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DISCLAIMER:

The following article is solely the opinion of the writer and is therefore going to be subjected to the scrutiny of the reader.  Further to this the writer welcomes any and all other opinions.  Discuss, debate, have fun!



My top 3 Final Fantasy games of all time

The reason I am writing this article today is due to the fact that XIII is due out soon.  Just today I pre ordered my LE hardcover copy of the players guide off amazon.ca.  There is a little disappointment with this release however.  I have seen LE’s coming out in PAL regions, as well as Japan.  In fact, Japan has gotten a special release of the PS3 itself featuring artwork from FFXIII.  If I had the cash to import the system, I would.  I would love to be the owner of one of these special edition systems.  I think it would look quite good next to my 80 GB PS3.

Well, this isn’t a rant about North America getting squat for LE’s of this game aside from the players guide; it is my top three list!  Here it is.

#3

Final Fantasy 7

FF7

Yes, you see it correctly; VII is listed at number three.  I know that many of you would have this game in the number one slot, but it doesn’t hold enough value to me to achieve this title.

Don’t take this as any discredit to the game.  I think it is phenomenal.  The story is top notch.  I love the idea of the rogue officer taking on the regime he once served.  I enjoy the futuristic approach of it; it is a nice break from the usual medieval times that most final fantasy games seem to have been set in.  The characters are great for the most part.  When I think of any battles in any Final Fantasy games that I have played, the most epic have always been Cloud vs Sephiroth.  Everything from Crisis Core to Dissidia...  Yes, even in Dissida while playing as Cloud I had a hell of a time beating Sephiroth in a convincing manner.  They always seemed to be the tough ones.  Some characters are forgettable to me though.

Graphics were great.  The cinematics were very good for the time.  One of the most iconic Final Fantasy images seems to be that of the scene where Sephiroth is walking away into a wall of flame.

Despite all the pluses in this game, the thing that takes away from it for me is that I cannot for the life of me get into any of the side quests.  They just don’t hold my interest, and with that it seems that by the end of the game when it is time to take on Sephiroth, I am nowhere near a high enough level to even be a match against him.  At this point I have usually gotten bored and turned it off.

One thing I have never done with this game though is put it into my PS1 and play it in its original form.  I have only played it on my PSP as a download.

#2

Final Fantasy 2

FF2

The oldie, but the goodie.  This one wouldn’t have even made my top ten list for the longest time.  I never got through the first little bit of it.  One day I picked up a copy of this in the remake form on UMD.  It was only $5.00 and I figured it would be a good add on to my PSP collection.  It happened to accompany me on a road trip last year and it found its way into my PSP.  After about an hour I was hooked.  Something about the old 16 bit RPGs have a certain charm to them.  They remind me of the days when I dabbled in RPG maker, trying desperately to think of a good story to hold together the hundreds of maps I made together.  It never happened obviously, as I’m still a slave to the government trying to make a living.  Haha

The problem I have had with numerous RPG’s is that at that midway to ¾ point in the game I get bored.  I lose my interest and think “oh I’ll just pop in (insert stop gap game here) and take a break from this.”  That break turns into me playing that stop gap and forgetting about the RPG.  This is where II takes a huge leap forward for me.  When you take Cecil becomes that paladin, he changing in such a way that it makes me feel like it’s a whole new game.  It refreshes the story for me and gives me the ambition to finish it off.  I only seem to have this issue with RPG’s though, most action games/shooter games/anything else games I tend to play straight through.  Guess RPG’s aren’t my forte.

Well, there’s 2 and 3, now for my personal favorite.  When I got my first PS1 this was the first game I got with it.  The graphics blew me away, the story captivated me, and the characters seemed almost real.  I’ve heard numerous people say that the first Final Fantasy you ever play always holds a special place is your gamer heart, and this one holds true to this day for me.

#1

Final Fantasy 8

FF8

Yep, VIII.  I still remember watching the opening cinematic and being blown away by how amazing the graphics looked.  It didn’t take much more to have me completely hooked.  The game started off a little slow, but once I got into the SeeD exam I was in.

The graphics were fantastic.  Not only with the opening cinematic, but all the rest.  They looked amazing.

The atmosphere really got me into the game as well.  Starting off as a mere student and progressing to lead your garden was a blast.  Everything from going to Trabia after the missile strike and walking through the devastation, to having a mobile garden taking on Galbadia garden, to shooting off into space in an attempt to save Rinoa, they all seemed just right for me.

The characters for the most part kept me going.  Normally it’s the story, and not the characters themselves that keep me interested in a game, but I really wanted to see what happened next to some of them.  Squall and Rinoa of course were the main focus of the good guys.  Squalls inner struggles, Rinoas calling to Adel, and all in between.  Yes, there were many bad guys, but they all worked for me.  Seifer as Squalls arch nemesis as the right hand man to whoever was in power at the time was not only annoying in the “not you again” way, but kept it familiar enough when fighting a new baddie.  I won’t go into all of them, but I even enjoyed playing through in the “alternate reality.”

The battle system, although took some getting used to at first, was quite deep.  It took some serious planning and fore thought.  The junctioning of magic to the various attributes of your characters was what involved planning.  You are about to run into a battle with a baddie that you know will have an immunity to fire, well, gotta get your 99 Firaga spells out of attack..  and replace with…

I will say though that the draw system isn’t my favorite way of obtaining spells, it does lend to the junctioning of the magic.  When you have 99 Meteor spells junctioned to attack and you are fighting someone who has a weakness to it, do you use said Meteor spells to help you or do you hold off and try other things?

The upgrading of weapons involved you having to obtain all necessary items to make it.  Having to find that damn adamantoise shell to get that one sword of Squalls was a pain in the ass, but worth the search.

This is the only game where I have played through the whole game, including all side quests.  This is the only game where I have completed it 100% aside from maybe having the odd item in my inventory.  Fighting whichever weapon was in the deep sea research center was a blast.  It took me 45 minutes and was one of the most memorable battles I have ever played through.  This brings me to my one complaint of this game.

Why in the world do you not get Exp for beating a boss???????????  45 Minutes against said weapon and you get nothing out of it except 99 death stones (granted those stones are extremely valuable)???  That sucks hard!

Aside from that, this game is still not only my favorite FF game, but my favorite PS1 game of all time.

There are my picks, my short list of reasons, and my opinions.  I truly hope to spark a bit of a debate with this and hear the rest of your opinions.

Happy gaming!
I picked up the Bioshock 2 Special Edition today, costing me a whopping $110.00 cdn(plus tax).  My first thought was "what am I thinking?" spending that much when I can just get the game itself for $69.99 plus tax.  Well, they handed me the huge cardboard box the game comes shipped in and I felt a little better, it looked like I would be getting something good out of it. The box, after all, was over 1 foot by 1 foot big!

I got home, unwrapped the game, and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it came in a very nice sturdy box, with some nice artwork underneath the cardboard cover.  Upon opening the box I found a LP with the score from the original Bioshock.  Under that was some more pretty cool things, such as three rolled up posters with "advertisements" you would see on the walls of rapture.  I didn't unroll them, but they looked good on the back of the box.  Next up was the hard cover book (164 pages) full of the artwork of bioshock 2.  I didn't want to crease it to much, so I flipped through quickly.  If you want to know what a splicer looks like up close and not moving, you'll find it in there!  Next up was the CD with the score from Bioshock 2.  Then, my game.  All in all I really like the bonus items you get with the special edition, and to anyone who is debating if it's wroth the extra cash, I would say it's worth it.

After popping in the game and waiting your standard 5-10 minutes for install, the game fired up.  I have read all the previews, all the people who are hesitant about this game as you're playing as a big daddy, among other reasons.  I have only played about 2 hours into the game so far, but it seems to work very well.

Before I get into the game play, I have to say that returning to Rapture is awesome!  The atmosphere is just as good as the first one.  The beginning vid isn't as impressive as burning wreckage and your first descent into Rapture as was the first one, but it sure leaves some questions.

After your character apparently shoots himself in the head, he wakes up ten years later.  Your nemesis in this game is Lamb, she seems to be the leader of the splicers.  Once again, it's you vs the splicers.

Your weapons to start with are the drill, and rivet gun (shortly in).  Soon you get your first plasmid.  Seems kind of like the first so far.  Splicers attacking you, people locking you in rooms, blah blah blah.  Still cool, but seems similar.

Then you have your first encounter with a big daddy.  You are sent to get adam to buy a plasmid to further your progress through the game.  As you approach you hear that familiar moan of the big daddy.  Here's a big difference, as you approach the big daddy, you appear as one of him, so he doesn't attack you.  No hiding from him if you don't want to take him on for some reason.  The other plus to this is that you can scout the room, watch where he goes, and plan your attack.  Once you attack though, it's game on. Once you defeat him, you approach the little sister.  The difference this time is you "adopt" her.  You have to take her to corpses full of adam and have her harvest it from them.  While she is harvesting, you are attacked by splicers (kinda like the last level of the original).  Once you have harvested enough adam, you have the option of harvesting or freeing her, just like before.

All in all, without getting to far into it, the game itself is an awesome return to Rapture.  It has that familiar dark feel to it, however it has a few twists in game play to make it different.

As for the online play, I haven't gotten into it yet.  It will be on my list once I beat the single player mode.

If you're a fan of the original, check this out.  You don't have to go right into the special edition with all the extras, but for a collector, and a fan of the game, it was worth it for me!

Look out for my full review of the game once I'm finished it.