Review – Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age

If you, like me, fancy a quality chunk of nostalgia with a boring protagonist but added game features to keep it fresh then Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age is the game for you!

If you can overlook that Vaan, your leading man, is about as exciting as a piece of bluetac then I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun trapsing around the world of Ivalice in the typical battle between good and evil. Your squad however does hold some form of a storyline which is strong enough to keep you on your journey without feeling like you’re just doing it for the trophies. Talking of which, this is a nice added bonus from the original game way back when. The remastered version of the highly controversial game in the FF franchise comes with HD graphics, an updated orchestra score and a few other features including new jobs and a speed multiplier to make grinding a thing of the past. Whilst I welcomed the fact that you can speed time up by x2 or x4 with the click of a button, this does make levelling up REALLY easy and thus takes out some of the challenge. This also helps with the Gambit battle style in place which was either greatly applauded or overly criticised. I personally thought it was the best feature of any Final Fantasy game that I’ve played.

Gambits are a huge part of the game and pretty easy to explain. Basic programming language allows you to give your team commands without even having to press any buttons on the controller. Using the example from the picture above, Balthier will attack his nearest visible foe until either he or they are dead. If there is no enemy in range, he will move to his second gambit which means that if any ally in the team has less than 70% HP, he will give them a potion until it’s above this threshold. It’s basic IF, THEN functions which you can edit in several ways to allow your team to fight by themselves without you having to worry too much about dying. In my 3 man team, I have the standard TANK (a character with high HP designed to take most of the damage), a DPS (a character designed to have a really high damage per second) and a HEALER (a character designed to heal players on low health. The 3 basically functions I have for each are to attack the enemy with the lowest HP, attack the foe that the tank is targeting and to heal any ally below 50% HP. In simple terms, I can then speed time up by x4, run around blidnly in a mid level area and pretty much guarantee loads of XP with little fear of wiping. The original game didn’t have the speed multiplier but I did the same thing with just more wasted hours. I’ve been on for 12 hours now with no end in sight so I don’t think it’s a big issue for them to add this feature but it does make me wonder how much time I spent on this game a few years ago.

In true FF fashion, there are a ton of sidequests to keep you playing but the main mentionable is the hunts.  In almost every city you visit, you’ll find a hunt board in the local inn/bar. This board features monsters that the locals want dead for reasons you’ll discover. For each hunt, you’ll have to first find the person who posted the notice, kill the beast then go back and confirm its death to the petitioner. Another reason the speed multiplier helps as there is a lot of back and forth here. Each comes with a clue on where to find the beast & petitioner and comes with lots of rewards to boot. The tutorial hunt involved a rogue tomato who you shouldn’t have too much trouble fending off. I like to see him as the Hogger of Final Fantasy XII for all of my WoW fans out there. After this, there will be loads more available to you should you wish to take a break from the main story.

It wouldn’t be an FF game without epic boss battles. So far in my journey, I’ve come across judges (leaders of the imperial army, above), moving walls that try and crush you and powerful Espers which I’ll explain a bit more shortly. I won’t lie, with the grinding for Exp made easy, I haven’t had much trouble at all with these bosses which takes away the fun a little but overall, an RPG in this day and age that lasts more than 20 hours works for me and I can imagine I’ll be here a lot longer.

Espers in FFXII are typically what you’d think of as a summon. A huge Supernatural being that you can have fight alongside you for those hard to beat foes. The catch is that you first have to beat them in battle before they agree to help you out. I can’t remember these much from the original but I’ve only come across Gigas so far which is pretty much Ifrit for all of you who knows your FF summons. I’m hoping there are a lot more to come so I’ll be hunting them down before you know it. Other than the standard attack, you can learn other skills such as magic spells, techniques, and equipment usage when you learn these skills from your license board. It’s just a glorified skill tree with the simple fact that you need a license to use a specific weapon, armour, magic or skill. You may be a white mage but you won’t be able to use esuna until you unlock the license and buy the magic from the shops scattered around Ivalice. You can assign any character any job that you like which means that no one playthrough between you and your friends will be the same. For example, leading man Vaan may be an archer in my game where you may want him to be a time battlemage. In my game he’ll be great at attacking from distance and have high DPS but in yours, he’s there for support to cast haste on your other characters to speed up their actions per second. You can earn license points for your license boards by killing enemies, 1 per kill unless you have a special accessory equipped 😉 This is a great way to shake things up but it’s a standard feature from the original that was the marmite of the RPG world.

Saving the game happens automatically when you move between areas but you also get to save manually whenever you come across a save crystal. Oddly enough, these crystals are actually bigger than you so they aren’t hard to miss. Certain crystals also act as a teleport stone so you can fast travel between, a handy feature way back when but with the speed multiplier, I’d now much rather run between areas getting experience and license points than fast travelling. I’ve also noticed that the loading times are exceptionally fast but this is probably due to it being an old game just remastered to a newer console.

Being my favorite FF in the series, I am again bias to give this game a solid 5 pheonix downs out of 5 but if you have or haven’t played this one before, it’s defo worth a gamble for the nostalgia factor and reminds you how RPGs used to and should still be made. It’s a shame that it’s a PS4 exclusive as I’m sure they would have sold a lot more of it was made available to all. Given its age, I’m sure this would have gone down a treat on the Switch and considering Final Fantasy has a history with Nintendo, I’m really surprised this wasn’t the case.

Get it, love it like a chocobo moogle hybrid and share your comments!

Ciao for now!

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Review – Tell Tale: A Game Of Thrones

Just in time before season 7 hits our screens on July 14th, the lovely people at Sony have decided to give us this beauty on PlayStation Plus for free! Originally priced at £29.99 on Amazon UK, this is surely a great reason to sign up to PlayStation Plus if you’re not already a member.

In true Tell Tale format, this story based game changes the outcome of your journey with the choices you make, pretty much like my previous review on Tales from the Borderlands but in the world of the Seven Kingdoms.

Your journey begins at the start of the Red wedding but from the perspective outside of the church. You play from the POV of several characters but your story revolves around the Forrester family; a small but noble house considered Bannerman of the Starks.

You’ll find yourself in many a familiar locations around Westeros and far beyond the Wall. The overall story pretty much pits you against the Bolton’s but I don’t wanna give too much away, just know that major events that happen in the TV show are unchanged but you get to see these from another point of view. You’ll also run into a few familiar faces such as Jon Snow, Cerci Lanister and of course, The Imp…

Graphically, the game isn’t going to win any awards however what it lacks in picturesque scenery, it’s makes up in true Game of Thrones gripping storylines. The game features a somewhat oil painting style but I’ve personally noticed that the hands of the character could use a little work as seen below

I’m really enjoying being a part of the huge world making my own story without veering away from the original battle for the overall throne. Each character from the show you run into also features the voice acting from the TV actor/actress which adds a nice touch and makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. The choices your left with do sometimes feel a little harsh with major consequences hanging over your head. At the end of each chapter, your main decisions are compared with everyone who’s played the game with an internet connection so you can compare yourself with the rest of the GOT community.

I’ve only completed 3 of the 6 chapters in the game, each of which lasted a little over an hour but as each chapter ends, just like the TV show, you’re left wanting more! I can see myself completing this by the end of the work week if I’m honest. If you’re a true Game of Thrones fan then this is an absolute must have title to add to your collection. If you’ve lived under a rock and never seen an episode of Game of Thrones, I would strongly suggest you don’t waste your time, this is definitely a title aimed at people who have watched the show as opposed to those who have read the books or neither. Don’t be fooled by the security of the land you live in, no one is safe in this story…

Play it, love it and let me know what you think!

Ciao for now!

Review – DLC – Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto

It’s not often I’d review a DLC given they are normally only a few hours long but I thought I’d make an acception for Episode Prompto for FFXV. Unlike it’s predecessor Episode Gladiolus, I’m only 2 hours into Ptompto’s story and I’ve already felt like I’ve got a greater understanding of his life and prequel before he joined the future king and his chums.

The happy go lucky kings guards story starts off (FFXV SPOILER ALERT!!!) just after he’s thrown off the train in the main FFXV game, supposedly by his best friend Noctis. You’ll remember that soon after, there is a scene with Noctis and Shiva thus explaining why Prompto is all of sudden freezing to death. You’ll get to control a small section where you just need to move forward as slowly as a turtle walking uphill, through inches of snow whilst Promto fights for his life against the frost. I can’t imagine it makes it any easier that he’s sporting his usual skinny jeans attire however it is very pleasing on the eyes watching him meander through the snow at all angles; I think it’s pretty obvious that I have a gaymer crush on the joker of the pack. Anyway, without giving too much away, it eventually unfolds that Ardyn saves Prompto only to send him on a wild goose chase to meet his maker in Niflheim. Shit goes down and the story unfolds quite nicely. Along the way you’ll have access to various guns such as a sub machine guns, sniper rifles and even a bazooka! As you can probably tell, this DLC is gun focussed that being Promp’s special skill.

It’s been a while since I played FFVX seen as Episode Gladiolus feels like a decade ago but that being said, I managed to jump straight into this DLC and picked up the controls fairly easily. As expected, there was a small reminder of what each button does at the start and it all just felt familiar 5 minutes in. They’ve added a manual aim button for all the extra guns that you didn’t get a chance to play with pre DLC and a handy cover button to hide behind objects when in the middle of a gunfight. You also have the use of a small knife for close combat and stealth kills but there’s no fun in that when you have a submachine gun in your arsenal. I did wonder how they’d incorporate Ptompto’s photography skills into the game and in standard Square Enix fashion, there is an option on your skill tree to take selfies mid battle with the enemy. I believe they label this as “put your differences aside and take a selfie with the enemy”, as if the Niflheim scum would agree to that? Either way is a funny addition similar to Ignis’ “Ah Ha! I’ve discovered a new RECEPEH!” and is also linked to an achievement.

There are various rest/save points around the map which take form of a vending machine that Prompto sits against to gather his thoughts and regain his health and stamina, no cooking recipes though so will have to wait for Ignis’ story later this year; not a huge loss really. You do however meet someone familiar who helps you progress through the game but I won’t spoil that if you’ve not already read about it. There is a snowmobile chase 2 hours in which reminded me slightly of the bike scene in FFVII and certain clues and Easter eggs laying around which links the world of FFXV together in regards to the film, anime and game; quite a nice touch if you like that sorta thing.

As stated, I’ve only played for a few hours however I’m really looking forward to diving deeper into the psyche of Prompto as the game switches to him as a kid and back to the present time. I would definitely recommend this DLC to fans of the FFXV universe however I am slightly bias towards anything Prompto. At this stage I’m giving this 5 bazookas out of 5, subject to change if the ending is dissapointing :p

Any comments or questions, feel free to leave below. Have a great July gaymers and guys!

Ciao for now!

Review – Tales From the Borderlands

Smack my arse and call me Handsome Jack!  If you’re a fan of great storytelling with a rare skill of brilliant delivery, then you should be no stranger to any Tell Tale Games series. In it’s own right, the Walking Dead series should stand out among the rest however after completing episode one alone, Tales From the Borderlands is setting to stage an upset in the ranks.

If you’re not familiar with the standard Borderlands games, it’s an exceptional FPS he with a high focus on rare and exotic loot. Each gamers experience is unique with the loot they receive, similar to that of World of Warcraft, but we’re not here to discuss the past; albeit this game is far from new. In familiar TTG style, their version of the game doesn’t actually require you to play the originals or know anything about the Gameworld. In short, this game provides you with various choices which will ultimately change the way the game ends and how the world reacts around you. More often than not, your experience of the game will not 100% match that of your friends which means that the replayability is hugely satisfying. Such choices as killing a main character or sparing their lives will either leave you without them in future chapters or allowing them to possibly help or screw you over in the later game.

You play a guy named Rhys who is trying to work his way up the Hyperion enterprise (it does help to know a little of the games world but not necessarily). In doing so, he finds his job promotion was stolen by his work nemesis Vasquez. Rhys then finds himself trying to get one over on Vazquez by stealing a huge job he has prepped for the business.

Along the way, he meets Fiona, also controlled by you, who tries to con Rhys’ con on Vasquez… Ultimately it goes tits up and the 2 along with their companions find themselves having to help each other to get themselves out of the mess they both created. They isn’t much action or strategy involved in games such as these but they really do pull on your emotional heartstrings by forcing you to make nearly impossible decisions if it were real life and you also get a short 10ish second time limit on said choices to make you sweat just that much more. Take my word for it, once you play episode one, you’ll wanna get on with the next 4 episodes similar to how you felt when binge watching Game of Thrones. In this instance however, you control the story so they’ll be no red wedding here my friend! Also *SPOILER ALERT* Neddard would still be alive…

Often giving you the sensible, stupid, funny or totally ignorance answer, the game feature various voiceovers to keep you playing until the game is over and then will urge you to play again making different choices to try and trick the game into failure, it won’t work though! Talking of voiceovers, you may notice a few familiar voices when wondering around Pandora. My favourite assuming I’m correct is the vocal cords of Joe from Family Guy voicing your nemesis Vasquez. If I close my eyes, Vasquez would be in a wheelchair making doodey in a diaper but opening them again strikes fear and makes me wanna punch the guy in his face!

Unlike the Walking Dead series, TFTB offers a few new additions to the gameplay including the use of Rhys’ scanner eye which allows you to scan objects​ for information. It also feels a little more intense and jump worthy, something TWD game didn’t really have. Suffice to say I shouted “Prick!” Loudly at the tele about an hour in after shitting myself at a classic scene only to find that one of my in-game responses to the event was “Asshole!!!”. I of course selected said response.

Ultimately there is a 10 million dollar briefcase, memorable bosses, cell shades graphics second to none and a vault key (if you know what that is) at stake from the get go. The end of the first episode does spark the return of a familiar face if you’ve played the Borderlands game so look forward to that!  I can’t wait to jump into the next 4 episodes and in case you didn’t know, this is currently free to download if you’re a PS Plus member. Even if you’re not, I’d suggest signing up even if for a month just to grab this for free before the month is over.

Should you wish to, please comment and share your opinions on this or any other game I’ve mention in previous blogs.

Ciao for now!

Something’s to get excited about!

So I’m kind of in between games at the moment, have just started playing Mafia 3 but I’ve been told it’s not worth writing a review about it as it’s been out for a while. I have also just completed the first DLC for FFXV but writing a review about a game that lasts an hour seems a little pointless; it’d take me longer to write it than it did to play it!

Anyway, here are a few games I’m looking forward to and hoping comes out in 2017.

Seeing as Zelda is pretty much the only game holding up the Nintendo Switch, I’m really excited for Super Mario Odyssey. Guaranteed to have the usual Mario charm, this open world Mario game is bound to keep me entertained in and out of the house thanks to the portable console. His hat actually gets some game time this time around, looks weird seeing his hair though! He’s clearly using Head & Shoulders…

Early reviews from some gamers claim that Prey is the sequel that Bioshock deserves. That should be enough to grab your attention as it did mine! Don’t get me wrong, I loved Bioshock 2 almost as much as the first but Infinite didn’t tickle my fancy as much as I had hoped. Prey on the other hand, by online video viewing, looks like it’s going to get the fear factor back up for some of us gamers but hopefully not as much as the recent Alien adventure. That’s an evil piece of work that one! I digress. I look forward to getting my hands on the weaponry this beut has to offer and kicking some alien ass! There is even a power that allows you to transform into various items including a coffee mug. I know, wtf right?

FFXV Episode Promto is going to be the next installment of the DLC pack for one of the best games of 2016. Whilst Episode Gladiolus only lasted an hour and was more action for my liking, I’m hoping this edition offers more story as not much has been told about Promto and his strange past life. Promto was my favourite character from the game so I have high hopes which means I’ll probably end up disappointed 😦

Another Switch title I am giddy about is Dragon Quest Heroes 1&2. I can just buy this for the PS4 but I’m holding out for the Switch port so I can take it around with me on the go, a dream I’ve had since I first set my eyes on FFVIII. Unlike the FF franchise, Dragon Quest has never taken itself too seriously with its cartoon graphics and whitty comic lines. It does however have a soundtrack to match most FF titles and tells epic stories which every RPG player dreams off. Getting the opportunity to play as a slime is something that baffles me as much as a Chinese finger trap but I welcome it with open arms.

With the MASSIVE success of the original game, Red Dead Repemtion 2 is pretty much a chart topper and I’ve not even seen any images or videos on the game at all! The idea of GTA in the wild west and horses instead of cars seemed ludicrous at first but it worked as well as a donkey rolling barrels down a platform at an Italian plumber. Red Dead is bound to deserve a few days out of the office to enjoy the open world its guaranteed to offer.

Its time to return to the brutal, bloody and deadly world of Mordor once again as Middle Earth: Shadow of War makes a much anticipated return to the gaming world. With loads of original ideas including the structure of its ranking officers of orcs, Shadow of War is set to hit the shelves this summer much to our excitement! There is nothing more satisfying than ripping the head off an orc leader and shaking up the ranks in the opposing army. You can also make bitter rivals who will follow you in your travels and continue to try and foil your every move. Turn the lights low, get everyone out of the house and start shredding some guts!

Last and most certainly not least, everyone loves a bit of nostalgia. Vaan and the gang are back in Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. This is a spot on remastered version of the original, which has been awaited by many, is a welcome title for the FF franchise. I’m annoyed that the best combat systems in any FF games was only used in this one title but I’m so so SO excited to dive back in to give it a once over once again! Gambits are the way forward people, it was such a brilliant idea! An introduction to computer programming in gaming form if you will.

Is there anything you’re looking forward to? If so, let me know via the comments below. This year is shaping up to be pretty decent should I have the money for it! Speak soon people!

Ciao for now!

Review – Super Bomberman R

I’ve noticed that my reviews all tend to be positive, it’s probably just because I have great taste in what games to buy. This changes with Super Bomberman R. I was one of the many looking forward to reliving my childhood and getting my friends over for some Bomberman action but 2 hours in and I was already regretting the £45 price tag this game came with. Don’t get me wrong, it was brilliant to start but the appeal quickly wears thin as there didn’t really seem like there was a lot that would make me want to keep playing.

The gameplay seemed ok, there were a bunch of new levels added such as the icey floors which meant your Bomberman would slide across the stage without being able to stop. These additions did shake things up a bit but having played all the multiplayer levels, there wasn’t really any of them that stood out or had replayability. Granted, I didn’t play the story mode as I genuinely bought this game for its multiplayer features but after just 2 hours, I never once thought about going back.

The controls themselves felt a bit unpolished as they would never always do what I wanted it to do and I was using the pro controller, God help my brother and bf for using the joy cons. Suffice to say the CPU kicked our collective asses more often than not. The game just didn’t feel like it was gelling. We soon gave up and started playing Trivial Persuit and that was the end of my Bomberman Saga on the Switch. I won’t give up however, I’ve always been a Bomberman fan so future games will peak my interest, I only hope they fix what seemed like a boring experience and add a little ooomph!

It makes me happy to know I traded the game in to CEX and only lost £2 of my cash. Maybe I should check out a few more reviews before I buy in future but hey, no one is perfect 😉

Ciao for now!

Review – Zelda: Breath of the Wild

A plethora of flawless reviews can’t be wrong and I’m only here to confirm that Breath of the Wild is a guarantee Game of the Year if not the best game of all time! Bold statement I know but know this, this one game alone is single handedly selling the Nintendo Switch out of stock globally! Sure there are a few other titles on the shelf but I can’t imagine there is anyone out there that owns a Switch and doesn’t own Zelda. So what’s the hype all about? Let me tell you 🙂

There are tons of die hard Zelda fans out there in the playground but I am not one of them. Of all the previous titles, I’ve only ever enjoyed A Link Between World’s, perhaps coz it was on the DS so I was able to take it around with me on my travels. Even then, I didn’t love it like other series titles such as Final Fantasy, Fallout, Borderlands, Saints Row and so on. The main and probably only one reason I never enjoyed them was that you could never customise your character. You were given a sword, a shield and a bow, that was it! You couldn’t upgrade or customise your characters like a standard RPG, it was more focused on the puzzles which they pulled off brilliantly. Breath of the Wild however changes this! Finally, a Zelda game you can change the items you use, upgrade your shields, use different arrows with your different bows, gain stronger swords, enhance your gears etc. Not only that, the game is completely open world, it’s a beautiful, magnificent masterpiece!

Story

You’ll have to forgive me, even though I’ve played around 12 hours, I’m still not 100% sure on the overall story. This is purely because I’m having so much fun just roaming the vast, vibrant and side quest packed world. So far the jist I got was that 100 years ago, Calamity Ganon was on the verge of winning his battle against Link and princess Zelda. Overwhelmed by the attack, Link fell and was put into a 100 year sleep by his friends so he can return and defeat Ganon when he leasts expects it. The game begins when you wake and you’re pretty much left to do as you will. You have the basic tutorials and guidelines should you wish to follow, but if you’re like me, you’ll see something far off in the distance and see if you can actually get there. Turns out you can! Anyhing you see in the game is reachable and along the way, you’ll probably run into 20 other things you can do to keep busy and have fun with! This is why I’ve not really touched the surface of the story yet and why I predict I’ll still be playing come May if not later.

Combat

As is standard in any RPG, combat is a main feature of the game however this is no easy ride. I’ve died countless times already when I thought I was invincible running in gung-ho, guns blazing only to find one hit from an enemys club downs me like a rejection for a first date! The combat is all about reading the actions of the enemy and using them to your advantage. Luckily there is a pretty forgiving auto save feature and you can manually save your game almost anywhere in the world; you’ve just gotta remember to do so! Playing on the Switch, the loading times are also really sweet and fast given they use cartridges, not discs.

As stated above, you can upgrade your weapons as you go but each one has durability and will eventually break so it’s important to change every so often so you don’t find yourself helpless in battle. One handy way to do this is to take the weapon of your downed enemy once defeated, this is probably the primary means to gaining new weapons in your journey. There are various other ways to down a foe such as using your environment. You can roll large boulders down a cliff on an unsuspecting group below. You can shoot barrels of dynamite to expose when enemies approach. You can also use bombs that are given to you early on and plant traps for nearby patrols. Let’s not forget the bow and arrow, I find myself using this more often than I thought I would. The benifit of using different arrows also helps. Shock, fire, ice, bomb and standard. You can use these to your advantage in many a situation. Shields also come into play when blocking but that’s pretty self explanatory.

Open World

It’s the vast kingdom of Hyrule that really stands out when playing Breath of the Wild. From the moment you’re let off the starting area, you’re free to roam the whole world at your own pace. If like me you don’t fancy completing the story straight away, you can wonder off in any direction looking for things to explore. I often find myself on a path to a distant area, running into various other side quests and points of interest along the way, thus making me procrastinate. 2 hours later, I find myself at that point i originally set out for, kind of reminds me of the Witcher 3. There is so much to do ranging from gathering herbs to fighting mini-bosses and everything in between! You can tame a horse, catch fairies, go treasure hunting, paraglide off tall structures, catch fish, chop for wood, make elixers, cook dishes and much much more! 

If you can’t think of it whilst roaming the land, chances are you can do it! You’ll also have your map to hand and handy stamps you can use as markings should you wish to revisit a place later on and don’t wanna forget where it is. You also have to factor in weather, if it rains thunder and lightning, be sure not to be welding a metallic sword, shield or bow else you could fall victim to a bolt of electricity. If you’re climbing tall mountings, it could get chilly so be sure to wear warmer clothes. If traversing the desert, wear something that will help cool you down. You get the drift, failing to adhere by these rules of the world will result if you losing health rapidly so you have to think before you venture. Night and day also exists and it’s really beautiful just watching the clouds go by.

This is truly an epic open world adventure.


There is so much to keep you busy in Breath of the Wild, 18 hours in now (yes I wrote this review  a on separate days) and I’m starting to focus a bit more on the story but I can see myself playing for a good few months still. I’ve paid homage to my brothers in Final Fantasy by renaming my horses that I’ve tamed whilst I give the game a rest until the DLC comes out.

As stated above, all the reviews can’t be wrong, if you’ve not got a copy of Zelda Breath of the Wild yet, you need to hurry up and get ordering, this is one not to be missed even for the casual gamer. I know at the start of the review I said i wasn’t a die hard Zelda fan but this game has put me on the ladder. Back to Hyrule I go!

Ciao for now!