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Final Fantasy XII: Final Fantasuck or Final Fantasweet?
January 05, 2007
7 out of 10

Final Fantasy and I go WAY back.  We go back a whole.... 5 years. Wow.  But, do you want to know the really sad part?  In those five years, I beat every official game in the series (except XI - I'd play it if I didn't have to pay a monthly subscription; I don't care about community gaming, give me single player linear excitement).  Yep, I even played Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.  That's how dedicated I am. So, it should come as no surprise that immediately after beating the newly-released Final Fantasy III, I fulfilled my dorky duties and quested through XII...

Final Fantasy XII is the second real FF game to be released for the Playstation 2, since X-2 was a cash exploit and XI required a hard drive add-on.  Up until XII, a new one came out every year or two, but this monster of a game required 5 of its own.  Was it worth it?  Somewhat.  If I don't go into detail on the review, it's because the information that's lacking is easy to find anywhere on the internet.

The story: This is probably the biggest draw to a console RPG. Well, sadly, FFXII is lacking in this department.  Other reviews have touted it "the most mature story in the series," emphasizing its adultness.  I guess that's true, to a degree.  Whereas the previous Final Fantasy games focused on the destruction of the world by some villainous entity, this one is about a semi-corrupt empire and a descendant of the King murdered by said empire.... Not quite the same urgency to the material, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The bad thing is that this story's depth in comparison to any previous game in the series (after III) is like a Reader's Digest article compared to a novel.  There's just not enough of it.  The game is at least 50 hours long, and I'd wager a guess that there's maybe 5 hours of story in it, a large portion of which only occurs at the end.

The characters: There are only 6 playable characters in this adventure, a large difference from VI's 14.  The interesting thing here is that no single one of them is the protagonist.  Every one of them pretty much has the same amount of influence in the story.  Also, you're never required to have any specific ones in your party, and you can choose any one as the character you control.  That's pretty nice; it means you can choose between:

  • Vaan - the effeminate, spiky-haired male teenager that we have come to expect from Final Fantasy games... and he's an orphan
  • Penelo - the female counterpart to the spiky-haired teenager; in natural Square-Enix fashion, there are subtle hints of a relationship between Vaan and her.... she's of course an orphan too
  • Basch - the steadfast knight. At first he is distrusted because of a misunderstanding in his past, but his loyalty outweighs it.  Not to mention, he's got some wickedly awesome Gary Busey locks of gold.
  • Ashe - the princess who everyone thinks is dead, and she must regain her throne for 'her people.'  She's exactly like Yuna in FFX.
  • Fran - a half-rabbit, half-slender treelike human.  Her semi-Jamaican accent makes her VERY mysterious.... ooooh
  • Balthier - Basically, the pimp.  He's the only playable character in the game that I thought was interesting. He's really... cool?
So, naturally, I started leveling up three characters I didn't really like: Vaan, Basch and Fran... and only used them.  I still have no idea why.

Game systems: The battle system takes a while to get used to, but it definitely cuts out the time of leveling up.  Interestingly, status effects are actually useful in this game, unlike pretty much every other FF game.
The license board is very similar to the Sphere Grid in FFX.  No real problems here.

Graphics: This game really does look great.  I felt like the characters' faces suffered a little in battle from MGS1 for PS1 syndrome... they look pretty awful.  Other than that, it's as gorgeous as 3D on the PS2 can look.  Amazingly, the cutscenes and things had basically ZERO load time... that was definitely impressive.

Music: I love me some Hitoshi Sakimoto.  His music takes a little while to get used to, but it's very rewarding... as for not having Nobuo Uematsu this time around: at least they replaced him with someone good (Xenosaga II anyone?)

Final comments:
Can you tell I'm getting tired of this review?  Here's where I tell you what I wanted to say the whole time....

Final Fantasy XII is a great RPG; it's nearly impossible to dispute that.  I just found myself, me - the biggest FF dork I know, getting bored too often.  There's about 45 hours of just walking around and battling in this game.  You get nearly no money to buy upgrades, and you have to not only buy equipment but all of your magick spells, techniques, gambits, items.... GOD! You can have a HUGE amount of money and once you see that you are missing 5 spells.... suddenly it's gone.

Also, the game is TOO damn long for how much story they give us. On top of that there are about 50 hours of sidequests.  If you were to happen to want to do all of the sidequests before the final dungeon, you would forget what happened in the main story... not that there's much to forget.... This is all coming from a completionist... I just gave up so I could get back on with my life.... and use that remaining life within me to write this review.  I may now sleep forever....

7/10 - It's really good. The technical side rocks my world... but it's also pretty nerve-rackingly boring at times and the story's dull compared to almost EVERY other game in the series.

Epic Movie
February 04, 2007
1 out of 10

Alright, I knew it was going to be bad.  I was one of the unlucky bunch who happened to stumble into the theater to watch Date Movie last year.  I saw The Ringer that same day, and regardless of how awful Johnny Knoxville may be as a person an actor and how awful a feel-good comedy based on physical humor and mental handicaps may be, nothing I had ever seen was on the level of intellectual insult that Date Movie constantly rode. Until yesterday, Date Movie was the worst movie I had ever seen. Yes, worse than Ghetto Blaster, worse than Please Don't Eat My Mother!, worse than The Star Wars Christmas Special, and worse than The Black Gestapo.  I have seen my share of terrible movies, but Date Movie, a huge financial success in comparison to these forgettable, exploitative non-classics, makes all of them seem like The Godfather.

But this review is not about Date Movie.  It's about Epic Movie, the latest in a string of parody movies by the same writers/directors.  But, do we really want to give them credit for writing? Really....?

Story: For a parody movie to work, there needs to be some story to follow, right?  Well, Epic Movie starts off by insulting us with the knowledge that four multi-racial post-teens are orphaned siblings. Well shit, that's crazy.  Then, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe supplied every other plot point.  It was very annoying.

Characters: Random insert characters from different movies, modified to be more hilarious... yeah, they're great.  Also, The White Witch from Narnia is the villain, The White Bitch. HAHAHA! That's GREAT!  Nacho Libre, Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Samuel L Jackson from Snakes on a Plane... they're all here.  And they're all NOT funny inclusions.

Finish this bitch up: The main problem with Epic Movie, however, is not the triteness of the story or characters which are the broken-down Wagoneer in which this pseudo-adventure attempts to travel across the country.  It's the lack of actual humor.  I laughed NOT ONCE at this movie.  Not once.  All of the jokes were ripped from the original movies or overused humor.  Reference to Tom Hanks' hair in The Da Vinci Code is not funny, stealing jokes from The Chappelle Show is not funny, utilizing the snake/genital humor of Snakes on a Plane is not funny, impressions of Borat are not funny.  But most of all, physical comedy in every scene is TOTALLY not funny.  Oh shit, he got hit in the face. HA! Look at that, he kicked her head off! HA! Oh look, they all just slapped that guy in the face. HAAAA! When they walk through the wardrobe to 'Gnarnia', tree limbs smack them in the face really hard!  HAAAAAAAA!

No, not funny.  It's nonsensical, it references maybe a total of 3 epic movies, and its humor is unoriginal and... well... not funny.

DO NOT watch this movie. It is on the same level of abhorrent that Date Movie is.  I can't believe it was #1 in the box office for its opening weekend.  Have Americans' brains died?  If not, they will after seeing this movie.

It's one of the two worst movies I've ever seen.  Don't support it.  I didn't, I bought a ticket to Pan's Labyrinth and went to this instead; the least I could do is support something good while rotting my own synapses.



My Review of December
December 26, 2006
8 out of 10

Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer.

Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer. Test with me. Test for a year. Test to the left, and test for the cheer.