Tag Archives: Videogamecommunity

Blind Playthrough: Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo

White Playstation 4 controller on top of journal
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Final Fantasy VII is one of the most popular and beloved games in the Final Fantasy series. My friends, including my brother, spoke about Cloud Strife’s cool backstory and hairstyle. Cloud just seemed like a sad, broody pretty boy. That’s nothing new to me. Honestly, I didn’t get it.

I didn’t grow up playing the Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy X was my first Final Fantasy game. I wasn’t invested in Final Fantasy VII’s story or characters, even with the countless storyline videos I watched on YouTube. Of course, I need to play the game to truly understand what makes it exceptional. Now that Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo is out, I’m determined to understand what it is about Final Fantasy VII that made fanboys cry and fangirls swoon (or vice versa).

Please note, my playthrough of Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo is a blind playthrough. I haven’t played the original Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation or played the Steam version on the PC. I’ve watched Final Fantasy VII storyline videos on YouTube, but that’s barely enough to understand the game’s complex world.

First Impression

The graphics and CGI in Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo are outstanding. Every character and enemy I encountered were beautifully, even lovingly created. For most of the video games I played, including next-gen games, enemies and secondary characters looked like crap. In Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo, the secondary characters are made to look just as important as the main characters.

Everything, from the floor to the ceiling to Cloud’s sword, the Buster Sword, had a worn-out texture overlay on it. All frequently used times actually looked like they were used. The world felt alive and lived in. I was convinced that Midgar, the city where Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo’s opening takes place, is a real and thriving city.

Gameplay

Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo’s real-time gameplay is fast and exciting. The gameplay is comparable to Square Enix’s previously released game in the series, Final Fantasy XV. According to an article in TheGamer, FFVII Remake Demo fixes two significant problems in FFXV’s gameplay: spam healing and hindered fighting in closed spaces. I absolutely agree. Final Fantasy XV’s real-time gameplay can cause a lot of confusion during a battle, especially in terms of mobs.

FFVII’s gameplay fixes both of these problems with an ATB gauge system and a shorter movement range. The gameplay also reminds me of SoulCalibur’s fighting style.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo, so far, makes me excited for what’s to come. Final Fantasy VII Remake comes out for PlayStation 4 on April 10, 2020.

Make sure to book an entire day off or seven.

Save Your Money And Stop Pre-Ordering Your Games

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I loved pre-ordering my video games. There’s nothing better than waking up on release day and dropping by a GameStop to pick it up. I’m not standing in a long line outside the store. I’m not waiting for the Steam version to show the ‘buy’ button.

I already have the game.

I didn’t necessarily pre-order because I wanted the steel book cover or the figurine. I wanted to play the game sooner than most people.

Last year, I stopped pre-ordering my video games, both physical and online copies. Here are three reasons why pre-ordering your video games is going to cost you time and money in the long run.

Release-day Patches

Ah, yes, the infamous release-day patches. Remember when we used to get complete games upon release? Yeah, me too, but that’s no longer the case.

Is a tiny patch going to ruin my gameplay? Probably not, although it makes me lose confidence in the game company.

Pre-order Extras Aren’t Worth It

I’ll admit, there are some pretty cool pre-order extras out there. The Persona 5 The Royal Phantom Thieves Edition is beautiful, for lack of a better term. Do I need it? Absolutely not.

Pre-order extras usually cost more money too. Last time I checked, I play the game, not the extras.

Steam Sales

Did your wallet start sweating profusely? So did mine. Now, I found that if a game is well received, the price stays at $69.99 for a few months. If a game isn’t received well, it starts to drop in price much faster.

This trick works for physical video game copies too. Thanks to Steam, you don’t have to leave the house to get the sale.

Of course, just because the game you’re interested in isn’t widely loved, it doesn’t mean it’s not good. There are many, many reasons why video game journalists and gamers don’t like a game.

What you like is up for you to decide.

Gamechangers: Final Fantasy X – The Last Great Final Fantasy PT I

Final Fantasy X Extended Trailer

Listen to my story. This…may be our last chance.

Tidus, Final Fantasy X

In 2001, SquareSoft released Final Fantasy X. It was a game of firsts for the franchise and for Playstation 2 console. Final Fantasy X was the first game in the series to have fully voiced characters and three-dimensional backdrops as supposed to pre-rendered scenes. Final Fantasy X was also the first Final Fantasy game featured on the Playstation 2.

Final Fantasy X was my first Final Fantasy game. For so many gamers, it remains not only a classic but rivals the story and characters of Final Fantasy VII. Now that’s saying something.

I first discovered Final Fantasy X in the CD compartment of our Playstation 2. I was eight years old then. My fingers pushed the eject button on the console and out came the game. The CD’s cover art featured Tidus, Final Fantasy X’s main character. Tidus stood in an ocean, knee deep in water. A mix of sun and cloud covered the sky as he stared forward.

The cover art didn’t make any sense to me. I thought it was weird, but my eight-year-old self gave the game a shot anyways.

It is true what they say, beauty truly is skin deep. Final Fantasy X is more than what the cover art could express. From beginning to end, Final Fantasy X is a masterpiece.

You follow and control Tidus in the Final Fantasy X’s world, Spira. The first scene starts the gamer off easy. Tidus runs across his hometown Zanarkand to a blitzball tournament, the game’s underwater sport. I gazed at the new and fantastical world. The colours were drab in brown and yellow tones. The mood felt solemn. A radio host spoke in the background about a man named Jecht, Tidus’s father and a beloved blitzball player. I reached the end of the map and a CGI cutscene begins. This beginning cutscene that sets the rest of the story into motion.

Watch the Final Fantasy X Story timeline to get a gist of the story.

My mouth remained opened the entire cutscene. Dark clouds surrounded Tidus as he slowly becomes sucked into it. The screen suddenly turns white.

“What’s going to happen now?” I thought. This is how it felt like to play Final Fantasy X.

The story surprised me and continued to surprise me.

Every character storyline and every plotline twist was unprecedented. SquareSoft gave the gamer a chance to get to know Tidus. By the end of the game, it felt like I traveled with a friend.

I’m trying my best not to spoil you. If you ever play Final Fantasy X, you are in for the ride of your life.

Finally Mourning The Loss Of Final Fantasy XV

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“Prompto, Gladio, Ignis. I leave it to you. Walk tall, my friends”.

– Noctis, Final Fantasy XV

Ten years – that’s how long fans waited for the next numbered Final Fantasy game. Boy, what a ride. What. A. Ride.

After multiple delayed launches, a name change and a complete story rework, what we got was Final Fantasy XV.

I remember driving down to my nearest GameStop to buy Final Fantasy XV Day One Edition for the PS4. The store’s midnight launch party only 12 hours before was cancelled. The winter storm died down overnight. My brother and I were surprised by the lack of attention the game got in-store.

Fresh copies of the game covered an entire shelf, waiting for its next gamer. I quickly grabbed the game and ran to the cashier. The game I waited ten years for was finally in my hands.

Final Fantasy XV – Stand Together Trailer

From beginning to end, I was enthralled by Final Fantasy XV’s characters and beautiful open world map. I was overwhelmed. I had so much to see and do. My eyes were going through a sensory overload. This is exactly how I want to feel everytime I play an open world game.

Noctis, Prompto, Ignis and Gladiolus are my favourite characters in any video game genre ever. These characters’ bromance are not only believable but enjoyable to watch. Their in-game banter is meticulously timed with every game play action and scene. These tiny, tiny details is why I still play Final Fantasy XV today.

My first few hours in FFXV took my breath away.

The next 20 hours or so, well, it wasn’t the best.

Final Fantasy XV’s main story felt rushed. To this day I still don’t understand the story. Some how daemons taking control of Eos (the game’s world) didn’t seem like such a bad thing. I loved the world but I wasn’t attached to the other characters that inhabited it. I only cared about four characters. So what if all the other characters disappeared? If my boys are alright, then so am I.

The sidequests were boring and unfulfilling. NPCs were also boring. After I finished the main game and extra dungeons, the game replay value drastically plummeted.

I was sold on the world but not the story.

First 12 minutes of Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV movie

I still love the game in spite of all the criticism. Even when Square Enix cancelled their second set of DLCs, Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future, I was still supportive. I even bought the other four DLCs and Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition for the PC. I watched the Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV movie and all five episodes of Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV anime. I also plan to buy the Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future novel. I was a mega fan from release date to the DLCs cancellation. I was loyal to the bitter end and I didn’t mourn the loss of the game until now.

Square Enix, FFVX’s game developer, are masterminds in creating video game worlds. They revolutionized the RPG video game genre. FFXV is still a good game but honestly, it isn’t their best game. I know this, other gamers also know this and video game journalists also know this.

Final Fantasy XV is a perfectly unfinished masterpiece. I’m sad the game fans were promised is gone. The original story ideas are probably sitting in a game dev’s computer right now. We’re never going to know the true potential of Final Fantasy XV’s gameplay, characters and world.

As for me, I still need more time to mourn the loss of Final Fantasy XV. After ten years of patiently waiting, I’m not sure I’m going to get over this disappointment anytime soon.

Why Are Video Game Award Shows So Cringy?

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Ah, yes, award show season. It’s a time to celebrate the achievements of gaming’s best from game development studios to game devs.

Now, I realize gamers aren’t exactly known for their extroverted demeanor but do we deserve – nay – need video game award shows? I can barely watch one all the way through. I dislike any and all video game award shows. I know they exist but not enough for me to pay attention to them .

My first and last video game award show was VGX 2013, previously known as the Spike Video Game Awards. If there were some redeeming quality it would be the video games and the video games only.

I’ll let the AngryJoeShow explain just how bad VGX 2013 was.

Here are a few reasons why video game awards shows are so cringy (in my opinion):

  1. Clueless celebrities as hosts or guest stars (as in they aren’t gamers, at all)
  2. Impersonable hosts
  3. Jokes seemed forced and don’t always match the subject matter
  4. Not-so-subtle advertising (does anyone remember Robot Razer?)
  5. Blatant video gamer stereotypes
  6. More emphasis on popular video games than good video games (no, they are not one in the same)

I also heard The Game Awards 2019 was pretty cringy. No, I am not going to watch it to find out just how cringy.

What do you think about video game award shows? Do you look forward to them every year? Let me know in the comment section below.

In-Game Glossary: What Is A Triple-A Game?

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“Nobody in this industry knows what they’re doing, we just have a gut assumption.”

Cliff Bleszinski

Gamer or not, you may have heard of the term AAA (also written as Triple-A) floating around the internet. Any game called AAA assumes outstanding quality, graphics and storytelling. Well, unfortunately, that’s not true.

AAA is used to categorize video games with high development budgets. Like most Triple-A titles, the masses expect these video games to be graphically beautiful, complete and entertaining. For example, Grand Theft Auto V (2013) had a development and marketing budget of $265 million. At the time, Grand Thief Auto V was the most expensive video game to develop. Triple-A video game budgets are neck-to-neck with Hollywood movie budgets. Also, Grand Thief Auto V is a great game, in my opinion. 

A significant video game development and marketing budget can’t foretell if a video game is bad or not. You’ll have to play the game yourself and see if you like it or not.

Video game enthusiasts use this term to differentiate good games from bad games. What is a good or bad game depends on the person. Triple-A is more of an inside joke or slang term as opposed to more formal rating boards like Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB Ratings).

III (also written as Triple-I) is a lesser-known term for high budget indie video games. These games have less manpower than larger video game developers. On the plus side, indie game devs have more freedom to create games their way.

Did you already know what what AAA or III games were? Are there other video game terms? Let me know in the comment section below.

5 Reasons To Watch Netflix’s The Witcher

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“Nonsense,” said the witcher. “And what’s more, it doesn’t rhyme. All decent predictions rhyme.”

― Andrzej Sapkowski, The Last Wish

Yes, I have watched Netflix’s The Witcher – twice. Yes, it is as amazing as the fans say. No, you should not take the critics’, well, critique of the show to heart. If you haven’t watched the series yet, here are five reasons why you need to watch The Witcher season one. Now.

1. Netflix hired seasoned, talented actors to bring Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher to life. Aside from being physically capable to move like a Witcher, Henry Cavill is a The Witcher mega fan himself. Cavill read the books and played all of The Witcher video games. Cavill doesn’t just ooze Geralt of Rivia – he is Geralt of Rivia. Anya Chalotra, who plays Yennefer of Vengerberg in The Witcher Netflix series, got her acting start in theatre. Chalotra starred in West End theatre productions and eventually moved onto television. Freya Allan, who portrayed Princess Cirilla, had her share of acting roles as well but none quite as big as her role in The Witcher series.

2. If you haven’t seen the memes, remixes and mashups of Joey Batey’s (who plays Jaskier in the show) Toss A Coin To Your Witcher – you are missing out. I wish they had this song in the Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. I can only imagine.

I recommend you watch the show, so the memes finally start making sense.

3. The Witcher season one follows the stories of the main characters, Geralt, Yennefer and Cirilla or Ciri for short. We are not only watching three different stories but three different timelines, each happening simultaneously. The character’s timelines skip backwards and forwards through time, obviously confusing a lot of fans. This is why I think Netflix’s The Witcher has such high rewatch value. After you see the show once, you have an idea of how the timelines work. The second watch through is so much more enjoyable. Not only that, you start to pick up on small details you haven’t noticed the first time around.

4. The Netflix series welcomes all fans from all avenues. Like most fans to The Witcher series, I started my journey through Andrzej Sapkowski’s mystical whirlwind through the Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt by video game developer, CD Projekt Red. You could have started with The Witcher book series or the video games or even the 2001 Polish movie adaptation The Hexer – it doesn’t matter. Although, I must say, first-timers to The Witcher series may be confused – at least in the beginning. The series has plenty of lore, too much if you aren’t used to high fantasy but there are wonderful resources online that can help you make sense of it all.

5. The Witcher series showrunner, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, knows what she’s doing. Hissrich wrote and produced a number of highly acclaimed shows, including Marvel’s Daredevil (2016) and Umbrella Academy (2019). Need I say more?

Bonus reason: Netflix and Hissrich even got the author of The Witcher book series, Andrzej Sapkowski, in on the action.

Ugh, this video warms the cockles of my heart.

Lastly, no, The Witcher is not the Game of Thrones – this is something completely different. I am going to leave it at that.

China Introduces Gaming Curfew For Minors – Is This The Right Move?

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The worst thing a kid can say about homework is that it is too hard. The worst thing a kid can say about a game is it’s too easy.”

Henry Jenkins

On November 5th, the Chinese government introduced its gaming curfew for minors. Chinese children are only allowed 90 minutes of game time on weekdays and 3 hours on weekends.

With so many ways to play video games, is China’s video game ban going to work?

The government seems to think so. The new rule is a preventative measure, ensuring young kids do not become addicted to video games. You know what they say start ’em early.

But the new curfew is only for online gaming networks, not all types of video games. In this case, I think the Chinese government is concerned about games like Fortnite and League of Legends, two games that show the worst of online gaming culture.

The online gaming culture is, for lack of a better term, toxic. Many online gamers become highly engrossed in the game and invest hundreds of dollars in loot boxes. It’s easy to become carried away when you can pay to win.

Online gamers can become rude and irritable if they don’t get their way. I suppose that can be for anyone, but missing a “wombo combo” isn’t worth losing your mind.

It’s still too early to say if the curfew will be effective in preventing video game addiction. I think this starts a conversation about parents roles in their child’s online gaming consumption. Parents and guardians should learn about the effects of online gaming addiction, and not leave them without blame.

Gamechangers: Pokémon and Final Fantasy VII

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I believe that there are still people who believe that game music is something equal to just an effect incorporated into the game, something like a BGM. And therefore this is something that I would like to show that is not true.

Nobuo Uematsu

Before Pong (1973) days, there was no emphasis on gaming and electronics as an entertainment medium. As the industry grew, so did its impact. Two major video game legends, Pokémon and Final Fantasy VII, remind us good gameplay will always stand the test of time. 

Pokémon started in 1996 with Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue for Game Boy. Only three years after its inception, Pokémon became one of the most popular children’s toys. Pokémon sported merchandise, video game sequels, books, a children’s television series, movies, a card game – the whole gamut. Pokémon marks many adult’s childhood years; even children today will look back on Pokémon. 

We can’t forget Niantic’s augmented reality (AR) venture with Pokémon Go (2016). Although Pokémon Go is not the first AR game, it did popularize gaming for this technology. It redefined “hanging out with your friends outside.” 

Two years before Pokémon, video game company, SquareSoft created RPG’s most influential game, Final Fantasy VII. Now, this game was difficult to research without landing on any spoilers.  If you play video games at all, you may have played Final Fantasy VII.

Yes, I have not played Final Fantasy VII (absolute grounds for a future “Let’s Play” series but more on that another time). But it doesn’t take a genius to know the effect of FF7 on gaming.

Final Fantasy VII, in my opinion, introduced three important elements into the RPGs and gaming as a whole: storyline, music and graphics.

Storyline 

I am not even going to attempt to explain this game. YouTube channel ArcadeCloud does a wonderful job explaining, though.

The storyline, although complex, was terrific. The abridged version barely cuts into the deep, rich storyline. The main storyline is reportedly about 40 hours long. 

Final Fantasy VII used the unreliable narrator, a literary concept used from Fight Club (1999) to Sixth Sense (1999). 

Music

I can confidently say the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack was among some of the best in the Final Fantasy series. Heck, it may even be some of the best video game soundtracks period. 

Nobou Uematsu, the Final Fantasy series sole music composer (well, the most famous composer for the series), created the soundtrack in less than a year. Talk about impressive. Aside from the game’s popularity, the music was beautifully composed. Each soundtrack was unique to a character or a cinematic cutscene. It told gamers how to feel about certain plot points. Uematsu set a very high standard for video music soundtracks after that. 

Nobou Uematsu speaking about how he composed Final Fantasy VII’s One-Winged Angel 

Graphics 

Final Fantasy VII didn’t have incredible graphics, but for the time, it was some of the best. It was the first 3D video game and the first video game to introduce cinematic cutscenes. Almost every RPG in existence today includes these staple elements. 

What are some of your best memories with Pokémon and Final Fantasy VII?

Let me know in the comment section below. 

From Service To Monetary Gain: Are Microtransactions Changing The Way We Game?

PC gamer playing in front of desktop computer
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The obvious objective of video games is to entertain people by surprising them with new experiences.     

Shigeru Miyamoto

To put simply, yes. microtransactions are changing the way we game. Even more so, microtransactions are changing the video gaming industry – for the worst. 

For some, gaming is a way to unwind after a long day. What’s a better way to relieve stress? To win and to win big. New AAA titles make winning easy – and expensive. 

Microtransactions are small purchases, typical in free-to-play games. These purchases can buy character cosmetic upgrades, in-game currency and other upgrades. In online free-to-play and monthly subscription games, these microtransactions start to get expensive. Most microtransactions are bundles under $10, giving you more for your dollar, but better upgrades usually cost more – way more. 

Let’s take, for example, Fallout 76’s Atom Shop (I know, bear with me). Before you can buy in-game items from the shop, you need to buy the in-game currency, Atoms. 

The dollars (USD) to the Atoms exchange rate is as follows: 

  • $5 = 500 Atoms 
  • $10 = 1,100 Atoms 
  • $20 = 2,400 Atoms 
  • $40 = 50,000 Atoms 

Simple cosmetic changes, like clothing, for example, can cost anywhere from 200 to 1,100 Atoms. More highly coveted items like the Vault-Tec Power Armor Paint Set go for 1,800 Atoms. Power Armor not included. 

“Hey, that doesn’t sound so bad! So, what’s the problem?” 

The problem is that microtransactions are a pure money grab. Atom Shop – the in-game currency name is IN the shop’s name, albeit not all in-game stores are this obvious. 

Not only that, some bundles permanently upgrade character stats, making characters impossible to win against in player-versus-player (PVP). Some games even erect paywalls, capping a gamer’s progress at a critical point, a practice typical in mobile games. These paywalls either make a gamer wait a few hours until its removed or pay a sum to continue.

Video games today already costs $70 at release. The prices can change depending on public opinion (does it suck or not), but the change is usually slow.

Once upon a time, video games were a service, meaning publishers created great games, and that was that. There was no sizeable monetary gain in gaming back then. If there was, only specific genres reaped those rewards such as sports and the Super Mario Kart series.  

Today, the video gaming industry is worth $43.4 billion. The industry’s value rises with technological innovations and more AAA titles. 

Gaming is a business after all, but I do believe in not biting the hand that feeds you.