Reviews

Bravely Default – The JRPG that Could (but could be better)

Bravely Default – The JRPG that Could (but could be better)

Bravely Default was a surprising game for a number of reasons. Innovation was not one of them, but creating a truly solid JRPG experience definitely was. The game’s success shows that gamers do actually care about good JRPGs even in this day. So what was so good? Where were the missteps? And where does that leave us? A true classic Square Enix is not a new player on the scene. In fact, back when they were Squaresoft, they were already making JRPGs that, to this day, rate as some people’s best games of all time (most notably Final Fantasy VII). What is unique about Bravely Default is that it really embraces those days of JRPGs rather than the more modern Final Fantasy hybrid action and JRPG games. And it really works here. The story starts out a bit different with a lot of mystery to keep the plot going. A giant chasm just opened up and swallowed the home town of Tiz, one of the main characters. No one has any idea what it is or where it came from. With everything and everyone he knew and loved gone, Tiz vows to close the chasm and rebuild his town. Along the way, he signs up to rid the world of evil too. It’s a fairly classic tale but with the mysterious twist that I think goes extremely well with the game. I enjoy how the story is interesting and direct about what you are doing. Not only does the game provide markers on the map for where to go (which can be turned off if you don’t want that), but it also provides a one sentence hint for context to also help you with what your next task is. It’s a subtle thing, but I never got lost and it helped to remind me what was going on even after not playing for a while. But as a classic JRPG, the story is only half of the experience. Battles and customizing your characters for battles is the rest. And Bravely Default does well here by not trying to reinvent any wheels really. The combat itself is all turn based with speed determining the order of characters and enemies. There are standard and special attacks and magic and so on as one would expect. The slight difference is there is also the concept of “Brave” and “Default” (the title now makes more sense, but is lame). Default is another word for defend in any other game, but it also gives you one Brave Point (BP). Brave is essentially the opposite; it allows you to burn additional BP (up to 3 additional) to preform other actions. Most actions do not take...

Read More

Titanfall is Fun or: How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Love the Game

Titanfall is Fun or: How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Love the Game

I like to nit pick things. I feel criticism is a good way to improve overall. In the end, though, there is frequently something more than a checklist or a simply distilled combination of factors that make something good or bad. Titanfall is like that for me. I can find plenty of fault with the game, but in the end I do really love playing it. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bring up where there could be improvement. In fact, I think that this is a good path to walk to muse about a more perfect game that could have existed and possibly why this example can rise beyond its limitations where others I feel fall into them. What is this Titanfall thing? In case you’ve been under a rock or just naturally tune out a lot of commercials or big name things, Titanfall is a recent game from Respawn Entertainment. It is an online multiplayer only First Person Shooter released for PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It proudly boasts a ton of awards and did actually launch to positive reviews. In the game, players can choose from 5 different game modes and play on 15 different (and beautiful) maps including a two sided campaign. And, most importantly, players can play either on foot or in their large and extremely impressive mechs called Titans. Though this is a pretty short description, we’ll walk through a lot more details of what is or isn’t contained in the game below. Because I’d like to end on a high note and because I really do think that people should look favorably (but critically) at Titanfall, we will look at the negative before we get to the positive. What Titanfall isn’t What the hype said The hype for Titanfall was huge due to all the awards it got and all of the commercials and other advertising that was presented. And, as Jim Sterling’s review points out, it really had no chance to launch and be the sparkling gem of perfection and revolution that the hype was claimed. At some level that is unfortunate because there are then inevitably many people that would be let down by that fact. But at the same time, I can understand that a company wants to sell its games and needs to gain attention. And for a multiplayer only game, it is critical to have as many people as possible playing the game. The hype also implied that the game was somehow revolutionary. That isn’t true. At its core, it is a FPS with pretty standard guns and abilities that have come up one way or another in the past. Robots or mechs are not new in video...

Read More