Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories Review

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It’s time for the next installment in the Kingdom Heart novels. This one covers the Chain of Memories game which was always a fun follow up to the original. The story was a lot more intense as you could say that the plot finally started here. This novel is quite a bit larger than the first as it has 2 Sora stories plus the Riku one. It clocks in at a clean 400 pages and makes for a pretty epic read from start to finish.

The first novel finished with Sora, Donald, and Goofy being split up from Riku and King Mickey as the latter stayed behind the door of Kingdom Hearts in order to shut it to save the world. Sora vowed to find them once more and Kairi stayed behind on the island. Unfortunately, something seems off. While the heroes were on a road, they suddenly find themselves at a castle and a mysterious individual warns that as they go through it, they will lose their memories. At the same time, they will gain new ones to replace the old memories that they have lost. Sora decides that they must press on and so the heroes continue.

You can definitely say that this is one of the toughest challenges that the heroes have encountered. What they don’t realize is that the castle is owned by Organization XIII. They are using a girl named Namine to rewrite Sora’s memories. She deletes his memories of Kairi and slowly inserts herself into them instead. She begins deleting his memories of his friends as well to the point where Sora begins to forget everything. This starts to cause some tension between the 3 heroes, but fortunately they’ve been through a lot so this doesn’t lead to any big split like in the first novel. Donald and Goofy know something is wrong, but their memories are being tampered with as well so it’s difficult to fight back. You can’t stop an opponent that you don’t even know you are fighting after all.

One of the challenges of the Castle is that Sora must revisit all of the worlds that he visited in the first novel. Admittedly, this part can be a little repetitious. Even more so since I just finished reading the first novel a few days ago. During each chapter, I would just look forward to the parts where he would leave the world and fight with the Organization XIII members. That and the new inner monologue were the most important parts. The actual worlds progressed in just about the same way as the first time around. That’s basically the point, but it doesn’t make those challenges too engaging.

Finally, Sora also has to watch out because the villains created a fake Riku to mess with his mind even further. Fortunately, Sora deals with this fairly well. He does suffer from a ton of self doubt in this novel but considering the circumstances, I suppose it makes sense. Sora’s definitely a great lead and acts as a real hero throughout these trials. Even when he finds out that Namine has been manipulating him, he decides to aid her since it wasn’t totally of her own volition and he claims that even if he never made the promise to protect her, the memory of it (Fake or otherwise) makes it real so he’ll live up to it. It’s an interesting concept and one that I can agree with. (As long as the fake promise wasn’t anything crazy) Donald and Goofy’s roles are a lot smaller here, but they’re good sidekicks to have around. They could maybe use more character at times, but as long as they don’t betray Sora or anything, we’re good.

The Riku story at the end takes place at the same time as Sora’s adventure although it ends after the first one. Since their main target is Sora, the Organization doesn’t bother to mess with Riku’s memories. They don’t even know that he has infiltrated the castle at first since everyone thought it would be impossible to escape from Kingdom Hearts. Riku spends most of the novel trying to fight off the darkness so he can be friends with Sora again, but this is a tough challenge. It’s one that becomes even more difficult once the Organization notices him. Surprisingly, he only gets about half of his own story though. Fake Riku (Replica) gets the other half as he tries to become a real person by destroying the original and taking down Sora.

I actually preferred the Riku story to the Sora one. Since Riku kept his memories, it made his experiences in the various planets feel fresh. After all, we never got to see him there originally so in that sense it was already new. Throw in the fact that Ansem, Maleficent and all of the other villains kept jumping in and the whole thing got even better. Also, as cool as Sora is, Riku’s even better. He’s the intense rival that every good series needs and he fills the role perfectly. Walking the path of light and dark is definitely only something he could do. It was also nice to see Mickey show up even if he didn’t do much til the end. As with most things in the series, it was still a little vague how they escaped and why Mickey has telepathic abilities, but we’ll roll with it. Part of the fun with the series is that the mysteries continue to grow, but the vague statements all amount to something by the end. Since I’ve already played the rest of the games, what they’re saying makes a lot of sense the whole time. I’m sure once I play Kingdom Hearts III there will be a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense. That’s just how it goes.

Replica was also a decently good character. You can’t help but feel bad for him when the Organization forces him to have his memory wiped. At least he tries to stop them, but he was a little out of his league. The villains were also pretty good. There were quite a few of them and they all had different personalities. I do question the power levels though. The girl was able to detect Replica pretty easily, but then Sora was able to take her down for the count. I don’t think the difference in power should have been that great. At times, Sora also seems outmatched against the Organization while at other moments he seems to be out of their league. Whatever the case, it’s safe to say that he should be able to hold his own against them in Kingdom Harts III. By then he will have more than enough experience needed to take them down now…as a Keyblade Master!

Overall, This was a fun follow up to the first novel. It was definitely quite a bit more epic since the gang was already together and I really liked Castle Oblivion. The repetition in the worlds was maybe a little tiresome, but that was overshadowed by the increased amount of fights in the arc. I also felt like the fights had more stakes since Sora was up against sentient antagonists as opposed to normal heartless. I expect that the novel adaption of Kingdom Hearts II will be even better and will continue bringing up the series. If you haven’t read this one yet, I highly recommend it!

Overall 8/10

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Kingdom Hearts Review

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It feels like I’ve been reading this novel for months, but I have finally finished! As you can probably guess, this book covers the plot of the first Kingdom Hearts game. It does a good job of going through all of the important events and really covering the worlds. This does come at the expense of the fights which is unfortunate, but it’s a great way to catch up with the series if you’re not really a video game player. After all, the plot is fairly engaging on its own and with the movie/TV series probably not coming for a long time, this is your best bet! (Perhaps the manga as well, but the novel seems to handle it with greater detail)

The plot of this story revolves around a kid named Sora. He lived on a peaceful island with his two friends Riku and Kairi. Unfortunately, he wakes up one morning to find that the ocean has turned to darkness and a tornado is ripping the island off the ground. Riku vanishes in the waves and Kairi also disappears. Sora tries to keep himself together, but then he also fades away. He wakes up in a mysterious town where he meets up with strange people who tell him that all of the worlds are connected…and dying. Sora shakes this off and meets up with Donald Duck and Goofy from the classic Disney movies. They explain that they are looking for King Mickey and were told to travel with Sora in the meantime. This is because Sora is the chosen Keyblade Master of destiny who will find the keyholes in all of the planets and restore balance to the universe. Sora gets his game face on and prepares for this endeavor, but it’ll be tougher than he dared suspect.

It’s a pretty fun story that works well enough even if you switched out the Disney characters for made up ones. That being said, it certainly has more of an impact when you throw the crossover angle into the mix. It’s pretty fun to see the characters show up and help Sora out in each world. Sora gets to travel to Aladdin’s world, Peter Pan’s, Alice in Wonderland’s among others. It can be pretty nostalgic to see them and while those characters can’t fight all that much, Sora doesn’t really need any help.

As I mentioned earlier, the one drawback to this novel is that the fights are very short. Most of them are over in a couple of hits and don’t usually last more than a couple of pages. Some of them seem to be over in a single page. I hope we can get some longer fights in future adaptions, particularly Kingdom Hearts II since that should have quite a lot of fighting in it. I don’t mind if they have to skip a few worlds as a result, the action will be worth it.

Sora’s a likable protagonist and a good kid. He loses confidence a little too easily at times which is his main character flaw, but I’ll certainly take that one over most. He seemingly gets over this by the end of the novel, but it’ll be difficult to say for sure until we actually get there. There are quite a few plot twists and villains who like their mind games coming up so that could rattle Sora quite a bit.

I didn’t like Donald or Goofy though. They showed their true colors when they chose to leave Sora after the keyblade vanished. Friends shouldn’t just leave each other so easily. While they eventually went back to Sora’s side, it feels like he can’t really trust them as much as he thought. That test of loyalty was one that they failed. It’s not as if they’re great fighters either. Goofy’s shield and Donald’s magic will never be quite as effective as Sora’s sharp keyblade. It’s just the ultimate weapon.

Riku also shows up and part of the drama with him is that he has been tempted to the dark side. He thinks Sora is having too much fun as he goes on side trips while Kairi is still in a coma. Riku decides that he’ll have to save her on his own and goes through a lot of dangerous quests to get to this point. The darkness starts to overwhelm him by the end though and he loses sight of his goals to an extent. With his character arc coming full circle as Sora convinces him to join the light once more, he should make for a good ally in the coming volumes. While he may have had a point initially with Sora, he was also pretty unfair about it since Sora did try to find Kairi and just failed to do so. Riku had the advantage of having an evil witch on his side….if you can call that an advantage.

Maleficent is one of the big villains here, but her role is greatly reduced from the game. She gets to appear a few times, but comes across as an underling who was being used the whole time. Unless she redeems herself in the sequels, I’m going to say that the author probably wasn’t a big fan of hers. Ansem shows up at the end of the novel as a fun final boss and he makes for a good opponent. We certainly haven’t seen the last of him. Once Organization XIII shows up, it’ll help the series as it will finally have recurring villains who will last for a very long time.

This novel is of a pretty good length so it should last you a while. It’s about 300 words and the font isn’t all that big either. A lot of stuff happens over this time and as I mentioned, the book was able to fit in a lot of worlds. Each of the Disney worlds gets a good amount of screen time. While the Beast may have only gotten to appear without his world, he still looked pretty good since he was able to follow Belle when all of the other main heroes failed to do so. Following someone through a portal is rare no matter what medium you’re in. Characters just tend to hesitate a little too much when the going gets tough.

Overall, It’s fun to revisit the original Kingdom Hearts story and to finish another book in general. It’s been a long time since I played the first title so this is always nostalgic. I remember the series very well so it’s not as if it’s new to me, but it is fun to see how the series was before the deep plot started. Make no mistake, the seeds had sprouted for the plot with hintings all around. The writers likely had a good portion of the sequel all planned out and that’s one of the fun things about the franchise. It’s all connected and you always feel like it’s planned out well. I’ll be reading the sequel right away, but it’s a lot longer than this one so it could take a while to finish. I definitely know it’s going to be fun as well and it may even be better since Chain of Memories had a more engaging plot with higher stakes than this one. If you haven’t played the game, I highly recommend reading this book to get you into the franchise. Alternately, you should take the plunge and finally buy the original game.

Overall 7/10

Final Fantasy VII Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 38h 26m
Gil 101166
Cloud Level 63
Terry Level 62
The Sith Level 63

Summon Levels
Ramuh Level 1
Neo Bahamut Level 2
Ifrit Level 4
Hades Level 1
Bahamut Level 2
Phoenix Level 2
Shiva Level 3
Bahamut ZERO Level 1

Final Fantasy VII Review

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Well, it’s time for the big one. I started this game ages ago and have finally completed it. Final Fantasy VII is a legendary game that just about everyone has heard of. I became a big fan of this timeline thanks to the Advent Children film which was a complete and utter success. Unfortunately, the game was unable to live up to this level of hype. I was prepared for an amazing game, but ended up with a rather disappointing game. In many ways, FF VII was ahead of its time and was certainly high budget. In other ways, it was simply not up to snuff and really held itself back from a better score.

The plot involves a soldier named Cloud. He doesn’t really remember his past and the villain likes to mess with him quite a lot. He meets up with some resistance members and they decide to take down the corrupt government and save the day. This gets a little complicated when Sephiroth shows himself. He is a being of near limitless power who wants to end the planet. Cloud and his friends are just normal joes, how can they deal with this? They’ll need a lot of Materia (Summoning/Magic crystals) and allies if they want to overcome him. It’s a race against time now.

That’s probably not the best plot summary, but the game is very long with a plot that is constantly adapting as new stories come into play. There are also a lot of side quests and bonus content t hat flesh out the story even more. It’s a legendary game for its plot and this holds up very well. I actually didn’t know much at all about the game despite being a rather big fan of the series in general. A lot of it was all new to me, which was certainly a blast. Cloud’s origin was definitely nice and convoluted and there were so many twists that even I was a little confused by the end. It was in a good way though as it was well thought out and you can understand it as long as you give it enough thought.

The game was also a little more intense than I had been expecting. To be honest, I didn’t notice that the game had blood in it until I stumbled into the lab level where the staff had been viciously attacked. It really came out of nowhere. I will admit that this level was extremely atmospheric and if anything this element made it all the scarier. This was also when the game’s plot started to pick up and get a little more exciting. The beginning of the game is fairly laid back and FF VII likes to slowly build towards the plot. That’s an element that all Final Fantasy games go for as it lets then plot develop the characters and get you to sympathize with them. It’s a good tactic so long as the payoff is really good.

The payoff was worth the wait. Sephiroth is still the best Final Fantasy villain and both of his themes are incredible. The One Winged Angel theme is extremely iconic and it’s certainly great to see the original version of the song. It has all of the memorable beats and is not something that you’d expect from such an old game. Rock/Opera themes like this didn’t really seem to get mainstream until a lot later. Sephiroth also had another theme, which was the surprise hit of the game. It’s a horror theme through and through and with Sephiroth fading in and out like a ghost the whole time, it was really fitting for him.

Final Fantasy is easily the most tense game that I’ve played. It’s the closest to a horror game at these points and as I’ve never played a full horror game before (Or if I have then I can’t recall at the moment) Final Fantasy VII was a nice glimpse of what that would be like. A horror game done well can certainly be good if handled right as this game showed. Even the final bosses had very intense designs as I don’t think you’ll be forgetting Jenova anytime soon.

The graphics are exceptional. In gameplay the character models all hold up well. They are kinda pixely and you can really see that when you play the mods of them in Super Smash Bros, but they are really good for this day and age. Even more impressive is the fact that it had fully animated cutscenes. They weren’t short either as some were quite long. Even the super attacks had them although that’s an iffy point. It goes without saying that the soundtrack is absolutely top notch. You’re not going to find any game that can completely destroy this one in that area as it’s just very solid.

I haven’t touched on the gameplay yet. It’s classic turn based style and that has always aged well. I do miss it to an extent in modern gaming, but if the alternative is that all future Final Fantasy games will go with Kingdom Hearts gameplay….then I have to say that Square Enix made the right call. Real time gameplay is absolutely better although I really love them both. There is a lot of depth to the gameplay as your level isn’t the only thing to think about. Your Limit Level, Equipment, and Summons are all absolutely crucial. A pro tip for any gamers who haven’t played this yet is to make sure that you switch Limit Levels when you unlock a new one. Having a strong Limit Level 3 or even a Level 2 will make a big difference when compared to level 1. I apparently unlocked Level 3 a while back, but I never realized it so I played the whole game on level 1 until the very end. It was a sad moment.

There is a lot of replay value to be found here. You can easily spend over 100 hours on this game and maybe even more. There are numerous pieces of equipment to find and leveling everyone up to the max will take a very long time. There’s a lot of exploring to be done and side quests to complete. Some aren’t even accessible if you wait too long so then you’ll need to start over again. This is the kind of game that never really ends for you unless you put in a crazy amount of time. Even if you just want to play the main story, that’ll last you a while as well.

So…this sounds like a really positive review at the moment right? Well, lets get into the negatives now. One problem with the game is that it got a little too focused on showing off its graphics. Every time you summon a monster, you have to watch a very long and unskippable cutscene. As you’ll be going for many summons, this really ends up dragging out the fight. You’re gonna get sick of watching these cutscenes and there is seriously enough time to go to the kitchen and grab a snack since you can have all 3 of your characters prepare a summon. This means that you have to watch all 3 back to back to back which can take almost 5 minutes. Lets not forget that Sephiroth has his infamous solar system attack which is the longest one in the game.

The first negative was just a mild inconvenience next to this one. This negative is the fact that the map is very bad. Nothing is labelled so you’ll want to have a note pad on hand to write down what all of the islands stand for. Otherwise, you end up being lost for a while as you try to find the location. Wait, it gets worse. There are times in the game where you are given nothing to go on. I got stuck 3 different times in the game and I spent around 10 hours working to get unstuck. I was victorious the first two times, but in the end I finally cracked and ran to Gamefaqs to see what they had to say. I never would have guessed that I had to go into the ocean and find a secret cave towards the top where there were some designs for a cool mech that would lead me to the robot that would break into Sephiroth’s lair. There was absolutely nothing to even suggest this and this felt like a very unfair puzzle. The game had quite a few moments like this and it made the whole experience lose a lot of its enjoyment.

It’s also not very fun to be attacked by minions constantly for taking even a single step. The minions are everywhere and they just keep on coming over and over again. If you made a wrong turn, too bad. You’re gonna have to fight yet another monster. You can run, but then you will still be taking some damage in the mean time. Did I mention that leveling up in this game takes forever? Seriously, don’t expect to get to level 100 anytime soon. The minions are pretty durable and don’t give all that much EXP anyway. That’s why your top priority is developing your limit and finding cool weapons. Those will ultimately make the difference along with some ribbons to protect you from status attacks.

This game can also be a little mean spirited. If you made the mistake of saving once you were in the area of the final bosses and didn’t make another file…then you’re stuck. If you’re at too low a level to defeat Sephiroth, there is now nowhere to safely train and gather your health back. Luckily, I made around 5 files to be on the safe side and gathered a lot of supplies before attempting the boss again. It took me 2 tries, but I managed to secure the hard fought win. I was pretty proud of myself to be honest even if the area before the final boss gauntlet was way too long.

In the end, my main problem with the game is parts of its design. It was just lacking in some basic areas like the map and quality of life concerns. I shouldn’t have to wait through really long battles thanks to the cutscenes and getting lost for hours because the game sent me on a random goose chase is no fun. It’s a shame because the game is a technical masterpiece and the plot is solid. It’s like an AAA game that just didn’t get a great deal of quality control to back it up. I need my quality control which is why I can safely say that Deca Sports was the more enjoyable game. “But that’s crazy!” I’m not saying that Final Fantasy VII is a bad game, but it just wasn’t a fun game most of the time. I was expecting to have a lot more fun with it.

Overall, Final Fantasy VII was a little disappointing. It’s probably my fault for skipping ahead and playing the glorious FF XIII games though. The tough question here is whether to give the game a 5 or a 6. On one hand, my main negative is alleviated if you just buy a guide book or use online resources to get through the puzzles. On the other hand, that’s kind of a cop out. On the other hand, how can you give a game with 5 star graphics/soundtrack/plot and good gameplay a measly out of 10? It’s definitely one of the tougher decisions that I’ve had to make. It also brings Majora’s Mask into the picture as it’s in a very similar situation to FF VII. It has many of the same negatives with regards to the unfair puzzles, but its strengths are a bit weaker. That game I had been leaning towards a 5 on as well, but that puzzle wasn’t even as unfair as FF VII’s. The 3 day system is madness, but at least you can still make it if you keep on practicing long enough and looking for clues. It’s still a poorly conceived puzzle to be clear, but it’s not as drastic since you at least know where to look. Why can’t more games be like Layton? I was stuck there for around the same time as this game, but it never got upsetting as the puzzle was just very fair. Well, I gotta go with my gut here. Being enjoyable is still a game’s top priority. FF VII messed that up and so I can’t really cut it any slack. It will join other legendary titles like Star Fox Zero, Mario Party 10, Sword Art Online Lost Song, Frogger, and Nintendogs in the 5 star ranks. Hey, it’s still not a bad game and if you don’t mind wandering around for a while and being constantly attacked by enemies, then this is right up your alley. In the mean time, I’ll be looking forward to the remake as the gameplay shift should end up helping out a lot.

Overall 5/10

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Review


It’s time to take a look at the original Final Fantasy film. I saw this one a long time ago when I was a kid. I remember enjoying it back then so I wanted to revisit it and see if the film was as good as I remembered. It’s certainly a very interesting take on the series since it really has nothing to do with Final Fantasy. I suppose that you could say the same about most Final Fantasy games, but at least they all have the standard enemies and a lot of the same lore. This feels like it is Final Fantasy in name only. It’s a good story that is bogged down by not really having any direction.

Aki’s world is in a very perilous position. It is now a desolate wasteland that is infested with aliens. Everyone now lives in a space station as they seclude themselves from the rest of the world. Going outside for even a moment without a space suit will result in you getting infected and turning into an alien/zombie. Aki works for Doctor Sid and they believe that they have a cure. They simply need to find the 7 (I think it was 7) Gaia elements. Every living thing has a soul, which is a Gaia. There are 7 chosen ones which are needed to blend together and power a generator which will essentially make the virus inert. The only problem is that the government is tired of waiting and they don’t believe in the whole Gaia thing. They want results and they want them yesterday. General Hein proposes that the government use a giant cannon to fire at the planet. Sid admits that this could work, but that it could also destroy the planet’s soul. Two very different approaches, but only one of them will ultimately work. Who will strike first?

So, that’s a pretty interesting plot line. The film also starts off right away as Aki breaks the rules and quickly heads down to the planet to grab a sample. She has a brief skirmish with the aliens, but is saved by a group of soldiers. I don’t really get Aki’s plan here though since she seemed surprised by the aliens and was also not prepared for a fight. She wouldn’t have lasted long without the soldiers so the mission would have been a waste. Unfortunately, the scene is rather dark and the camera keeps shifting so we don’t get a proper look at the fight, but it is a very atmospheric way to start the film. It’s very tense and feels like something out of a Resident Evil film. Unfortunately, things slow down from here.

We don’t really get another fight scene until the very end of the film. The next large chunk of screen time is on Aki and Sid discussing Gaia, the fate of humanity, the aliens, and we also get some romantic tension between Aki and Gray. That goes on and on and on for quite a long while with the side characters also getting some development. At the very end of the film, Hein unveils his big plan to invite the aliens into the base to scare the authorities and make them give him authorization to shoot the cannon. The aliens come in and quickly overwhelm everyone for a while until the Gaia are assembled. That gave us another action scene, but not really a fight scene. It’s mostly just everyone running from the aliens.

That made the first bit of the film a little misleading since it had a lot of action and was gearing us up for something epic. I also think that the rest of the film was a bit of a missed opportunity since the heroes were safe and peaceful inside of their base the whole time. That kind of destroys the tension since we know that there is no way for the aliens to get in. We do get a big plot twist about the aliens and we learn why these spirits are intangible. It’s actually a little self explanatory and you can put the pieces in place yourself. Think about it…why would these Aliens be spirits? How do people typically turn to spirits in these kinds of things? Just think about it and it should come to you. The twist wasn’t bad in itself, but there wasn’t much of a point behind it. Nothing ever came out of this revelation and it didn’t change the final objective.

As the main character Aki is fairly good. I always like the “Take charge” characters so breaking the rules to go and save the day was cool. However, not being prepared wasn’t really excusable. Aki’s random visions were intriguing, but they kept distracting her from what was actually happening. The romance also made for another distraction. I liked what they were going for with Aki, but I feel like she definitely could have been a better character. The same can’t be said for Gray, who never shows signs of being a good character. He’s annoying from the get go and again…the romance just wasn’t handled well. He seems like the kind of guy who panics very quickly when things don’t go according to plan and he just wasn’t very useful. There wasn’t much to Gray and he was just there to be the tough army guy. That was his only character.

Sid was a nice enough guy, but a fairly generic scientist. He was pretty smart and at least he wasn’t afraid to state his opinions, but he also wasn’t bold enough to discuss Gaia with the council. It’ll be a little hard to convince the council of anything if you aren’t being straight with them. I had nothing against Sid though, he wasn’t a bad supporting character. The best character here was actually Hein. He was the main villain and he showed a lot more drive than the rest of the cast. I don’t necessarily disagree with his plan to use the cannon since the planet was already uninhabited and since I also wouldn’t believe that the planet is actually alive, I’d definitely take the shot. Naturally, he went off the deep end when he let the aliens into the city and put everyone in danger. That’s where he became the main villain, but at least he had real goals and aspirations. He didn’t strike me as a one note villain and he performed the role pretty well. It was a small cast, but that doesn’t take away from Hein’s win.

The graphics look pretty good. They’re nowhere near Advent Children and I suspect that the film was constantly very dark and vague in an effort to mask everything that was on screen, but it still looked good overall. It doesn’t compare to the average anime film, but CGI rarely does. We also didn’t get many action scenes as I mentioned so there wasn’t much of an opportunity to show off the animation either. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a soundtrack either. It’s not bad, but very forgettable and you probably won’t remember it a few days after you finish the film. It’ll just be completely gone as far as you’re concerned.

While this may not sound like a very positive review, it was still a good film. It was just riddled with missed opportunities and a lot of moments where the film could have really shone. I mean really…how hard would it have been to have included some more action scenes? Having some visible action moments would have been great and since they put a lot of budget into the film, I like to think that it could have handled some day time fights. I think the film may have been trying to look a little too realistic which ended up hurting it a bit, but that doesn’t really make up for the pacing. Still, the actual concept was interesting and the plot was good. Action or not, you shouldn’t get bored while watching the film, but it does mean that it has low replay value.

Overall, You should check this out if you’re a sci-fi fan and like a good apocalyptic future kind of film. If you’re a Final Fantasy fan, don’t watch this film in that mindset. Treat it like a Final Fantasy product and you are bound to be very disappointed. The decision to make this a stand alone doesn’t really make any sense, but it happened and we did get Advent Children around the bend anyway so that more than made up for it. Watch this once and then you’re basically set for life. I don’t think I’ll be watching this one a third time myself. Once you’re done, just think about how cool a prequel would have been about the actual alien race instead of the spirits. That would have solved a lot of problems.

Overall 6/10

World of Final Fantasy Review

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I finally finished up the Postscript in World of Final Fantasy and completed all of the Interventions in the end as well. I didn’t get to complete all of the townsfolk quests although I did almost all of them and I’m fairly close to completing the Colosseum as well. All I can say about that is that it feels good. World of Final Fantasy was a game where you really felt like going out there and completing it all. It was an excellent game and continues to keep the reputation of the Final Fantasy franchise high. I only really have one complaint with the game and I’ll mention it below. Beyond that, the game was just about perfect.

Lann and Reynn are two siblings who run a coffee shop. Life was pretty quiet and normal for them until a mysterious god walks in and asks for a coffee with a lot of sugar. The strange thing is that she entered the shop while it was still closed and had apparently been there for quite a while. She tells Lann and Reynn that they have lost their memories. The two heroes quickly realize that they have never actually seen anyone in their town and don’t have any memories either. The lady tells them that to regain their memories and find their parents, they will have to explore the world of Grymoire and capture a lot of Mirages. (Monsters) The two heroes do just that as they explore this huge world which crams together all of the past Final Fantasy universes.

Naturally, it’s not all fun and games. There is an evil group of monsters who wish to destroy the universe. They stop the heroes at every corner and there final plan will be difficult to stop. Lanna and Reynn have to beef up their attack strength by grabbing more Mirages, but they will also need the help of their friends if they want to win this round. Teamwork is the name of the game and who can stop these two siblings in that department?

At first I actually thought that this was going to be a fairly short Final Fantasy game. There are 21 chapters and each chapter felt rather short. However, this was not the case as you need to factor time in to grind up the heroes and power up your monsters. Not to mention that after the 21 chapters is a Final Chapter which is quite difficult. There are also many Intervention quests which act as epilogues for all of the characters and there are even some Main Story quests in there as well. That results in a bunch of cutscenes and the game spared no expense as we even get full anime cutscenes at several points in the game. I ended up completing the game in 35 hours, which is a pretty good length. That’s slightly longer than Ocarina of Time and White Knight Chronicles, but not as long as Skyward Sword or the Kingdom Heart games.

There is also a lot of bonus content to do. I don’t think it will take you all the way up to 100 hours, but probably to at least 50 and maybe even more than that. If you want to get the Platinum in this game, you’re going to have to master all of the Mirage Boards and find all of the Treasure Chests in the game. That is bound to take a while. The leveling up part doesn’t sound all that bad to me, but finding chests when minions are constantly attacking you will be quite the trick. I got over half of the trophies so I’m pretty satisfied. I’d like to go and complete the final two town quests and the rest of the Colosseum battles at some point, but that’s probably where I will stop. At some point, it would be fun to have the bragging rights for getting the Platinum here though. I imagine that it will be very rare.

I really think there might be something to the whole “Great Graphics can make a Great Game” argument. Naturally it’s not that simple and I wouldn’t be talking about just the graphics. However, couple that with a great soundtrack and solid writing and then you’ve got a masterpiece. See, an old PS1 game could have a plot that is just as good and a dynamite soundtrack as well, but without the graphics, it could get hurt a little. (Final Fantasy VII comes to mind, but that game had a whole array of issues with it so graphics was the least of its worries) On the other hand, a game can have a fairly boring plot, a nonexistent soundtrack, and unimpressive writing like Knack, but you can still be decently engaged thanks to the good graphics. So, I do think that graphics play a bit of a role and I do find that newer games draw my attention a lot more than old ones. There’s just something very high tech and awesome about new games. That doesn’t take anything away from World of Final Fantasy though. I’m just happy to add it to my collection of other modern games that are awesome. Cyber Sleuth, Pokken, Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Dengeki, etc. They feel crisp and solid through and through.

I mentioned that there was one area where the game could have been a little better. Are you ready for this? Well, I think that Cloud and the others should have turned into their Jiant (Yes, it’s spelled that way) forms at least once. Sure, it isn’t really them and they’re just using the bodies of this parallel dimension where they are all clones, but it would have been awesome. The game could have saved up one of its anime cutscenes for the final battle and we could have seen Cloud fight the leader of the Bahamut army. Obviously this isn’t a negative that will impact the score in any way, but you have to admit that this would have been awesome and was a bit of an oversight. We needed to see big Cloud wreck everybody!

Beyond that, navigating through the Mirages could have been a little easier. It’d be nice to mess with their Mirage Boards without having to add them to the party. That’s minor though and since the loading times are very quick, it’s not much of an issue. The game is also clear on what to do next aside from the Postscript. To save you some time, I’ll just say that you need to capture the 3 elemental spirits from the Colosseum before it’ll let you complete the game. The map will never tell you this and the game never really explains how to catch Mirages all that well. It tells you about how you have to wait for a circle to appear of course, but I assumed that it was like Pokemon. I figured that weakening them would do the trick, but apparently not. Each Mirage has a different catch requirement and I believe you can use a skill to find out each time or you can just go to Reddit and they’ll help you out. Those guys are always willing to lend a hand and they have a large spreadsheet for just that purpose. I think World of Final Fantasy should have gone the Pokemon route when catching Mirages as it’d be a little simpler.

The most convenient ability at the end of the game is certainly the power to travel wherever you want whenever you want to do so. You won’t have to walk around too much aside from when you’re clearing dungeons or catching Mirages. It saves you do much time and it’s a great feature. You can really customize your party roster and everyone’s abilities quite nicely which is another good addition to the series. The whole concept of stacking monsters on top of each other is a new one and I like it. It adds a lot of strategy to the gameplay so you have to really think about who you want to use in battle. I recommend training the small Behemoth dog right from the start of the game. He’ll end up becoming your best monster once you get his XL form. Seriously, I wouldn’t have beaten the final boss without him. He can take down half of the final boss’ health in one shot thanks to his Revenge attack which gets stronger as he gets weaker. Just use the Last Hit technique so he goes to 1 HP and then prepare to one shot any boss that stands in your way. It’s awesome. The final boss used a cheesy technique that reflected the attack in the end, but the damage was done and I got my narrow win. I shudder to think about how tough that boss would have been otherwise. It’s worth mentioning that the game probably has one of the best troll endings. If you don’t decide to play the Postscript, then you’ll be in for quite the experience.

Both of the main leads are pretty good characters. Reynn does spend a lot of time insulting Lann throughout, but he takes it pretty well and it’s all in good fun. It’s just the dynamic that they have. She’s the calm and reasonable character for the most part, but she doesn’t like to be messed with and will enter full combat mode at that point. She actually taught Lann how to fight and defend himself so that shows how she was always a fighter. Lann isn’t very smart and all of the characters mock him as a result, but his heart’s always in the right place. He’s a lot more enthusiastic about saving the day and helping everyone out even if it means going out of his way. He’s also willing to make the ultimate sacrifice when necessary even if he jumps to that conclusion a little too quickly. I’d say that he was the best character from the new ones introduced in this game.

Tama is the animal mascot of the game and she is a fairly strange being who works for Enna Kros. She has the power to stop time and get the heroes to safety and can exploit a lot of game mechanics through her reality warping. She even has the power to create new timelines and mess with the past. The power never goes to her head though and she has a fun gimmick where she will use the word “the” in between words for no reason. It’s a gimmick that could have gotten old if it was misused, but I thought that the game did an admirable job. I actually liked Tama quite a bit and the execution was sound.

Enna Kros is a good high above being, but like most cosmic entities, she never really does much. Her reasoning is that Lann and Reynn are the heroes of the story so they have to do everything on their own, but she should really step in when the going gets tough. That is…unless she doesn’t have the large amounts of power that she wants us to thinks she possesses. It raises a lot of interesting questions. She was fun though and adding extra sugar to the coffee gives her some extra personality.

As for the villains, Brendires is the main one. He is a dark overlord who wants to take over the world. We don’t see a whole lot of him beyond that, but he works well as a villain and has a great design. He’s certainly very powerful since he took down Cloud and Lightning, but I’m calling plot hax on that. Even with a weakened vessel that houses his soul, Cloud should have been able to take him down. Brendires never gave up and had a lot of determination for a villain. He’s easily one of the cooler Final Fantasy end bosses. His two main minions were a little more on the bland side. The winged fighter got some hype for a while, but never did much about it. I do like the fact that she was the only one to get up after being knocked out the first time though. That’s considering that her vessel was supposedly putting up a large fight. The other villain reminded me of Fang from Street Fighter V. His constant rhyming was a gimmick that didn’t work and I couldn’t take him very seriously.

Naturally, all of the old Final Fantasy game characters showed up as well. They were all in character so there’s no need to say much about them. Lightning and Cloud are still the coolest two members. We got a tease about Sephiroth showing up and that could be a DLC quest at some point. It would definitely be neat to see him show up and thanks to owning the Day 1 Edition, we do have his Champion Medal. It’s a fun tribute to his ultimate attack from the original game.

Overall, World of Final Fantasy is a great game. I’d probably put it under both of the Final Fantasy XIII games, but it destroys VII and defeats X-2. It goes without saying that it beats the original as well and I haven’t completed any other main titles at the moment. The characters are good and the plot is engaging. You’ll be breezing through the game because it’s hard to take yourself away from it. It also has a great opening cutscene that is similar to a Kingdom Hearts intro. Even the little dance by everyone at the end is fairly intriguing since you’ll rarely get to see Cloud outshine everyone on the dance floor. If you haven’t picked up the game yet because you’re worried about the Chibi style or just dread playing long games, I’d recommend getting it anyway. It’s fine if you don’t play the post script since the normal ending is actually quite great since it’s so unexpected.

Overall 9/10