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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Final Fantasy IV(ファイナルファンタジーIV)

I probably beat FF4 more times than any other RPG as a kid. I definitely remember grinding all my characters up to level 99. Oh to be a kid again and have all that time to waste! I don't remember if I owned the game or rented it but it would be quite an achievement to grind to level 99 on a weekend. Gotta love them negligent parents! Back in my day, parents didn't need to watch or love their kids. Look at me, I turned out just fine!

Parental neglect has never been more hilarious!
I decided to play the DS version this time because I heard it was the hardest version (cause I'm hardcore gamer). Right away, I could tell the difference in the first battles outside Baron. Each enemy took 2 hits to kill (or 1 jump) and they hit back for around 30 damage. Without using a potion, you wouldn't make it past more than 5 or 6 battles. Still, I felt most of the game was fairly balanced until the last dungeon. Phoenix downs are plentiful for a reason as bosses will kill your party members more often than not.

Yeah, shit is easy here but just wait...
This is the first FF game with the famed ATB (active time battle) system and while I didn't really think much of it at the time playing the easy type for westerners rpg newbs version as a kid, playing the DS version really ups the tension and excitement. For the harder boss battles, it becomes a race against time as you frantically revive your party members and try to time heals so that it happens right after they're revived and before the boss kills them again. In particular, there is one really cheap boss battle that starts with everybody dead except Cecil and someone (wearing green) who joins you last minute under-leveled as fuck.

Even the box art screams "easy type for whiney babies!!!"
The battle system in FF4 is one of the most innovative RPGs for the time which is why I'm really more in the FF camp over DQ because I appreciate when developers try new shit even if it's totally broken at times (*cough FF8 cough*). The ATB isn't the only thing to rave about. I remember being giddy with excitement when I figured out you can bypass reflect by reflecting spells on yourselves (or vice versa for healing). Don't forget about casting float for enemies that spammed quake, and that annoying dungeon where you couldn't use metal equipment. Sure FF3 had similar neat ideas such as casting mini to enter tiny dungeons but here it actually affects the game play and makes it so much fun to play (sometimes annoying too). However, it definitely falls behind other games like FF6 in the story department.

On the DS, the graphics are way shittier than this #PSP-fanboi

Playing as an enlightened Jhipster, I was hoping to be wowed at all the brilliant prose in its pure, unadulterated Japanese form. Unfortunately, there's nothing the English translation really left out in terms of story. Sure, no more "spoony" bards but 「黙れ、貴様!」 isn't exactly Shakespearean prose. It's funny how we used to think as kids that NOA was censoring all these naughty curse words with "spoony" but really Japanese doesn't have much in terms of swearing in the English sense. "Shut up, (derogatory and rude version of) you!" doesn't really translate to any kind of swearing. The "oh we're cool cause we didn't censor the curse words" fake marketing makes Barret from FF7 seem juvenile and sophomoric now.

The one big thing I noticed playing as a Jhipster is that the pub in Toroia is a freakin' hostess club! It never says it outright but there's a Mama on the first floor and the second floor is dedicated to pretty oneechans talking to men. I know a fucking hostess club when I see one (not that I've been to one cause ya know I don't gotta pay to talk to the ladies).

I bet Japanese script is "I'll kill you and fuck your skull!" #CENSORSHIP
I really enjoyed the story as a kid, what with you starting out as a cool black knight and the whole Mist village thing. As an adult, maybe it's because I played this game too many times but I felt that the writing was a bit too juvenile and the voice acting in the DS version was pretty damn generic. I mean c'mon, how many times you gonna let Kain's shit slide? Really?!

I mean seriously, C'MON!!
I really wished they had a hard mode for the PSP version because the graphics are way better and the spell effects look so cool. The DS is the usual pixelated mess of course. Yeah, it had some new mechanics such as the decant thing (shrug) and some token multiplayer feature that I naturally ignored completely having no friends IRL. If it wasn't for the lack of difficulty, I would suggest the PSP version over the DS any day (don't even get me started on the iOS port).

Score: 3.5 get these muthafucking spoony snakes off this airship! out of 5 (53 hours to beat)

Also includes all the time lost dying in the last dungeon #gitgud
FF4 was one of my favorite games of all time for quite a while. The original SNES version was one of the best looking, sounding, and funnest RPG of its time and would easy be a 4 or even 4.5 score. However, playing through the DS version again in modern times, I have to say that it's definitely a fun game to play but also a bit dated in terms of the plot. Still, definitely a classic that I would consider a must-play for RPG affectionados.

Still one of my fav boss themes to this day

Currently, I am enjoying the after years and actually intended to write about it here along with the main game. However, after playing the interlude for about 5 hours and 3 hours on the first scenario, I'm hoping there's enough content to justify a whole post by itself. We'll see.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Taiko no Tatsujin Portable 2(太鼓の達人 ぽ〜たぶる2)

So I started playing Taiko no Tatsujin Portable 2 on the PSP soon after I purged the first one out of my collection and I have to say this one is gonna be really tough to dump because I actually really like the game. There's no better way to flash back to the good ol' days than playing some numa numa on the PSP.

YT before it turned to commercial pedo shit

First of all, the sequel has quite a few more songs than the first Taiko Portable, many of them recycled DLC put on UMD. It's actually not a bad thing because all the online stuff is dead so at least some of the lost DLC is preserved. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if many of the missing DLC can be found on newer Taiko games on some console. The first game would have been a lot better if all this shit wasn't DLC to start with. In fact, two of my favorite songs in this game were originally DLC: 画竜点睛 and 真・画竜点睛. I just loved those songs because it was actually music meant for taiko drums.

Not the PSP version but I'm too lazy to record my own

Anyway, it was a good trip back in time to 2006 nostalgia salaryman overtime years with Hirai Ken's Pop Star, slutty Koda Kumi, and who can forget MOSKAU soramimi flash vid for some extra nostalgia tears. For you kids, flash was how we old folks made funny videos because as far as we knew, it was impossible to stream video unless you wanted to torture yourself with Real (ass) Player.

Oh and don't forget those stick fighting flash vids!!

Aaaah, the good ol' days when J-pop wasn't filled with all this creepy ass idol predatory sales tactics using underage girls. Sure there was Morning Musume but I don't recall idiots buying and dumping hundreds of momusu CDs into the trash just so they can get some idol election votes, live concert lottery tickets, borderline prostitution hand shaking event, or whatever else they stuff in the CD trash. Top of the music charts indeed.

Score: 3 don't forget to sign up for the AKB48 app so you can get personalized text messages for a small fee from a teenage girl, no it's not creepy at all! out of 5

Um so yeah, so talking about games. Yeah, I had a good time with Taiko Portable 2. Even though I could only clear around 7 stars on Oni difficulty, I did get up to Tatsujin rank. There's also a story mode about a girl's piano recital which was cute, as well as, more mini games which you know, are mini games. Even though, as I said, the Taiko series isn't my favorite type of rhythm game, I definitely had fun with this one and will probably come back to it after I play through more of these games to knock out some of those 8-10 star crazy hard songs.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely