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Talraen, June 29, 2009 1:29 AM (edited 6/28/09 9:34 PM)

Yay For Accomplishing Nothing

Mood: Tired
Tags: Gaming, Rock Band 2, Final Fantasy XII, Gears of War 2, Guitar Hero Smash Hits, Guitar Hero World Tour, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy
Yeah, judging by the number of music games I played this week, it's not surprising that I didn't really achieve much in games. I guess I did some stuff in FF12, but stopped before I had finished, so even that was kind of a let-down. Of course, this was all largely because I spent the end of the week prepping for (and running) D&D, so it's all good.

Rock Band 2
Rock Band 2
This was the week I got fed up and started getting rid of several of the gaming spreadsheets I keep that no longer serve any real purpose. Among those was the DLC list I had, which means I may actually not buy every Rock Band song from now on. Crazy! But I did finally play some more Iron Maiden, as well as last week's DLC. I played a whole lot of random fun songs on guitar, because I finally replaced my broken RB2 guitar and wanted to try the new one out. And I got my drums out for GH Smash Hits, so I played some of those, too. Good times.

Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy XII
The week started off pretty crazy in FF12 - I initially was just filling out more bestiary entries and collecting some bazaar items, but eventually I decided to see about finishing off that Hell Wyrm. I had gained a few levels since I last tried, and was able to actually stay alive despite his crazy attacks this time. I had to zone and heal up a few times, but I finished the bastard off. Inspired (and wanting to do something with an actual reward), I started taking down the highest-level marks that I had ignored - Ixion, Fafnir, Deathgaze, Behemoth King, and so on. They were tough, but not nearly as bad as Hell Wyrm, so I perservered, and got some nice loot. The last mark on the list (other than Yiazmat) was the Shadowseer, who was unfortunately at the bottom of Subterra under the Pharos, which I had never explored beyond the entrance.

Well, as it turns out, Subterra is pretty cool. Once you can survive the initial ambush (which is no small feat), it gets interesting. There are three floors, and each has a central area crawling with mobs as well as four corners that start off very dark. Killing mobs in the corner areas (which are small mazes) gets you dark orbs, which can be used to provide light. Once all four mazes are fully lit, the next floor opens. It's actually very reminiscent of Midlight's Deep/the Deep Dungeon from FF Tactics, right down to having some sweet-ass treasures. Ironically considering that FFXII has variable treasure just like FFT, but also fortunately, these treasures are not random. They do rarely appear, so you need to leave and come back several times to collect them all, but they're one-shot chests that always contain an item. I got some good stuff, including a Ribbon and the Ultima Blade, though I didn't clear the area out.

I did defeat the Shadowseer, though I came dangerously close to death early on. He summons all four Pharos bosses, and one of them (Pandemonium?) causes disease, which anyone who's played FFXII knows is obnoxious. It prevents you from being healed, and stays if you die, meaning that you need to resurrect a dead, diseased character, then cure disease, then heal their hit points. At one point I had my entire reserve party dead and diseased, which is a recipe for game over. But luckily I finally killed the damn thing, and the follow-up summons are far less annoying. Once I fully recovered, the result wasn't really in doubt.

With all the marks (again, except Yiazmat) defeated, the logical thing to do was take out the last two Espers, Ultima and Zodiark. Ultima would be the more appropriate first target, but she's in the great crystal, which is scary complicated, while Zodiark is in a relatively small area of the Henne Mines. I actually was only intended to scout, complete some bestiary entries, and collect treasure, but the area was just long enough that I didn't want to walk back only to do it again but just short enough that if I died it wouldn't be totally depressing. Plus, defeating Zodiark apparently opens a shortcut back. I say "apparently" because I failed, horribly. I actually got him down to 5% or so without any problems - most of his attacks are dark elemental, and making the whole party absorb dark is easy. Darkja's death effect was a little annoying, but arise isn't that expensive to cast. The problem is, at very low hp, Zodiark goes totally insane with physical attacks, to the point where he killed all six party members faster than I could keep them alive.

After that, I took a break from FFXII in favor of FF1 and, later, D&D. Depending on what I end up doing with FF1, I may leave my FFXII save alone for quite a while. We shall see.

Gears of War 2
Gears of War 2
Balerion was over and, for something to do, we popped in Gears 2. I had never played it, but I have to say, it looks like it will be a lot of fun when I get around to doing so again. The individual difficulty levels in co-op were very nice, but what really stood out was how ridiculously cinematic the game is right from the start. It feels almost like an amusement park ride or something. Albeit one in which our sorry asses got driven off a cliff like three times in a row.

Guitar Hero Smash Hits
Guitar Hero Smash Hits
Well, I still haven't beaten Free Bird, but I did play some more songs and continued enjoying the game. It even inspired me to finally buy the GHWT guitar with the touch pad. I can't say I really love it for the "touch pad notes," which are all I really thought it was good for, but the fact that you can strum by tapping it and add wah effects to hold notes by sliding on it is shockingly fun. I think they actually succeeded in making a guitar that allows you to "play your way" fairly well. The RB guitar's tiny frets are OK, but the touch pad is way more usable. Unfortunately, everything else about the guitar is still the same, and I'm not a fan (especially of the thick neck and mushy buttons). But it's not a complete waste!

I also hooked up the drums, mostly to see if they ever patched it so the Ion drum set would have all five notes. It doesn't, but they improved the UI somewhat and it was pretty fun. Hell, if I had anywhere to put it, I might consider getting the GH drums just so I could get the "full experience," along with a second pedal. But I don't, so nevermind that!

Guitar Hero World Tour
Guitar Hero World Tour
With the new GH guitar in hand, I figured I should try the game that it was originally made for. And I was shockingly unimpressed. Sure, the note charts are good (unlike GH3), but most of the song list is very meh. And the majority of really good songs are in Rock Band anyway. So that's kind of disappointing.

Final Fantasy XI
Final Fantasy XI
I did almost nothing in FFXI this week. The majority of my logged in time (which was less than three hours for the week) was spent helping Draethor get FFXI LeftAsuran FistsFFXI right. He wanted help breaking his fists of trials (or whatever they're called), but he had already done more than half the work with his NPC so that went quite quickly. I wasn't sure if we could do the NM (I had done so with Airclair, but his gear is significantly more ridiculou), but in the end it turned out not to matter - there was a party that had just engaged him when we arrived. We asked and they let us join, so that was super easy.

Beyond that, I burned my tactics pearl killing beasts and birds in Tahrongi and Buburimu in an effort to level her armor some more. Her body piece remains stubbornly stuck at level 6, but everything else is at least catching up. Her gloves may even be further along. But I'm wondering if her armor won't upgrade as quickly on non-xp-yielding mobs. I guess I'll have to go back to leveling dark knight.

Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy
The reason I created the game list (or rather, its precursor) was to record which games I had finished so I wouldn't repeatedly play them. It wasn't a perfect plan, since my anal-retentive self required proof of said beating, so games where I didn't still have my save files are generally recorded as unbeaten. This includes most PC RPG's, like Baldur's Gate and whatnot, but does not include Final Fantasy games, since I still had my saves from my last grand playthrough back in college. Yeah, I haven't played through FF1-10 in six years. Generally speaking, my desire to replay these games has been alleviated by their continually being re-released (new releases don't count, see). However, in the case of FF1, the re-releases have completely changed the game and made it laughably easy.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. As mentioned on a poll (which I have, in fact, ignored the results of, as usual), I have been inspired to replay the FF series and make some sort of "ultimate guide" for each game. I'm not thinking so much a walkthrough as a guide to everything you could possibly want to know to power through each game. In FF6, for instance, a comprehensive guide to which special attacks use which stats, which ignore defense, etc., can go a long way to making your party as badass as possible in a very short time. It made sense to start at the beginning, since there are several comprehensive "system" FAQ's for FF1, and it's a game that has always been dear to my heart. Though if I do make this guide, and decide to continue on, I may skip FF2 (because it's not fun) and FF3 (because there is no "original version").

Which brings me to my next point - only FF Origins for the Playstation contained a version of FF1 anything like the original. So I've decided that I will play through the "original" versions of each game (and the PS1 versions of 1-6), rather than the remakes with all their extra stuff. Which is why I busted out my copy of Origins. I even tried playing it on the PSP via Remote Play, but even in a turn-based game the A/V delay is obnoxious. I kept going one spot too far on the menus, which is especially a problem in FF1 since the menus already tend to double up on button presses.

Anyway, I didn't really "play" FF1 per se - I've been collecting data in order to do so. Though part of that involved playing through at max level with enemy encounters turned mostly off (yay Gameshark), to test boss's spell/attack cycles and check for encounter squares. So I guess technically I beat the entire game (and in under three hours, no less), but that's kind of missing the point.

In any case, data collection is done, now I just need to make a UI for it and post it here as the fourth Game Tool. I doubt anyone but me will ever use it, but it's not really for anyone else, so whatever. But I'm taking this playthrough to another level of hardcore - I've made up a list of things to do to play the game the way it was likely intended. Like not stacking buffs (or debuffs), and simulating the original 16-slot armor and weapon systems. It's a lot harder to abuse the magic-using items when you actually have to hold them. It should be fun.
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