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Friday, December 14, 2012

Dragon Quest VI

What's this? A new game review? Well, sort of.

One of the downsides to college is that I don't have a lot of free time to devote to writing. If I want to fit any gaming in, then that pretty much has to dominate any free time I have. Unfortunately, this pretty much means that I won't be able to do the same kind of game reviews I used to write. However, I find that I kind of missed writing about games I played, so I decided to try something a little different. Consider this a quicker summary of my opinion on a game rather than a complete analysis. For games I finished that I didn't get around to reviewing (specifically, Persona 3 and Kingdom Hearts: Dream, Drop, Distance), I'll most likely get around to writing about in this format. It's less time-consuming than what I used to do.

Anyways, I recently finished Dragon Quest VI for the Nintendo DS, the last of the 'Zenithia' remakes. Like it's predecessors, Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation incorporates a rather unique twist on the standard Dragon Quest formula. In this case, the game features two different worlds that can be switched between, adding a new emphasis on exploration and discovery. Unfortunately, this focus puts the game's story on the backburner. Dragon Quest games aren't usually very story focused games, but they usually have some memorable or charming characters or tales to tell. Dragon Quest VI mantains the characteristically lighthearted atmosphere of the series, but its characters are very hollow and the story doesn't really ever pick up. Coming off of Dragon Quest V, one of my favorite games in the series, this is rather disappointing.

Still, playing a Dragon Quest game for the story is missing the point, and while the renewed emphasis on exploring the Overworld does make the game's pacing somewhat uneven, Dragon Quest VI is still a classically styled RPG that will appeal to anyone looking for such a game. I wouldn't recommend it without hesitation to newcomers, but people who are familiar with the Dragon Quest series and what it demands of the player should enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Final Fantasy Type-0/ Bravely Default: Flying Fairy- Localization Woes

Square, I really don't know what has gotten into you lately. If you guys want to improve your company's image, why don't you localize these great looking games that people really want and would sell well?

Instead of, you know, more FFXIII sequels?

Linked below is a petition to bring Final Fantasy Type-0 to the states, as well as the Facebook page for a group trying to do the same with Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, two excellent looking handheld RPGs that Square Enix has for some reason currently passed up for localization. Final Fantasy Type-0 was originally announced in 2006 as part of the Fabula Noval Crystallis project, alongside Final Fantasy XIII and the ever-delayed Versus XIII, and is an action-RPG in the vein of the excellent Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Bravely Default, on the other hand, is a homage to classic Final Fantasy (much like it's predecessor, 4 Heroes of Light), and has been compared to series installments such as Final Fantasy IX.  - Final Fantasy Type-0!/BringBravelyDefaultFlyingFairyToTheWest  - Bravely Default

After the success of Operation Rainfall, there can be no doubt that we as gamers are willing to purchase these Japanese games, if only these companies would release them over here. Let your voices be heard, show Square Enix that they have a market, and support efforts to convince them that localizing their games is worthwhile.

And, while we're at it, it wouldnt hurt to convince them that Dragon Quest VII on 3DS is worth bringing over, right? Operation Dragonfall, anyone?

Dragon Quest VII Remake for 3DS

Square Enix announced a 3DS remake of Dragon Quest VII: Warriors of Eden, originally released on the Sony Playstation, in the latest issue of Jump Magazine. Not many details are known at this time, but early screens show a 3D graphical upgrade (the original game is similar to the style used for the DS remakes of IV, V, and VI), apparently players will be able to trade 'lithographs' via Streetpass, and the game has a February 7 release date in Japan. No word yet on a US release (what are the odds), but in this case let's be optimistic.

Oh, and Happy Halloween! >:D

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Peter's 2012 Gaming Awards

What's this? Peter's making an update on PG's Game Room?! What is this madness?!?

Yes, I apologize for my prolonged haitus. I'm afraid there really isn't much I can do about that; college has been taking up a lot of time and I haven't found much enthusiasm for writing in a while. Still, with a few new games behind me and not that many projects for the rest of the year, I thought it'd be time for a 2012 Award-type article!

Yes, much like that thing I wrote back in February, this is a series of titles given to games that I played this year. So, without further ado, lets get into the best and worst gaming experiences I had this year.

Best Game I Played In 2012: Persona 3

Persona 3 was my first experience with the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, and I must say, I regret not getting into these games sooner. Despite my initial skepticism, Persona 3 proved to be one amazing game. Traditional RPG combat and roguelike dungeon crawling, combined with an incredible story with great characters and dark themes, Persona 3 is easily one of the best games I've played in a long time.

Runner Up: Radiant Historia

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Top Ten Battle Music

As promised, here is a second top ten list of video game music, this time focusing on battle themes.

Honorable Mention: The boss battle music from Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga.

While I’m not sure this song was good enough to make the top ten, a friend of mine brought it up recently, and Superstar Saga is an awesome game that deserves at least an honorable mention. What I didn’t know back when I played the game was that the soundtrack was done by none other than Yoko Shimomura. No wonder it’s so good.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Top Ten Pieces of Game Music

Whether you are watching a film or playing a game, music can play a large role in defining the experience. Those memorable pieces stick with us long after we’ve shut our systems off or walked out of the theater, and they’re a large part of what makes visual media so engaging. Being a fan of RPGs, I have heard many wonderful pieces of music from many talented composers. What follows are ten pieces of non-battle music from games I have played. A list of battle music might come somewhere down the road.

10- The Poem for Everyone’s Souls (Persona 3)

7/22/2012 Update

So, in a weekend full of Rising Dark Knights, I've been playing an RPG featuring the original Dark Knight of the RPGverse, Cecil. Specifically, I've been playing Interlude, the brief chapter that takes place between Final Fantasy IV and it's recent sequel The After Years, packaged neatly together in the Complete Collection for PSP (should I ever review the PSP version of IV, I'll probably make an argument as to just how 'complete' said collection really is, but that's not what I'm here to discuss). Honestly, it'd be impossible to recommend The Complete Collection to people who have already played the aforementioned games on the merits of Interlude alone. It's a brief (maybe two hours long) chapter that fills in a tiny gap between the two main games, that takes you through three recycled dungeons from FFIV (including the freaking Sealed Cave).

Meanwhile, I'm still playing Persona 3. While I'm still enjoying the game very much, it is getting a tad long, and I have a feeling I've got a long ways to go. I'm pretty sure now that I won't be moving on to the extra FES content after finishing the main game, or at the least I'll take a break to play Dream Drop Distance for a bit when it comes out.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Deck Profile: Masked Heroes

Ok, I lied. The deck profile AFTER this will be about Malefics.

Credit goes to Youtuber Chroahcresta, Hero user and duelist extraordinaire whose deck ideas helped greatly with the construction of this particular deck.

Elemental Heroes are one of the longest-running archtypes in Yu-gi-oh, making their debut as the cards used by protagonist Jaden Yuki in the second anime series, Yu-gi-oh GX. Heroes have managed to stick arpund in various forms ever since then, with Destiny Heroes and Evil Heroes being introduced throughout GX's run, and with new monsters being introduced in the GX manga. This Hero deck utilizes a unique subset of Heroes introduced in the manga, one that doesn't see a lot of play; the Masked Heroes. Like Batman, these masked avengers are here to win your duels. That is to say, if Batman was a Yugioh player. And he dueled for you. Umm...

Unlike their counterparts, the Masked Heroes don't have enough cards to support an entire deck on their own- counting their key Spell card, Mask Change, there are only five of them available in the Trading Card Game. Still, utilizing these cards in an Elemental Hero deck adds a surprising amount of versatility to the deck.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Final Fantasy VII PC Rerelease: The Fanboys Strike Back

So, Final Fantasy VII is getting a PC rerelease! Yeah, apparently they're adding an achievement system, upscaling the game to HD, and adding an optional feature that'll make the game easier for potential newcomers. Sounds cool, right? I mean, it's a completely harmless gesture by Square Enix to make one of their best games available to more people. A nice little present that nobody is being forced to buy.

Oh, right. I forgot who I was dealing with for a second.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Peter's Dragon Deck

So, I just finished my new Yugioh deck. And, I've got to say, I'm kind of proud of this one. No, it's not the type of deck that you could take to a tournament, but it's my deck, and it's one of the better ones I've had for use against my friends.

After a brief turn to a pretty basic Synchro deck, I decided to return to my more traditional focus on Dragon-types, with the release of the Dragons Collide structure deck serving as the basis. The idea is pretty simple- use Red-eyes Darkness Metal and other cards to summon a lot of powerful dragons and clear away threats from my opponent with powerful Spells and Traps- a fairly basic, if effective, strategy.

I'll put the deck list below, but before that I'm going to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of this deck, along with some of the better cards in it. Consider this the beginning of a semi-regular column on Yugioh decks. I'm not the best player out there, but I've enjoyed this game for a while, and with the advent of, it's easier than ever to try out new decks and see what can be done with them.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Persona 3: First Impressions

So, I haven't been feeling the best lately. Aside from getting my wisdom teeth taken out (which went well and I am mostly recovered by now), I haven't been able to muster much enthusiasm for anything recently. What with Rogue Galaxy falling by the wayside and trying to muster up some excitement for college in the fall, I've been very apathetic as of late.

Wait... apathetic? Apathy syndrome? we go.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Back To The Shelf: Rogue Galaxy.

Pictured: Not my shelf.
So, I decided that I'm not going to keep playing Rogue Galaxy for now. This is unusual for me, because I like to finish everything I start, and it annoys me to have to put a game down. But this is one of the rare instances where a game really isn't doing it for me, and I have to put it away and do something else.

It's not that I think Rogue Galaxy is a bad game. On the contrary, I had some fun with the ten hours I sunk into it. It's just that, for whatever reason, the game wasn't able to hold my attention. The last time this happened to me was with the intensely dissapointing Final Fantasy XIII-2. Despite some redeeming elements that made my time with the game bearable, it just doesn't seem worth putting in the forty or so hours necessary to complete it. For all of Rogue Galaxy's positive elements, what I experienced wasn't enough to make me want to finish it. That's what this new column, 'Back To The Shelf', is about; a sort of mini-review for games I give up on, allowing me to put down exactly what about the game turned me away from it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Review- Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (PSP)

I’d just like to get this out of the way; I like Final Fantasy VII. No, it’s not my favorite game in the series by a long shot, but even without taking into account its massive role in gaming history as the game that not only changed RPGs forever but also brought the genre into mainstream consciousness, Final Fantasy VII is a game that has what every higher-echelon Final Fantasy game should have. It doesn’t have any of the questionable design decisions or critical flaws of entries such as VIII and XIII, but rather stands alongside IV, VI, IX, and X as one of the best games in the series. But this isn’t about Final Fantasy VII; this is a review of Crisis Core, part of a series of spinoffs known as the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. A prequel to the original game, does Crisis Core add a worthy new chapter to the Midgar mythos, or is it another mediocre side story?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rogue Galaxy First Impressions, Crisis Core, and Updates

This rather large update is on my next couple of games and a change to my reviews. I’ve finally had an opportunity to make some progress (you’d think that school being out would give me more free time), and this is what I’ve been doing for the blog.

First of all, I just started Rogue Galaxy, an action-RPG by Level 5 that’s been on my list to play ever since it came out. Released at the end of the PS2’s life cycle after Squares epic Final Fantasy XII, Rogue Galaxy remains one of the little black box’s RPG classics. In a system known for having a large amount of fantastic RPGs, Rogue Galaxy manages to stand out in a crowded market- it’s arguably Level 5’s best game to date. It’s easily one of the best looking games I’ve seen. Level 5 proved with games like Dark Cloud 2 and Dragon Quest VIII that they were masters of cell-shading, and Rogue Galaxy may end up being their ultimate visual achievement (at least until Ni no Kuni graces us with its presence). Gameplay-wise, while it’s impossible to judge seeing as I’m only an hour into the game, but Rogue Galaxy is a sci-fi action RPG in a similar vein to the Star Ocean games, and features a lot of the item and weapon synthesis elements from the Dark Cloud games (or at least the game’s menu bears a striking resemblance to Dark Cloud 2’s and has similar statistics). What I have played left me with a favorable first impression, and I’m excited to continue.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crisis Core: First Impressions, and Updates


The school year is done, graduation is imminent, and this senior project scored 19 points out of a possible 20! I think it's safe to say that PG's Game Room was more than sufficient as a senior project. Now it's time to see how well I can manage it on my own. >_<

Anyways, I recently started playing Crisis Core, the PSP prequel to Square's legendary PS1 classic Final Fantasy VII. Crisis Core was released in 2007 as part of the 'Compilation of Final Fantasy VII', a series of spinoffs and side stories to Final Fantasy VII that had mixed results. The gorgeous yet bland CGI film Advent Children, and the terrible shooter Dirge of Cerberus, certainly didn't live up to expectations, but Crisis Core is easily the best of the Compilation project, and, if first impressions are anything to go by, one of the best games Square Enix has put out in a long time.

For those who don't know, Crisis Core is an action-RPG akin to Kingdom Hearts, where the player controls Zack Fair, Cloud's mentor in SOLDIER, as he performs missions for the Shinra Corporation. Thus far, the story has managed to be engaging; there's a large amount of winks and nudges to the original game, which is to be expected of a prequel, but the main story has, for the most part, stood on its own well, with Zack and cohorts tracking down a rogue SOLDIER 1st Class named Genesis, who is raising an army to take down Shinra.

I'm still playing Xenogears at the moment, and I'll aim to have that done within a week or two, although I can't guarantee anything. Afterwards, I'm going to start a PS2 game. After Xenogears, I'm not sure I want to play anything incredibly long or slow-paced (Persona 3: FES and Dragon Quest VIII being two backlogged games that come to mind), so Rogue Galaxy is probably next on the agenda. Level 5's PS2 action-RPG has been on my to-do list for quite some time, and I'm looking forward to finally playing it. What little I've seen of the game is absolutely stunning.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Review: Xenogears (PS1)

Tetsuya Takahashi is a game designer I’ve always admired. As someone who enjoys epic storytelling in games, it is hard not to appreciate his work. With his latest game Xenoblade Chronicles making headlines all over the gaming press, I thought I’d finally try to gain a larger frame of reference for Takahashi’s past projects by playing Xenogears, the 1998 mecha-themed RPG that has maintained a large fanbase over the years. Xenogears certainly isn’t lacking for ambition, but does this Squaresoft classic hold up today?


I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Old Review: Final Fantasy III (DS)

I had a couple more of my older game reviews lying around, so I thought I'd finally get around to putting this one up. The next new review I'll be doing is Xenogears; it takes me a while to play through games, and Xenogears is slower than most.

Almost every RPG fan has a game that introduced them to the wonderful world of level ups and healing potions. Not counting Pokemon, Final Fantasy III for the DS was the first serious RPG I ever played through. In addition, it was also my introduction to the Final Fantasy series. FF3 was one of the three games in the early (first six) installments that never saw a US release when they initially came out, along with Final Fantasies II and V. A full 3D remake of the game, just how enjoyable is this lost fantasy?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Fire Still Burns: My Philosophy of Life

 This is the final paper we wrote for our English 12 class this semester. It's not perfect, but I thought I'd share it here. It's nice to get a piece of writing out every so often, and this one is a little different from my usual fare. So, here we go.

Loss of empathy might well be the most enduring and deep-cutting scar of all, the silent blade of an unseen enemy, tearing at our hearts and stealing more than our strength~ Drizzt Do'Urden, The Silent Blade.

            On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent~ Scout Oath and Law.

           When I was asked to concoct a Philosophy of Life, two questions immediately sprang to mind. The first was, “How am I going to do that?” The second was, “Do I even have a Philosophy of Life?” The first question was easily answered, as I write papers all the time and have proven to be at least semi-capable of farting out something legible in the span of a half hour or so. The answer to the second question proves to be more difficult, because I certainly do not want to just crap this paper out without putting any thought into it, and it provides an interesting point of introspection. Of course, everyone should have some sort of philosophy by which they guide their actions, even if that philosophy is not immediately apparent. So what moral code do I, then, live by?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Fresh Start and Future Plans

Well, it’s been a fun year for me. A few lows here and there, but overall I think this year has gone splendidly. This is easily the best time I’ve had at school, both because of my newfound privileges as a senior and a newfound work ethic that has enabled me to become a far better student than I was during my morose early teen years. I’m currently trying to find a job and plan for college, the next major step in my life, on the path to adulthood.

            It’s strange. I really don’t feel like an adult. It’s easy to look back and wonder where all the time went, but the truth is that I’ve sort of been dreading this moment. I’m deciding what college to go to this afternoon (between Aquinas College and Grand Valley State University), I still have to get my driver’s license, try to find work and earn some money, wrap up the projects my teachers decided to spring on us for the end of the year, study for exams… it’s a lot to take in.

            Fortunately, nobody said I had to grow up entirely. I’m planning on writing a young adult novel over the next couple of years. How well this turns out, I don’t know, but the story I’m hoping to tell is one that myself and a very good friend of mine, Alex, came up with when we were kids, and since then has sort of ‘grown up’ with me. This story defined the play of my childhood, morphed and changed as I did, and now I hope to actually turn it into a clear narrative, one that will (hopefully) span five parts. Then called ‘Mujara’ (some gobbledygook Alex and I came up with), the first book is tentatively called ‘The Paths Between’. The story follows a group of teenage kids who become embroiled in the ancient conflict of Heaven and Hell, and through their proximity to this battle begin to develop magical powers, and eventually are forced to choose a side. It was, and is, heavily inspired by the kinds of fiction I read growing up, and hopefully I can make it into a worthwhile story. I’m not sure if it will ever be good enough for publishing- the story is, technically, about fantastic versions of my friends and I- but at the very least I hope to have it somewhere on the Internet (who knows, maybe even on PG’s Game Room!), and possibly self-publish it.

            Speaking of PG’s Game Room, I apologize for the lack of productivity, but there’s really not much I’m going to be able to do about that. With the ‘Blog As My Senior Project’ thing out of the way, I need to focus on other things, and as I mentioned earlier I simply can’t keep a reliable schedule for new material. Of course, the blog is far from done. New reviews will still be written and posted as I continue to play games (I’m about eight hours into Xenogears at the time of this writing, and I should have a review up sometime in May), and as I work on my story I’ll post some material related to that as well. It may be the start of a new chapter in my life, but I don’t plan on cutting loose the old anytime soon.   

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Xenogears: First Impressions

So, Xenoblade Chronicles recently saw its US release to great critical acclaim and (so far) success. But, while I did preorder and receive a copy of this wonderful RPG, and play a little bit of it, I simply do not have enough access to a Wii in order to properly sink the required time into a massive title such as Xenoblade. You see, the Wii in our house belongs to my sister, and me being the ever-so-gracious person that I am, I decided not to impose upon her belongings and will wait to play Xenoblade and The Last Story for when I get my own Wii somewhere down the road.

That said, I wanted to start something. So, in the spirit of all things Xeno, I started playing Tetsuya Takahashi’s original masterpiece, the 1998 Squaresoft classic Xenogears. I’ve always admired Takahashi for being such an ambitious storyteller in his games, but I’ve never actually played Xenogears, despite having bought it on PSN shortly after it was rereleased.  So, what are my initial thoughts on this classic? Well, after playing the game for a couple hours this morning, I have come to a few conclusions:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Review: Pokemon Black Version (DS)

Note: While this review is based on Black Version, it is by extent also a review of Pokémon White Version. Outside of a few version-specific Pokémon, a different mascot Legendary, and a couple minor location differences, they are the same game.

I’m always going to have a soft spot in my heart for the Pokémon series.  Granted, having skipped the entire last generation of the games (Diamond, Pearl, Platinum), I haven’t really been keeping up with them, but it’s hard not to look fondly on the series that introduced me to RPGs, and was probably the first video game series I ever got really in to as a kid. It doesn’t hurt that the Pokémon series is one of the most long-running in the history of gaming. The games have been incredibly successful ever since their 1998 debut for the original Game Boy, and over the years have introduced millions of children to the wonders of monster collecting and battling, and to gaming in general. With Pokémon Black (and White), Nintendo begins the fifth generation of Pokémon with a customary new region to explore and a bevy of new collectable critters; but is it enough to make a lapsed fan such as myself want to catch them all again?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Deadline Approaching

Alright, so I'm approaching the last weeks of this semester, and the end of my senior year. It's getting kind of hectic, what with projects, papers, studying, and college searching. It also means something that effects this blog, too. As several of my friends will know, I started this blog as part of my senior project, and soon I'm going to be presenting it. I think I've done a good amount of work with this project, and I have a lot of material to present. However, as my time grows more and more pressed and I no longer have the project looming over me, I'm free to take a more liesurely approach to writing for this blog.

Don't get me wrong. I've had a lot of fun doing this, and I don't plan on stopping. What this means for you, if you're reading this, is just that I won't be keeping a schedule for new posts here. I'll just be writing whenever I have time. I'll still be doing game reviews, of course, and if I have a good idea for an article, we'll see what we can do. Obviously I'll still be on Twitter, so there'll be plenty of updates from there. There may be a slight dropoff in activity for the next couple of weeks, as I'm gearing up for a spring break trip to DC, but after that I hope to have my review of Pokemon Black Version up, and I'll get my copy of Xenoblade in the mail by then.

A very heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported me in my first attempt at putting my writing on the Internet. I'll see you all in April!

~reteP out.

                                                  Thank You!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Review: Ico HD (PS3)

In conversations regarding the artistic merit of video games, Ico is bound to be brought up eventually. This action-adventure game was originally released in 2001 for the Playstation 2 by the same team that would later go on to make Shadow of the Colossus, and was recently rereleased with said game in a collection for the Playstation 3. With a new sheen of high definition polish, Ico is ready to make sure that gamers get a chance to experience the unique and emotional journey it has to offer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Choice VS Narrative: Why Didn’t I Ever Get Into WRPGs?

One question I’ve asked myself a lot, and that some of my fellow gamers have been simply incredulous about, is why I don’t enjoy playing the Western Role Playing Games that have become increasingly popular over the years. And, honestly, I really didn’t have an answer for a while. It’s true that I do enjoy the gameplay style of the Japanese variety, but that’s largely because I grew up playing games like Pokemon and Final Fantasy, and that’s no real reason as to why I couldn’t enjoy this particular type of game. It was while reading about the recent fan backlash against Mass Effect 3 that I started to put together what it is about WRPGs that just doesn’t appeal to me. It got me thinking, and in order to figure it out, I looked back to the first WRPG I ever played: Knights of the Old Republic 2.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Review: Radiant Historia (DS)

One of the sad truths of the current generation of gaming is that there has been a noticeable lack of truly great traditional roleplaying games. That’s not to say there haven’t been good ones, but as good as Lost Odyssey, Dark Souls, and Tales of Vesperia are, this generation has been marked by disappointment. Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t what everyone hoped it would be, Eternal Sonata was kind of preachy, and Hyperdimension Neptunia is absolute shite and I’m sorry for anyone who spent money on that travesty (I kid, I kid). While the blame for this may or may not be placed on these games developers, or on shifting perceptions among the gaming community, and the situation actually seems to be looking up as of late with great titles such as Xenoblade Chronicles just around the corner, there just doesn’t seem to be many modern RPGs that live up to their predecessors. Enter Radiant Historia, a game released in 2011 by Atlus, which clearly draws inspiration from the classics of old, such as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. Does it succeed as a great RPG experience, or is Radiant Historia a doomed pretender? Well, let it be known here and now- Radiant Historia is one of the best games to be released in a long time.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Review: The Legend of Zelda- Phantom Hourglass (DS)

For me, the defining moment (and often moment of purchase) of a new system is when a game in one of my favorite franchises gets an installment on it. In fact, you can probably track all of my console purchases to the proximity of available Kingdom Hearts games, but that’s a story for another time. In the case of Nintendo, the arrival of a new Zelda game pretty much cements my purchase of their latest gadget. Usually, it’s worth it. Phantom Hourglass, the first Zelda game for the Nintendo DS, uses many of the DS’ unique features, while also providing one of the best portable adventure gaming experiences I’ve ever had.


Phantom Hourglass is a rare direct sequel to a prior game in the Zelda series; in this case, The Wind Waker for the Gamecube. Zelda games do tend to be self-contained, however, and the main story of Phantom Hourglass doesn’t really have too much to do with The Wind Waker, outside of a few references at the beginning and the presence of some minor comic relief from Tetra’s pirate crew. For all intents and purposes, Phantom Hourglass is a similar game to The Wind Waker, but it’s not necessary to have any experience with the prior title.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pokemon... Black and White 2?

Didn't see that one coming. 0_0 I think everyone was hoping that the next Pokemon game would be something along the lines of a Pokemon Gray. You know, something like Crystal, Emerald, and Platinum Version, which basically combined their prior duo of games and added new content.

I don't think anybody expected direct sequels. Direct sequels, and for the DS instead of the 3DS.

Still, I've got to admit, those legendaries look pretty cool.

Pokemon fans, don't write these off yet. It may not be what we expected, but who knows? This could be really awesome. Black and White were noteworthy for adding several enhancements to the classic Pokemon formula, so perhaps Black 2 and White 2 will do the same.

That reminds me. I still need to play Black Version...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Peter's 2011 Gaming Awards

Hello, and welcome to Peter’s (extremely belated) 2011 Awards! Now, I’ve been meaning to get around to this for some time. Instead of making awards for games that came out in 2011, I’m talking about games that I played in 2011. I might make this an annual thing if I’m still doing this next year.

Anyways, here we go!

Best Game I Played In 2011: Final Fantasy X (PS2)

I played a lot of great games last year, there’s no denying. And among those great games, I played the majority of the Final Fantasy series. Still, Final Fantasy X proved itself to be my favorite of the series, and I really can’t say why. Was it the imaginative art style and gorgeous visuals? Was it the epic story and well-developed characters? Was it the excellent combat system and open-ended character development? It certainly wasn’t the voice acting… but for whatever reason, I beat this game in a record (for me) two weeks, with forty or so hours sunk into it. I just didn’t want to stop playing, and that for me is the mark of an amazing game.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Last Story Coming To The US

From Operation Rainfall:

Reggie Confirms The Last Story for US!!!!!!!!

Revealed in Nintendo Direct at around the 10m30s mark.

Out this year, and Nintendo has partnered with XSEED to make this possible.

 From me:


Seriously, though. This is the most recent game my Mistwalker, directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of Final Fantasy. Between this and Xenoblade, I'll have to give serious thought to buying a Wii.

EDIT: So, yeah. I might actually be picking these games up at launch, finances permitting. I'm excited for these games, and you should be too! They're the type of high-quality games the JRPG needs right now. I have a feeling that these might help this ailing genre by pushing them forward.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Quick Update

So, it's been a while since I did an update detailing my future plans. Here goes.

1- Final Fantasy! So I finished Final Fantasy XIII-2. I know my review may have seemed unduly harsh, which wasn't my intention, but I will stand by my thoughts on the game. In truth, XIII-2 just seems like a 'filler' game to me. It's something they made in reaction to XIII's criticism, rather than a game they wanted to make, and I think that really hurt the game. Still, the game is very fun, and if you're looking for a good JRPG on a modern console, you can't go wrong with this one.

2- Xenoblade! I probably won't be getting to Xenoblade Chronicles as I had originally planned. It's a shame, because that game looks awesome and you should totally support it, but I don't have access to a Wii on a regular enough basis to invest in an eighty-hour epic RPG. Xenoblade Chronicles looks to be an excellent game, and I will hopefully play it some time in the future.

3- Ni no Kuni delayed! Level 5 and Studio Ghibli's gorgeous looking PS3 RPG has been delayed, from Q1 2012 to Winter 2012. While I'm dissapointed that I don't get to play this wonderful game soon, it seems that they are using the extra time to give the game a superb localization, on par with Ghibli's other work. Definetly looking forward to this one.

4- Game shopping! So, this weekend I get to go to my local game shops (CD exchange, Gaming Warehouse, and of course, Gamestop) and see what I can find. I'll edit this post with what I get when I have the chance, but I'm looking to play the original .hack games if I can.

5- Radiant Historia! I find that I only really have time to play one game during the school year now, and since I was intent on beating XIII-2, Atlus' excellent old-school RPG kind of got put on the back burner. No longer, and Radiant Historia will be the subject of my next review. Spoiler alert: It's fantastic, and if you own a DS, go buy it, now. They're reprinting it soon, so it'll be affordable.

6- Writing! So, the 'one piece a week or so' strategy for this blog is definetly a lot easier on me, and I think it's actually helped the blog produce more quality pieces. At the very least, it's better than clogging up the blog with new posts every day. So, I've got a couple other articles in mind, including a belated 'awards show' for every game I played in 2011, as well as an explanation of my own reviewing style.

I think that about covers it. :) Until next time, dear reader!

Edit: Got three new games while shopping today! No, couldn't find .hack, I'm going to have to go a-hunting some other time. In the meantime...

Rogue Galaxy (PS2)
Resonance of Fate (PS3)
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3)

My Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3)

I’ve mentioned this many times before, but it bears explaining again. Final Fantasy XIII was a game that received a very mixed reception among series fans, and for good reason; it removed many traditional Final Fantasy elements in favor of a more streamlined approach. I personally enjoyed the game very much. The visuals and music were top-notch, the battle system was excellent, and for the most part I thought the story and characters were quite nice. It’s far from the best Final Fantasy game I’ve played, but it was a good game in its own right. Square Enix heard the outcry among some fans concerning XIII’s linear gameplay, however, and with Final Fantasy XIII-2, a direct sequel similar to 2003’s X-2, it seems Square intends to win back some of these fans by creating a more open experience, returning some more traditional RPG elements. Does it succeed in improving upon its predecessor?


Final Fantasy XIII-2 picks up three years after the end of XIII, and stars Serah, Lightning’s younger sister who spent most of the last game needing to be saved by Lightning and Snow. After the fall of Cocoon, Lightning apparently disappeared from the world, presumed dead by everyone except Serah, who is convinced that her sister is alive. Her suspicions are confirmed with the arrival of Noel, a warrior from the future who tells Serah that he can take her to see Lightning, who is waiting in a mythical land called Valhalla. Together, the two of them travel throughout the tangled timeline in the hopes of finding out what happened to Lightning.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Old Review: Kingdom Hearts RE: Chain of Memories (PS2)

My Review- Kingdom Hearts: RE:Chain of Memories (PS2)

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories was a Game Boy Advance game that served to bridge Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. The original game is largely known for it’s card-based battle system, a departure from the pure action-RPG style of the other games in the series. Square decided in 2006 to remake Chain of Memories for the PS2 and bundle it with Kingdom Hearts II- Final Mix +. For some reason, they decided to only localize Re:Chain of Memories as a stand-alone game, instead of the whole KH2-FM+ package, which I am definitely NOT bitter over at all, but RE:CoM is still a fun, if slightly strange, addition to the Kingdom Hearts series.


RE:Chain of Memories’ story takes place in Castle Oblivion, a mysterious place run by Organization XIII. Series protagonist Sora ends up wandering inside the castle and is told by one of the Organization members that something dear to him is inside, but in order to find it, he must give up something in return. Using the mysterious powers of the castle, Sora must navigate the various Disney worlds from the first game in order to re-discover his memories. Sora and his friends discover that the further they go into the castle, the more memories they lose, while other memories are remembered. However, the Organization has sinister plans for Sora, and he may not be able to trust his newfound memories.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Review: Final Fantasy IX (PS1)

My Review: Final Fantasy IX (PS1)

It could be said that each generation of consoles put a unique spin on its particular batch of Final Fantasy games. This is particularly evident with the Playstation trio of Final Fantasies VII, VIII, and IX, which are among the most influential games of their genre. Final Fantasy IX is, in many aspects, the end of an era for the series: afterward, the series would go through many radical changes, and IX does seem to be the most recent ‘traditional’ Final Fantasy game. Perhaps this is because Final Fantasy IX was made as a throwback to the classic style of Final Fantasy, but with the design of the PlayStation entries, blending more lighthearted tone and colorful aesthetics with the storytelling and technological panache we expected from Square at the time. Final Fantasy IX isn’t just a great game- it’s a swan song for the entire series, as well as one of the best Playstation RPGs ever made.


Final Fantasy IX takes place in the world of Gaia, a land enshrouded in a Mist made from the spirits of the dead. In the Kingdom of Alexandria, Queen Brahne lists for power, and is waging war on neighboring kingdoms in order to expand her domain. When Zidane Tribal, a monkey-tailed member of the theater group Tantalus, kidnaps Princess Garnett of Alexandria, he discovers that she intended to escape from her mother, and wants to discover why she is behaving in this manner. Along with Garnett’s loyal knight Steiner, the young black mage Vivi, and a host of other colorful characters, Zidane becomes embroiled in a quest to save the world from Brahne’s ambition, as well as to free Brahne from the influence of an arms dealer named Kuja, and eventually discover the secret of another world linked to Gaia…

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Changing the Paradigm: Final Fantasy XIII and Narrative

Changing the Paradigm: Final Fantasy XIII and Narrative

            "Cocoon—a utopia in the sky.

Its inhabitants believed their world a paradise. Under the Sanctum's rule, Cocoon had long known peace and prosperity.
Mankind was blessed by its protectors, the benevolent fal'Cie, and believed that tranquil days would continue forever.

Their tranquility was shattered with the discovery of one hostile fal'Cie.
The moment that fal'Cie from Pulse—the feared and detested lowerworld—awoke from its slumber, peace on Cocoon came to an end.

Fal'Cie curse humans, turning them into magic-wielding servants. They become l'Cie—chosen of the fal'Cie.
Those branded with the mark of a l'Cie carry the burden of either fulfilling their Focus or facing a fate harsher than death itself.

A prayer for redemption. A wish to protect the world. A promise to challenge destiny.
After thirteen days of fates intertwined, the battle begins.

—Official Prologue

            Final Fantasy XIII, technically the latest entry in the storied Final Fantasy franchise, is for some reason one of the most controversial titles of this generation. For me personally, I find a lot of the game’s most commonly heard criticisms to be unfounded or blown out of proportion. After it’s lengthy and problematic development, it seems to be a miracle that the game turned out at good as it did. It does have its fair share of problems, and is rather average for a main series Final Fantasy game, but overall it’s a pretty damn good game. We could get into a lengthy discussion about linear gameplay, gorgeous graphics, or automated combat, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss. I’ve already reviewed the game; we don’t need to mention any of that. No, today I am going to delve into one area in which I think Final Fantasy XIII meant to excel, but ended up stumbling on: it’s narrative.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Review: Kingdom Hearts- Birth by Sleep (PSP)

My Review: Kingdom Hearts- Birth by Sleep (PSP)

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears mentioning again: I don’t think anyone could have predicted exactly how dense the Kingdom Hearts series has become. Squaresoft’s little Disney crossover game has spawned one of the most popular video game franchises in the world, and with each game the overarching narrative has only grown more complex and, at times, convoluted. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, a game that was teased at the end of Kingdom Hearts II, plays an integral role in the Kingdom Hearts saga: as a prequel to the original Kingdom Hearts, as well as an establishment of where the series will go in the future. Is this portable adventure up to the task?

Destiny is never left to chance.

As mentioned earlier, Birth by Sleep is a prequel, set ten years before the original Kingdom Hearts. The game focuses on the adventures of three protagonists, Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, who are apprentices to Keyblade Master Eraqus. After a series of events drive the heroes apart, they each set out on their own journey across the myriad worlds, dealing with their own internal conflicts and struggling to maintain their friendship in light of newfound revelations concerning themselves and their Masters, all while combating the evil Unversed, monsters that are born from negative emotion. Ventus is attempting to uncover the truth about his origins and his connection to a mysterious masked boy named Vanitas, who appears to lead the Unversed. . Aqua attempts to bring Ventus back home and watch over Terra, while questioning the morality of the orders from her Master. Meanwhile, Terra is struggling with the dark power inside him, trying to discover its place in him under the tutelage of Master Xehanort, who may have other, more sinister objectives…

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Guest Review: Gran Turismo 5 (PS3), by David Olgers

Well, folks, this is the first guest review on this blog! *cue victory fanfare*. Today, my friend David will be reviewing Gran Turismo 5, a popular racing game for Playstation 3. While David did try to write the review using my own reviewing structure, I left his review mostly unedited save for a few awkward phrases and some spelling errors. Enjoy!

Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)

Gran Turismo 5 is a racing game by Polyphony Digital, and the latest in it’s series. The end goal of the game is to reach level 40 by participating in races, as well as to obtain all of the various licenses that can be earned by participating in 9 tests of different kinds (turns, braking and the like) and a small race on a course using the different things you learned in the tests.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Short Explanation

Alright, it'd be evident to anyone that I haven't posted anything since the Final Fantasy retrospective. Largely, it's because I'm really pressed for time. I do want to fit some gaming in, I've been reading George Martin's excellent Song of Ice and Fire novels, and I also need to do well in school. Aside from that, though, I really feel like I should produce better content for this blog rather than continuously pumping out quick blurbs that really don't make for good reading.

So, the main product of this blog will continue to be my game reviews, and I'll review each new game I play. I'll also try to do the occasional article (I have ideas for other retrospectives) or timely news bite (maybe an E3 post?), but I'm not going to say much if there's nothing to say.

Also, my buddy David will be doing a guest review of Gran Turismo 5 sometime in the near future. So, look forward to seeing something a little different than my own, RPG-centric talk. David's a great guy, a very avid DnD/Pathfinder fan as well as something of an expert when it comes to World War 2.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

PG Retrospective: Final Fantasy

PG Retrospective: Final Fantasy

            It’s no secret that I love Final Fantasy. It’s one of the longest running and most influential series of role-playing games in history. Still, something I find strange about the Final Fantasy series is that there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground anymore in regards to people’s opinion of the series. Some of this could be the result of shifting sensibilities in the games industry, some of this can be blamed on nostalgia, but whenever Final Fantasy is brought up today, you’ll see a litany of frothy-mouthed fanboys declaring their love for Sephiroth, snobs turning up their noses at the series and it’s fans, or nostalgia-blinded older fans bemoaning the latest entry. Fortunately, if ever there was someone to find the common ground on something, it’d be me. I do love the series, but my experience with Final Fantasy is actually relatively recent. It was only in the past year or so that I actually played all of the games. This, I feel, puts me in a better position to judge the individual games properly, rather than some thirty-year old who refuses to take off the rose colored glasses, or some gun-crazy twelve-year old douchebag. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on each entry in the Final Fantasy series.

Please note that I have not played the two MMORPGs, and so we won’t talk about XI and XIV. I also won’t be covering the Crystal Chronicles games, the Tactics games, or Dissidia. Needless to say, since we are talking about these games, there may be SPOILERS.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Old Review: Twilight Princess (GCN)

This is one of the first reviews I ever wrote, waaaaaay back in 2012. Looking at it now, there are a few things I would change or wouldn't completely agree with now, but I do have a great fondness for Twilight Princess. The game was my very first Zelda game, and remains a milestone in my development as a gamer. So, here's my review.

My Review- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GC)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is, at the time of this writing, the most recent console Zelda game. It is also another favorite of mine, as it was the first game of its kind that I ever played, and made me realize that video games could be a storytelling medium. Twilight Princess is a fantastic game, arguably the best console Zelda title- timeless gameplay, great graphics, an intriguing story, and a level of polish rarely seen in games. Please note that this review is of the Gamecube version and not the Wii.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's 2012! Time for a Backlog Update

Well, the holidays are over, and school is about to resume. This means two things- one, my backlog of games has substantially increased thanks to the generosity of my family and friends. Two, my free time is about to be significantly reduced. My to-do list of games may yet expand further as several new releases are around the corner that I am interested in.


Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PSP)
Final Fantasy IX (PS1)

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3) (preordered)
Ni no Kuni (PS3)
Final Fantasy Type 0 (PSP) (coming to the states?)
Final Fantasy Versus XIII (PS3) (pls?)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

Dragon Quest VIII (PS2)
Dark Cloud (PS2)
Ico (PS2/3)
Shadow of the Colossus (PS2/3) (HD Collection w/ Ico)
White Knight Chronicles (PS3)
White Knight Chronicles 2 (PS3)
Xenogears (PS1)
Vagrant Story (PS1)

Final Fantasy I (PSP)
Final Fantasy II (PSP)
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (PSP)
Radiant Historia (DS)
Dragon Quest VI (DS)

So, yeah, I'm going to be very busy. And quite happy. :) With the holidays over, I will return to this blog's primary function, which is to publish reviews and tidbits of news I find interesting (hmm, haven't done that for a while). Happy new year!