your debuffer doesn't care.  It will cast whatever it wants to, leaving you in the cold.  No Gambits in FF13, no control, although gambits certainly would have fit into the system nicely.

In addition, you can only preprogram 6 Paradigms at any one time.  While all the 200 some combinations wouldn't necessarily be useful, I found myself handicapped by not being able to switch to the combination I needed.  Of course, I could always replay the battle with reprogrammed Paradigms, but this is annoying.

Battle in FF13 takes place in real time, and it's fast. (The first time you Paradigm shift in each battle, there's an extra-long animation that you have to endure - and battle is so fast that you find youself sometimes being pummeled during this animation!) You can in theory input your commands for a turn manually, but there really isn't enough time to do this and still be efficient.  Thankfully, there's an "autobattle" command which analyzes what the enemy is weak to (provided you have scanned it) and sets your turn accordingly.  Therefore, 95% of the time battles ammont to little more than repeatedly hitting the X-button and switching Paradigms when needed.  The only strategy that comes into play is in determining when to switch paradigms from offensive to defensive to buff/debuff - there's almost no micromanagement at all, which might appeal to some people but doesn't appear to me.  This is all, by the way, exacerbated by the fact that you have no direct control over where your characters are standing during battle, meaning your susceptibility to area-effect spells and attacks is completely random.  

Overall, the game is not very hard.  Aside from some "special" enemies near the end, which are optional, I rarely felt challenged.  That doesn't mean I didn't die a lot, because I did.  In FF13, it's game over if your lead character dies, which doesn't make much sense (the same character can be "raised" if he/she is a support character) and also leads to losses fealing cheap and unfair, particularly at the end of a long battle.  [I don't know why they didn't do the FF12 solution to this problem, with control passing automatically to the next character in line.]  This "feature" also renders some spells, such as Raise,  much less useful in the hands of support characters than they should be.  But don't worry, if you die, you can restart right before battle, and save points are everywhere, which limits the tension of the game.  It's true, I usually don't like games where dying means having to replay 30 minutes of a dungeon, but FF13 is ridiculous to the opposite extreme.  There should be some feeling of gravity to your moves.  I can't help but feel that FF13's design is a bit dumbed-down to be more accessible to people new to the series.

Well, that's the battle system.  There are some more details but I think my impression is clear - it's a weak design that offers neither strategic complexity or the thrill of micromanagement.  

What else is there with gameplay?  Just two things: character development and weapons/items management.  Both are big steps backward from earlier games in the series.  

Character development: There are no levels in FF13.  Characters gain experience points of sorts from each battle, which they use to improve characters using a system similar to FF10's sphere grid.  However, this system is more linear than FF10's (with the exception of deciding which job to put points into) and the 3D presentation makes it very difficult to see what abilities are ahead without a lot of effort.  By the way, FF games abandoned the traditional RPG leveling system a long time ago and I wish they'd go back to it - there's something satisfying about the sudden growth in power that accompanies leveling up - the gradual and incremental growth enhancement of later FF incarnations is much less satisfying.  A final note about character development is that in FF13 most of the characters are redundant.  The game's difficulty is low and you can achieve maximum potential in each job class using only three characters.  Given the scarcity of money for weapons upgrades and the cryptic nature of upgrading to begin with, you'll probably find yourself using only three characters the entire game.  It's true that there are slight differences in the order which different characters get skills (e.g., one character might get haste a lot sooner than another), but ultimately they all get pretty much the same skill set when maxed out so there's not much reason to play around with different character combinations unless you are trying to take down the game's very few Superbosses after you've defeated the Big Bad.

Weapons and items are an even bigger mess than the game system and character advancement.  Weapons and equipment (no armor in FF13) can be upgraded at save stations by putting various items (dropped by monsters and found in chests) into them for experience points of sorts.  Earn enough experience, and the weapon goes up a level.  You're given very little information about this system and are forced to experiment.  Some items apparently increase the experience multiplier of the weapon/equipment and other items offer big experience gains, but while there are hundreds of possible items it seems they basically only boil down to these two categories - a sort of false complexity.  They might as well have just had creatures drop red and blue orbs and been done with it. In any case, eventually your weapons/items will top out at a maximum level, but they can can then be transformed into new weapons/items using certain rare ingredients.  There are three tiers of weapons, but over a dozen or so weapons for each character in each tier.  Lightning, for instance, wields gunswords, and there are a certain number of "introductory" ones to choose from, which you find in treasure boxes throughout the game.  While upgrading to the second tier is straightforward, getting to the third tier requires monumental effort and probably a FAQ.

The Problems with this system are manyfold.  First, money is very scarce, particularly in the first half of the game, meaning that you won't have much chance to play around with upgrading - you're better off consulting a FAQ and seeing what works.  Second, once you've put considerable effort into upgrading one weapon, there's little sense in starting over again with a far inferior weapon that you find 8 chapters later.  Really, this kind of game design is completely perplexing to me because one of the main draws of an RPG is getting better equipment.  It's almost impossible to find better equipment than what you have already upgraded, and the differences between weapons are very slight it seems, so this aspect of RPGs is almost completely neglecting in FF13.  By the end of the game I had litereally dozens of bracelets, boots, buckles, bags, bottlecaps and a bevy of other doodads that just sat in my inventory unused, and I stuck with the (upgraded) first weapons I found in Chapter 1 throughout the entire game.  From what I can tell, getting the items required to reach the final level of weaponry would take hours of item farming, meaning that for the entire game each of my characters had a total of two weapons.  Seriously, Square, WTF were you thinking?

Impressions

I realize that this review seems to have mostly been negative.  Graphics aside, FF13 gives a very bad first impression, and many aspects of it are simply not very good.  Part of the time I felt it was a little more than a tech demo for the PS3, with almost no thought going into the critical aspects of game design.

That said, for the most part I enjoyed playing it.  Seems strange to say, given my complaints, but the production values, visuals and even the story were strong enough to make it enjoyable to experience.  Furthermore, when the game finally opens up in Chapter 11 - with exploration, minigames and, god, the beautiful sights to see - you really see what a PS3 FF game could be, if done right.  If they had cut out some of the first few chapters and greatly increased the size and scope of Chapter 11, and stuck with a modified FF12 gameplay system, this could have been a game for the ages.

Unfortunately, what we get is a very pretty but deeply flawed experience which offers some color characters and an interesting setting but a complete lack of strategic depth, underwhelming gameplay and very uninspired character development.  If you're looking for a difficult, deep RPG with some tension and consequences to your choices, you're better off playing Demons Souls.

What should I rate the game?  Well, rather than giving it a numerical rating, I think I'd rather just put it up against other FF games.  Clearly it is not the best.  While it might be hip to deride FF7, for me this is clearly the high point of the Sony-era.  FF10 was also a strong entry.  FF8 and FF12 had some good gameplay but lackluster stories that I just couldn't get into - although the latter had the best extended minigame of the series.  FF9 was a bit of a mystery, offering a great game but some of the worst RPG character models ever in video game history.  Seriously, Zidane?

It's hard to compare FF13 to anything earlier than FF7, because it's difficult to normalize for technology over such a wide range of years, but I'm inclined to think FF13 doesn't hold a candle to FF4 or FF6.

For me, FF13 is a slightly-below average FF game.  It's better than the worst, but its gameplay system holds it back too much to make it a very engaging game.  It has very little replay value.  I certainly won't play it again but I don't regret playing it the first time.  It's worthy of bearing the FF name, but I was hoping for better.  The last two FFs that I've played have been canvases painted in black and white - featuring some of the strongest features in the entire series but also some of the weakest.  Maybe FF15 will get it right.

SCORE: OK, I couldn't resist.  6.5/10.  For reference, I'd rate the other FFs as follows:

FF1: 8/10
FF2: ? didn't finish
FF3: ? never played
FF4: 10/10
FF5: 7/10
FF6: 8.5/10
FF7: 9.5/10
FF8: 5/10
FF9: 8/10
FF10: 8.5/10
FF12: 7.5/10

*EDIT: Thanks to mamgaeater for pointing out an error!

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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted March 07, 2011 02:44 PM

@DF
Quote:
Ah, Fallout. A franchise that gathered legions of fans (and extremely ardent fanboys) preaching the post-apocalyptic excellence of this game. A franchise that has seen one of the most sad failures of gaming industry (bankruptcy when the third game was bordering on 90% completion). A franchise (IMHO) effectively ruined by horrible Bethesda game, and mildly revived with a decent New Vegas game.

Ok, Doom, I'm curious why you think FO3 is horrible.  I'm playing it at the moment and wonder if what you are thinking is what I'm thinking.  Care to write a FO3 mini-review?  (Avoid story spoilers if you can, pls.)

Btw, no love for my FF13 review?  You people suck.


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OhforfSake
OhforfSake


Promising
Legendary Hero
Initiate
posted March 07, 2011 02:46 PM
Edited by ohforfsake at 17:16, 07 Mar 2011.

Quote:
You people suck.



We indeed do.

Edit: I should actually check this thread out sometime. Some of the games I might know... like OMF!!!

@Doomforge:
Quote:
Fortunately the "arcade mode" was tough as hell, especially on the hidden difficulty levels. There was no tuning up your bots there, and max speed wasn't allowing you to do 30 hit combo with ease. Thus, it was the only real challenge in OMF

After some practice it wasn't that difficult though! Ultimate with all sort of different changes. Sure, you could set the calculating speed (doesn't affect possible combos, only lets everything go faster) so high up that a game would be over, before you even started.

Quote:
Multiplayer! that's where balance is concerned. Was the game balanced good? nope In two-player mode, some bots were definitely the best, most likely those with air superiority (Gargoyle!) or sick combo (Katana). Bots without those were rather screwed up (Flail, Shadow). Nova was downright pathetic.

The bots that sucked in multiplayer where often very easy to use against the computer. Also Ultimate have several errors where it doesn't block special moves, making it quite easy often. Especially for a bot like shadow that can do an eternal stun, etc.

Yeah Gargoyle own, it's my farvorite. Every bot had its specialty. Flail was the best if you wanted to get on high score. Can you say 700 million points high score!?

Then Katana was wicked and so was Shadow. Both real newbie slayers, good against the computer, etc.

I remember, I only had the demo before I downloaded the free game years later. In some way. The demo just seemed better. But I think it's due to nostalgia, nothing else.

Nova was actually also very good against the AI on any difficulty. Just keep on punching the AI bots in the stomach, felt very good. Firing the occasional missile.

After having read the thread, I see only the two first games were familiar to me.

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Doomforge
Doomforge

Hero of Order
Mayhem Elemental
posted August 08, 2011 04:29 AM

I just finished wasting my precious time on a little game that is surprisingly fun (for a while). I wouldn't be surprised if you never heard of it. Released in 1997, it never actually made it to the top and was - even then - largely unknown to the majority of players. And right now, well, only guys like me, full of nostalgic melancholy for an age long past, can bother with this kind of stuff

[PAX IMPERIA II: EMINENT DOMAIN]



Ok so... Long story short, this is a very peculiar SpaceSim. It's mostly about fighting, but there's some economy and management.

So what makes it special?

well... first of all, number of technologies. it's actually sort of overwhelming - there are many branches of techs (missiles, extended range missiles, lasers, planet killers, guns, special weapons, shields, tactical drives, engines, countermeasures, tracking devices, hull materials, various buildings and orbitals, fighers, colonizers...) and there's anywhere from 5 to 20 techs per branch. Yup - takes quite a while to get all of them. All of them are nicely drawn for 1997, well detailed and have (usually) logical progression. Tech tree is something to be praised, period.

Second - the design. The game looks simply pleasing to the eye. For graphics that are 14 years old, explosions and various energy weapons are still an eye candy, if you try not to see their high pixelation of course. It's fun blowing things up, annihilating planets by orbital bombardment, killing everybody around... yeah, that kind of fun. Even when you're destroying the 40th planet in a row, it's still... sort of... rewarding. Yeah.

Third - customization. Like with techs, there's a BIG group of perks and traits you can pick and tweak. You can set things like faction's research/construction/espionage/reproduction/finance point generation anywhere between 50% and 150%, you can pick the atmosphere they breathe in (or all of them - or pick anaerobic perk that makes your race able to live everywhere including hard vacuum), you can set the preferred temperature (or pick subterranean that can live in any temperatures)... you can make them warriors, spies, develop certain branches of science faster or slower... you have pretty much full control over the race you play. Not only that, but you can also construct any ship you like, picking from any hull available, engines, weapons, shields... everything.

Those are the main positive feats of the game. Which are already good enough to keep a player occupied for a few hours or even days. However, the longer you play, the more obvious it becomes that this game wasn't exactly beta-tested properly, like many of the games of the late 90s period it suffers from horrible gameplay flaws and not exactly well-thought development. So, let's begin the bickering.


First of all - as I mentioned above, customization is a big feature. And of course - as expected - some feats and perks are bigger than others. For instance, you should take 150% finance no matter what because bigger ships cost ridiculous amount of cash and because subsidy makes early game MUCH easier - which isn't exactly possible without a big bag of money. On the other hand, reproduction is nearly entirely useless - it only regulates how fast the population grows. Doesn't make your planets more capacious or something, once they hit their max population - they stop growing and that's it, doesn't really matter whether you reproduce at 50% or 150% speed at this point. And, does it take a lot time to reach the limit? well – in early game yes, but it doesn't matter one bit since you don't have many buildings that give points of something (like research) per each point of population, and later (from midgame upwards) - no, before you finish the construction buildings necessary for the planet to build other things swiftly, it's already nearly full. Yup - first fail.

Espionage is a dump stat too. While fun, it's so much better to simply trample the enemies. You can do lots of things - sabotage ships, steal planets, steal techs - literally everything you want - but it takes forever to complete an espionage mission and by that time, you can simply eradicate the enemy from existence entirely using the traditional method of pew pew lazor gun. and some nukes.

Finally, things that contribute to growth - not reproduction but the possible habitats (represented by green smiley faces on planets, indicating you'll get 100% construction/research points on it) - are really really good on small universe (30 stars and less) because EVERY planet is worth colonizing. So yeah - no matter what you get - you'll grow fast and get ready for owning enemies fast. On big universe (up to 100 stars), psychic perk is a wonder, cause it makes you instantly see the contents of all sectors, the location of enemies and as a bonus it doubles your counter-espionage points. Which means you can pick free sectors, grow without making contact, then show yourself with a big fleet and destroy the enemy entirely before he finishes a single cruiser. Yup.

Overpowered perks are of course accompanied by useless ones. For example, merchant perk doubles the yield from trade routes... but it's such a small value it barely matters anyway.

So... if you want a perfect powergamer's choice, I'd say:

big universe;

Atmosphere: all four types
Trait: Psychic
Perks: Scientist, Politician
Research 140%
Reproduction 50%
Construction 140%
Espionage 50%
Finance 150%

Colonial techs at +1, all other techs at -1

on small one, trade psychic and politician for Subterranean trait.

Okay, enough about the race customization, as you can see - it's not balanced too well. Well, guess what - other things aren't too.

The biggest problem this game faces is how weak the orbitals are - you can overpower them EXTREMELY easily with just a few properly equipped ships. And that "extremely" becomes "beyond extreme" once you discover how broken fighters are in this game. The little ships your warships can carry, sort of like interceptors of Carriers in Starcraft. You get three of them per one "investment" in ship design, you can fit anywhere from 4 to 8 of such squadrons (while keeping reasonable engines and shields - everything takes space points) and they pack decent weapons too. En masse, they just gangrape the poor orbitals like no tomorrow. Sure, theoretically the orbitals - and ships - can use point defense laser weapons to destroy those, but... 4-8 lasers against 100 little ships doing over 9000 damage per second? yup... you guessed it. Doesn't work.

Once you discover that, the game becomes cakewalk. On highest difficulty level, all you have to do is prepare 5-10 destroyers having 1 squad of Medium fighters (which offer best killing power to space taken ratio). That's 30 little ships armed with 2nd laser and 2nd Cannon, which is around 4-5k damage per second. And the orbital has around 200 health and at best a shield giving 50% damage reduction. Go figure

What's worse, the fighters - no matter what tech you have - can engage from any location on the battle screen, any range - way beyond the range of battle stations and missile bases - and they are dreadfully fast, too. And you don't even need the advanced fighters - 2nd or 3rd generation of fighters is enough to trample all opposition. 6th and final generation of fighters on antiquated ships (any ships, even transport ones – doesn’t matter since they do all the killing) can lolrape level5 orbitals with the best shields and weapons available, and the cost of developing those - compared to the final shields and weapons - is pretty laughable.

Yes, there are "Fighter base" orbitals, but since they release squads one after another and not all at once like you can do with a press of Q key, they just get butchered by invading ships' point defense lasers. You can release all manually when you are on defense, but the AI however is too stupid to do that, further reducing the already low challenge. Not that it matters since you can order your fighters to protect your carriers, forming a shield of them circling around your ships, destroying all enemy fighters sighted. And with 20 warships full of fighters, it's VERY easy to overwhelm a single fighter base orbital, even if there was a player controlling it.

So... that's one part of the problem. The planets last few seconds and go boom. The AI is dumb as hell and tries to solve this problem by expanding like mad - just adds the annoyance of having to cleanse 30-40 planets of its presence. Every universe can be beaten the same way: you make basic colonial techs to boost your research, construction and finance, you get class C colonizer and snatch a few planets, you research the mark II or III medium fighter, you get some armorless (cheap) destroyers to carry a squad, you make 10 in no time and you annihilate the stupid AI one after another, upgrading the ships and snatching more planets as you destroy everything in sight.

Which is... yup. Fun for a while. And then, “fun” becomes “dreadufully boring”.

The game offers simply no challenge whatsoever. Mostly due to horrible AI. It is completely retarded - it frequently screws up everything it can, from bad build order, through bad choice of subsystems for ships, to HORRIBLE diplomacy that makes the player cry (every time you're stronger than the AI, it will INSTANTLY declare war - even though you're like light years ahead in terms of number of planets, ships and research – on the other hand it will try to ally with you if you're a weakling. Yeah. Great logic). This is meant to be "balanced" on higher levels by ridiculous starting planets and number of colonizer ships of AI in comparison to your poor planet with no ships whatsoever, but with a well-created race and a fighter rush, you can simply destroy the expanding fools 20 minutes after the supposedly “bad” start. Not doing this, on the other hand, will end up with AI snatching pretty much every planet there is and the game will turn into a boring stalemate that’s even worse than purging the AI from 50-100 planets in a row.

That's not all, however. Aside from the horrible design of planets, they just... don't differ much. When you see "Opulent" or "Rich" planet with a multiplier of x11 or x9, you think "wow that must be hot", but all that it does is multiplying the cash production. Which matters until you have enough cash for everything, and after that it matters no more. The construction/research points are generated exactly the same by a “sterile x1” planet and “opulent x11” one. In the long run, once you have enough cash to maintain a fleet and subsidize the developing planets to max (increasing their production so that they become online in super short time), it doesn't really matter whether you colonize sterile small pathetic planets, or abundant huge worlds: the point generation is the same, and it what matters is their quantity only, quality doesn't matter at all. Which is sort of against the concept of micromanaging worlds and picking best. Nah, in this game, all you need is to get them all. Like pokemon.

Finally - techs are screwed up. For instance, cannons do 1/3 damage of lasers - theoretically they offer greater range but with fast engines (which can be developed few minutes after starting the game) the range difference is covered by ships within half a second. So, cannons are useless. Planets - once you destroyed the orbitals - are dead meat and it doesn't matter whether you attack them with a bomb doing 300 or 15000 damage - all what changes is the time in which you destroy infrastructure (which ALSO doesn't matter since global time flow stops for the duration of battle..). So higher grade bombs are useless. Missiles have a really long rearm rate, and compared to fighters are completely useless. So, there goes another weapon. High range scanners cause your fighters to ignore your orders and attack outright - which is extremly annoying. So, no point in developing those. There are a million drives and engines, but you're going to make the biggest ships once you can, so the higher grade engines for smaller warships are - you guessed it - useless. Finally, the shields.. lol. The mid one - actually 7th of 20 - gives damage absorption of 90%. The later ones stop X damage before collapsing and the final ones combine the effect offering i.e. 65% damage absorption and 5000 extra hit points. But guess what? the EHP for ships with the 90% one is twice the EHP of ships with the final, SUPER EXPENSIVE shield. 70000 EHP to 34000. Yes, I did the math. yes, I'm a nerd. Yes, the developers failed at maths and game balancing, as it takes literally 0 seconds to calculate that.

So.... what's more to say? The game had potential. It was fun, rich and interesting. However, it simply got ruined by the horrible balance, exploits and RETARDED AI providing no challenge at all, and because of the fighters' ridiculous stomping power and orbitals' weakness, multiplayer would just be "who gets 10 fighter carriers first wins", pointless to play.

Irredeemable? I'm afraid so. After 14 years, not even the fans will make a fanpatch balancing this mess. They already did, btw (providing i.e. multiplayer save feature which wasn't originally included). Besides, I'm pretty sure there are no fans of this game left

So, yeah, if it was released today, updated to modern interface and graphics, bugfixed, rebalanced and remade in terms of gameplay - it would be one heck of a game. It would be teh ****! But that will never happen and, as AVGN once said - it's not the ****. It's just plain ****.

Still - give it a try! It's actually really fun for the first few hours. Until you break the system with fighter carriers. From there, it's just dreadfully repetitive.

Rating: 4/10

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Shyranis
Shyranis

Hero of Order
posted August 16, 2011 09:46 AM

You know, I never noticed this thread before.

I do feel somewhat sorry that Corribus got the PS3 for FF13 and was disappointed. The game also game out for the Xbox360.

The things is, in my household we have the 3 major systems and as far as RPGs go... even the Wii has more than the PS3. It's really sad.

As for Final Fantasy. The series has been really missing its spark since FF10, and for good reason. The designers and main composer left Square Enix because as big companies do, treated them rather harshly. They formed an independant studio called Mistwalker. Mistwalker has made 2 major console games and they were both for the Xbox 360. The first is Blue Dragon. Blue Dragon feels a lot like Final Fantasy 9, and the art is done by the same person who did Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest, Dragon Ball, etc. It feels a lot like how a Final Fantasy game should. The actual characters are kind of kiddie looking (as I said, it's like an FF9/Chrono Trigger throwback) but the gameplay is a lot more like the recognizable FF formula with changes that keep it fresh and interesting. Their second game is Lost Odyssey. It also feels a lot like an FF game, it's what FF13 should have been. The graphics are great for this generation of games (but FF was never about graphics, they were just a bonus). Much like FF, many of the items and spells share common themes but take place in seperate worlds. Some enemies return from Blue Dragon, but the game is entirely different. The characters have a more realistic look instead.

I'd suggest checking these two games out if you ever want to play what I would consider to be the real successor of Final Fantasy.

I find the characters in these two games much more relate-able than the ones in FF12 and 13.

The thing is too, Lost Odyssey only sold a couple hundred thousand copies rather than the million plus that the much more hyped/advertised FF13 did, but Mistwalker is still releasing a sequel this year because they care more about making art.

I believe they also released a Japan only Wii RPG too... and some DS games.

But the only "Home Console" games released in North America by them were Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey.

It's a shame such a schism had to happen, but I guess it's the same as what happened to push JVC from Might and Magic and many other creators from their series. At least in this case we see them coming up with something great instead of fading into obscurity.

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Fauch
Fauch


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
posted August 16, 2011 07:40 PM

judging by screenshots only, Lost odyssey looks absolutely gorgeous.

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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted August 16, 2011 09:08 PM

Unfortunately, Shy, I don't have an Xbox 360, only PS3 and Wii. You're right though, the number of good RPGs on PS3 have been very few - a shame because I was really looking forward to next gen RPGs.

Nice review, btw, Doom.

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