Retro Gaming- Final Fantasy XIII: (2009)

As many of us know Final Fantasy XIII was released by Square Enix in late-2009.  What was cool about this game was that Square Enix decided to divide this game into two parts.  Final Fantasy XIII is one of the many games in the Fabula Nova Crystallis series along with titles such as: Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightening Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy Type-0.  Final Fantasy XIII was a game that Square Enix has worked on since 2004 and it would be safe to say that many people were satisfied with the finished product of this game.  Similar to some of the previous games Final Fantasy XIII maintains the Active Time Battle System that was introduced in FFIV. Another similarity to some of the preceding Final Fantasy games includes the amount of characters one can have during battles.  Similar to titles such as Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII players are only allowed to have a maximum of three characters during each battle.

Along with a refined battle system the game includes an new leveling system know as the “Crystarium.”  This leveling system made Final Fantasy XIII more exciting to players since it contained ten levels that were unlocked throughout key points of the game.  Some would argue that the  developers used a creative approach to implement this new feature.  Others might argue that the Crystarium is similar to the Sphere Grid introduced in Final Fantasy X but with fewer options. Either way it added some variety to this title along with many other in game elements.  During battles players are only allowed to control the lead character which can seem frustrating since it would have a profound effect on different strategies players would use to defeat their opponents.  Speaking of opponents there are various bosses that many people struggle with while playing Final Fantasy XIII.

Most of the difficulties that people have in Final Fantasy XIII are usually in Chapter eleven.  Without a doubt Barhandelus is the toughest boss in the entire game along with Hecatoncheir and Dahaka.  As one progresses throughout the game they learn more about the main characters Lighting, Snow Villiers, Sazh Katzroy, Oerba Yun Fang, and Oerba Dia Vanille and how to master their abilities to defeat fearsome foes.  After its initial release Final Fantasy XIII sold millions in Japan its first week.  Many critics and gamers approved of the outstanding graphics and fast paced gameplay. Gaming publications such as Eurogamer, Gamespot, and IGN scored part 1 of  FFXIII in the eight point bracket while Game Informer’s rating was in the nine point bracket.  Overall, Final Fantasy XIII is a very fun title that people will spend hours trying to complete due to its level of difficulty.

 

 

 

Retro Gaming- Final Fantasy XI: (2002)

As we all know Final Fantasy XI was originally released by Square for the PlayStation 2 game console in 2002. This game would also be released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 which allowed players to enjoy the online gameplay of  Final Fantasy XI.  The online features of Final Fantasy XI is better suited for Microsoft Windows or the  Xbox 360 because of its massive multiplayer gameplay which allowed players to put in as many hours as they wanted into the game.  Final Fantasy XI allows players to control five characters including Elvaan, Hume, Galka, Mithra, and Tarutaru to journey off into different adventures throughout the game.  Since its inception Final Fantasy XI had introduced as series of add-ons and expansion packs between the years 2003 and 2015.

Each expansion pack have their own unique stories including Rise of the Zulart (2003), Chains of Promathia (2004), Treasures of Aht Urhgan (2006), and Wings of the Goddess (2007) which most fans of the series in seem to enjoy.  While it varies among many people which pack was the best some people would probably agree that Chains of Promathia was one of the most favorable expansion sets.  The missions and adventures in each expansion pack all offer great gameplay and many hours of fun that people can really get attached to.    Final Fantasy XI was slightly different from its previous titles because player had the option of using a keyboard and a mouse if they were playing the game on a console.  This would allow players to advance through the story using the dialog sequence that appears on the lower left screen of the game.

Another great feature this game includes is character customization which allows people to alter anything from appearance to national allegiance for the characters they control.  As one progresses through Final Fantasy XI they have the opportunity engage in various battles with monsters in highly refined 3D landscapes. Final Fantasy XI also includes various boss battles that are both fun and challenging. While the main battles in the game vary based on difficulty many would argue that the High Notorious Bosses: Absolute Virtue and Pandemonium Warden were among the toughest.   Even though, many people enjoyed Final Fantasy XI on PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 it was revealed over a month ago that Square Enix had shut down servers for both game consoles.  However, people are still allowed to play Final Fantasy XI online for Microsoft Windows.  While many may argue that Final Fantasy XI paled in comparison to some of other titles in the series they would have to admit that it was a very fun game to play online.

 

 

Retro Gaming- Final Fantasy XIII 2: (2011)

As many of us know Final Fantasy XIII was developed by Square Enix and was released in 2009.  While many people enjoyed part 1 of Final Fantasy XIII some  had different options about game even though most of the reviews were positive.  In 2010, Square Enix had decided to partner with Tri-Ace to develop the second part of the game known as Final Fantasy XIII which was released in Japan during 2011.  Final Fantasy XIII 2 was released worldwide in 2012 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and eventually Microsoft Windows in late 2014.  The second part of Final Fantasy XIII once again utilizes the Crystal Tool engine and provides players with a wonderful gameplay experience as they travel throughout various regions of the game.

Not only do players have the opportunity to journey throughout various places in the game but the element of time travel is also significant.  The timeline for Final Fantasy XIII 2 begin with one of the main characters Serah Farron in at 3 AF.  Serah eventually meets a time traveler from 700 AF named Noel Kreiss who is also another protagonist in the game.  Throughout the game the player travels throughout different time from 3 AF to 500 AF  Along with time travel being a huge part of the main storyline Final Fantasy XIII part 2 includes a slightly refined combat system known as the “Command Synergy Battle” system.  Some people might argue that the the Command Synergy Battle system is slightly more complicated than the Active Time Battle system used in the previous game because a certain amount of slots are need to initiate certain actions.   On the contrary, other people enjoy the new battle system for Final Fantasy XIII 2 because of its innovation and the amount of thought the developers put into refining game’s battle system.

While battling players are required to have a certain amount of slots filled on their ATB bar to use magical abilities or to attack.  At first glance battling enemies can seem frustrating at times but as the game progresses the ATB bar can expand overtime which was good since players are rewarded for their perseverance throughout the game. While playing through Final Fantays XIII 2 people while encounter many interesting boss battles before taking on the final boss Jet Bahamut.  But the main boss that many people seem to complain about is Raspatil who has many devastating attacks including Aleph Zero.   Many people have developed countless strategies on how to defeat Raspatil but it is normally recommended that one goes into battle with their character’s Crystarium levels  as high as possible.

After its initial release Final Fantasy XIII 2 had an outstanding buyrate in Japan by selling over 500,000 copies within its first week.  Also, gaming publications such as Eurogamer, Game Informer, and IGN has scored the title in the eight point bracket while Game Informer and Famitsu had praised Final Fantasy XIII 2.   One of the minor criticisms of this game includes idea that the main characters of were not included in much bigger roles such as Lighting.  However, along with Lighting other characters from Final Fantasy XIII part 1 had made cameos in the game rather than being ignored all together.  Overall, Final Fantasy XIII part 2 was great and is recognized as one of the best selling game of the PlayStation 3 game console today.

 

Classic Gaming- Skies of Arcadia: (2000)

During the past three decades the world has seen the development of many great RPG titles from Final Fantasy to Phantasy Star series and more.  However, there have also been RPG games that people consider an instant classic but never received the sequel that it deserved. Skies of Arcadia which was considered to be one of the best games produced on Sega Dreamcast is an example of such a game.  Ever since, its inception many people have often wondered why Overworks has not created a sequel to this awesome RPG title.When Skies of Arcadia was released in 2000 it had received a positive reception from critics and gamers alike.  The graphics of this game was reminiscent of other 3D RPG titles such as Chrono Cross and Final Fantasy 7.  Even though, Skies of Arcadia was not as popular as the Chrono or the Fantasy series some would argue that the gameplay was just as exciting.

One of the best features included in Skies of Arcadia is the overworld travel.  Throughout the game players travel on an airship were they can engage in battle with adversaries on other ships.  Along with defeating enemies in the air players can travel throughout different dungeons in the game and defeat various opponents.  This game also have an intriguing plot involving  the main characters Fina and Blue Rouge members Vyse, Alia and their quest to stop the Valuan Empire.  While players travel throughout the game using the overworld feature they also engage in several boss battles in involving the Valuan Empire.  Over the years people have debated on who the toughest boss is but opinions normally vary depending on the player.  Many people would probably argue that the optional boss battle against Vigoro was the toughest; others would argue that the Ixa’ness Demons and Rupee were incredibly difficult.

However, the challenges this game presents make the title more exciting along with making players more eager to complete the entire story.  Another great feature about this game includes the soundtrack that includes over 60 songs. Their are many soundtracks that blend in nicely with the game’s atmosphere especially during the final boss battle with Ramier.  After its initial release Skies of Arcadia received favorable reviews from GameSpot, EGM, and IGN along with being scored in the nine-point bracket out of ten.  As many of us know Skies of Arcadia was eventually re-released for the GameCube in late 2002-early 2003 in the countries of Japan and America.  While Skies of Arcadia is a memorable RPG classic people have often questioned for over the past fifteen years on whether or not there will ever be a second installment to the series.

 

Classic Gaming- Halo 3: (2007)

We all thought the first two installments of the Halo series was great in both gameplay and graphics during their releases in the early 2000’s.  Even though, Halo was not originally planned to a series many people enjoyed the various sequels released following Halo: Combat Evolved. As many of us know the third installment of the Halo series was released for the Xbox 360 console in 2007.  Similar to the previous titles Halo 3 included a campaign mode which contained cooperative gameplay including the main characters Master Chief and Arbiter. Halo 3 also included the addition two new characters “N’tho Sram, and Usze Taham who both have their own respective backstories.  The backstories in the game added to character development for both Sram and Taham.  Also, similar to the first two games Halo 3 maintained its mutiplayer madness allowing up to sixteen people to play on a single game.

As great as the online gameplay was campaign mode was also far better than the prequel in Halo 2.  One of the deciding factors that made Halo 3’s campaign mode much better was the ending.  After completing the game many people feel satisfied after hours of gameplay instead of being left with a cliffhanger ending.  The graphics of this game were spectacular and the gameplay was better than ever.  Many people have a tough time deciding which Halo game out of the first three was the best.  In terms of graphics many people argue three was the best while others might favor Combat Evolved since it was the original.  However, the second Halo game was one of the best selling games of all time for the original Xbox.  Either way, all three all Halo games were fantastic since Bungie always had an idea of what people wanted to see.

After its initial release gaming magazines including GameSpot, Game Informer, and Game Trailers had scored Halo 3 in the nine point bracket leaning close to a perfect ten.  Other publications including Edge & Eurogamer had gave Halo 3 a perfect ten score.  As time progressed many people would agree that the series had dramatically improved since its inception during the early 00’s.  The masses would also agree that the Halo series is among the best of many first person shooter games for Xbox in general.

Classic Gaming- Halo 2: (2004)

We all remember how great the original Halo game was after its initial release in 2001 when the very first Xbox console made its debut.  When Halo: Combat Evolved was first released many people considered it to be a groundbreaking classic that gamers must play if they owned an Xbox system.  While many people enjoyed almost everything about Halo: Combat Evolved especially its multiplayer mode the creators of the game didn’t have initial plans to create a sequel for this title.  The popularity of the original Halo game had pushed the developers into making another game within the series in entitled Halo 2 in 2004.   Similar to Combat Evolved the second installment includes the multiplayer feature where numerous people online can participate in a single game.

The campaign mode for Halo 2 featured both Master Chief and the Arbiter who were the main protagonists for this title.  While playing through campaign mode was enjoyable some people were not too thrilled about the ending.  However, the ending made everyone who had bought the game anxious for the release of the sequel for this title.  Also, many people sometimes forget that after original Halo game was released that it was not expected to become a series. Despite, being criticized for certain things involving campaign mode the game overall was a huge success which many people had enjoyed.  The gameplay was well refined and the graphics were spectacular.  The cinematic scenes in the game were lifelike and made people think they were watching an actual movie while playing the game.  In today’s generation of gaming such features are very common but during the early 2000’s many people thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Ever since its initial release Halo 2 has sold millions around the world and is well known for being the best selling game for the original Xbox.  Halo 2 similar to its prequel  had so much to offer in terms of online gameplay.  After this title was released it received praise from critics and fans alike.  Gaming magazines including Edge and GameSpot had scored Halo 2 in the nine point bracket out ten.  GameSpot was so amazed by the overall presentation of Halo 2 that they named it “Editor’s Choice” shortly after its release.  Additional magazines such as Electronic Gaming Monthly and GameSpy gave the title perfect scores for being an instant classic for the original Xbox system.  When it came down to first person shooting games for Xbox the Halo series generally comes to mind along with how great it was during its inception in the early 00’s.

Classic Gaming-Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)

If you were a huge of video games than you remember when the original Halo game was first released for the original Xbox console in November 2001.  As many of us know Halo: Combat Evolved was a military science first person shooter game developed by Bungie. Prior to its worldwide release the developers had spend approximately two years working on the game after its announcement in the summer of 1999.  When this game first made its debut many people did not know what to expect but since everyone was excited for the release of the new Xbox console a majority of gamers around the world decided to check it out.  After its initial release Halo had became very popular among various gaming communities worldwide.  Halo: Combat Evolved had featured a variety of features that made this game exciting especially its multiplayer that allows up to four players on the Xbox console.  In addition, to multiplayer up to sixteen players can join and play together on a single game making it a great title for party events.

Another great feature this game includes is the creative storytelling the follows the main plot of this title.  Halo focuses on the colonization of the human race on due to the over population of Earth.  As the game progress players learn about the SPARTAN Project utilized for the production of super-soldiers.  Also, players encounter various enemy forces throughout the game in the form of aliens known as the Covenant and the Flood. Doing battle with alien forces can be exciting but sometimes annoying especially the flood creatures since they are hideous.  Throughout the game players are often assisted by the United Nations Space Command while progressing through the game as the main character “Master Chief”.  The realism this game has to offer in terms of gameplay made this title more addictive because the battles with CPU controlled rival forces were challenging.  Most of the levels in the original Halo were great but in terms of being the most challenging stage opinions my vary.  However, many people who have played the original Halo would argue that the “Library” level on the “legendary” difficulty is quite possibly the toughest in the whole game.

After its initial release Halo: Combat Evolved had received great reviews from gamers and critics alike.  Major gaming magazines including Gamespot, Game Informer and IGN had scored Halo: Combat Evolved in the nine point bracket yielding closer to a perfect ten. Edge magazine had actually given Halo a perfect ten for being a well polished 3D first person shooter title.  Even though, the very first Halo game was awesome many people would probably agree that the 2004 sequel entitled “Halo 2” was much better.