…2010 is about ready for the trashcan. And its about damned time. This has been a long-ass year, and if I had to sum it up in one word, it’d be ‘tiring.’ But we’re not here to talk about that crap, let’s take some time to look back on the past year in gaming and entertainment. Fondly, less fondly, awfully- whatever. Let’s break out the gold wrapped chocolate awards and queue up a list of celebrity musical guests that I booked specifically to murder in public. (It’s not entrapment if it’s written in the ‘bilingual’ part of the contract they signed.)
So without further ado…
THE 2010 ‘UNNECESSARIES’ AWARD SHOW
~sponsored by NIS America: the least necessary company in gaming!~
When I heard there was going to be a sequel to FF Tactics Advance, for the DS, I was pretty stoked. I pre-ordered it, snapped it up on launch day… all that. Then, according to the timer, I played about 24 hours in and stuck it in its case for nearly two years. Can’t really say why, but better things ended up coming out.
So, randomly, I decided to give it another shot. Maybe just because the Tactics Advance games seem like the red headed stepchild of Final Fantasy spinoffs and nobody other than Gamespite seems to analyze them like gamers do the main chapters, and I needed material. Or I was looking for things to trade in and realized I hadn’t given it much of a chance.
FFTA2 is… Weird, to me. It almost feels like some kind of knockoff or cash-in version made by a a random outside developer for Square. It’s made up of various Final Fantasy related things, but there are little things that feel… off. Like Magic with a K on the end. Which leads to permutations of that like the word ‘magickal’ which doesn’t look right and my spell checker assures me isn’t a word. There’s some new arrangements of old Tactics music- but a few too many as if they couldn’t be bothered to compose too many all new bits. Then there’s the matter of a couple new races just popping out of the woodwork that nobody had mentioned beforehand, even though you’d think that the Gria in particular would stick out, even if Seeq could pass for morbidly obese Bangaa.
So, to cut to the chase, I started playing it again, eating up the enhanced sound and visuals, but there always feels like something lacking. There’s some pluses, sure, and the general pointlessness of the plot seemed to not matter so much after I’d been out of the game long enough to forget what the hell was going on and just consider it a series of unrelated missions to kill time. Then I got to one of the newspaper missions, one of the handful of non combat but still turn based missions of the game.
So turn, by turn, by turn, you have to walk around town asking everyone their New Years resolutions. Not just the stationary NPC’s, but you have to knock on the doors of all the houses in the stage as well. Naturally, you can’t reach them all in one or two turns. And they stay neatly in place, marching in time to the oddly grim battle theme the mission had picked. When all your units had made their moves, then you had the pleasure of sitting through the AI taking three or four seconds per character to decide how best to REMAIN STATIONARY until one of your guys’ turns came up again. Once all of that riveting work was done, one unit has to report back to the newspaper guy, one of those NPC’s I assume was designed to make you love to hate them. He asks you what the most popular resolution of the year is. Now, I was bored out of my MIND just reaching these characters to interact with them, so I didn’t really pay attention to what any of them said (even though two of them were recurring stalkers of a pop band, oddly enough.) I answer wrong.
The mission, which took about 15-20 minutes of violence free, turn based walking is marked a failure, and I’m unable to retry it, presumably until next game ‘year.’
Nostalgia is a damn powerful thing, especially for 80’s spawn like myself. The opiates of ‘toys’ and ‘cartoons’ were allowed to intermingle and form some sort of new, more potent form of marketing methamphetamine. That’s probably why our generation has the same problem resisting the urge to banter about My Little Pony and Etch-A-Sketch that the last few generations had with recounting how many Nazis they could kill with only their scrotums and moxie.
But, again, since I’m not part of that generation, all you people are going to have to make do with me regaling you with the story of how, while re-watching a cartoon I grew up with, just how batshit the original source material for the sprawling merchandising machine was.
But where to begin? The Giant Purple Griffin? An episode that basically tells kids gambling is ok, and the only thing better is cheating at it? How about one revolving around a hypnotic superdisco?
No… No, we can do even better than that. We’re going to dive right in and see how the hell mermaids fit in with the Transformers universe!
Raya Systems and A Medical Supply Company With Cash To Burn
The Short Version: The other SNES game for diabetics. Yep.
The Long Version: Pull up the splatter sheet.Continue reading Packy&Marlon