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Reviews and Feature Writer

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Notice: Cubed3 are no longer accepting new reader blogs (as of 17th January 2015). Existing blog entries will be available to read, archived below.

Phoenom Reviews: Final Fantasy VII

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Throughout the history of video gaming, there have been landmark moments. Moments that may rely solely on the advancement of technology, like going from a tennis game with white lines and a blank background to multi-coloured areas and transitional screens. Moments that define developer talent to push a system to its limits and manage more than anyone could ever have expected from it, such as the Super FX chip for Starfox or Shadow of the Colossus on Playstation 2. And there have been moments that completely change the course of a company's dominance in the gaming market in one fell swoop. Square-Enix may not have the same instant seller ability they once had, and Final Fantasy may not be the landmark standout series it once was, but for those looking to the games market and developer scenes as more than a throwaway hobby, it was a monumental shift caused by lucky number seven of the series.
 
Naturally, we'll go for some context first. A quick word of warning beforehand; the gloves are off for this one as it is neither a fully fledged C3 review where I have to talk posh and restrain myself from really going to town on a game's idiotic flaws, or a proper Reader Review that is restricted to a game that has appeared on a Nintendo format. On the flip side, I also retain the right to go full-on-fanboy with this one when the need arises; remaining praiseworthy but still on the right side of rational.
Anyways, yeah, the context. Everyone knows the story, a story that will probably become legend in a good number of decades; the playground war between Nintendo and Sega, a.k.a the fun years. Master System vs NES, Mega Drive/Genesis vs Super Nintendo. Just bloody aces. Me, I didn't care. Huge Sega fan, loved Nintendo too, had the benefit of being a spoiled brat so I just got both. But I digress. The part of this fable we need to look closer at is the later years of the latter war.
Sega, being the bloomin dimwits they were back then, decided that the cool imagery of the Mega Drive, Sonic, and the whole 'Nintendo is kiddy' marketing bull they had going on at the time, wasn't enough for their bottom line and commissioned the Sega CD to be developed. Some wise guy at Sega HQ probably thought kids everywhere were getting a hard-on for the Sonic&Knuckles lock-on game cartridge and decided to do one better with a side-enabled Sega CD as well as a slot-in 32X accessory that just ended up making the unit look like a clusterfuck of amateur design schematics.
Sorry, off-tangent. Basically for some reason Nintendo saw the Sega CD as a potential threat to their own system that was beating the everloving tar out of the Mega Drive and sought to make a CD machine of their own. In trots Sony, of whom Nintendo had previously worked with to create the sound chips inside of the SNES, and thus the Nintendo Play Station was greenlit. Yup, the gap is intentional, and yup, those two iconic terms, now complete opposites in so many ways, could have been best buds had Sony been a bit more gracious and Nintendo been able to read contracts properly. Word to the wise is that Nintendo discovered a clause in the contract that would give Sony dominating control over what products were released on this Play Station machine, including any Nintendo franchise that were to be represented on there. So Nintendo buggered off to Philips instead and got them to mutate a VCR into the Philips CDi instead (the less said about that travesty the better), and in return publicly shunned Sony's newly unveiled Play Station Prototype. Sony saw red, vowed vengeance in some business-like manner and completed the prototype on their own. The gap in the name was removed since it was still a Nintendo trademark ironically enough, and the Sony Playstation was re-unveiled as a standalone product, proceeding to kick the teeth off of all competitors for over a decade.
Nearly there folks, nearly there, just exercising me grey muscle. Now, be it  extreme stubbornness or just an overwhelming dislike of loading times and fragile media (two vices shared by myself admittedly), Nintendo stuck to Cartridges for their next machine, the Nintendo 64, while both Sony's Playstation and the newly presented Sega Saturn fully embraced CD storage. Though that didn't seem to offset Sega's fortunes much, it was a huge boon for Sony as it gave developers more space for content and less fees to deal with; the polar opposite of the N64 carts. One very important developer that saw this contrast was arguably (as in not arguably) the one that shifted the entire industry on its head with one choice; SquareSoft. Final Fantasy VII was slated for release on N64, but bed talk with Nintendo and SquareSoft was frosty to say the least, and the latter decided to try out this Playstation thingy by moving FF7 over to it. And the rest, as they say, is history. Or not, go look up Wikipedia.
 

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-This could have been a thing-


History down, now for some Information Technology. Yeah, School sucked, I agree. Final Fantasy VII is spread across three discs, and not just because of SquareSoft's sudden fetish for the format. Nah, one of the biggest reasons the game hit the public eye the way that it did was the advertising of the CG cutscenes alongside Sony's so-called 'Mature' gaming lineup. Granted, the game outside of the cutscenes at the time was nothing to frown at, but there was a fair bit of fibbing going on with those posters and TV adverts (not too different to today really with -insert ad with 'not in-game footage' here- ) and this undoubtedly swayed a good few away from the temptations of the Nintendo 64 and that strange mushroom stick in the middle of the trident controller.
Discs means loading times, and a fairly hefty one at startup too. Discs also mean external memory required, which like the Vita Memory Cards of today meant a little extra cost (the games were cheaper in contrast to their competition though which helped offset things a bit); not usually a problem though since the machine came with that memory.
Next, the translation work. Hoo boy, here is a case study for the ages. Granted, back then there were very few games on the scale of this one before it with that much text and definition to work through so the developers could be forgiven for the odd blunder or two. Indeed, there were very few errors that outright impeded the game in a reasonable manner, mainly just grammatical ones. Next to the efforts of today though, you can see why many fans of the game want a remake solely for fixing up the script.
 

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-Obvious error, though doing so does build up your limit breaks quicker...-
 

Info Tech is down, now for the main essay. The name: Final Fantasy VII. The place: Sony Playstation. The time: 1997.
 
Final Fantasy VII takes place on the world of Gaia, and follows the character of Cloud Strife, a cold-hearted yellow-haired mercenary that likes to act like he has a second huge sword jammed up somewhere, and the eco-terrorist group known as AVALANCHE. Luckily this isn't one of those pieces of media that will throw environmental messages down your neck, but initially you'll be taking Cloud and the group members around to the reactors of a futuristic city called Midgar in order to blow them sky high. The leader of this group, Mr T, or as he's better known, Huge-Black-Bloke-With-A-Kickass-Gun-On-His-Arm, explains that the Shin-ra corporation that controls the city is all-evil and drains Mako energy from the ground for profits. This energy leads to a better lifestyle and more video games but also drains the Planet's lifeforce in the process and is probably not helping it in the long run. Totally not sending eco messages, people.
Cloud is recruited for the group by his childhood friend and the proverbial 'Jesus-Christ-Look-At-Her-She-Is-Clearly-Gagging-for-It' love interest Tifa Lockhart, and later on after a not-so-successful Reactor bombing that involves awesome boss fight music, he falls through a church and ends up in the flower bed (innuendo ho!) of another girl that clearly likes pricks too. Now here is where an already interesting story that even to this day has very few mimickers, takes off in an even more interesting and entirely new direction. Said girl is discovered to be the last living member of an ancient race, and the Fat Man in charge of Shin-ra jumps in and nicks her and lets his head scientist try to mate her with a Canine-Charmander. Cloud and his buddies break into the building to rescue her, and get caught in the process too. Whoops. Cloud's past idol then comes back from the dead, breaks open their cells while everyone is in the land of nod, slithers upstairs and leaves a nice long dagger in the Fat Man's back and makes a dash for it. Thus Cloud and co. jump to the outside of Midgar to hunt down this bloke because as it turns out he killed Mr Personality's Mother and burned down his village. Geez, no wonder he has issues.
Yeah, I probably spoiled a bit of the story for you there. But it is a very small part, trust me on that one. And if it has gotten you interested in seeing what all the craziness is like for yourself, then my job is done and the check from Square will be in the post. Loading times and random battles aside, this is one hell of a long game, and very few games since have been able to replicate or better the emotional impact the game's story has at points. The one bit in particular I won't immediately jump to, but is well known across the interwebs, is when _______ _________, and yeah, that is a tear jerker. Reading a plot synopsis or watching Advent Children Complete for the flashbacks isn't enough; you want the full impact of the tale, you need to play this.

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-Not ignoring the fact that the Complete edition of the movie kicks major amounts of booty-
 

Want more reasons? Good, because I'm not done yet. When we say RPG, some daft git might think Rocket Propelled Grenade, and then I'll tell Michael Patchter to get a fucking clue and go lie in a ditch somewhere. Nope, in this context, it means Role Playing Game, and it is one of the finest examples of the genre (but you knew that already), so naturally that is the cue for shitloads of numbers, elemental spells, Hit Points, big scary monsters that line up and hit you in turns, and summonable creatures that blast your face off with their awesomeness. The genre was still relatively fresh when FF7 hit the market and most of these things we consider old hat today were less so at the time. It would take a determined mind nowadays to adapt to this fully so put down First Person Shooter#621986 and give it a go.
Still here? Okay then, Materia system it is. This brilliant piece of ass-kicking item usage refers to the small coloured gems you find laying about in the gameworld and in shops, and these little sparkling things give you magic powers, like how Diamonds enchant women in real life just not as expensive. This can range from small sparks of fire that rival a Vulpix's fart to a full-on nuclear explosion for regular Green magic Materia at least. Then you have other colours, like Red that can call upon Satan's angry brother to lob fire, or King Arthur's Court to attack with spears and swords (no I'm not kidding). Then you have Support Blue Materia, and Yellow Command Materia, and yada yada yada. Summary; this system, whilst not quite allowing for the character's to differentiate themselves from each other to the extent that some other games might, provides a metric fuckton of customisable possibilities in regards to abilities and powers, and thus to this day remains one of the most notable and variable equip systems ever devised. So not bad in other words.

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-Yup-

 
Right, the graphics whores must be here by now, so I'll address you next. Yes, the game has clearly had better days. No, you're not smart for pointing that out, and neither am I. For those clamouring for a remake of the game on today's hardware, think about this; would all those weird and charming animations like Cloud's skull shake or Don Corneo's pelvic thrusts translate well to an FFXIII-style? Would the Honey Bee Inn, or Cloud's brush with Transexuality be suitable for today's market? You tell me. Because it's these kinds of touches that make the game what it is and ensures that I pray to whoever-your-god-is every day that Square take a page from Nintendo's Ocarina of Time 3D book in how to remake a game should they ever try, and not just stuff bucketloads of pointless cutscenes in like the more modern games.
Anyways, excuse the rage.  The game uses pre-rendered background and a fixed-point camera for essentially everywhere your character goes to keep in line with the limitations of the Playstation format, and it works a treat. There is some seriously mesmerising art on show in this game, even more so outside of the cutscenes than in them really. Characters look like Lego men on steroids, yet somehow manage to portray enough charisma through dialogue and animation so that you won't care, and enemy designs kick all amount of backside, giving off enough menace but never making a fight impossible as long as you're prepared enough.
 
Nope, we're not done. The music, oh good god fuck, the music. I'll play this;
 


 
Then this for emotional overtone;
 

 
Then I'll say no more.
Then again I will.
The music in this game is pure genius. A+ grade, S Class, Top of the Mill eardrum amazingness. God screwed Moses over with the Ten Commandments, he should have given him the notes to these songs instead. No need for Whale-hunting and Kamikaze pilots to prove they're nuts, Japan should change their national anthem to the Boss Battle theme so no-one would dare pick a fight with them. MP3 players smile when these songs are loaded onto them, and for something without a face that is an impressive feat. Lower quality compared to the orchestrated top tier of today aside, Final Fantasy VII's music is some of the best in the genre, and damn you lucky gits if you got to hear it at Distant Worlds last year. No voicework, not needed, next bulletpoint. Oh yeah, Kefka's laugh is in there too.
 
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-The second-best FF Villain-


Usually these things end with a summary or wrapup and that's probably what this paragraph will cumulate into, but it won't be with a score. Personally I've always been under the impression that scores do little for a game's worth; a review will always be opinionated regardless of the reviewer's unbiased intentions, purely because one person can see a game at a different vantage point than another. Numbers are all well and good but finding a reviewer that can relate to how you see games is probably the best way to see these things; someone who shares the same genre or franchise interests and who can keep an open mind to changes or similarities should they exist for a reason. This is all fairly obvious really but far too many latch to the overall score and use it in dick-waving contests when it's the body of the review and not the verdict that matters most. So yeah, no score for this game, purely on the basis that it will be different for everyone.
My advice regarding Final Fantasy VII is simple; RPG fan or not, modern Square-Enix supporter or otherwise, Nintendo Fanatic or MicroSlave, it doesn't matter. This game reaches easily the top five of any list that compiles the software range everyone must play at least once in their lives, together with Super Mario Bros, Ocarina of Time, Grand Theft Auto 3 or Vice City, and Sonic & Knuckles 3. It doesn't matter if you end up not liking FF7, trying it is enough. And if you do like it? Well, welcome to your new religion, happy to have you.

A 6 year Wii-valuation - So much has happened!

Now Watching: The new TMNT - It's awesome!

Excuse the Pun, it took a while to think of. Blame the lack of kip time. Smilie

So, fellow Cubed3 Brethren, the day is nearly here, when Nintendo will finally shake off the shackles of Home Console Standard Definition in Europe and grace the rest of the world with their masterpieces in HD (bias much?Smilie).
To be honest, this is going to be more of a personal account of the near-6 long years since December 8th 2006, but feel free to put in your own thoughts and memories in the comments, and as always I'll whack up some gifs to lighten the mood and give a breather from text. Enjoy!

T'was a simpler time, when one could relax in thou bedroom enjoying endless days over videogames and do little else, when work, money, and social communication were but a laughable premise instead of an importance. Not that the Wii changed that mind you, opening my eyes was the trigger there. Smilie
December 8th, 2006. An early morning bus ride when the rest of the world was mooning the possibility of getting out of warm beds to a chilly morning. Cue yours truly, freezing his lanky ass off on the Bus which coincidentally has zero heating on that one morning in particular. After thawing himself out when getting off in the city, he heads straight to a big store with Purple Capital Letters depicting its name and business, and hands over a pre-order slip to a Zombie. Or a half-asleep hairy guy, it's vague and blurry right now. Anyways, with the shiny new machine named after a bodily function, he also picks up Zelda Twilight Princess (Thumbs up!) and Red Steel (Screw You ONM/NGamer) with an extra Nunchuk...but Wii Play is sold out? Balls! Luckily the awesome store formerly known as Gamestation (mine closed down Smilie) was nearby, and they had what he needed.
Head held high in smugness, he ventured back to the Bus stop and hitched a ride home, going straight to the back in an attempt to lord it over everyone else, and subsequently sent his White DS Lite flying when there was a sudden stop at one point. Balls indeed.

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In all honestly, after that the 6 years are a tightly woven blur of awesome gaming and forum interacting, with a high number of standout moments. Twilight Princess was awesome, Red Steel was far from it although I liked the setting and premise. Mario Galaxy didn't impress me as much as it really should have, though I attribute that fully to being burned out on Platformers over the years; Sonic Colours though was and is fantastic and a true highlight of the library. The Wii gave me the joys of one of my favourite games ever made - Okami, and one that certainly made the list in Little King's Story. There are so many great games I've played on the machine, be it retail games or classics through the games catalogue online that the thought of gamers being dissatisfied with the library of the machine is a truly perplexing one. But that argument has been done to death, so lets move on. 
Wii Sports was the true killer app of the system beyond any doubt in my mind. Although it never scaled the unconquerable stubbornness of my Dad in relation to videogames, the amount of time me and my Mum have enjoyed with bowling is immeasurable. As is her complete addictiveness to Dr Mario on Wiiware. 450 hours! Crazy old coot.Smilie

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Wii was the machine where I started reviewing games officially too. Beforehand it was merely a reader review passtime, namely to keep my writing ability honed whilst I took baby steps into the world of employment, but eventually I guess I impressed the higher ups eventually and got a leg on the Staff ladder. Looking back at my first official review now, it feels a little cringeworthy to read it again; not trying to sound like a cocky knobcheese or anything but I think I've gotten better over the years. Smilie
Granted, my title is Deputy Features Editor, and I'll confess to not truly holding up to that name. Be it the Night Shift nature of my work or just general laziness, I really need to make more features for C3, and will soon focus on the two outstanding ones I have in tow after the hype of the WiiU's launch settles somewhat. Smilie

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Personally speaking *your boredom alarms should be going off right now*, a lot has changed for me outside of gaming too. Starting off with Volunteer work, I finally got into paid employment at Woolworths a.k.a the best job I've ever had, and when the worst branch closure in British history happened it was on to Argos a.k.a. the worst job I've ever had. Thankfully I got out of there before my wrists got permanent knife scars, and now I'm in a fast paced night position that, especially recently now the irritating deadweight old git has left, is a job I get a real kick out of. Definitely never going back on Jobseekers, and I honesty pity anyone who is stuck there as I wish them the best of luck with finding something in the jungle of employment.
Aside from that, there is the matter of my choppers, in that before they were hideous due to my own youthful idiocy, and now they are squeaky straight and clean. Very few people realize how bad it feels to not be able to smile in fear of felling ashamed (not trying to evoke sympathy here, it was all entirely my own fault and I admit that wholeheartedly), but being able to do so again after a lifetime of frowning? There is no better feeling in the world. Granted, the sensation of smiling properly has only just become normal after a year of practice, but it was totally worth saving up all that money. Smilie
Moving out was a daunting prospect; I was wise with my money but it felt strange using on things I thought of as trivial before, when I didn't need to splash any cash around at all. Thankfully I quickly got used to it, mainly due to my Brother's patience; annoying grump as he can sometimes be he's still a top bloke. One day I'll thank him properly. Smilie
And lately there has been the matter of the bike lessons, in itself a rebellious answer to society's expectation that you need to learn to drive a car (am never being a Chauffeur, that's for certain Smilie ). Can't wait to get one in the new year; decided to hold off until it gets warmer and I can save up properly for a good model. 
*Boring part over*

As for what to do with that little White toy of joy after the data transfer later this week? Well, the news of a possible Wii Mini has put those plans into question. Selling it on to a friend who is currently looking for a cheap one might be the answer, and getting a Mini eventually as the Region-Free Homebrewer might be the best thing. Either way, the Purple Lunchbox is coming out of retirement folks!

*Raises imaginery glass full of expensive wine* Here's to another half a decade of awesome gaming and kickass forum banter on Cubed3! Smilie 

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Back From Ice Cream and Pizza Land!

Hey guys, it's been a long *counts fingers* 5 days, and it's good to be back! So get comfortable and let me regale you with Phoenom's Italian-themed excursions with his overly-sarcastic brother for a bit. Smilie

So, as that implies, I've been in Italy for the past 5 days, only just jetting away from there this morning. And what a trip it was.
Now, gotta be honest here. I don't get out much. Certainly not as much as I should, that's for definite. So last week was pretty much my first time in a lot of key categories. First time in an Airport, first time on a plane, first time in a foreign country, I could go on. But this one trip has made me practically salivate for more, and my writing ability isn't quite strong enough yet to convey how great the time there was but I'll have a go anyway. Smilie

So, last Thursday. Waiting for the flight, and was very much crapping myself metaphorically at the thought of being god-knows how high in the air with practically nothing below me. Thankfully didn't need the sick bag despite the blending that the plane's ascents and descents were giving my insides. Got through that and stepped out onto a whole new land, and I kid you not the air smelt even fresher than the country air here.

So, a couple of bus rides later, and we get to Naples Train Station, and subsequently look around for our pre-booked hotel nearby, which didn't take long to find but gave us enough of a chance to take a look around place. Guys, if you think London has pavements built of litter and Graffiti on every corner, try this place. Don't get me wrong, the Italian feel was very strong here, with Cafes and Restaurants outnumbering actual people and loud booming man-mountains, but when you see the place, the rumours of Mafia corruption suddenly don't seem so outlandish.

As we're knackered from the trip, we call it a night at the hotel (and I get accustomed to the kind of snoring that would wake the dead) and decide to take a look around Naples the next day. We hopped on a couple of tour buses that cruised around and pointed out interesting places, including a whooping great castle we went in that came complete with the cheapest vending machines you'll ever see in your life (bottle of water - 30 cents/25-ish-p!), and the docks near the sea that were situated next to freakin huge Cruise Liners. Truth be told, we took full advantage of that day just to adjust if you will, and see what the city offered. In particular, the Margarita Pizza, so feckin good that I had another the next day.

The next few days however, were the best. Whereas that one Naples-focused day was the one where God's bladder would no longer hold, the three after that were treated to glorious sunshine so with that we ventured to glorious tourist-town Sorrento, complete with sun-loungers by the sea and an absolute glutton of Ice Cream flavours. Bounty-flavoured Ice Cream. Snickers, Butterscotch, Vanilla and Choc Chip, Lemon, oh god I wanted it all. I had one cone a day after that, couldn't resist. Smilie
We had a break about halfway through the visit, found an English-themed Pub where ironically enough Norwich City were playing on the TVs, and their stadium is barely 20 minutes from where we live. Smilie Got my Alcohol fix and journeyed back to the hotel with a far fuller stomach.

Day three was the most dangerous one. Ever heard of Vesuvius? Only Active Volcano in Europe? Si, we went to the top, after the longest bus ride in the world(tm) and a steep slope which put up two fingers to all the disabled folks of the known universe. It was quite a climb indeed, and though I wasn't expecting to see flowing lava or anything (and doing so would be a key sign to run like hell at the very least), the inside of the once-pissed-off-mountain looked very calm, with just a little steam spouting from one of the sides to prove it wasn't anyone's bitch just yet.
Dealing with that visit took the whole day, so we prepared for the next.

Day Four was Pompei day. It's one thing seeing it on TV and books, but being there in person will make you marvel at humanity's early intelligence, and exactly what Mother Nature can do when you tickle her funnybone. We spent a good few hours looking around and snapping pics of every interesting segment. We then spent another few hours looking for the Train Stop we couldn't find because we went out another exit of the Pompei ruins and my geographical skills are quite poor. So that was interesting, to say the least. Smilie
We made it back eventually though, and got packed up ready for today.

Woke up early this morning and got to the Airport, the flight was a breeze this time round, probably could have slept through it if I were tired enough. Smilie Got home, unpacked, booted up the computer, and now my writing is starting to thin out because of the TV distracting me in the background, so I'll finish up the holiday talk now. Smilie Basically it was great. Italy was a great starting point as a first abroad trip, but I'm glad I was with someone; won't be for the next trip, I've sworn that I want to try it on my own next time. Got a couple of souvenirs, the most prominent of which is the huge facial fuzz I now have and will probably style into something as I have now gotten used to it. Smilie All Facebook friends can see the pictures I took at their own leisure when I upload them later. ^^


The hotel did have wifi, but posting on C3 with a phone isn't so intuitive so I merely browsed, and very much caught the shenanigans of last Thursday's Nintendo Directs. I have some brief thoughts;

UK Price: Too high. Over £300 is bollocks. £250 for the premium would be fair and I'm glad some sites are hovering around that number. The Supermarkets getting in on it should be good. Smilie
Launch Lineup: Looking great, Definitely getting Batman provided I find it at a good price, and probably Tekken or ZombiU as well.
Bayonetta 2: Classic reaction to that. Caught me off guard too, but the amount of childish whining and overreactions I've seen on the net make me ashamed to be a gamer. Pathetic crowd, prospectively awesome game, and it's convinced me to give the first game another chance. Smilie

So, C3, miss me? Smilie

Avoiding the Creepy side of FanFiction.

Now Playing: A review game that is succeeding in narking me off.
Now Watching: Big Bang Theory. Good God Season 1 Penny is hot.

Okay, third blog in as many weeks, and whilst a quick peep behind me reveals zero presence of a firework up my butt, I think it's safe to say that I've caught a dosage of the writing bug again. Smilie Decided to make use of this one to highlight a place I've been getting a lot of use of lately.

Namely, Fanfiction.net. Now, I can guess what you're thinking, and to a degree I kinda agree. Looking at the wrong parts of that site (in particular franchises that involve furry creatures like Sonic the Hedgehog) would easily put you off it completely. But for gaming franchises that place a heavy emphasis on story and building up the main characters, there are some fantastic stories on there that (in my opinion at least) would be worthy of novelization.
I've heard talk that a few select members here (not pointing fingers) prefer the interaction and display of games and movies rather than the allure of a good paperback, so the idea of more reading probably won't be as enticing for you guys as it is others. But I've always believed that really getting into a game world and used to properly developed characters provides enough incentive to see continuations of their stories, whether canon or not.

With that in mind, allow me to point out a few of my favourites. Pardon the initial Persona 4 fanboyism, don't pretend you didn't see it coming Sirlink. Smilie


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All He Sees is Red - One of the biggest reasons Persona 4 captivated me so much is how Social Links worked and how they felt so rewarding. One minor criticism I do have though is how underdeveloped the romance subplots had, and how little effect they had on the whole game, understandable given everything else that was going on, but definitely a lowlight for me.
This story bridges that gap with an incredibly well-written side-story that puts together a pairing that I honestly couldn't see not happening in the game itself. The writing and characterisation is simply fantastic, and as someone admittedly not clued up on the aspects of romantic feeling as I probably should be Smilie, quite interesting.
It's still ongoing, and until earlier this month looked to be discontinued, so I'm chuffed as chips to see the author is still working on it. Smilie

Split Personalities - This one takes a more comedic route, by rewriting the game's story to include the Personas as independant entities that accompany the main characters that only they can see. Admittedly this story isn't that well written, but as it goes on the personalities of the Personas take centre stage and make the whole fic well worth reading, Jiraya/Susano-O in particular gets hilarious at times. The human characters are more background filler than anything, but that makes a nice change.

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Finally - Now this one I think you guys will all enjoy. A direct storyline sequel to Skyward Sword, and easily one of the best descriptive and imaginative pieces of fiction I've ever read, Nintendo could take some cues from this one for certain. Espcially considering the ties it makes to future Zelda games, as many as SS itself I'd say.
Another story that is still ongoing, but is sadly coming to an end in a few chapters . By the time you get to the end the writer should have finished anyway. Smilie
A must read for Zelda fans, I can't emphasise that enough.

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Vibrant - Another one that attempts to add to the game's plotline with some background description and explanation for Neku's anti-social attitude, and pulls it off quite well I must say. Smilie

_______

A brief list I know, just wanted to provide a couple of recommendations to start you guys off with, check out the categories of some of your favourite games, I think you'll be surprised. Smilie
Oh, it has a mobile viewer too for those of you with Smartphones, it's a great book replacement with the right fics. Smilie

Inky Shoulder Splodge 2.0

Now Playing: with my Kickass sword.
Now Watching: Father *Feck! Arse!* Ted

Some of you blokes and bloke-esses (don't lie I know you exist!) may remember last year when I went to a cafe where they cut my arm open and painfully injected coloured liquid into it (I believe they are called 'Tattoos' nowadays Smilie). Case in point, the finished article;

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There was a fair bit of reasoning behind this design of mine. Firstly, the bird itself which you can easily guess as to the type of, with the flame ring providing a subtle hint to those not in the know, and what that bird actually represents in greater lore. Next, the text itself, depicted in Japanese because of my fondness of the culture itself and as a constant reminder to learn the language fluently. Lastly, the text's meaning, literally 'Bankai' or final release, tie-ing into both the Phoenix symbolism and my favourite Anime and Manga series.
One big problem with it though, is the fact that the 'Ban' part of the phrase, in itself the original symbol for peace and prosperity, could easily be mistaken for something else. I didn't really care about that to be honest, and I still don't, but it has annoyed me to no end how much pestering I get about it every time someone sees it.

So I did a little editing, and this time actually got something representative of a video game. Three guesses chaps.

Thankfully, the 'Kai' part that is still visible takes on a whole new meaning, for 'Patience and Understanding'. The former I'm still working on, the latter (as evidenced by all the whining and crying I've seen online over the past few days) I have down to a tee. Best part about the whole thing is that the 'Ban' symbol will still show through when it is healed, but it won't be immediately visible. Smilie

Anyways, enough yacking, I wanted to ask you lot for advice on what to get next year (might as well make this a yearly thing) since you all know my eccentric traits better than most. Was thinking of a fire trail going further down the arm, but don't want to make it look as if the Phoenix has constipation or anything. Smilie

Nintendo E3 Conference 2012 - Personal Thoughts

Now Playing: Golden Sun DS (Why do so many dislike this game?)
Hello fellow Cubed3 visitor, and thanks for popping in to what amounts to being my first Staff Blog in quite a while. Chances are you'll be waking up to read this after having seen Nintendo's E3 press conference yesterday afternoon (or whatever time it would have been in your area), and I'd like to use this space to post down the wide range of thoughts I have on it in a place where it won't get lost in the hubbub of forum posts.

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Zombie Reggie was fucking awesome.

Let's address the elephant in the room first. Yes, Nintendo's hour and a half was hugely disappointing. A large number of us tuned in to see the last major games developer yet to create masterpieces in High Definition finally cross that threshold, and to return to a number of franchises that would benefit hugely from the resolution boost and Gamepad features. That didn't exactly happen.
You won't hear me diss Pikmin 3; it isn't my type of game personally, but I know a damned good one when I see it, and 3 looks set to continue the quality that the first two games set in stone. New Super Mario Bros U, whilst unfortunately continuing the saturated feel that 2D Mario games seem to be getting in recent years, nonetheless has a fantastic Art style and a strong pedigree to follow, so chances are it will be brilliant too.
Lego City is highly intriguing, more so if it is completely exclusive to Nintendo hardware, though my personal belief is that Online and Multiplayer support will make or brake this one.
NintendoLand is...well, I'm not too sure what to make of it. On the surface, it appears to be a way to introduce those who don't have gaming as a regular activity into key Nintendo Franchises that the big N can build a bigger fanbase from, and in a manner familiar to Wii Sports. This game has the biggest chance of being a pack-in title or pre-installed game, but I don't know enough about it to form an impression as of yet. The demonstration time for a couple of the minigames was far too long, definitely.

I think what struck me most about this conference was the sheer amount of time Nintendo gave to 3rd Parties, and their speakers. Ubisoft I was surprised with the most, as few will forget the shitstains they piled upon the Wii in its early years, but for the Wii U launch we have a good number of games that might turn out quite decent. Rayman Legends is a given (I have doubts about its exclusiveness, but following Origins is assuring), ZombiU brings some new ideas and could fulfil the potential that Red Steel 1 never did, and Assassin's Creed 3 speaks for itself.
Scribblenauts Unlimited we pretty much all saw coming, and with luck should be a worthy game like its predecessors. Batman Arkham City, despite being a year old now, provides some interesting GamePad ideas, and as long as the Game of the Year extra content is included, will easily be one of the best launch games, period.
And then we had that reel of other 3rd Party games, like Aliens Colonial Marines, and Mass Effect 3 that admittedly surprised me, but that was all that really did.
For the past year we've heard talk of Nintendo building relations with 3rd Parties, and tailoring the console architecture around their needs, and I believe the conference to be the accumulation of that process. True, nearly all of the games shown by other developers are older and have been out on other hardware for a while, but the fact Nintendo would take time to showcase them and not their own work, when that's pretty much how its been for god knows how many years, speaks volumes.

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You won't hear me defending the conference as a whole; none of it was as cringeworthy as the 2008 fiasco, and the promising Pikmin start led to an event that didn't deserve fireworks as the finisher, but I can see where Nintendo were going with what they were showing, even if it were done in the most boring way possible. However, when you look back at all the games that were shown, and realise that all of them are for the Wii U's Launch window, there definitely won't be a repeat of the 3DS's lack of compelling software debut. Nintendo really needed to show a number of their franchises for beyond that window, to ensure people that the Wii U has a bright future, and they fumbled it completely.

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Though I definitely don't see anything wrong here, heh.

Speaking of which, we have one more major event later, the 3DS software showcase which may redeem Nintendo's E3 showing in the eyes of many, so we'll see on that one. Just wanted to post this lot up beforehand, especially considering it was all swirling around my mind all night. Smilie

Protein Shakes are better with Water. Who'da thought it?

Now Playing: Persona 3 Portable (Make it STOP)
Now Watching: Nighttime Telly (which sucks donkey balls)
Evening/Morning C3 community. At this moment your friendly neighbourhood crazy person has exhausted his range of nighttime day-off activities that he hasn't gotten completely bored with, so after a hiatus that wasn't at all planned, here's another blog!

Usually its a bullet point list with myself as the dull subject header Smilie, but I'll try and be a bit neater with proper paragraphs and all that fancy punctuation stuff. Smilie

First up, how is everyone enjoying N64 month? Top credit to the C3 staff here, they've done a fantastic job of providing content and getting stuff done behind the scenes. Considering my unfortunate lack of proper input, all kudos goes to the rest of the staff roster for this month, and maybe I'll win some back next time one of my features of reviews is put up. ^^

Distant Worlds Concert in November baby! Can't wait. Smilie Glad to see a couple others on here snagged some tickets too, looking forward to meeting up with you guys! Thankfully there's plenty of time to discuss locations and everything, so no probs.

Sold my XBox! Why, is a good question. Well, to be honest, there were very few exclusives for that machine that I could justify keeping it around for, especially considering I now have a PS3 hooked up to take care of my HD gaming needs. The Gears of War series was fun to play with my brother, but I'm guessing the nextbox will be backwards compatible to a degree for any future games in the series on 360, and I can wait. Smilie
Dunno really, I guess gaming is kinda weakening its hold over me. Lately I've been putting far more time and effort into the Gym (and boy is it showing!), and less time planted in front of the TV. Before I'd snap up any cheap game that I was even remotely interested in, and now its only the ones I feel I absolutely have to play (case in point, haven't gotten a single thing from those GAME and Gamestation sales yet), just don't feel its worth the time investment anymore. Will say though, have been playing the hell out of Persona 3 Portable, though since that is close to ending on the second run-through I'm not sure what to expect next. Really need a new outdoor hobby, but for that I need a Daytime job. Balls.

Still nerding out over Persona 4 Golden, the fighting game is coming so that is pretty much a given, and the Animation is nearly done but has been handled so well that I absolutely need to get it on Bluray/DVD when it goes overseas, and on a limited budget as well! Might be the first time I get a game without the host hardware to play it (really wasn't keen on the Vita build with the one I tried in GAME).

Avengers! Can't wait to see it! Next month or the month after I think. Just imagine what'll happen if it does well. Justice League film anyone? Smilie

Can't wait for the Summer! Do prefer Winter quite honestly, but I really want a tan this year, haven't relaxed on the beach in ages. And of course, that beloved favourite of maths equations; Added Heat + Hot Females = Less Clothes. Smilie

Never quite know how to finish these, so a video series I've been watching lately should be a good way of doing it;


Phoenixus Blogs: The Pre-Christmas Edition

Now Playing: far too much.
Now Listening to: The rhythmic pattern of keys being typed.
Now Watching: the clock so I can go to bed. :)
Hi all, you miss me? Sorry I haven't been around much lately, I'll get into why in just a moment. First on the agenda is the day that is just over a week away now. Can't wait. Smilie Ah aim to drink as much Magners Pear Cider as possible and get completely rat-assed. Smilie
Still, you clicked for a reason, and I don't like to stall or disappoint, so here comes some huge walls of text for you to enjoy. Or just look at the gifs, if I can raise a smile with this it'll all be worth typing. ^^

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- Lots going on lately. Matalan has been getting busy, so I'm on every weekday night for the forseeable future. Mostly because I'm great at the job (really) and they need a good slave, and yeah the extra money is handy too. Plus now that we're getting appropriately-sized deliveries I don't actually mind doing them that much. Still hate that old bastard I have to work with, if I have to hear him yakking about his Saxophone one more time I'll shove one of the boxes up his ass. >Smilie

- I'm back on the anti-depressants folks! Thankfully I didn't get to the full-on depression stage before I started taking them; but I felt it coming and really didn't want to cope with the moping and wrist slashing again.
But I have to say, these ones kick ass. I took Citalopram last time, and whilst that gave me an energy kick and a temporary boost, they didn't last long or help in the long term. But these have completely rewired my perception of things in view; I instantly look for the good in everything now, and feel so much happier about myself that I can be myself more often. It's a night and day difference quite honestly. Can't say I appreciate the extra toilet visits side-effect of the pills, but that's a con I'm quite happy to accept knowing the benefits. Smilie

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- I've gotten right back into Gymming it up again. Had a slump for a while with batches of illness and low motivation, but the insanely good feeling of an effective workout lured me back, and now I pop down there for a stretch or two every chance I get. Would go swimming too but the water is old people-infested. Bleugh.

- Started a learner course on touch-typing too! Kinda iffy on it right now as I've used two fingers to type for as long as I remember, but now I can type without looking at least, and I'll only get better with practice. I'm a lot faster at it now too. In fact, you guys are the first I've told about this, no-one else knows about it. It isn't some dirty little secret or anything, just one of those things I like to keep to myself like the emo brat I used to be. Smilie

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- Got some interesting news last month. I mentioned an appointment I had and asked you guys to wish me luck with it, remember? Well, it was with a specialist disability charity, and the smart-looking guy I saw finally helped me clarify why I've had so much trouble with emotions and basic understanding over the years, when I thought something was wrong but couldn't pinpoint it.
Turns out there is a very high chance I have Aspergers Syndrome. As per my own understanding this isn't a true disability in the sense of restriction, but of difference in the way of thinking. Whereas most people would operate on impulse to a situation, those with Aspergers over-analyse and critique the situation before acting, subconsciously avoiding any course of action that would result in embarrassment or negative emotions, a sort of enhanced self-defence trait. This extra time of reasoning would lead looker-ons to believe the person in question is slow or mentally handicapped, when it's anything but. Thinking numerically instead of grammatically, if you will.
I'm on a waiting list to see a trained Psychologist to help bring this line of thinking out into the open, and I bought a self-help book on how to control the emotions connected to love and attraction in the meantime, but otherwise I'm not too bothered about it. It's fantastic that I finally know what is different about me, but giving it priority over any aspect of my life would be making it a stronger issue, and I just want to get on with things, so this'll be the last time I mention it probably. Smilie

- So many games this month. Bloody ridiculous! Aside from the review game I'm currently beavering away at, I've got the 10 awesome GBA Ambassador games (and subsequently my first Fire Emblem game) to go through, there's Tales of the Abyss that just won't bloody end (I want new game plus goddamnit!), Mario Kart 7, Valkyria Chronicles, Gears of War 3, Ghost Trick, the Persona games, the rest of Sonic Generations, the two review games I'm expecting in the post any day now...GAH! Why oh why does the really good stuff get released now of all times!?

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- How are you guys enjoying the Persona 4 Animation vids I post links to every week? I like how they've differed in key points of the storyline so far, and the events in the Camp Trip episode has me nearly pissing myself. Smilie

- Spent a lot on presents this year? Kinda went overboard a little, but am really hoping my Dad likes the huge gift I got him. I'll mention what it is in the Christmas spoils thread (when someone makes one) just in case he's secretly cyber-stalking me. Though knowing his technological mastery he'd try feeding the mouse with cheese or something. Smilie

- Got a lot of resolutions lined up for next year. I'd check off the ones I accomplished this year but can't seem to find where that thread went to. Got my Teeth fixed (Smilie), didn't get a girlfriend (Smilie) or go abroad (SmilieSmilie), but hey there's always next year. ^^

Okay that's enough, I've been up nearly a whole day now and need a swing of Mountain Dew (f***in amazin' stuff). Ciao!

Strawberry Cheesecake

Now Playing: Begins with P and ends with -ersona.
Now Watching: Too many Scrubs episodes for me to become mortally afraid of doctors.

Yup, another of those random thoughts threads again, with a No-More-Heroes-inspired touch of trickery involved to guide ya in. There's a fair bit for me to talk about this time, with luck it'll be interesting and provoke thought and interest amongst the C3 populace. Or it'll make you point and laugh, it's all good. Smilie

- Someone needs to get The Doctor on the line, 'cos time is seriously messed up. We're in November already, the Christmas lights and decorations are going up, and my week off went far too quick for me not to suspect some voodoo involved.

- Still, I made the week interesting. Went to the train station yesterday and just hopped on one going to Cambridge. Wasn't planned, just did it for the hell of it. And boy, what a place! Bikes everywhere! Sat down on a bench to nosh on some cookies I bought for a snack, and threw some crumbs down to a nearby pigeon because I was in a chariatble mood; little bugger jumped onto my knee! Twice! Really should have gotten a pic, but the flash might've made him crap himself so I didn't risk it. Smilie

- Hands up, who else got their Tax Return details this week? I did, and turns out I owe the gits a hundred quid. Thieving buggers.

- 6 days until Skyward Sword guys! I'm still on blackout and haven't spoiled anything for myself, so this'll be the most unknown Zelda game I've played yet. Can't wait!

- Started a computer course with a local training agency lately; I'm learning to touch-type! As in, rythmic hand movement over the keyboard instead of the one-finger approach I'm using right now. It's going okay, but very difficult to adjust to.

- Got an appointment next week to see an specialist regarding some personal health suspicions I have. Wish me luck. Smilie

- Quick note to Azuardo; I'm keeping an eye out for a copy of TWEWY for ya; even looked when I went to Cambridge yesterday, but no joy thus far. Smilie Is £15 your limit? (just so I know what price to look out for)

- Guess which day New Years Eve falls on this year? He he, party time! Smilie

Phoenixus' Blog Reviews: Persona 4

Now Playing: Burned out from games at the mo. :P
Now Listening to: The Almighty



Although localization efforts from major games publishers has improved considerably in the past couple of console generations, European gamers still tend to miss out on titles that see release only in Japan and North America; and in the case of Xenoblade and The Last Story, this happens to US citizens more often than not too. One particular branch of games that most westerners weren't too familiar with until a short while ago was the Atlus-created Role-Playing Megami Tensei metaseries: covering the three spinoff brands Devil Summoner, Digital Devil Saga, and Persona. Starting off on the Famicom, the Megami Tensei series didn't leap out of Japan until the PlayStation release of Revelations: Persona in the US, and only graced Europe with Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne on PlayStation 2. Thankfully those games helped established a fanbase, and thus Atlus saw fit to localize more future games under the Megami Tensei banner.

Persona 4 in particular was met with slight confusion upon its Famitsu reveal in March of 08, as it was cited for release on the Playstation 2; a platform that was all but dead in major new releases support at that time thanks to the market moving onto HD Gaming and Motion Controls. Despite this, Atlus' development team pushed ahead for release in Japan towards the end of the year, and managed to gain both high sales and critical acclaim for the end product, shifting nearly 200k in one week for their homeland, and topping Amazon's charts when the game was sent over to the US. Lucky westerners also received a Soundtrack with all copies of the game; a highly fortunate inclusion for reasons we'll elaborate on quite soon.

Persona 4 takes place in the Japanese countryside town of Inaba, where you are introduced to the silent main protagonist who you can name as you wish. Your character is established as a city boy sent to live with his Uncle Dojima and Cousin Nanako in Inaba for a year, and attend School there. Soon after he arrives, a death occurs in the sleepy town with a famous Television announcer being mysteriously killed and left hanging from a Telephone wire pole. As you guide your character though School and social events, you'll discover the cause of this strange phenomena and seek to uncover the mysteries behind the 'Midnight Channel' that foresees future potential killings, and the world behind it.

Like previous games in the sub-series, the game centres around the use of Personas; powerful entities that reside in each character that has faced and accepted their other personalities, called into action through the use of Tarot Cards. These creatures grow and evolve in tandem with the main character’s interactions in the world outside of the TV where they are primarily utilized, and also gain Experience and Strength through each battle allowing for new abilities. Your named protagonist is the only one able to switch active Personas, and this is where the Velvet Room comes into play: seen over by a creepy guy called Igor and his assistant Margaret, this is where you can create and merge new Persona entities with those you have won as Battle Spoils in the TV world. As you have to level up your character through battle, you won’t be able to leap straight in towards building an almighty Persona, thus helping keep the game balanced for the area you are at, and providing incentive for later level grinding should you need it later on. The range of Persona choices, together with the huge range of moves they can learn depending on how you combine them, makes for a highly varied experience, though even the most basic combinations should see you safely through the game; investing time for greater combos in this way is purely your own choice.

Persona 4 acts as a sort of go-between of genres; on one hand you have the life sim feel of attending class, hanging out with friends, playing sports, and a numerous amount of other time-consuming activities to balance your game day out with. The Social Links aspect comes into play for this, determining how your friends will act in battle should their affection level with your protagonist be high enough, or how strong new Personas will be when created. Depending on your dialog choices in interactions and the activities you choose to do, your own personal stats will be raised too: these statistics have nothing to do with battles, but merely allow for advancement in the Social Link system.
On the other hand, you have the dungeon-crawling RPG aspect of the world inside the TV; randomly generated floors for each dungeon, turn-based fighting, and using equipment and powers wisely. Owing to the unique weather system the game employs to decide how long you have to conquer each dungeon and rescue whoever is trapped within it, the player has to balance out their character’s livelihood; spending time with friends to raise your stats and gain more power for your Persona, or explore more floors of the newest Dungeon before the days run out. In hindsight, this time-juggling sounds like a virtual nightmare, but one of the most impressive things about Persona 4 is how well everything comes together. Aside from mandatory School days and scripted events sounding the dungeons, the player has almost complete control over what they wish to do. Joining the Drama or Music club and only being able to attend on certain days sounds forced, but you are completely free to choose which of those days you want to go along on; there is no consequence for skipping them. Likewise, when going through new floors in the TV world, you can pace yourself so you don’t run out of energy, and (provided you have the right item handy) can leave anytime and start from there again after you’ve rested back at home. There is a deadline for rescuing each captive, but the game lets you balance things out with whatever you wish to keep things from getting too samey.

Atlus have done a fantastic job of providing players a world that almost feels alive at times. All areas of Inaba are well connected and easy to access with a press of the Square Button, environment change happens with the passing of the seasons, and even the NPCs littering the streets always have something interesting to say. The story itself mainly takes shape as a Murder Mystery and Investigational tale, and has been written superbly with many twists and turns before an ending you won’t see coming.
Like most games with a similar premise, the main character being basically mute and without a defined personality allows the player to essentially bestow their own traits and qualities through him. This, together with the Social Link aspects that define each character you interact with in such a way, and the balancing of activities, brings together a world that could be considered like a second life. It helps too that your primary party members are so well defined in personality that using your game day to hang around with them actually becomes the highlight instead of just doing it to raise your stats. In essence, despite them just being lines of code in a videogame, you really do begin to care about these characters. Even Teddie, the mascot character of the game becomes endearing despite starting off as annoying. Thanks to an excellent translation and top-notch voicework, their individualities shine through even more, and Atlus have even worked in a romance subplot you can make use of.
This option does fall short in some ways; you can choose which female character you have a Social Link with to date towards the last few levels of their link threshold, but after that there isn’t really any benefit to it other than a couple of extra scenes in the year. You can even act as a super stud and date more than one girl, but there are no consequences or effects from doing that either. It’s easy to see why Atlus chose not to go too in-depth with this feature as to leave the player with more options and not restrict their game days with preset dates and events as such, but it is a shame to see this potential decision become almost pointless.

As far as Visual fidelity goes, Persona 4 keeps a basic but stylized look throughout, easily making the most of its hardware, and providing the occasional Animated Cutscene that matches the best regular Anime has to offer. Each Dungeon in the TV world adheres to the other personality of the captive inside it, so with the range of characters in the game this provides a vast amount of level differentiation; one minute you’ll be trudging through a Medieval Castle, next you’ll be in a Strip Club (Oi Oi!), and even a game-themed 8-Bit level complete with blocky visuals and a throwback chip tune. Inaba itself isn’t quite as varied, but provides enough content and places to visit as not to make the player feel like they’re constantly retreading old ground. Enemy variation is another plus point; like most RPGs you’ll see the occasional enemy re-colouring in a future dungeon, but for the most part they are imaginatively and distinctively designed, often handily fitting in with the theme of the area they are in. It can be dificult to figure out the elemental weaknesses of the creatures you're fighting though; unlike games like Pokemon where the monsters practically wear their type on their sleeves, here you'll need to do some trial and error to figure things out.

When you’ve played Persona 4 for a few hours, it won’t be difficult to see why Atlus included a Soundtrack CD, and it wasn’t for purchase credibility as the game was already at a budget price. To put it simply and bluntly, the OST for this game is absolutely incredible. Though there are only a few dozen tracks altogether, each and every one has a purpose for where it is used, and each and every one sticks in your mind long after you finish hearing it, whether it is a dramatic tune, or one riveted with tension and suspense. The Battle themes themselves, like in other majorly critically acclaimed RPGs, can be seen as the true audio highlights: the mark of a truly effective main fight track is for it not to get annoying or obtrusive even after countless fights, and ‘Reach Out to the Truth’ passes with flying colours;

The other fight themes that play with sub-bosses and the big bads themselves are equally memorable; debatably even more so considering you won’t hear them as often. Shōji Meguro, who has worked on a number of other Megami Tensai soundtracks, really outdid himself with this one.

Persona 4’s year long timeline of events doesn’t quite stretch out to that in real time, but depending on the player you’ll have at the very least between 40-60 hours of quality play in store. None of it feels padded out owing to the game allowing you to tailor-make your experience as you go, and beating each boss to save each captive and move one step closer to solving the mystery, as well as interacting with your Social Link friends and seeing the sometimes-hilarious events that unfold, ensure not a second of those hours feels wasted. And even when you’re done, New Game Plus brings in new events and abilities for a second playthrough.

Criminally unknown in relation to its immense quality, Persona 4 should be regarded as the true swansong for what was a machine with a highly diverse and appreciated library of games. The game isn’t without its shortcomings, primarily within the underutilized Romance options and slightly repetitive nature of the dungeon-crawling (depending on how you play), but the excellent story and characters, brilliant music,fast-paced battles, and hugely satisfying world interaction easily make the fourth Persona game one of the greatest Role-Playing games ever. From one games enthusiast to another, you need to play this, and for this price, how can you say no?

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