Posts Tagged ‘ ps2 ’

Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job System

I can’t remember exactly when I started hating this game.  I guess one of the pitfalls of having a nearly six year development cycle is that it gives people plenty of time to start hating your game for no good reason.  All I can say is: 

Sorry, Square-Enix.  I was wrong.

Final Fantasy XII is a materpiece.  Great characters and a great story, all set in an amazingly believeable world.  Definitely the most fun I’ve had with a Final Fantasy game since #7. 

Over the years, I’ve slowly lost interest in the FF series.  I used to think that maybe I’d become jaded, or simply grown out of the series’ target demographic.  Nope.  Turns out I still love the shit, it’s just been a while since Square has made something that really knocked my socks off. 

My only regret is that it’s taken me almost three years to come around to this gem.  It sort of makes me wonder if the current bad taste FF XIII has given me will eventually be washed away as well.

I’m playing the Internation version, which means cutscenes are in English, but everything else–menus and text dialogue–are still in Japanese.  It’s really not as bad as it sounds.  If you can read katakana, you’re good to go.

The International version also includes a bunch of extra license boards and other shit I’m not equipped to comment on because I never really played the original version.  Also included is a bonus DVD that includes a huge amount of concept art, interviews, and a detailed runthrough of every major FF game ever released.

And it comes in a pretty box (see above).

The only stumbling block so far is the game’s Gambit system, whose menus are litered with kanji and nonsensical Japanese characters.  It was hard enough to figure out when I toyed with the American version a couple years ago, and now it’s basically impossible because of the language barrier.  Instead, I find myself pausing battles and issuing individual orders to characters.  It’s a bit slower this way, but doesn’t hinder my enjoyment.

In summary:  Good shit.  Pick it up if, like me, you were stupid enough to pass it up the first time around.

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Experience the Wonder…OF GOO!!!

Even in a “remote” area like Kagoshima, there’s really no shortage of game stores. It was only a matter of time before one started to grow on me.

Welcome to Wonder GOO.

Come for the crazy name, stay for the crazy prices

The store consists of two sections; the new stuff is right in your face when you walk in, and used games are stocked in a slightly larger room off to the side. 

There’s really no point in bothering with the new stuff, other than window shopping.  Prices are crazy.  We’re talking $60+ for a new DS game, here.  I’ve seen some 360 titles going for upwards of $80 in some stores, so obviously the used game market is pretty huge over here.  I have a hard time imagining who in their right mind is buying all these new copies and getting the ball rolling in the first place.

Unreleased Titles

One of the best parts about loitering around a place like Wonder GOO is that you get to see all the cool stuff that’s not available in the United States.  Sometimes stuff just takes time to translate (Dragon Quest), but it’s easy to discover an entire franchise of games that you’ve never heard of.

Earth Defense Force...3?! WHERE ARE THE OTHER TWO??

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, for instance.  I never even heard they were making a sequel to one of my favorite DS games, but here it is for about $18.

And PS2?  Forget it.  In addition to having tons of crazy titles you’ve never heard of, it’s easy to find the ones you have.  The Big Titles aren’t hard to find here.  I’ve never seen so many copies of Zone of the Enders 2 in my entire life.  If a game was ever famous, you won’t have to look hard to find it here.

All three games, together at last!

And basically every store will have an entire section devoted solely to Square-Enix games.  Want a copy of DQV for the PS2?  Done.  FFXII International?  No problem.  Most places will even include copies of Squeenix games for older systems, so you don’t have to go digging through garbage to find that PS1 copy of Chrono Trigger you were searching for.

So yeah…

I’d go on, but I think you get the idea.  Japanese game stores are awesome, Wonder GOO in particular due to the low prices and decent selection.  The only drawback is my inability to read (and therefore play) most of these titles. 

Something to work on, perhaps…

First Post! It’s Aliiiiiiive!!!

I had a few minutes away from my screaming wreck of a life to contribute to this new blog thing, so…yeah.

Here goes.

I’m standing about a week away from graduation, so hopefully it’s only a matter of days before I hop on a plane and start exploring Japanese video game culture up close.

Once I’m there, the loose plan for this blog is for Randee to cover the western gaming market and for yours truly to focus on what’s coming out of good old Nippon.  We’ll literally have the world surrounded, so why not make the most of it?

I’m really looking forward to walking into a Japanese game shop again.  During the brief trip I took a few years ago, I caught a glimpse of what was in store for me.  Not being able to read a word of Japanese, I wasn’t able to do more than judge a few metaphorical books by their cover, but holy hell–I swear there must be entire genres that exist solely on that island.

I look forward to exploring these titles and expanding my gaming horizons, but more than likely I’ll just wither away eating mochi and playing dating sims involving lots of tentacles.

You may never hear from me again.