Saturday, March 12, 2011

Replay

I am a creature of habit. Every year I reread the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy since I first picked up my leather bound “complete” edition back in 2000. An interesting side note to that statement of fact is before 2000 I had never read Douglas Adams at all. Sci Fi has never really been an all encompassing genre for me, I suppose. I also normally reread all the books of the Dresden Files annually. I was reading and rereading Harry Potter when the fancy struck me each year, but my initial distaste for the ending of “Year Seven” a.k.a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows killed my Potter lust more definitively than Daniel Radcliffe’s proclivity towards nude performances on stage.
My habits don’t stop with books. I have watched Firefly beginning to end at least once or twice a year since I discovered it. I don’t really ever seem to get tired of My Name is Earl. Most of all I replay good games as often as I can. Up until I asked my wife to marry me I still had all of my original game systems. I had an NES, an SNES, a Sega Master System, a Sega Genesis, a Sega Dreamcast, a PSone,an N64, about 4 PS2s (most of which didn’t work anymore), a PS3, a Wii, a PSP, a DS, and several Gameboy Colors and Advances.
Once the fiancee (now wife) moved in, it became clear to me that cleaning, clearing out, and updating the house were a necessary evil. She never once asked me to get rid of anything. My massive collection of Magic: the Gathering cards all of a sudden didn’t seem nerd chic. They just felt like junk cluttering up my house. All those systems both hooked up and not were still cool to me, but I figured out that I could get all (or most) of the games on the next gen systems and if I could condense 10 to 20 systems with 30 or 40 games each down to 2 consoles and a handful (pun intended) of hand-held systems so much the better.
This year I have started out early in my Final Fantasy series play through. Nearly every year I start out playing the series through from beginning to end. Almost each year the list of games in the series that I consider to be relevant and worth playing grows.
Last year I got caught up in the “original” or first Final Fantasy on by Blackberry Curve. Honestly the game was the best offering I found on the Blackberry. I spent lots of breaks at work with a Warrior, a Black Mage, a White Mage, and a Red Mage. I was always a sucker for mages. The game was great as ever even with the awkward trackball controls.
This year I have already plowed through Final Fantasy I and II Anniversary Editions for the PSP. I am working on the third installment on the DS. Honestly there is something more…childish about the DS and it makes it less comfortable for me to play in public particularly in the break room at work where I get at least 20 minutes a day of my gaming time. My PSP and PSPgo somehow seem more sophisticated and sleek no matter what game I am playing. Aside from all of that I still have the DS for the fact Nintendo is where Square founded the Final Fantasy series and it still puts out a fair amount of hits on it. The first U.S. release of Final Fantasy III came on the DS which will pretty much insure I will always have the system in my game library.
Each year my Final Fantasy series play through gets a little more complicated. I used to have to play Final Fantasy IV on the SNES where it masqueraded under the ever convoluted name of Final Fantasy II. That forever cast Final Fantasy’s continuity into confusion that requires long explanatory dialog like this one.Now I can play Final Fantasy IV on the PS3 (from my PSone copy of Final Fantasy Chronicles) or with the fairly nice remake on the DS. For the After Years sequel story line right now we all have to boot up the Wii and download several files from the Wiishop. … at least until April 19, 2011 when Final Fantasy IV the Complete Collection comes out on PSP! I am absolutely thrilled because the UMD will un-tether me from the Wii and let me play the entire saga through in one shot. So that is completely complicated because I will easily managed to finish III before April.
That is unless I stop for a Dissidia break. Dissidia 012 releases March 22nd. The game is touted as a revision and addition of the last game without really advancing the story line. I dropped my $5 at Game Stop as soon as my guy there told me it was adding Tifa from VII and Kain from IV. Again I try to play these things in order enjoying their non sequential goodness, but Dissidia is a fighter in the spirit of Final Fantasy. It stands alone for me and will easily fill the gap.
A week later I am faced with a major problem. The 3rd Birthday is being released for PSP. It is the 3rd game in the Parasite Eve series. I am such a Final Fantasy geek from the days of the NES and the SNES that I have fallen in love with a few of the Square Enix spin offs. Chronotrigger is by far the greatest of these. Secret of Mana broke my heart by not showing up in any remakes thus far. I love remakes and get really excited when no installments come out. Parasite eve will see some sales and some replay from me. I will pick up 3rd Birthday on March 29th and hope to get to it by Christmas.
Final Fantasy V will have to be a play at home experience. I will grind through the adventure to defeat eXdeath (no joke that is the villian’s name) with Bartz (who was once named Buttz) on my PS3 with my little PSone Final Fantasy Anthology disc faithfully guiding me along. I won’t even curse Square for not giving me a portable option…much. FFVI will still probably see me couch surfing. VI is probably my favorite Final Fantasy installment. It is everything great about the game without too much innovation that later installments suffer from.
Final Fantasy VII is where things get painful for me. Last year I only made it to IX before the year ran out because I played through Crisis Core, watched Last Order with subtitles, Playing VII with the guide and spent the time getting the Ultima Weapon and the Black Chocobo and then following up with Advent Children and then Dirge of Cerberus. That might well sound like heaven if you really love Final Fantasy VII. For me it was the worst game until Crisis Core was released. It was really nice to see that Cloud really was a wanna be. Zack is a great character. Cloud pales in comparison. Zack would never have let Aerith die. Of course, with Aerith spoken for and Zack still around to make Sephiroth his bitch Cloud might finally have gotten up the stones to bone Tifa….
Damn it. I hate the emo nature of Final Fantasy VII. I hate Barett. If it weren’t for the fact that at the base of it all the story of the game and the game play is amazing I would never have to admit I was a fan of Final Fantasy VII. I just wish the cast were a little less…wimpy. Well except for Vincent Valentine… for a mock Frankenstein’s Monster that dude is harsh. to steal a voice from Kevin Smith.

All this talk of VII has gotten me dreading plowing through the games. Good thing Mortal Kombat is bringing back real brutality with Kratos added to the crew on the PS3 this April. I am going to kick Milenna’s ass again on the demo. I will talk Final Fantasy more later. Besides the wife will play Mortal Kombat with me. Take that Cloud Strife!

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