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So after much prompting from folks I finally played through this title. I can't give this title a one star rating in good conscience. It's not all bad, so let's start off with what the game does well.
Setting: The setting of the game is pretty cool. The basic idea that there is an old-school cartoon come to life by way of evil magical ink is neat.
Presentation: The constant sepia effect combined with vintage film grain works in my opinion. Artistically there is a lot to like about this game. I got the vibe that the art direction had way more thought put into it and was more fleshed out than any other part of the game.
Voice Acting: Surprisingly this title had some really solid voice acting. The audio logs that help you piece the story together and gain your bearings on your current situation were well done and the crew involved should feel good about what they accomplished. There is no shortage of horrible voice acting in games these days.
Finally we arrive at what kept it from gaining any more than two stars in rating. The game itself. Seriously, this isn't meant to be a joke. The game itself is executed in a manner that totally undermines the artistic merits that it holds. There are so many fundamentally bad design decisions made in this title that I actually find it hard to believe that they had any playtesting done out-of-house. The final chapter in specific is the worst part of the game. It literally takes everything that is horrible about the previous chapters and then mixes them together for one big final slog. From the "beat an endless wave of enemies because we need filler" section to the absolute waste of time mini-game that was "navigating through the tunnel on a paddle boat that keeps having problems while being chased by a boss that one-shot's you", it is a parade of archaic design flaws that have since been fixed long ago by better developers. The final boss battle is an absolute joke. The amount of "find the switches" sections is egregious considering how easily everything blends into the background with the sepia/film grain art design. The story is the typical "give them enough to keep them asking questions but not enough that we ever have to actually explain what's going on because we don't know either" horror game stuff. I would love to see this idea done with a competent design team, but unfortunately I don't see anyone attempting to do so in the near future. Great idea, horrible execution.
Final Fantasy VII
First played: September 7, 1997
First played date accuracy: +/- 7 days
Last attempted: Likely 2015
Why I should beat it: Considered one of the best RPGs of the era, there's a big nostalgia factor there, and I would be happy to play through it.
Why I haven't beaten it: I'm quite bad at RPGs, I just never had the patience to level up my characters by grinding, so I always hit walls. All I want to do is enjoy storyline without endless dungeon battles that prohibit progress for arbitrary fights. It's a turnoff for me.
This was going to be a big effort for me, at best, and with a child, that's a hard ask. I've also made lots of progress in RPGs before just to have the storyline denied to me because of random dungeon battles I wasn't prepared for. It's not attractive.
I first became aware of this game from gaming magazines. Later, I recall renting Tobal No. 1 so I could get the demo disc of this, the crew having Shiva and Ifrit that early was hilarious. I bought the game some time in late 1997 I believe, I remember seeing my friend Ted with his sealed copy, and I bought the same one, just because. Never succeeded at an RPG before.
For the last 23 years, I have started, stopped, started again, always failing to make it anywhere in this game. But I always liked what the game represented, I remember as early as 2003, burning the soundtrack CD with my new CD-R burner, took forever. Making crappy CD labels in a CD label program.
The 2020 Endeavor:
Since I'm 40 years old now, and married with a child, and I am able to play on a PlayStation Portable as I can play in bed or while I'm parked with my daughter sleeping in the car, I decided this was my final, final chance.
If I hit a wall where the run was in jeopardy (henceforth referred to as "!!DANGER!!"), I'd cheat, if I had to.
So here we go:
Midgar: This brought back a ton of memories of me. I enjoyed this part, as it's always where I played the most with so many restarts.
Sector 5 Slums: Nice stuff here, I liked the church.
Wall Market: I really liked the Wall Market, fun area where you're not scared of dungeons.
Sewer and Train Graveyard: Always hard for me, but I ended up getting through it.
Sector 6: This was alright, mopey Cloud.
Shinra Building: This was a pretty fun part, if you can believe it, all those years I actually thought I was near the end of disc 1 by now, because I had been playing for a while, shows how far off I was. Rufus/elevator fights were hard.
Kalm: Simple enough.
Chocobo Farm: The game never tells you where this is or that you need to go, make you spend a ton of Gil for that point in the game.
Mythril Mine: Not really a fan of these parts of the game.
Junon: Parade part was stupid.
Cargo Ship: Not really intuitive about what's about to happen, since you just talked to Barret and then you go back and he's not there blocking the path anymore.
Costa del Sol: In another life, I would have spent more time playing around here, but I'm 40 and in a rush.
Mount Corel: Not a big fan.
Gold Saucer: Boy that's a lot of money, what an odd place. Chocobo racing sucked.
Corel Prison: I didn't care for this, outside of lots of fighting and sleeping in the truck. !!DANGER!! Fight with Dyne with underpowered Barret was stupid.
Gongaga: Skipped it altogether.
Cosmo Canyon: Didn't like it, too many big spiders they make you face, followed by a dumb boss fight. Almost a wall.
Nibelheim: The scorpion fight almost had me resorting to cheats, but I haven't given in, yet. Almost another wall.
Rocket Town: This was fun and chill, I wish more of the game was like this.
Gold Saucer: Ah, this place again. What a strange and odd place, battle tournament was dumb, after having an enemy poison me and I sit there and watch cloud keep getting attacked as he slowly does. Oh, and I paid 3000 Gil for that experience. The date scene was okay after the weird stage performance was over with.
Temple of the Ancients: I was super tense during this, I think it was the music, like something really bad is going to happen very soon. Uematsu does a great job at making you feel endangered. !!DANGER!! This is when I started cheating, because Demon's Gate sucks, and I don't have the time or the desire to grind.
Bone Village: no idea why I needed to find that lunar harp, and so glad I looked at a guide to see where to find it, what a weird one-off mechanic, like that parade.
Forgotten Capital: This place was creepy as hell, completely deserted, and what a way to end disc 1, a point I never thought I would get to, legit or not. And now, I can continue on with this journey.
Icicle Inn: Was a nice little town, I sure didn't know that thing was a snowboard.
The Great Glacier The snowboarding game was odd, and the map didn't help much.
Gaea’s Cliff: Boy I'm sure glad I never passed out during this.
Whirlwind Maze: This was interesting, and not at all annoying.
Junon: Back here again? Rip through them.
Mideel: What a neat little town. Wow, Cloud's all messed up.
Mount Corel: That was a hike.
Fort Condor: What a dumb tower defense game.
Mideel: Well this certainly turned. The consciousness scene was trippy as hell.
Underwater Reactor: All this huge materia, for some purpose?
Underwater Submarine Battle: Nah, didn't care for this minigame. Also, find me the person who knew where the Key to the Ancients was without a guide.
Rocket Town / Cosmo Canyon: You got your wish, Cid.
Forgotten City & Diamond Weapon: Can feel myself towards the end now. Going back to the forgotten city was weird.
Midgar: Was almost nice to be back here, even for the last time.
Northern Cave: Was a very interesting last bit of the game, once you step off the Highwind at the start of Disc 3.
So my method of cheating on the PSP is a custom firmware with the cheating application. I didn't want to risk anything. So for most of the game, I had infinite HP turned on for all characters. I got all the way to Safer Sephiroth, the final boss, and I felt like I didn't want to take any chances, because it'd been a while since I had the opportunity to save.
I turned on "No Damage". And the "No Damage" cheat conflicted with my "Infinite HP" cheat, and the game froze. Time to start the last hour over again from the Highwind.
As it turns out, it didn't just crash my PSP, but the crash was so bad, it corrupted my cheats database. I have to now hook up my PSP to a computer and import a new cheats database. 4 hours later, I was back in action. And after another hour, back at Safer Sephiroth.
Because up until this point, I was just hacking through everything, I never bothered to stock up on Megalixers, Remedys, and Phoenix Downs. I also had barely any magic attached to my weapons, so when Sephiroth got high in the air, I had no way of attacking him, and it was just a pattern of Super Nova's, and without any way to heal myself, I died, with Infinite HP (Infinite HP only kicks in during the start of a fight, if a fight lasts long enough and you can't heal, you will still die.) I've waited 23 years to see the end of this game, I can wait one more day, but I would need my own "Ultimate Weapon"
Black Chocobo, a save editor for this game. I uploaded my save file, kicked in 99 megalixers, 99 remedys, and 99 phoenix downs. I gave the highest Limit Break, best weapon, and Destruct and Regen Materia to everyone. There was no way I could lose now.
Towards the end of the Sephiroth battle, when I had him towards the end of his 80,000 starting HP, I accidentally gave him a Megalixer. This raises him back to 400,000 HP! I was astonished at this point, and thoroughly assured that I was never meant to see the end of this game, it is destiny. I was never meant to be here.
But I sat it out, and after countless turns, regens, and 4 Super Nova's, I defeated Sephiroth.
I beat this game on a Thursday, with cheats and save file edits, and tons of drama and technical issues in-between. But finally, I can put it to bed.
Time elapsed from starting the game to finishing the game:
22 years, 268 days
Pikmin is a very frustrating game. For every good thing it does there are two missteps. The core gameplay is solid; the process of building up an army to do as much as possible in as little time as possible is really cathartic. But the level design is infuriating, with so many walls ledges that force you to go in roundabout ways that waste your time.
The world is super interesting, with the diverse locales and weird alien species offering a lot of intrigue about this planet. But the enemies are really irritating, and it's easy to lose a ton of your Pikmin all at once because the game didn't do what you wanted to do and the enemies wipe out a third of you Pikmin instantaneously.
Not helping matters are all the mechanical problems. The camera is never in a good position to see what you need to see, and I swear to God it moves on its own. The AI of the Pikmin is complete garbage; it's honestly kind of hilarious to watch how dopey they are, but it's maddening to watch them trip for the 214th time and to blow the whistle multiple times while they refuse to listen to you.
It's a bit hard to recommend this game. When I played it, I couldn't stop thinking about it because of how solid the world and core gameplay is, but there's a lot holding it back.
Depois de jogar todos os principais jogos da série recentemente, até entendo os motivos desse jogo não ter sido tão aclamado, mas eu gostei bastante, a jogabilidade tá bem mais fina no combate, apesar de o jogo só ter 3 inimigos diferentes o jogo todo. A parte sandbox na cidade com sidequests também é bem legal, gostaria de um jogo só desse jeito. Enfim, top.