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April 13, 2008

Buy Opoona Wii Opoona Review

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Finally Nintendo has brought a new turn based RPG to the Wii system. Sure there are plenty on the Virtual Console, but Opoona by KOEI is a unique RPG. Generally when KOEI is brought up Dynasty Warriors 6 Walkthrough FAQ comes to mind but they have been versatile in the past and Opoona is a good example of that.

The battle system gameplay requires you to throw the nunchuck at an angle. At first it may be difficult because you will not understand how to take off the most damage, but after experimenting in battle a bit you will begin to understand how to maximize the damage you take off. One fun thing about battle is that there is a timer at the top and if you run out you lose. Thus you must finish the battle before the timer runs out so you may not be able to fight as passively / defensively as you would like. This type of gameplay is a breath of fresh air from newer RPG's like Final Fantasy 12 XII that are MMORPG-like and are not exciting because you do not have to have a sense of urgency - in Opoona you have to have one.

There are some forced minigames but they are fun because it is generally just creating a real life experience with your character as you will acquire licenses, and earn money for all the things you need. Opoona also will meet lots of people during his journey and will strengthen these relationships throughout. But the story is the lesser factor here and is not that controlling. It is the addictive, unique and challenging battle system that makes this a must try for RPG fans.

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Even though Opoona does not support 16:9 the atmosphere and visuals come off really well. You will appreciate traveling along as the nature really moves - trees, water, clouds, all of it. Then there is the ambient soundtrack that fits the game well.

April 10, 2008

Wild ARMs XF Crossfire PSP Review

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Media.Vision put out Wild ARMs 5 Vth Vanguard in August and have since moved out of just doing JRPG's. Now Media Vision should be proud of themselves as they have constructed a unique SPRG in Wild ARMs XF Crossfire.

One of the best aspects of an SRPG is the ability to have different ending conditions, and while most mainstream SRPG's conditions are simply 'defeat all enemies', Wild ARMs XF does a good job of varying these conditions. Sure there are still levels where killing all the monsters on the screen is the point, but there are plenty of stages where you need to accomplish certain tasks, like fleeing, or protecting people, or sneaking into the enemy camp, and so on.

This segues into the class system. SRPG's like Final Fantasy Tactics generally have classes that are overpowered and once you max them out it is hard to justify using other classes (think Lancer, Monk, Ninja from FFT). There are over 15 classes in Wild ARMs XF but the best part is that the game forces you to use all of these classes in different battles. You cannot just build a brute force and smash everything to pieces; you will be outnumbered plenty of times and in turn it is your strategies (slowing the enemy down, taking their weapon, casting status ailments on them, etc) that are your saving grace. You also cannot grind massive amounts of levels, as even though there are random battles they do not yield much for experience.

One of the negatives of having to change classes all the time based on which battle you are fighting is that you will die often the first time fighting battles if you do not understand what needs to be done / which classes you need to have. Also since you are changing classes all the time you do not get a chance to distinguish the characters by having one main class for each person.

The story is typical Wild ARMs in that you are to save the decaying Filgaia. Unlike previous Wild ARMs games the forest and plain scenery is beautiful instead of brown, desolate and depressing. The characters are interesting although there are some annoying voiceovers.

Wild ARMs XF
uses a lot of remixes from Wild Arms 1 through Wild Arms 5. Fans of the series will love this as no matter the Wild ARMs game most will agree the music is solid and fits the setting perfectly.

Wild ARMs XF Crossfire
is a challenging game in each battle, and may turn off mainstream crowds because of this; but really, how many mainstream gamers really play strategy RPG's? SRPG fans will note that because you cannot grind levels this game presents much more strategic planning than Final Fantasy Tactics or Jeanne D'Arc, two other PSP SRPG's.

April 8, 2008

Baroque Atlus PS2 Wii Released

Today, April 8th 2008, Baroque was released for the Playstation 2 and Wii consoles. I have some respect for Atlus from previous games like the Persona or Growlanser series for example, so I figured this would be worth a pickup since it's 40$ instead of 50$ new.

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Be prepared that this game is not for the weak. It's a very dark game (par for the course for ATLUS, but pretty rare for a Wii / Nintendo game) and is brutal in difficulty. If you remember Persona 3 or Persona 3 FES, the tower and dungeons spawn randomly. Baroque is the same way. You wake up as the main character and then have no choice but to go to the Neuro Tower. You are to go to the bottom of it. The enemies and shape of the tower are randomized so in turn it's hard to write a walkthrough FAQ for it.

So how you explore it will be different each time. I say each time because the game continues when you die, and in some cases you are forced to die in certain areas to advance! You start back up with the scientists, but if you get far enough in the dungeon you can warp (like Persona 3). Anything you have collected is gone; the only way to maintain items / weapons in your trips is to find a Consciousness Orb.

In terms of gameplay this is your basic action RPG, but with the aforementioned twists. You fight with guns, swords, etc (typical ATLUS weapons). Thing is, you need to kill enemies for their hearts, which you then eat to restore your own health. But it will often times get to the point where your VP gets too low and eventually decreases gradually, so staying alive is more than not getting hit by enemies - you need to be efficient with your steps and your time so that you don't die yourself! But of course you will be dying a lot in Baroque, it's all part of the game :).

April 4, 2008

Final Fantasy XII 12 International Zodiac Job System

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It has been a few years since the initial release of Final Fantasy 12 on Ps2. Playing the game and doing the Final Fantasy XII 12 walkthrough was a great time, but after playing FFXII International Zodiac Job System I really wish the changes made were what the base FF12 was. Having to commit to a character class really helps define that character's role throughout the game, as opposed to allowing every character to be everything. That is just a bit too open ended for my liking; I tend to like at least a little bit of structure in terms of character class. This class structure I felt was a staple in Final Fantasy gameplay.

Some other features are added to Final Fantasy Zodiac Job System. You can press L1 to speed the game up, which makes replayability much more tolerable. Especially going through all the FFXII Centurio Clan Hunts. There are some extra modes but they aren't that interesting. Strong Mode allows you to keep your high levels which eliminates any difficulty. There is a Trial Mode also that allows you to fight groups of enemies to see how you fare.

While you may be intimidated playing FFXII having to chose a class at the beginning there are some tweaks to the gameplay that allow the transition to be smooth. Characters stats are boosted based on their class; for example characters with physically strong classes will have a ton of HP relative to a character going through the base FFXII. Also Quickenings are much easier to acquire as they were now a bar on the screen that fills up, thus you don't need to waste MP on them. Picking a Summoner type class (they are called Uhlan in FFXII ZJS) allows you to get some use out of the Final Fantasy 12 Esper bosses which were not that powerful in the original FF12.