The Fate of Ala Mhigo: Anticipation for Stormblood

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As a long time Final Fantasy XIV playerI’ve had a lot of love and hate for the game over the years. It has been very enjoyable and aggravating but still I come back to it like a person in an abusive relationship. That doesn’t make the game sound enticing but for many it doesn’t matter at all. I have been playing since the launch of A Realm Reborn back in the summer of 2013. The story for me has never been the strongest as I am personally not a fan of the MMORPG genre and see the story as only existing to add on newer content as time goes by. The story becomes an ever-changing living thing in the world of the game and it becomes hard to follow, like a person starting The Walking Dead with season 3. Therefor the story in Final Fantasy XIV has never really been the reason why I play the game. The real reason why I play this game is because it’s one of the few games that I play with my friends, and partially because I like looking at all the amazing and detailed gear sets, adorable minions and epic mounts! I typically don’t like cooperating and working with others in video games and prefer rather to play puzzle games, fighters or just single player RPGs. Well, with this background into my experience with and reason for playing Final Fantasy XIV I suppose it’s about time I get to talking about my feelings in the last week prior to the early access launch of Stormblood.

I decided that I would subscribe again a few weeks prior to the launch to prepare myself and my character for the expansion ahead of us. Turns out I got really rusty after months of levelling random classes and then being unsubscribed. Back when Heavensward launched I still had not reached max level and completed all the story quests so I was stuck doing a mad dash to the Holy See of Ishgard. Before the last expansion I just playing catchup to all my friends but this time around I am prepared. I might not have the best gear but I am still set for what is to come. I wasn’t able to enjoy any story elements in the past because I had to just rush through it all to get caught up, but now I am ready for this and hope to actually pay attention to the goings on in this virtual world. Now I’ve been trying to play catchup with the story in the lead up to Stormblood and it has somewhat piqued my interest. My knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of Eorzea is pretty weak but I’ve been trying to understand the history behind the conflict in Ala Mhigo and the reason behind the inclusion of all these new areas to the game. Hopefully the interaction with the Garleans will bring on some interesting new dungeons and bosses and primals.

Unlike many that are bursting at the seems with excitement for the new expansion, I am sitting here in quiet anticipation hoping that for once in the 4 years that I have been playing Final Fantasy XIV that I will be able to fully experience and enjoy both the gameplay and the story of Stormblood. I might not have all the information or the best knowledge of the story but now I truly want to see and understand what happened all those years ago in the Sixth Astral Age that lead to so many leaving Ala Mhigo for the lands of the original game. But of course, SAMURAI AND RED MAGE! 

At the start of Heavensward I was still playing catchup and couldn’t really experience the new jobs that were introduced with the expansion. This time around I am ready and I plan to play both as soon as possible. I still though will be focusing on getting my main two classes up to max level before I fully commit to either Samurai or Red Mage. I won’t really know how it’ll all work out though until launch. At this time I am still planning out a course of action but nothing is set in stone quite yet.

If you play Final Fantasy XIV and are excited for the arrival of Stormblood please comment below with your thoughts. What are you looking forward to the most?

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Chibi-Robo Zip Lash ***Rating 4/5***

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I gotta say… good job Nintendo! I absolutely enjoyed this game! I only have two faults with this game, but that will be addressed later on. First things first, I absolutely love the character of Chibi-Robo and to get to adventure with him again is greatly appreciated. The platforming is easy to accomplish with Chibi-Robo’s skill set allowing for easy hovering and jumping. The controls for the game are prime as well. You use the X button for the standard short range attack, and if you use it while jumping you can combine the action to hover momentarily. The Y button is used for for the more powerful long range attack, which can also be used to ricochet off certain walls to attack multiple enemies or reach platforms in difficult to reach locations. to target an object to hit with your plug you can use the circle pad, but for more delicate targeting you can use the D pad for minor adjustments. The gameplay is not extremely varied, but the typical platforming is broken up by segments or nearly entire levels where you are on a vehicle or some means of transportation, these levels tend to be a little bit more difficult if you are a completionist and don’t have great hand eye coordination. But at least the game doesn’t make it too difficult for young players or people that are not as good with platformers as it makes it very difficult for you to die, as long as you have been collecting and depositing trash and buying backup batteries and jet packs. The included Amiibo in the bundle is also a great item to have included as the pose is adorable and gives your character an in-game super boost. Other Amiibo also unlock bonus coins of the in-game currency. Overall the game itself offers a lot of items to collect that will have you repeating levels over and over again if you weren’t lucky enough to get it all the first time around.

Now come the two things I viewed as faults, two reason that resulted in me scoring this game a 4/5 rather than anything higher. The worlds of the game are just dull and repetitive. They are not all that great to look at but at least they function as suitable locations for platforming. My biggest gripe with the game is the roulette mechanic of the level select screen! in each world you have six levels, followed by a boss level that unlocks after the other 6 are completed. But instead of progressing through each level in order, you have to spin a wheel that gives you either 1, 2 or 3 spaces to move, resulting on repeated levels if you happen to land on the wrong number. At the end of each level though you get a chance to target one of three space ships, Gold, Silver, Bronze and they give you 3, 2, or 1 extra spin on the wheel respectively. Along with this you have the option of buying numbered tiles to replace ones on the wheel so that you have a better chance of landing on the desired location. They included a method of level selecting that was indirect and almost random, but then gave players several different methods to which they could avoid this whole mechanic. This I did not like at all, but it does not ruin the entire game for me, in fact it only somewhat affected my opinion of the game, but did not stop me from playing it for hours on end. It’s a great game to pickup and play for a few minutes or to sit down and enjoy for an hour or two. Hopefully this was of some help in your decision making process in purchasing this game.

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Pokemon Shuffle ***Rating 3/5***

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My enjoyment of this Free-to-Play game for the 3DS family of systems came to a quick end once I noticed some fairly large faults. Other than the fact that this game is merely a clone of Bejewelled, with slightly tweaked gameplay, the first thing that got me was how long it took to regenerate lives in the game. 5 minutes is fair, 10 minutes is reasonable, but 30 minutes to wait to regenerate a single life is far too long to wait, and I find myself only playing 5 rounds at a time and then giving up after those 5 rounds are up. But I totally understand that that is how Freemium games work, you pay to make your way through it at a faster rate.

Even with the negative aspects the base game is still fairly enjoyable. There are incentives for playing daily, you can unlock Mega Pokémon and Legendaries, and as the game progresses, the difficulty progresses accordingly as well. As the form factor for the tiles is pretty small, the character designs can be lacking or just very basic, usually featuring just the head of the Pokémon or a morphed body. These designs though are clean, simple, and still pleasing visually.

If you are a parent and are downloading this for your child, please make sure that there is not a credit card connected to your eShop account, as there is the possibility of your children charging you for extra lives in game. As one of Nintendo’s first attempts at a Freemium game, Pokémon Shuffle is fun, although it suffers from generic traits of this game type.

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call ***4/5***

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Curtain Call is proving to be even better than its predecessor. Curtain Call features the exact same rhythm based gameplay as the first entry into the series but this time Square Enix has changed up how the game is played. In a positive move, at least in my opinion, they have decided to go for a more open and varied feel, making multiple individual songs available to you to play at any time, instead of having to play preset groupings of songs from individual games. You can still choose from Event Music, Field Music, or Battle Music, but now if you want you can choose to play them in any order you like! For even more choice as well they have included 3 difficulty settings for each song starting at Basic, then Expert, and ending with Ultimate which offers some fast paced gameplay and a much higher degree of difficulty.

Along with this new choice of music Square Enix has included several new game modes that help break up the repetitive nature of most rhythm games. The new game modes include Versus and Quest. Versus mode has been a little difficult for me as it is competitive online play and you can choose to sabotage your opponents, which all depends on how well you are playing the game. In Quest mode you are able to play through a string of songs to collect items that help you progress in the quest, as well as other items such as shards that help you unlock more characters.

I have few complaints about the game and they aren’t very serious ones either. First off there is DLC. I do not like DLC, especially when it costs money. Available to purchase they have a selection of music for 99 cents each and a couple of characters as well. The only other thing that bothered me was that there was no way in game of telling how much you have unlocked so far and how much more is left to unlock. If only they had put into the game that you have unlocked 6/12 songs for a specific title, I feel like I would be able to gauge my progress better but it’s not available.

All in all I rate this game a 4/5 because the gameplay is as good, if not better than the first game, the faults are minor, and there is just a mass amount of content available to play with in the game. If you enjoy the idea of a rhythm-based game with RPG elements then this is your game!

Included below is my video unboxing of the game, featuring the included music disc. Enjoy!

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Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Kirby Triple Deluxe ***4.5/5***

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I have to say that I am almost never disappointed in a Kirby game. This addition to the series was definitely the game I was waiting for and it had the same quality I would expect of any other game in the series! It’s colourful, cute, and oh so endearing, but even though it has these qualities, Triple Deluxe was still a challenging game. For the most part you can get through the levels easily while still finding all the secret areas and hidden key chain collectibles. I myself made it all the way to the sixth world before I reached the end of a level without collecting all the items. Unlocking bonus stages is a breeze and with 2 other mini games included with Triple Deluxe you will have loads more to do following the final boss fight. The power ups were great as usual with the standard fare of the series but this time there was the new Hypernova ability that while looking awesome did more or less what the giant mushroom did for Mario in New Super Mario Bros for the DS. This power up destroys everything in your path by super charging Kirby’s standard ability, allowing you to suck up boulders, blocks, various enemies, and even moving trains in one stage! Although Triple Deluxe has an extensive amount of content it still felt like it was lacking a little something, but that may be partially due to the ease at which I play the game. It might prove to be more challenging to other players but for me it was a fun and speedy adventure, completing it after having played for several hours a day over the course of a week. In the end HAL Laboratories has made another great game for Nintendo, propelling this classic character well into the future for us to enjoy in subsequent instalments. I rate the game at a 4/5 because while it is an overall enjoyable game, I felt that the main portion of the game went by too fast for me. If there was a larger degree of difficulty I believe that it would have masked the game’s quick pace, giving the illusion of a longer game by upping the difficulty on it, forcing the player to take more time in completing any given level. But you can take what you want from this short review and make what you like of it. This game will be enjoyable for both children and adults, and offers a little something for everyone. If it is for a new or experienced gamer, I believe both will get fun out of it!

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Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Oculus

A few days ago I went to see the movie Oculus staring Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites. The story follows a recently released patient from a mental hospital on his 21st birthday. Throughout the course of the movie we are left to figure out if the course of events isa figment of his shared delusion with his sister, or if the haunting is real. As Brenton’s character attempts to look at everything rationally, after 11 years in the institution, his sister, played by Karen Gillan, is steadfast in her belief that the source of their troubles, an antique mirror, is actually haunted. Oculus is more of a psychological thriller than a standard horror movie as it does not rely on high body count or tons of gore, instead opting to go for several quick scares. At the end you are left wondering if the events that took place during the duration of the movie actually occurred as depicted or if it was something else altogether. If you are prepared to think it out following the end of the movie, I highly suggest you watch it and it will definitely be gratifying. If all you want is a bloody horror movie, then definitely don’t watch it.

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: South Park The Stick of Truth ***3.5/5***

First I’d like to acknowledge the fact that I have not updated my site in some time, just have been very busy in life and was unable to commit time to both my YouTube channel and website. Now let’s get to this review.

I just finished playing the game and I have to say it was definitely addictive. I found myself wanting to continue to see what would happen next in the story. It was like an interactive episode of South Park, but at moments the gameplay took me so far away from the story that I just wanted to turn it off. The tutorials in the game were absolutely painful to complete for the PS3 version, as it seemed at moments that the game delayed in registering your controller input. Input delays really affected my level of enjoyment of the game.

Some of the side quests are absolutely hilarious while others are nothing more than a scavenger hunt for hidden items. But I completed the game with nearly none of the side quests completed so they are not all necessary to complete the story.

Another complaint would be that the general layout of each quest was as follows: receive a quest, do another quest within that quest, then within the other quest you do another one. So in the end you found yourself being given several quests to do for just one main quest. The most painful one was the quest where you had to recruit the goth kids, and the most enjoyable in my opinion is a tie between the recruit girls quest, and the Canada quest, but this all counts as one as you had to go to Canada to complete the girl’s quest.

The game was lewd and graphic as South Park usually is, but I found it to be a lot more over the top and gimmicky. The South Park movie had an excellent amount of lewd content, but it seems like this time around they just wanted to include absolutely all the grossest things they have ever done, including the trials of Lemmiwinks, multiple abortions, zombies, alien probing, unnecessary violence, and a slew of other stuff. I get that this is what South Park is about, but it was way too much for a relatively short game.

In total I spent about 15 hours completing the story and now I only have another 5 side quests to complete, as well as finding another 8 Chinpokomon, and buying up the rest of the items in the shops.

I felt that the game was a little light on content, but what was there was enjoyable and only occasionally did I find it stressful and annoying. My rating for the game is 3.5/5 because while it was enjoyable and funny, the controls weren’t as good as I expect them to be, the content was a little light (but I think there might be DLC for this game later on), and at moments the main quests would drag on too long. I hope that this review was of any help to those that are still deciding on buying the game.

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Review- Tech- Limited Edition Pokemon X&Y Nintendo 3DS XL ***Rating 4.5/5***

Since I already reviewed the 3DS XL already when I purchased the Mario Kart 7 Bundle, you can see my review of it at the following link: https://dragondudecollecting.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/review-tech-nintendo-3ds-xl-mario-kart-7-bundle-rating-45/

So this review will be covering the physical appearance of the console itself as this is the only difference from the other models. The unit is Red with silver and black outlines of the new legendary Pokemon Xerneas, and Yveltal. On the back on the bottom right corner there are three silver silhouettes of the Gen VI starter Pokemon Chespin, Fennekin and Froakie. This version of the console unlike the previous models has a more glossy finish, but it is not so glossy that it is reflective. The finish is comparable to that of the DSi XL.

Now we all know it kinda sucks that it wasn’t released alongside the launch of Pokemon X and Y, and that the game will not be bundled with the console, but in all honesty who wants a digital copy of a Pokemon game? I’d much rather have my main series Pokemon games on cartridges or on another form of physical media.

In the end I rate it higher than my previous 3DS XL only because it’s freakin POKEMON! All of the limited edition Pokemon consoles over the years have been amazing, all the way from the Yellow Pokemon Game Boy Color and the Pikachu N64 up to this latest entry. I grew up with Pokemon and there will always be a special place in my heart and mind for it, even as the Pokemon get more and more ridiculous. I would have given it a rating of 5/5 if it included even a preinstalled digital version of the game, but because it did not include X or Y, or any other game for that matter, it only gets a 4.5/5 because it is still a beautiful console and it still comes with a nice 4GB SDHC memory card and a charger, unlike the 3DS XL in other regions.

Review- Video Game- Shifting World Rating ***4.5/5***

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Although this game isn’t exactly new, it definitely is worth picking up. For a great deal at EB games you can get Shifting World, a platform puzzler produced by Aksys Games. Many of the games released by this company feature people drawn into a situation where they are forced to perform tasks to escape their capture, in Shifting World you are able to escape each level by shifting into a black or white dimension.

The gameplay breaks down as so, you are in a world where you can either shift through black or white surfaces to advance to different areas within the stage. Every so often there are surfaces with different black and white designs that do not allow your character to shift. The shifting feature is accessed by pressing either left or right shoulder buttons. Early on all you need to know is that the B button is jump, and you collect keys and walk through doors much like in the Zelda games, by walking right into them. Later on in the game new mechanics are introduced, the ability to switch from a 3D world to a flat 2D world allows you to use surfaces floating in the background that remain inaccessible in the earlier levels. In addition to the main mechanic of shifting between black and white dimensions a new feature arises later on that lets you rotate the world around you as you so that you can access new locations within the worlds.

The entire game is about 60 levels split between two modes, Adventure Mode and Time Attack Mode. Adventure Mode is the basic story mode, while Time Attack levels are levels you unlock during Adventure Mode that have you attempt to escape a level as fast as you can.

The effortless gameplay is quickly addressed by ramping up the difficulty level in each subsequent world, with more obstacles and threats being added as you progress. The goal of the game isn’t centred on getting a high score or completing a puzzle within a set amount of time, instead your goal is simply to progress and learn more about the characters as the story is revealed. There seems to be no penalty for dying in the game and i find that to be a positive feature.

For the laid back, low pressure, beautiful art style, increasing degree of difficulty and interesting character progression, with the only fault of the game being that it could have included more levels, i give this game a rating of 4.5/5 and I highly recommend it to anyone that has a 3DS.

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Review- Video Game- Project X Zone ***Rating 4/5***

It has now been a little over a month and a half since I first started playing Project X Zone. When I started out I was afraid that it would be a typical difficult strategy RPG, but I quickly discovered that assumption to be wrong. I have a terrible track record with RPG’s, not having completed even one RPG, but this time around I am on the verge of success! It was pretty easy to just pick up this game and go. There were no confusing attack stat menus, items were simple to use and categorized greatly, and there were also no complicated button combinations or specific attacks that were only effective against a specific enemy. Levelling up was simple to do in the game, and in some levels, even the later ones, I found my characters were levelling up multiple levels in single game stages. It was more of a basic turn-based RPG and did not really rely much on strategy, except in levels where specific characters needed to be protected or in situations where a specific location had to be reached within a set amount of time. Overall the memorable and loveable characters made it a fun game to play. Each Pair of characters had 5 basic attacks, with one special attack, and one multi-attack that targeted up to 5 close by enemies. Each attack had its own interesting animation, with the special and multi attacks having full anime characters instead of just the basic game sprites.

These are things I enjoyed but now comes the bad news. There were lots and lots of trademarks to a bad game. By this I mean that Namco/Bandai was relentless with the enemies. The Enemies in this game respawned a lot! It seemed that every time you killed a major villain (and they would explode, unlike when they escape and just phase out of the scene) by the next chapter in the game they would be brought back to life, cloned, multiple times over! Another trademark was that of ridiculusly high enemy HP. By the end of the game most of the characters levelled up to between 10,000 and 15,000 HP. This sounds crazy high, but then you had to deal with level bosses and mid range enemies that had HPs of between 54,000 HP and 111,000 HP! That was just crazy! To top it all off also, the final boss, the big baddy of Project X Zone, he had over 270,000 HP and he would land attacks that would kill my characters instantly! To make it even worse, AND THIS WILL ABSOLUTELY BE A SPOILER, during the last battle all the bosses you killed come back yet again, in multiple copies, and they beat the crud out of you! It was a big annoyance to reach the Final Boss Fight only to then get knocked out by a barrage of attacks from enemies you already killed multiple times, while trying to defend and attack against the final boss. I got a game over screen several times in this last level and it has forced me to restart the level multiple time, and waste several hours for no progression.

Overall Project X Zone was a pretty easy game to get into. The characters were all the best characters from old memorable series, the battle system wasn’t too complicated, and the earlier levels were very forgiving. My only real complaints in the end were the ridiculously high HP enemies, the fact that many of the characters I wanted to play with were not available until later in the game (a point I mentioned in the video clip), there were preselected characters you had to use each level and you could only choose who the supplementary character was, and the fact that enemies kept coming back to life level after level! So after having some time to really get to know the game I can honestly give this game a rating of 4/5 because it was a really enjoyable game and the only faults I had were standard tropes of most video games, after all bosses have to be difficult to beat.