Retro Game Friday: Kingdoms of Amalur

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the only game made by the infamous 38 Studios. It’s Kingdoms of Amalur!

Plot Synopsis: A mortal known as the “Fateless One”, who, having died before the game’s outset, is revived in the experimental Well of Souls by the gnomish scientist Fomorous Hugues. The first and only success of the experiment, the Fateless One must escape the facility when it comes under attack by the Tuatha Deohn, a subsect of the immortal Winter Fae, who are currently waging a “Crystal War” on all the mortal races in the name of their new god “Tirnoch”.

Plot: The plot is okay, and there are plenty of sidequests, however it’s not completely original enough to be truly noteworthy to me. The fact that there is obvious and blatant nods to actual Earth mythology is a big demerit for the writing. That being said the story was enjoyable enough.

Gameplay: This played a lot like both Skyrim, in the freedom aspect (mostly although not like Breath of the Wild or Metal Gear Solid V), and Fable in the button usage and combat system.  There was enough customization to feel like you your character was unique and special for you, but not so overwhelming that you are required to spend 10 hours to get the perfect look. Although I suppose almost any game with a customization system could count as such if you want to be really picky. The combat was frenetic and fast paced, and it felt like if you put World of Warcraft and made it a single player console game. Sort of. That’s just the feeling I got from playing it.

Art: The art is okay, and while it’s aged somwhat poorly it’s not as bad as games from the 90’s or 00’s in terms of aging.

Music: Pretty standard fantasy fare, not too amazing or too spectacular though.

Overall: This is a fun game, although it has it’s flaws. Worth a shot playing it if you can find a copy.

For those who like: Action-RPGs, Fantasy, Drama, Frenetic Combat, Good Plot, Decent Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

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Retro Game Friday: Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

Hey all I’m back to daily posts, and it’s starting back up with Retro Game Friday. It’s all about Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood!

Plot Synopsis: Desmond’s story continues where it left off, in 2012. After escaping the Templars’ attack at the end of Assassin’s Creed II, Desmond Miles, Lucy Stillman, Rebecca Crane, and Shaun Hastings flee to Monteriggioni, establishing a new hideout in the ruins of the Villa Auditore. After restoring the electricity in the old tunnels under the villa, the player once again takes control of Ezio Auditore through Desmond’s genetic memory, using the Animus 2.0 (which is the game’s memory interface). Their mission is to find the Apple of Eden, an important and mysterious artifact that could prevent the impending disaster that is coming in that same year, believed to be perpetrated by the Templars…

Plot: The plot of Brotherhood was pretty amazing, and while it’s the first game which featured the same person as the main character in the past, it wasn’t bad at all. Frankly I really enjoyed the plot of Brotherhood, although it’s not quite as good as ACII, for reasons I won’t name due to spoilers.

Gameplay: This plays quite a bit like ACII, although it included use of horses inside Rome and added the Brotherhood function, which was more than a bit overpowered if you took the time to level the members up as soon as possible. Doing so would allow you to pretty much empty entire missions of guards by whistling for an assassin to take each of them out, which they would do flawlessly after getting to the max rank.

Characters: While many characters re-appear from prior games, I still think that Da Vinci was the best side character in the entire game.

Art: The art has aged, however good news for those who haven’t played Brotherhood is that it along with ACII and Revelations were remastered for HD quite recently for the latest generation of consoles.

Overall: A solid entry in the series, although the Brotherhood functions were more than a bit overpowered.

Retro Game Friday: Tales of Vesperia

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This week for Retro Game Friday, I’m covering a game I truly am surprised I haven’t covered already. It’s Tales of Vesperia!

Plot Synopsis: When the aque blastia core is stolen from Zaphias’s lower quarter, denying water to the lower class who live there, a young swordsman named Yuri Lowell attempts to chase down the thief…

Plot: The plot of Vesperia is definitely one of the best in the series. It’s darker than most of the other recent entries, but it’s definitely worth experiencing. That being said it’s a pity that the PS3 version of the game, which has a slightly expanded plot and cast of characters, has yet to be released in the west.

Characters: The entire cast of Vesperia is pretty awesome, although it’s a shame that western players don’t get to meet the entire cast as those in Japan do with the PS3 version.

Gameplay: This is one of the more solid entries in the series, especially in the item and battle systems. Battle isn’t as flawless as the most recent entries, but Vesperia is also the last entry in the series to have an overworld, so there is that.

Art: The art is a little dated, but it’s pretty damn good for a game that was released almost a decade ago.

Music: The music is pretty awesome, and even the opening theme is pretty catchy.

Overall: Like with other entries in the series, if you’ve never played it you are truly missing out.

For those who like: Tales of, JRPGs, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Excellent Plot, Great Cast of Characters, Good Art, Awesome Musical Score.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Video Game Tuesday: Stormblood and PS3 Support

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m turning my attention to the big news that came from the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest in Las Vegas a week and half ago! It’s all about Stormblood and PS3 Support!

Stormblood?: Stormblood is the next expansion for Final Fantasy XIV and will take us to Ala Mhigo and give us two new Jobs in addition to raising the level cap to 70 and giving us tons of new things to do. Speculated Jobs at the moment are Red Mage, Samurai, and Dancer. Personally I’m betting on Red Mage (as a Melee DPS) and Samurai (Also as a Melee DPS). Dancer isn’t very likely to be implemented until they fix the current tanking and healing classes. Red Mage being a sword user who also uses close combat versions of magic elements is the reason why I see it being a Melee DPS. It’s always had a focus on melee damage and DPS is the most logical choice because there isn’t a pure support class type, and never will be, and there will never be a hybrid class or talent tree system either by the way.

Yoshi-P has shot down any hopes for those who wanted them. Personally I’m happy they won’t ever be in the game, as FFXIV doesn’t need either a pure support class type and definitely doesn’t need a hybrid class and/or talent trees. Samurai is my second bet for the last job, and like Red Mage will be a Melee DPS class, FFXIV doesn’t need any more tanks until they can fix the current stat system to make our current tanks not just glorified damage dealers with really heavy armor. Healing is obviously out of the question for Samurai. Dancer was hoped for because of what appears to happens in the trailer, which is awesome by the way, but the Lady in Red isn’t a Dancer she is most definitely a Monk. Also the same goes for tanking and healing as I mentioned for Samurai, the stat system needs some serious reworking before we get any more of them.

What’s this about PS3 Support though?: What was met with the biggest cheers after the announcement of Stormblood as the next expansion is the fact that FFXIV will no longer support PlayStation 3 after 4.0 drops. In fact they won’t even be able to play according to Yoshi-P. Frankly this has been a long time coming and I guessed that this would happen a year ago. The PS3 was holding back the game in every aspect and was a serious pain to play on, with loading times being unbearable and it affecting newer boss fights. With the PS4 Pro and price cuts and Stormblood coming out in Summer 2017, 4.0 is the perfect time to drop PS3 Support like the dead weight it is.

Every aspect?: Yes from inventory space, to zone sizes. The PS3 had serious issues that held back the gameplay for the rest of the player base.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: WoW vs. FFXIV

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For this week’s Video Game Tuesday I’m going to be talking about the differences between WoW vs. FFXIV.

Art: Let’s get the obvious one out of the way, the art styles are completely different in each game, but FFXIV has the advantage of being newer and it blows WoW out of the water in terms of Art. There are some impacts however to having such great looking art assests however. Winner: FFXIV

Open Connected World: WoW has the advantage here with most of their content out in the world having no loading screens, FFXIV has great looking areas, but they are behind loading screens. This wasn’t originally the case, but with A Realm Reborn they broke up the 6 main zones into smaller pieces to reduce server strain.  Winner: WoW

Customization: WoW added the Transmogrification system in patch 4.3, and it helped add a bit of customization to their game. But it didn’t add much, you still never see your characters body under all that armor unless you run around naked, and the body itself isn’t customizable all that much. In contrast FFXIV allows for vast amounts of customization from character height to hair color highlights. In addition their version of the Transmog system, the Glamour system allows for all sorts of customization of the character and they even added fun items that you can glamour onto your battle gear like a Santa outfit, or even no clothes out all (well except for the standard undergarments each race wears). Not only that, but where as WoW recently introduced the Garrison System, their take on Player Housing, FFXIV has truly customizable Player Housing in their game, for both their guild system (called Free Companies or FCs) and private player owned housing. Winner: FFXIV

Combat Gameplay: The combat gameplay is pretty similar between both of the games, the only difference really is the fact that you can play FFXIV on the PlayStation systems. This does have some impact on things which I’ll cover later. Winner: Neither.

Crafting Systems: The crafting sytem in WoW is really basic, and while it is easier to level up it’s not that fulfilling compared to FFXIV’s crafting system. It’s certainly much more complicated, but once you get into it it’s quite fun. Winner: FFXIV

Gathering Systems: WoW has the better gathering systems, where FFXIV had such a great crafting system they tried to do the same thing for gathering and it just doesn’t work as well. You can still fail at gathering something even with a very high percentage of success, like 97%, and it will occur often. This means leveling up the gathering profession is not only frustrating, but very difficult to do. Winner: WoW

Storyline: FFXIV has the better story hands down by far with their plot making you feel like an epic hero by the end of Act 1 of a Realm Reborn and even though you still get some menial tasks, it’s joked about quite a bit by NPCs, it’s not nearly as bad as the ones that WoW seems to have endlessly.

Questing: FFXIV has the better quests, with some of them having voiced cutscenes and others being just awesome. You’d never get a questline like the Hildibrand quest line in World of Warcraft. Hildibrand’s questline was the most I’ve ever laughed in an MMORPG due to the game and not something a player did. Winner: FFXIV easily

Modding: WoW has allowed mods to be made for their game allowing players to make things like Deadly Boss Mods, or Auctioneer which help out greatly in the game. FFXIV has none of these things, but makes up for it with having most of the functions of mods being in built into the game. You can’t customize the look of your action bars like in WoW, but you don’t need to. Things like Auctioneer or DBM or DPS meters however aren’t in the game and while some people complain about it, and PC users use third party programs to do it anyway for some things, it’s a bannable offense to do so. Winner: Neither, WoW requires certain mods to be played with anything other than perfection, FFXIV doesn’t require it of you, but you won’t progress far in endgame content with subpar skills like you could do in WoW with DBM.

Raids: WoW has the more clever and interesting mechanics for raids, but because they are done assuming 99% of the player base is using boss mods to help with them they can do so. FFXIV on the other hand has less interesting raid mechanics, but has more fulfillment because you have to rely purely on your teams skill to complete. Winner: FFXIV, because it’s much more skill based than WoW.

Class System: FFXIV allows you to be everything with one character, which is quite fun. However doing so means you need to grind out the additional classes to level them up, which isn’t that fun. WoW on the other hand only allows one character to be one class.  Regarding class feel the advantage goes to FFXIV because each class is quite different visually and mechanically. Winner: FFXIV

Overall: I enjoyed WoW quite a bit, but the story of the RTS games never really got into the MMO. FFXIV has a great storyline and is a fun MMO at the same time, which for me makes it the winner. Others will disagree, or point out that I’m not touching on Mythic raids in WoW. You are right, I’m not covering those things because those things require a time and skill investment of hundreds upon hundreds of hours to participate in. Mythic level raids are great, but to be honest you’d never complete those things without something like DBM, FFXIV doesn’t give you that choice and requires pure skill for their most difficult content. Winner: FFXIV