Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

 Role Playing Games, Short Take  Comments Off on Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
Jul 182016
 

Status: Completed, true ending Most Intriguing Idea: All the world’s a stage Best Design Decision: Sessions Worst Design Decision: Sessions Summary: The first read on the concept for Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE sounds simultaneously intriguing and absurd. The notoriously difficult Shin Megami Tensei approach to turn-based RPGs will combine with Fire Emblem, a classically tough strategy game with permadeath that has also recently become the newest iteration of making dolls kiss, as a turn-based RPG about #teens becoming pop idols in the Tokyo showbiz scene. One suspects that the whole thing was created on a napkin during the consumption of [Read more…]

Baten Kaitos letters: Finale

 Letters, Role Playing Games  Comments Off on Baten Kaitos letters: Finale
Jul 162015
 
Baten Kaitos letters: Finale

Hi Sparky! We’re coming at last to the end…the real end. This final segment is more “end-like” than anything we’ve experienced before, with five character quests, an open world map, and a very final Final Dungeon. Unfortunately, Baten Kaitos tries to wrap its stories up in some bizarre, and often unsatisfying ways. First, the five character quests are all pretty awful, and somehow all awful for different reasons. Xelha’s dungeon is mostly a reiteration of plot we learned in Wazn, only with adorable teenage Xelha at the helm. The dungeon itself is just a long series of what’s-behind-door-number-3… it’s a [Read more…]

The wages of Sin

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May 052014
 

Beyond its fraudulence and corruption, Final Fantasy X’s religion of Yevon is notable for its obsession with death. The church facilitates a “spiral of death” in which summoners and guardians sacrifice their lives to defeat and subsequently rejuvenate the death-bringing Sin. Important figures in the church view death as a form of salvation. Several leaders of the church are in fact already dead and clinging to a kind of unlife. Death and the dead rule Spira. From a narrative perspective, abandoning the dead past for a living future is one of the primary themes of Final Fantasy X. I covered [Read more…]

Breaking the Spiral

 Critique, Role Playing Games  Comments Off on Breaking the Spiral
Apr 222014
 
Breaking the Spiral

If it were a new game today, rather than a re-release of one more than a decade old, Final Fantasy X might prove to be fairly controversial. JRPGs have lost some of their power with the expanded gaming audience, but Final Fantasy is still a widely-known name. There has also been a broader realization since BioShock that games can actually have something to say about social and political issues. TV news organizations have proven eager to exploit videogames for ratings-building, and at least one has a political interest in portraying traditional values as besieged by popular culture. In this context, [Read more…]