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June 21st, 2016

09:46 pm - Recordkeeping: Doom 2016 COMPLETE
Well, this was the Doomiest Doom there's been in quite some time. They didn't make a 1:1 replica of original Doom - instead of fighting in tight hallways and sprawling arenas, you mostly end up fighting in Quake-style stadiums. Often complete with inexplicable jumppads! - but that's okay. The jumppads are great. The fighting is great. The stadiums are great, the monsters are great, this is just straight-up great.

I mean, that's super-high praise from me. I love Doom. This is not the Doom I loved, but it's a Doom I could get to love.

Better mod support in the sequel, ID guys. Get that right next. Thanks.

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June 18th, 2016

06:30 am - Passive Voice, Active Voice
One of the major issues I'm experiencing lately is that I have -- as it is put in some circles -- become accustomed to a certain kind of lifestyle and am experiencing some difficulties moving away from it. Usually people who say that are talking about money, though. I'm talking about a different, slightly compulsive behavior.

I haven't been doing a lot of gameblogging here because I haven't been playing very narrative-driven games lately. A couple weeks ago, though, I absently took a book off the bookshelf and read for a while, but I kept feeling weird and twitchy while I was doing it. I couldn't get wrapped up in the story at all. Tried watching some TV on Netflix, same thing. I kept wanting to just stop.

I think I figured it out though. I opened an eBook on the PC and let myself read, and found I was typing comments in a file next to the window.

I want to ANNOTATE it. I want to write my opinions in a column down the side of the page or something. I want to overlay a subtitle track of riffing on the movie I'm watching. I've tied "Experience Creative Media" so tightly to "Blog About It" I don't know if I -can- passively read a book anymore.

I guess the only thing for it is to download some eBook software that lets me write virtual footnotes/margin notes and just let myself hypertext the absolute high holy shit out of a novel or something. This is not really a problem I foresaw myself having.

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June 16th, 2016

01:19 am - Recordkeeping: Diablo 3 COMPLETE
Uh this happened a while ago.
I've been kind of hermitlike and uncommunicative.
But, yay. I beat the loot grind game.
I'm still playing it. You can never really stop playing the loot grind game. Only move to a different form of it.
Because materialism I guess.
Anyway I'm alive, just... haven't wanted to say much.

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May 26th, 2016

08:22 pm - Derailment! ONGOING: Overwatch.
I really expected the "Final Fantasy 13-3: Lightning Returns" train to be rolling into the station right about now, and it still could. Of the 5 major questlines in the game, I've done all five. I've done a fair number of sidequests. My save is parked on day 7 of 13, waiting for me to get back there and play through to the ending and fight the last boss and find out if I've done well enough to BEAT the last boss. (If not, you get an item that lets you NG+ so you can bulk up and try again.)

So I really expected to be done with that and finished with all three Final Fantasy 13 games in one month.

Then a bunch of people started talking about Overwatch, which is a team-based competitive multiplayer shooter.
I don't play team-based competitive multiplayer shooters.
I don't like being on a team. I'm not competitive, and I'm pretty crap at shooting.
Also the hostile atmosphere usually fosters extreme tension, and in general it's a bad time for everyone on my team.

Then I watched a couple of shorts. Blizzard's character design department worked their ASS off on this thing. There are animated shorts, comics, there's gonna be a graphic novel, etc. I really hope they keep doing that. I hope there are little cheap spin-off games, like a platformer with zippy chrono-displacement girl Tracer or some kind of Metal Gear Rising business with cyberninja Genji.

Then I bought the game.
Then I played the game.
For sixteen straight hours.
In one night/day.

So uh I think I like Overwatch, you guys. It's eating up a fair bit of time for me. The internet is swirling with reactions to this thing, and I don't want to add my thoughts to the mix unless they're demanded, but I'm having a good time just dropping in, fucking around, and learning2play.

Uh. I will probably get back on FF13-3 ... eventually. I didn't mean to derail myself so hard.
I just... I just really like pushing the little cart. The cart is on rails, at least?

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May 18th, 2016

07:40 pm - Things I am Unhappy About:
So I wasn't entirely sold on the new Nancy Drew pilot, which would have her as a 30-year-old detective investigating (so it was RUMORED, I can't find a solid source) the death of Bess Marvin. That premise sounds... I don't know, it's a little bleak. I love my Power Trio, I don't want them hurt. Anyway.

Apparently CBS passed on it for 'skewing too female'.

It's Nancy. Fucking. Drew.
Nancy Drew skewing female is a GREAT THING. It means you got it RIGHT to some degree. Nancy Drew is a HEROINE. If you're passing on the show because too many girls like Nancy Drew I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE MAKING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Even if I'm not sure I would have liked it, SOMEBODY would have and I'm kinda pissed they won't get the chance to.

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May 16th, 2016

06:39 pm - Zootopia WATCHED.
Yay now I am a real furry again.

So, uhm. ...mm. I give it a verdict of "schmaltzy but satisfyingly cheerful", which... y'know. Disney. It felt good. I enjoyed myself. Spoilers under the cut, mostly just things I wondered/observed.

Hop to it.Collapse )

We were going to watch Captain America: Civil War next, but I ran completely dry on social capital and started folding in half and feeling bitterly bland, so it was home instead. We'll catch that next time maybe.

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May 14th, 2016

03:34 pm - Recordkeeping: Final Fantasy 13-2 COMPLETE
Oh man I kinda loved this.

I can't say much else without spoilers, and I don't have the energy to drop to spoilerspace but this felt good. Antithetical to everything Final Fantasy 13 was, mind you. Tutorials everywhere? Nah, barely explain things. Tight closed hallways? Open 'em up. Tight closed NARRATIVE? Open that up too, free-roam everywhere, optional side areas galore. Lots of objectives. Lots of options. Raise monsters!

I think I like... 95%'d this. I may keep prodding at it, seeing what else I can nibble away. There's just so much game here, and it's all so good... but I want to do 13-3 too. Then again, 13-3 is impossible to lose or fail at, so if I want challenge I'll have to have it right here and now.

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May 13th, 2016

01:13 pm - Postcards from Another World...

Greetings again from beautiful Vana'diel, where Xenosa has taken advantage of the new "mount things" initiative to get herself on Raptorback. Isn't he lovely? He's like a big blue sweetheart.

Does this mean I've gone back to Final Fantasy XI? Will my journalizing of that MMO continue? Ffffffffor now probably not, but they're doing a free week for all past players, so I at least decided to pop on, get myself a ticket to ride, see the sights... I hear they've made leveling EVEN EASIER now, so I could probably grind out enough levels to start doing interesting story stuff again...

...but right now, I'm neck and shoulders deep in Final Fantasy 13-2, and after that it'll be 13-3, and I kind of want to work on a different project of my own sometime before Gameageddon starts in August... (Style Savvy 3 for the 3DS comes out, then Final Fantasy 15, and then Pokemon Sun/Moon... I will be BUSY in the August-September-November perioid!)

That said, it felt nice to get back into Xenosa Xizee's chainmail shoes and clomp around a bit. Maybe someday, her story will finish playing through and she'll be the thieving magical heroine she wanted to be.

Until then, Xenosa. Until then.

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May 5th, 2016

11:33 pm - Recordkeeping: Final Fantasy 13 COMPLETE
This was... well, a perfectly all right game! It's not in my top-five Final Fantasies, but it was serviceable even if the plot kinda disintegrated towards the end.

It's clear (and on record) that this game had a really troubled production though. I'm not sure I really want to dig too deep into what made this game work or not work, but I really do feel like as usual, the characters were the heart of this thing and I'm glad they're okay.

That said, I've heard a variety things about the next pair of games in the series. That they squander the returning cast, that they're better as "games" but not as "stories", that things wander off and around and in spirals before drifting into the power of friendship literally saving the day in 13-3.

I'll be finding out for myself soon, as my quest to play through this subtrilogy continues!

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May 2nd, 2016

02:11 am - Final Fantasy 13 Shortpost - Lovers In A Dangerous Time
There's a lot I could be saying about Final Fantasy 13.

The world design is as always gorgeous on a purely visual level. I spent something like a half hour walking around a store, looking at the functionality of various random machinery and speculating on the flavors of drinks piled on the counters.

The music is likewise up to the high standards of the series. "Blinded by Light", the main battle theme, feels almost impossible to tire of.

The battle system is... controversial. When I last played this (in 2011, ow) I bounced off it hard and had no idea what I was doing. I had been lied to by the internet, you see, which claimed you simply mash X and then you win everything. Now I'm timing my role changes and carefully balancing out the paradigms and getting five stars on most battles. It's not playing itself, anyway.

(Actually, I'm legit kind of shocked. Most of the time a Final Fantasy comes out and the battle system gets casually 'borrowed' for use in a half-dozen other games. This one? Nothing. Maybe everyone just wants super-retro turn-based battle systems right now? I dunno.)

The plot's an unfortunate mishmash of things. I'm not hugely invested in it (having just finished chapter 9). I like the characters well enough, with pint-sized Frowny Kid Hope as my favorite at the moment, but I feel like it's struggling with being overly ... B-movie-like? A lot of show, a lot of tell, a lot of show while telling again. Did they really have to explain everything three or four times?

Vanille and Fang, though. I had been kinda holding back on giving any judgement about these characters until I'd played the game, since I know their relationship status is kind of a contentious thing in the fandom. Consider:

They're two cursed humans from the surface world of Gran Pulse. (Since this story takes place in a floating "Cocoon" city.) When they were turned to crystal years in the past, it was while holding each other.

Fang frequently refers to Vanille as "My partner" and asserts that if it comes to a choice between Vanille and the world, she'll burn the world down and rip the sky to the ground to save Vanille.

Vanille was, slightly earlier in the plot, super pumped at the idea of "for a change" rescuing Fang, as if she's been doing a LOT of Damsel in Distress stuff and wants to be the White Knight rushing in to save FANG for a change.

Not a cutscene with the two of them go by where they don't have their arms around one another's waist or on their shoulders or something. Their reunion cutscene was the most adorable thing in the game, as Vanille practically throws herself onto Fang.

The fandom's assessment: "They're like sisters."
My assessment: "Yes, clearly they're like sisters who had an intense sexual relationship at some point and are currently too focused on Important Work to get reunited right now."

I see a lot of subtext. Witness my entire Vesperia run after Rita and Estelle start hitting it off. I think this one's text. It's a very warm, sweet and loving relationship these two have and I hope it lasts through the whole FF13 sub-series.

Or I will tear down the sky.

(Note to self: Watch through this later.)

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