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So I Finally Played Lightning Returns

LightningReturns

I’ve been reluctant to play Lightning Returns; mostly because like so many other Square Enix fans I can’t stand Lightning as a character and found Final Fantasy XIII to be easily the worst of the main series.

That said; Final Fantasy XIII has it’s moments. I feel like each of the three games had it’s major highlight. For the original Final Fantasy XIII, I found that the section of the game where Cocoon was going to crash into Pulse was a fantastic and exciting concept, it was just a shame it was a glimmer in an otherwise sea of impossible storylines and boring gameplay.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 was genuinely not a bad game. The gameplay and monster recruitment was entertaining and Serah and Noel were characters I really enjoyed. The lack of Lightning in this game really helped. But it’s hard to get past the fact that 500 years had passed and half the characters had aged something like ten years, whilst others hadn’t at all, and there was no explanation for this.

Lightning Returns

Lightning Returns started off awful for me, more unexplained aging (or de-aging as the case may be, seriously why was Hope a kid again?) and the battle gameplay was horrific. I saw that IGN credited Lightning Returns for it’s gameplay, but dear lord, I literally could not enjoy the battles. They were uncharacteristic of an RPG, and most of the time the battles were pointless. If your EP was full there was literally no reason not to run past every monster. Shocking stuff.

Lightning Returns managed to grab me through select part  of the storyline; mostly the scene where Lightning saves Snow. It was weird that I loved this scene so much since Snow may be the only character in Final Fantasy XIII worse than Lightning. Snow had somehow managed to make himself less of an idiot and they really toned down his overuse of the word ‘Hero’. Thank goodness. The rest of the storyline was… Fine, but the real perk of the game was the genuinely enjoyable ending. The ending, whilst it didn’t explain a whole lot about the black holes in the Final Fantasy XIII series; I did enjoy the whole battling against a God phase, and after spending the first half of the game hating Lumina – finding out why she was in the game was a really good plot line and felt reminiscent of the good old Final Fantasy days.

I won’t lie though; I am glad Final Fantasy XIII is over. It was a project stretched way too far, with some of the least memorable characters in the series history and the storyline was so poorly structured a five year old could have come up with something more consistent and compelling.

Lightning Returns

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Retro Game Review: Tales Of Fantasia (1995)

tales of phantasia

tales of phantasia

Tales of Phantasia (1995)

Tales of Phantasia was a popular RPG from the 90s. The game was released in 1995 and is considered one of the most innovative games of the time. It introduced a unique battle system which was more engaging than other games. It’s story is involving and the game itself is thoroughly underrated.

The game takes you through five different adventures. The adventures include Cless, a young swordsman; Mint, a healer who is quite reserved; Klarth, a summoner who is pensive; Chester, an arrogant archer; and Arche, a half-elf which with some spunk.

The game begins with a quote from Edward Morrison. He is a character that will appear later in the game, but the quote is legendary. He says “Truly, if there is evil in this world, it lies in the heart of mankind.” If you’ve played this game before, you know that this quote sets up this game perfectly. The quote simply ties up the game well.

At the start of the game, you are Cless by default. You are immediately thrown in the middle of a cinematic battle where four people are attacking a mage, but are failing. One hero casts an Indignation spell and as the onlooker you see the spell work as the villain explode and flee. The credits roll after this letting you know the game has officially begun.

I don’t want to give away too much from this game, but the story of Tales of Phantasia is a gripping one. The game explored many themes including morality, motivation, revenge, and of course war. Cless is usually driven by revenge which can cloud hiss judgement and cause him to act impulsively. The game also reveals the motivation behind the war of Dhaos and Midgard, and what each side wanted out of it. Throughout the game, we are led to believe that Dhaos is evil and only wants to destroy and take over the world, but we find out his true motivations at the end of the game. We see that he is actually a hero that tries to save the lives of his people. This creates sort of an internal crisis for the player himself.

There are also quite a few side quests in the game, including a dungeon which is full of the best summons, spells, and items in the game. There is also a fighting tournament with cool prizes, a visit to Ninja Village, and a treasure hunt. The graphics in this game are also great for its time. I highly recommend playing this game all the way through.