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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years(ファイナルファンタジーIV THE AFTER 月の帰還)

Like I said in my FF4 post, I wasn't sure if The After Years was a full game that would be worth its own post. For some reason, I had the impression that "After Years" was just a quick side-story fan service game that could be finished in like 10 hours or something. After all, could one expect a "real" game originally released on Docomo, au, and Soft Bank pre-smartphone days? (Obligatory Jhipster comment: I was a die-hard au customer cause they had the best student package.) Well thank god Square ported this from those dead platforms because this ain't no quickie 10 hour game, it's freaking FF IV-2 in episodic format.

Whoa, how did au take a photo of me here? Creepy!
I played the PSP version including Interlude which took a little under 4 hours to finish just by itself. I was not a big fan of the episodic format because you end up playing through the early events of the story again and again but from different perspectives. Objectively however, I'm not sure of a better way the game could have shown you what all the characters have been up since the events of the first game. Initially, I was afraid this was going to be a game about just the new kids on the block while you watch an old decrepit Cecil milking some imps.

What more you want from me? I defeated Zeromusu for god's sake!
Fortunately, the old cast are not shat on like some other franchises. Well, it was kind of annoying that your bad-ass party is for some reason weak as fuck again but oh well, not every game can be Trails SC. As for the new kids, while Cecil's son was as boring as you could ever imagine, at least we get to see some qipao sprite art. (Gamers, get your box of tissues ready!)

Is she a blonde Chinese? Geesh, I hope she doesn't go to the prom like that cause white people will be PISSED.
Really, the first few episodes are kinda boring and super easy but at least they're fairly short. You can blast through them with auto-battle on pretty much the entire time. However, the free ride abruptly ends with Fusuya's episode. I almost thought it was a scripted boss battle, I died so hard and fast. To make matters worse, there's a level cap to prevent grinding your way through. I mean we're talking DS level difficulty here. I'm not sure how game "journalists" were able to beat this 45 hour game without a handy cheat. Oh right, they didn't.

MY mind is blown that you get paid to rant about a 40+ hour game 20 hours in but I guess I'm "weird" like that

Once you get over the baby intro portion, the plot really does start to get more interesting. It was really satisfying to see all plot points left hanging in the first game get resolved. Kain (I used to think it was pronounced "Cane" in my ignorant pre-Jhipster days) was one of my favorite characters back in the day. Will he ever come down from the mountain? Is Cecil going to resolve his relationship with Golbelza? Is Seodoa ever going to get laid? Play to find out!

The answer to the last question: "fuck no"
Seriously though, while yes the last some 30+ floors of dungeon exploring with boss after boss might scare away those who need to get paid for the next game review, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. I found out in the DS version due to the nature of the ATB system, slow and haste are super OP. Casting slow on the bosses that don't spam reflect and having two members that can cast haste is the easy way to win. The moon phase also really matters so make sure you sleep until white magic is strong. (What is this, a Megaten game??)

Yes, grinding under-leveled members you ignored is a pain (Seodoa, I mean you)
I also really liked the fact that I made some choices in the game that resulted in some people getting killed. Unlike the original Hollywood "everybody is ok!" story, these characters stay fucking dead. I probably would have replayed it in my younger days but as a more mature gamer, I played through with the consequences of my choices.

Score: 3.5 How dare Square create a sequel of a beloved classic reusing the same characters and places! #MINDBLOWN out of 5 (49 hours to beat)

If you liked FF4, you really can't go wrong with this sequel in my opinion, it's everything that's good about FF4, just more of it. That is of course unless you're a "pro" journalist who can't handle a game with some real challenge. If you didn't like the original game, well you can just go back to streaming Fortnite or whatever you kids do nowadays. (You'll be famous one day I'm sure, don't forget to keep up that instagram too!)

One of like 3 new songs in the game

Are the dungeons reused? Yeah duh, just like FFX-2, I mean it takes place in the same world. Could they have added some more original music besides the few songs near the end? Sure, I could've have gone for some good FF4 remixes. Was the game balance a bit grindy for under-leveled characters? I mean it's no Trails the 3rd for sure. But overall, The After Years was everything I could've expected from a sequel to an old nostalgia tears classic and really is just as good as the first one.


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

Friday, May 3, 2019

Metroid: Zero Mission(メトロイド ゼロミッション)

Up till now, I haven't played a lot of GBA games because my GBA SP didn't have a backlight. I eventually sold that off and I also didn't like how the cart stuck out of the DS lite (first-world problems I know I know). I also really didn't feel like buying MJR's "fuck me in the ass" $420 custom modded POS. (Oh wow, it's now on $ale for $399.99!)

Using Benjamins as toilet paper and lighting cigars is so 70s, is there a better way to waste it? Oh perfect!

While PSP emu kinda works for GBA, it has a lot of issues and also kills your battery but I think I found a way a perfect way to play GBA games with no emulation issues and a way better screen than MJR branded enemas. I basically marathoned through Metroid: Zero Mission in a couple days and it was a joy to play. No, I didn't play it on the Wii U because as we all know, the Wii U gamepad is a fucking lie and doesn't work more than 10 feet away from the console or even a single wall and the screen is shit to boot. Also, I didn't use emulation so no save states or screenshots.

Grabbed this from the eShop page but it looks exactly this good on my device
I got the worst ending because I played mostly blind and took my sweet time, finishing the game in a little over 4 hours. The total gameplay recorded was closer to 8 hours with restarts etc., but the game was pretty easy to beat on normal. I have not tried to replay it in hard mode yet but I may do so a later time if I feel the itch.

I never played the original FDS release nor the NES US version as I was a Sega Master System kid. I did however play the shit out of Zillion and it's a bit similar to Metroid except you can play as 2 additional characters after you rescue them. I vaguely remember only ever beating it one time cause it was hard as fuck.

I was playing this when all the other cool (mainstream) kids were playing Metroid
I did briefly try the original Metroid game because it conveniently unlocks after you beat Zero Mission and once again, I've confirmed that I'm not really a big fan of the Famicon. There seems to be a lot of slowdowns too. This GBA remake is great though. For one, you can point your gun down and it has all kinds of save points and health to make it easy for old people like me to play through.

The maps and power-ups were super well designed. For example, you have to go to a certain spot where you see some weird larva like thing and the game makes you backtrack in such a way you can see that the larva is empty later on. Of course, then it attacks you as a mini boss but the way the map was designed to be explored with the power-ups was fun. And no, I'm not going to fucking use that stupid term "Metroidvania" (ugh I just did).

Oh gross, good thing there's this wall in the way...
I also really dug the extra scenario they added after you beat the final boss from the original FDS game. I won't go into it cause spoilers only that the sprites are gewd. Some of the artwork in the new cut-scenes were a bit rough but hey, I can deal.

Score: 4 zero suit buttocks (the more the better!) out of 5 (7 hours to beat)

Overall, just a solid and fun game that I couldn't put down. Yes, it's kind of short and I did get stuck a few times in Kraid. I also struggled a bit with the boss in Ridley (is that an Alien movie reference?) because for some reason I thought you could only shoot when its mouth was open. Overall, this is just an awesome remake of a game I've been meaning to try for a long time now. No complaints or any flaws that I can point out except that the JP physical cart is way too expensive especially with box and manual. Oh well, who needs manuals anyway right, all major game publishers? We don't care about manuals, right mateys?! Arr!

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