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  1. I have no idea how it's suddenly 19:10! I might be munching a pizza while we start.
  2. 23/05/2020 - Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Well this was a long time coming. I bought this for the PS2 back when it came out, but I didn't get very far into it. I already had a 360 at that point along with a snazzy new "Technosonic" 720p TV, and it was tough going back to 576p fuzzovision, or less as it turned out in widescreen mode. It also failed to grab me like the earlier games in the series, for reasons that still apply today as it turns out. This time I played the Zodiac Age remaster on the Switch, so that sorted the fuzzyness issue. The opening made for a promising start, presenting a distinctive world blending high fantasy with something out of the Star Wars prequels. The switch from fixed cameras in FFX to full 3D environments was impressive at the time, and still look cool today, but there's a weird blockyness to the world that make it less distinctive as a result. The story was intriguing to start with, and seemed to be going for a very different tone to most games in the series. Vaan is introduced like a leading man, but turns out to just be along for the ride in a properly ensemble cast. If anything Ashe is the closest thing to a lead, and she didn't join my party for quite a while. A lot of the story focussed on the politics of two warring nations, with the more fantastical elements being mostly a means to an end. I liked the idea of it, but felt it was quite underplayed and not helped by the overly flowery dialogue. The actual voice acting was pretty good though, in spite of the awful encoding quality. Most of the game is spent traversing the environment and fighting stuff anyway, and it's here where I had the most issues. In a brave move, FFXII threw out random battles entirely in favour of something reminiscent of a WoW (or I guess FFXI) style MMO. Mobs wander around the world minding their own business until you agro them, at which point you trigger actions which fire after a short timer. What makes it really interesting is the gambit system, where you can automate your party with situational actions, which is particularly useful for your healers. It's really smart, but after a while I found that my party was so automated that there was nothing left for me to do. Traversing the world was reduced to holding the left stick, waiting for my party to autokill everything, then move some more and repeat. Bosses tended to require more interaction, especially later in the game, but there was still an awful lot of downtime regardless. I've never used a speed toggle more in a game than I did in this. On top of the mindless world combat, the world itself just wasn't an interesting place to explore. Environments looked nice enough, but had little in the way of distinctive landmarks and required a lot of map reading. I probably ended looking at the map more than the world! I wanted to talk a bit about the License Board system, which governs what skills are available to the characters, what weapons and armour they can equip and even what certain items do. Every character has access to any two boards, effectively multiclassing, which offers a huge amount of freedom in how you construct your party. This was a little paralysing to me to start with and spent a lot of the game wondering if I'd made some bad choices. You can reset any of these decisions for free in this version of the game, which is cool, but you still potentially need to spend a lot of gil to buy new equipment if you do. Anyway it's done now. I've criticised a lot in this writeup, but in reality I found my opinion wavering many times as I played it. Sometimes I quite enjoyed the laid back adventuring, but at others I found myself very bored. I do wonder if I've just been missing something, as many people rate this as the best in the series, but for me it's my least favourite so far out of the ones I've actually finished. I'm definitely going to check out a Let's Play at some point to see someone playing it who loves it.
  3. Finished! My thoughts haven't really changed though. I never clicked with the story, and far too much of the game went by without any meaningful interaction. I wouldn't go as far as to say I didn't like it, but it's my least favourite Final Fantasy out of the ones I've finished. I'd hasten to add that I haven't finished XIII or XV, so we'll see if either of those can take it's place.
  4. It's the one jonamok posted above: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/dp/B081V8W4ZQ/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_5447869900?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0&ie=UTF8 I have a CV1 so I'm not new to VR, but that's been gathering dust for months now and the thought of setting up three sensor a room scale setup again was a bit depressing. A completely self-contained VR headset on the other hand sounds like the best thing ever.
  5. I've just taken the plunge on one of these myself, along with one of the straps posted in this thread. Does anyone have any recommendations for a counterweight though, or is everyone just using DIY solutions? I haven't touched a VR game since the CV1 a few years ago, so I can't wait.
  6. I've been dipping into the hunts from time to time when I've been strapped for cash or needed to level up a bit, but I've been mostly mainlining the story. I think I'm approaching the end now, and to be honest I haven't exactly been loving the experience. It's enjoyable enough, but it's the first Final Fantasy remaster where I've been using the speed toggle for anything other than running back to check stuff. There are long sections in XII where you're just crossing the landscape, occasionally waiting for your team to autokill basic mobs before pressing on again. The gambit system is very clever, but once you've automated everything there's precious little gameplay left outside of tougher encounters and bosses. The story has been very low-key too, which is kind of refreshing, but I miss the usual crazy melodrama. I do feel it's slightly underplayed even for what it is too, and I can't say I've really connected with any of the characters. I do however like that it's much more of an ensemble than usual, with Vaan and Penelo being effectively passengers swept up in bigger things. So, I can't see this becoming a favourite of the series for me but it's certainly an interesting instalment. There's a lot of depth to be found in the license system too which would make a second run rather interesting. I've ended up with a bit of a weird combination, with Ashe leading the party as a mace and shield wielding Red Battlemage/Black Mage, backed up with Vaan as a ninja sword wielding Shikari/Monk and Penelo as a crossbow wielding White Mage/Time Battlemage. It kind of works, but I'm having to revive people more times than I'd like.
  7. The Guardian article quoted "partially in the 70s, partially in the 80s and mostly in an alternate now".
  8. The combat isn't really like any other Final Fantasy game, so you won't have any trouble in that regard. The materia system used to assign skills uses concepts from the original FFVII, but they're all explained in game.
  9. I loved the first two seasons, but drifted away from the third. Then it got cancelled without a conclusion like JohnC said.
  10. I'm guessing it's psprices.com.
  11. For me it's a tie between Sonic the Hedgehog and F22 Interceptor, along with a Mega Drive to play them on. My dad was into PC flight Sims, which explains the latter, but Sonic was a new thing for both of us. I remember that having come from PC games with their keyboards and joysticks, we both assumed the pads were meant to be used flat on a surface. I was pleasantly surprised to find out they were far more comfortable to use in my hands.
  12. In the least surprising news ever, the Captain Pike pre-TOS Enterprise show is happening: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/star-trek-pike-spock-series-set-at-cbs-all-access-1294704 Well, I'm not getting my hopes up after Discovery and Picard, but at least this should make for a more traditional Star Trek show. I'm keeping an open mi... Oh. Never mind.
  13. Some of the materia work a bit differently to the original. Magnify is the closest thing to All for instance, but instead has a maximum range and reduced effect which increase as the materia levels up. You sound like you've got a handle on the combat though. The only thing I'd add is that it's sometimes worth holding onto limits until you've staggered an enemy, as you'll do tons of damage if you do. Of course sometimes it's better to fire them off earlier to get to that point in the first place.
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