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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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April 27th, 2016

08:52 am - Recordkeeping: Star Billions Seasons 1 and 2 - COMPLETE
Star Billions season 1 is an adorable little iOS/Android phone game about four AIs in space. There's Rosie, the "To boldly go" type. Ein, the "Fascinating" type. Lacie, the "We come in peace" type. And Sarge, the "Shoot to kill!" type. They have a mission, and at each step of the mission you can pick a crew member to deal with whatever situation has come up.

After each choice, you get a real-time clock that shows you when your input will next be needed (usually between 1-5 hours, sometimes longer) and can either play minigames to whittle the time away (literally, it cuts time off in 1-5 minute chunks) or you can just... go away and come back when it needs you for the next scenario.

It's fairly cute, low-stakes goofery for the most part. There's a Big Goal, but most things feel like they're... how to put it... low-danger, low-doom scenarios. Everything will turn out okay in the end, and we might learn something about friendship, teamwork, and courage along the way.

That's Star Billions season 1.

Star Billions season 2 can be summed up, without spoilers, as "AAAAAAAAAAAAA WHAT THE NO WHAT WHY teehee that's cute WHAT NO WHAT WHY YES YES YES AAAAAAAAAA NO OH MY GOD REALLY WAIT CLIFFHANGER WHAT?!"

(If you have played it, please use a rot13-er if you wish to discuss the game in the comments. I know people still working through this one.)

One of the developers mentioned in an interview re the name of the studio: Game dev is full of philosophy. I won’t pretend that my answers are the right ones for everyone, but with the name "Catch & Release" we wanted to reflect this feeling of a really nice but ephemeral experience, like a great meal or a concert.

That's pretty much how I feel, actually. I could replay this over and over (there's a NG+ mode that makes wait times extra-short, so you can shotgun the entire thing and look for changes) but I did what I thought was right the first time. If I start poking holes in the scenario, where will that get me? Let down with a bunch of holes in the scenario, I imagine. No, I had a great time, let's not dilute things any further.

In any event, uhm.

I am awaiting Season 3 -urgently-.

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April 23rd, 2016

06:48 am - Life with Woof and Sqrl and Lovecraft and Howard
NSFW, discussion of Weird Fetish Material.Collapse )

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April 22nd, 2016

06:31 pm - Tales of Graces F Shortpost 7 - Lineage and Legacies
So I tried out Black Desert Online, and the reason this post is not ABOUT Black Desert Online is that it turns out I kind of hate it. I wish I didn't! It's a beautiful game and on paper it appeals to me hugely -- in fact, on other people's screens it appeals to me hugely. I love reading other people's blog posts about this game.

Unfortunately it really didn't click with me. The momentum in the movement, the mashy combat system, the loose undirected gameplay (huh, I thought I LIKED that? Weird, me.) and various other elements meant that by about day 4 of my seven day trial I was staring at the icon and going "I would rather do anything else in the world but play this game."

Fine. Forcing things would just lead me towards getting even more disheartened. So it was back to Tales of Graces F for the postgame arc, titled "Lineage and Legacies".

(Which sounds like a D&D game about political intrigue I guess? Except they kinda did that and it was called Birthright and I don't know ANYONE who ever played it.)
So here"s the writeup of that!Collapse )
Also, I want to mention before I wrap this up that the skit writers were ON POINT with this one. Here's a few of my favorites:

Malik embraces the thug life.
And trying his hand at writing a children's play.
Pascal discusses 'enhancing' Sophie.
Asbel ... continues to be Asbel.

And if you watch only one set of skits here, please enjoy the many appearances of The Mask of Barona.

In May, I plan to start playing as many Final Fantasy games as I can fit on my plate. Between now and then? Who knows?

See you next time!

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