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  1. A new trailer for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII reveals that the third entry in the Final Fantasy XIII series will miss a 2013 release and instead launch early next year. This is hardly surprising seeing how Final Fantasy XIII-2 released in January of last year, so it makes sense that Lightning Returns would need at least 2 years to finish and polish up before its release. Another not-so-surprising reveal in the trailer is the appearance of Snow, whose appearance is slightly different this time around and who is still looking for Serah, Lightning's sister. Looks like the two have a little clash at some point in the game as well. And last but not least, the city shown in the trailer is revealed to be called Yusnaan; you can expect to hear more about it over the course of the next 8 months or so. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will release on Xbox 360 and PS3 on February 11, 2014 in the US, and February 14 in Europe. You can view the latest trailer below.
  2. Now before we get started, I want to make something clear. Every game that is going to be mentioned in this list is arguably pretty gosh darned great, and I genuinely enjoyed my time with them. But that doesn't mean there weren't things I didn't like about them. To keep this article from becoming a book about all the stuff I didn't like, we'll narrow it down to just the characters I couldn't stand. Every game with multiple characters has at least one that the gaming world almost unanimously agrees is just terrible for some reason. Each series just has to have their very own Jar Jar Binks to be complained about in forums for the rest of eternity. It's almost like its mandatory to hurt some designer's feelings after all of their hard work. These are just some of those characters. Hope - Final Fantasy XIII I'm going to let you all in on a little secret: I ended up enjoying both Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2. I know, I know. I have to live with these sins for the rest of my life. But I wasn't always so peachy keen with the thirteenth game in the Final Fantasy series. This was mainly because the first twenty hours or so of the game were absolutely garbage. Of course, there's another thirty hours of pretty good gameplay after that. But it was a chore getting through those first twenty. I cannot form into words how much I hated him And one of the main reasons for that was the character, Hope. A young teenage boy who at the start of the game, saw his mother die right in front of him while she was trying to help another character named Snow save a train full of exiled people. After her death, Hope holds a grudge against Snow for no good reason for those first grueling twenty hours. While I can understand we're suppose to be seeing a kid dealing with his mother's death, all I saw was an indecisive whiner who couldn't stop dealing with his FEELINGS. I just wanted the side story to end so I could finally go on adventures with a full team of characters who weren't busy torturing themselves over their angst and boohoos. That time finally came, as I mentioned before. But the disdain for Hope stuck with me throughout the game. This was made even worse when he was made one of the only returning characters in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Of all the characters they could have chosen, they got the least liked one?? Ben - The Walking Dead WARNING: There are spoilers for The Walking Dead in this part of the article. I've covered them up to protect you. So open them at your own risk. Ben was such an inept character that his many, many misdeeds almost became funny. Almost. At first I thought he was just making these mistakes because he was a teenage kid who was just trying to do right by the group. And then his idiotic choices started piling up more and more. He was directly putting the group in harm's way every few minutes. It just became annoying. Oh Ben, you were just bad all around He was making choices that no actual person would have made. At one point, he unblocks a door with a horde of zombies he could clearly see waiting behind it and then acts surprised when the group gets overrun by them. And that wasn't even the worst of it. He would actively run away from the group whenever danger arose and he ended up getting multiple people killed in my game. When the time finally came to... After I did it though, I started feeling bad, like I had made the wrong choice. I refused to go back and correct it however, because that would have spoiled the whole point of the game. Then I read online that... That is also one of the reasons I became sour towards The Walking Dead as well. Your choices really didn't matter at all. So thanks a lot Ben. You suck. Jack Marston - Red Dead Redemption This is a case of one character being unable to fill the shoes of their father. At the end of Red Dead Redemption, the game skips forward a fair number of years and puts you in the boots of a now adult Jack Marston, John Marston's son. And after spending a good thirty hours as John Marston, its tough to get accustomed to this new character who, at best, is a pale imitation of his father. And then I threw my game disc in the trash and cried But that isn't the only problem with Jack Marston. Throughout the entire game, John Marston was working towards giving his son a better life than he had as a child. All of the violence and sacrifices that John had to make for his son to grow up as a normal law abiding human being immediately gets thrown aside right after the game's credits come to an end. Jack still becomes an outlaw. He still robs and murders people despite everything John did, and it more or less tells you your whole journey beforehand was for absolutely nothing. It also doesn't help that the game gives you absolutely no option to turn back into John Marston after the game skips forward in time. After you beat it, you're stuck as Jack Marston forever. That's what really made me dislike Jack as a character. Cooke And Mack - Lost Odyssey Around ten or fifteen hours into the Xbox 360 RPG Lost Odyssey, you gain two party members to join in on your immortal quest. Those two characters just happen to be the grandchildren of the thousand year old main character, Kaim. Now that we've got that out of the way, I'm just going to blurt out the bad news: COOKE AND MACK ARE PHIL AND LIL FROM THE RUGRATS CARTOON. I just can't deal with this. I can't. Well technically Cooke is Phil and Lil, but Mack's voice is done by another prominent voice actress for children's cartoons and he ended up sounding just like a Rugrats character as well. Normally I can get past a voice I don't like, but these two characters just drained the life out of the game for me. I loved all of the short stories, but every time they were on screen I just kept thinking about that Rugrats golfing game on the PS1. It completely pulled me out of the story. A big no-no for an RPG. I'm sure there are a million more characters that could make this list, but I'll keep it at four... for now. In the meantime, what characters did you hate in some of your favorite games? Why did you hate them? Why don't you sign up and leave a comment below telling me why?! As always, thank you for reading.
  3. The year of 2012 has been rather a disappointing year for gaming so far. After the stellar releases of 2011 (though the disappointment there was they were all sequels), 2012 has come acrop with fan favourites such as Ninja Gainden becoming mediocre thanks to its simplified 3rd instalment & the Resident Evil spin off Operation Racoon City whilst an interesting idea, it failed when it came to the simple gameplay & ludicrous AI. The biggest disappointment in the world of gaming this year has to be with the whole furore over the Mass Effect 3 ending leaving millions of fans (myself included), feeling let down as the credits rolled. Recently I became a quarter of a century old and one of my housemates got me some games as a present. One was Mafia II which I like alot & it gave me a chance to try out the dlc that I missed out when I traded in my old copy (it was for Portal 2 so I think it was fair). The other game was Homefront. When this game first came out I was very intrigued by the main story (A unified Korea invading the U.S.), which was quite original for the military FPS genre. However after hearing the reviews of how short the campaign was I decided to leave it. While playing I actually enjoyed the campaign but it just ends. Quite abruptly too. I thought great in one month I've been disappointed by the ending of two games. Then this gave me the idea for a blog and write about these and the other games that I have been disappointed by this generation. Oh and before I begin let me give out the obligitory !SPOILER WARNING! For these games. Home Is Where the War Is! Is That Where the Rest of the Story Is? Let's start with the game I mentioned earlier, Homefront had alot of things going for it when it was annouced. Boasting a massive 32 player multiplayer on massive maps (which is actually quite fun and the leveling system is not as unbalanced as CoD's), and a story which is interesting. After the death of Kim Jong Ill in 2012 (freaky eh?), his successor manages to unify Korea & Annex China & Japan. In 2027 Korea attacks the U.S. with a massive EMP strike & invades. You take the role of a fighter pilot recently recruited into the resistence movement. you spend the game going through different areas of occupied America, helping the resistence in a number of missions. Whilst the characters you are with aren't that well developed, the landscapes you go through are very well done and set the mood for the game perfectly. The music is also a highlight of the game. The downside is the single player is incredibly short. Even by CoD standards. When the story was being advertised everywhere I was looking forward to playing a military FPS that actually had an original story to it & was written by the man who did Apocalypse Now & Red Dawn. The final piece of the game is where you are fighting for control of the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the hardest fights of the game & as you get control of the bridge you end up in a jeep shooting at an enemy goliath, then you get blown from the jeep, and watch one of your teamates run towards the enemy cavalry holding a flair as a signal for an airstrike & as the enemy gets bombarded, the camera pans out and fades with a voice over saying how they will win the fight. Then the credits appear. All in all it took me about 4 hours to complete the game. FOUR HOURS! All I was left with was the question "Is that it?" It was blatantly left for a sequel which makes me furious as I hate it when developers do that. Bringing Tedium to New Heights! Ah the Fable series one constant disappointment after another. Out of the trilogy though its Fable III that takes the 'P' in RPG (see what I did there?). Peter Molineux once again claiming that this time you will be flooded with hard and tough choices to make in the game. And once again you're not. Bascially the premise of the story is you're the brother/sister of the current king who has become selfish with his wealth when it comes to the needs of the kingdom. So you escape the palace and go on a quest to unite the land and overthrow him. Along the way you make promises to each group of people that you need to help overthreow your brother that you are intended to keep once you become king/queen. The game is simple Fable fare where you can fart & flirt with most NPCs and if they take your fancy you can marry them and have kids (the novel aspect of Fable II where now the novelty has worn off). You can also buy properties and take part in pointless & uninimaginative mini games to help earn you some money. Once you overthrow your brother the game completely changes and you find out that the reason he was being stingy was so he could protect the ingdom from a pending evil, which is now your job to stop. You have a certain amount of time to raise enough funds to protect the kingdom or it will be destroyed. You spend the rest of the game, stuck in your castle, either keeping the promises you made to the people (which means less money), or go back on your word (which means money for the treasury). That's it. Those are the "tough choices" you have to make in the game. Which aren't that tough and if you could actually tell these people what was going to happen im sure they would have agreed instead of calling you a selfish bastard. What really annoyed me about this game was the 'interactive' pause menu. Instead of pressing start and going into your inventory to see quests & what not, you end up in your "throne room" where all the wepaons you have are on the wall, and all your outfits are in their own room. What entails is bloody tedium which makes measuring the hight of your lawn with a ruler more fun. What's makes it worse is you only have like four weapons & outfits. Armour class & type have no bearing what so ever & your wepons level up or 'evolve' as you use them. Also the map is intereactive which increases the tedium of trying to navigate it. Full Motion Capture Disappointment! I hated L.A. Noire when it came out. Most likely that's down to it being my first professional review & I had only two & a half days in which to write it. Anyone who has done a review can tell you that's not a long time. Especially for a game as large as L.A. Noire. Because of this every negative aspect of the game that I found jumped out at me as this glaring error of epic proportions that hampered my way towards completing the game. Once I was done with it I immediately traded it in for a copy of Mortal Kombat & with Scorpion, every enemy I told to "get over here" I imagined to be Cole Phelps. After about a year I got convined to play it again as I had forgotten most of it & i hadn't actually completed it. To my chagrin, the things that annoyed me the first time around were still there (though obvioulsy no where near as hate inducing). Whilst the game looked great & the attention to detail was astounding, it was the gameplay that really got to me. It was so simple. The combat was still unispriring and the gunplay reminded me of the GTA games on the PS2. The detective elements which drove the lure of the game aswell as the motion captured faces, became boring and predictable. Searching for evidence became an annoyance all its own with far too many red herrings. To me the story culminated into a frantic mess. Parts of an over arcing story kept coming in an out at conventent times, and the downfall of Phelps towards the end seemed force and was too out of character from what he was for most of the game. What made me disappointed about this game was that Team Bondi seemed to spend more time focused on the motion capturing than anything else and the rest of the game suffered because of it. A Prime Example of a Game Becoming Dissapointing The More That Gets Added to it! I'm a massive Gears fan (or was). I've got all 3 games, read all the books, and have stood up for the game on a number of forums. However the longer that this game has been out the more disappointing I have become with it. Being the thrid game in a trilogy the game tried to be bigger, longer & more epic than the previous two. It does do that, the campaign is the largest of the three and the story ends nicely. However one of my friends pointed out that they do run out of ideas how to keep the campaign going. After playing through it again I realised that she was right. Most of the campaign involves you looking for fuel, and when you do find it, it gets destroyed so you have to look for more. That being said, Dom's final moments were to me, brilliantly done & if you had read the books, had great emotional impact. However the main focus of the story seemed to be Marcus & Cole, and to an extent Dom, but leaving Baird & Carmine in the background, which is a shame as out of all of them they were the ones that could have done with more screen time & characterisation. The main gripe for me was multiplayer. Whilst the majority of the gameplay had been improved, there were two new guns, the retro lancer & the sawed of shotgun. Both were hated by veteran players (especially the sawed off), but they were there for novices which was fair enough (sort of before people satarted to abuse it). However the multiplayer was a vast improvement over Gears 2, and me & my friends enjoyed it immensely as it was balanced and you won through skill and not having access to more powerful weapons because you were a higher level (I'm looking at you CoD). Unfortunately Epic decided to throw dlc after dlc at the game & now it has become to bloated with content and gameplay tweaks to the game that it just isn't fun anymore. It was released in september & this month the 4th map pack dlc is released. That doesn't include the 6 title updates, two non map multiplayer dlc & the single player dlc. All this in such a short space of time has really spoilt the game in my opinion. There are too many maps and quite a few aren't that well designed. It's too much too soon, Epic didn't give the players enough time to digest one piece of dlc before giving them another. Not to mention that if you didn't buy the maps you couldn't play the game on the servers. Which is just digraceful behaviour. If They Stay Like This One Will Be the Final One! Ah Final Fantasy, how the might have fallen. Alot of people are contributing the decline in JRPGs to SqaureEnix as they are the industry leaders. I say that's not the case, there are plenty of good solid JRPGS out there, Xenoblade Chronicles & The Last Story are to name but a few. What I found most disappointing about this game (as did many others) was just how bloody linear the game is. It's pretty much just one corridoor after another. Considering how vast the lanscapes were in XII you think they would have expanded on that in a new generation on consoles. Instead we get treated to a film with walking elements. Whilst the story is still epic Final Fantasy, unlike prevous titles the beginning is so confusing you need to spend at least half an hour trying to figure out who is what. It took me awhile trying to figure out who or what the Pulse were, and who was a Pul'sie, a fal'cie or a l'cie. After explaining my confusion to my firend he told me that it takes a couple of hours for the game to actually explain to you which is which. A couple of hours? Not in those first two hours AFTER them. That is not good story structure. Even then by the end of the first disk I was still trying to figure it out (or maybe that's just me being slow on the uptake). Whilst the linearity of the levels was infuriating enough the enemies are in the world like in XII and you can choose to fight them or go round them. However, due corridoor design of the levels most of the trime its impossible to evade enemies so you have to fight them anyway! It's pretty much just being able to see the random encounters. The combat goes back from the realtime of XII to a turn based system but you can only control the leader of your group, and the character progression in this game is something called Crystarium, where you unlock new abilities and spells. Later in the game you can pre select how your other party members fight but thats several hours into the game. Also the combat system itself is another hurdle to overcome in terms complexity. It took me awhile to get to grips with the mechanics, any by the time I got to grips with them I get new abilities available and have to figure out how to use them (really hope it's not just me that had these problems). As the game progresses the story does improve and as you come to grips with everything the characters become more likable as you leanr more about them (even that whiny git Hope). But when you get to the third disc, the game switches into cinematic mode and the combat becomes one boss fight after another, which just gets tiresome after awhile. Especially as some boss fights can last 20 minutes or more, and some bosses will require trial and error when it comes to tactics (seriously someone in the comments, tell me you had the same problems so I don't feel like a complete plonker). It's just disappointing that throughout the game you have to endure so many things to experience the story. I think I shall wrap it up there before I depress myself thinking of the hours I wasted. Anyone agree with me on these games? Dissagree? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading! Honourable Mentions: The Baconing (Just not as good as the original two). Mario Kart Wii (Why is there no co-op grand prix like in ALL the others?). Mass Effect 3 (I think you know why). Halo Reach (Poor uninspiring level design). Duke Nukem Forever (I know there's alot but mainly only being able to hold two weapons). Devil May Cry 4 (Stop whining Nero or should I say Dante Jr?). Aliens Vs Predator (The PC classics are still the best). GTA IV (Boring mandatory side missions, bad car handling). Star Wars The Force Unleashed II (So much wasted potential. Still better than the Phantom Menace).
  4. When you finish a game's story, that usually means that there is nothing new to learn about the characters and world. Personally, I find that kind of sad because I've spent the better part of twenty hours or more getting to learn about the game world and its inhabitants, and when the story is beaten, then there's usually nothing else for me to learn (unless there's extensive post-game content or more story-related DLC coming). Thankfully, that isn't always the case when it comes to video game lore. You might not be aware of this, but people still make books. According to some rumors I've read, a book is made out of paper with bits of ink on it. That ink is arranged into different patterns that form words. It sounds crazy, but some of these books have actually been used to expand the story of some of your favorite games. I've listed some of these books below so you too can know the wonders of "reading." The Final Fantasy XIII Novella It can be pretty scary getting into a new hobby, so we're going to start things off nice and easy just to get you started. If you played both of the Final Fantasy XIII games released so far, you might have noticed something quite alarming. Practically every single character from the first game had seemingly vanished without a trace. I have game manuals longer than this thing This annoyed me simply because there was little-to-no explanation when it came to the characters' whereabouts. Some of them weren't even mentioned until the very end of the game. This is where the nice and easy novella comes into play. At a measly thirty six pages, this nice starter story should only take you a few days to read from front to back. While it doesn't go deep into details pertaining to exactly what happens to the first game's characters, it at least gives you some sort of idea as to where the game's characters ended up before the events of Final Fantasy XIII-2 took place. Unfortunately, it doesn't answer all of the questions raised in the game, but what do you expect from a thirty six page book? Prepare For Halo 4 (By Reading!) Surprisingly enough, Halo 4 is right around the corner. A new game in the series usually means some new lore to work through, but when it comes to the Halo series, the novel is king. Going throughout the series, the games are just chock full of callbacks to the books released over the years. Spoilers! Things don't go as planned. In fact, the entire plot of Halo: Reach came from the book Fall of Reach, which released over a decade ago. Books were still pretty underground back then so I won't hold it against you if you've never heard of it. But the fact is, the books are insanely important to the Halo series. I would go so far as to say you should actually read the books before you play the games just so you can get the most out of both mediums. The characters you meet as you play will no longer be strangers and you might even figure out how they die before it happens in the game. And who can resist becoming a time traveling/seer into the future? The Horror Of H.P Lovecraft Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth was a game based on a few of H.P Lovecraft's stories. Namely, Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Shadow Out Of Time. Pretty shadowy, eh? The reason I bring up H.P Lovecraft is because of his reputation as the father of modern horror. If you want a reading experience the likes of a Silent Hill story, you could always just read the Silent Hill comics. But they're... well, let's just say they're kind of hard to read. Leather bound horror goodness! If you want a psychological horror story with a dash of old timey racism, then H.P Lovecraft is your guy. Not all of his stories really hit it out of the park, but his best ones are world renowned for how they shaped the horror genre. Luckily, you can buy the complete works of H.P Lovecraft for as little as $20 at places like Barnes & Noble; I suggest you do it. And finally while we're here at the end, might I suggest you read some of the works of Junji Ito? The guy can't write an ending to save his life but his short stories are the epitome of "Boss". Get to it! Books. The final frontier of media. You might be afraid going into this new medium, but it is totally worth it. They might not be as flashy as a TV show or video game, but if you want a game's full story then you need to actually sit down and read the story! As always, thank you for reading.
  5. UPDATE: We've added concept art and the announcement video below. As the 25th Anniversary Celebration for Final Fantasy kicks off in Japan, Square-Enix broke news of a direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII-2 called Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. This title will mark the end of Lightning's story in the series, reportedly. Series director Motomu Toriyama says that Lightning will be a much stronger character in this game and will face her final battle, so he asked the character designer to convey the "power" in her eyes. Series producer and showrunner Yoshinori Kitase also noted that the game will be much more active and the world features more interactive environments than before saying that "players can control Lightning as they see fit." He also brings up how players can customize her outfits, and that not only do they affect her appearance but her abilities as well. The controls and movements will be more extensive here as well, with Lightning being able to hang off ledges, pull herself up, duck behind corners, and even move around during battles. As far as the world goes, it will be based on four different islands and touches on three different themes: gothic, mechanical, and fantasy. The story will also feature a real-time countdown of sorts, as the world is set to end in 13 days from the game's outset, so Lightning has 13 days and 13 hours to stop it. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is slated to release sometime in 2013 for PS3 and 360. Check out concept art and video footage of the game's announcement (with English captions) at the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Celebration below.
  6. Marshall Henderson

    Final Fantasy Versus XIII May Be Dead

    Get ready to put on your "I Told you So" hats, because if rumors are to believed, it looks like Final Fantasy Versus XIII will be going nowhere. After six years since announcement, and subsequent accusations of being vaporware, the Final Fantasy XIII spin-off is rumored to be losing its resources to the upcoming Final Fantasy XV. Square Enix, when contacted by Eurogamer, gave the often damning "could not comment on rumours or speculation" line. Square-Enix is supposedly avoiding public acknowledgement as to avoid getting hit in their stocks. Plausible enough, but it tastes better with a grain of salt. Of course, even were the rumors true, this isn't the curtain call for Final Fantasy XIII. Square Enix has already made it clear that additional Final Fantasy XIII content would be coming out, especially with the "Final Fantasy 13 Lightning Saga: New Developments Presentation" presentation ready for the first of September. This presentation comes in honor of the 25th Anniversary for the series... the Final Fantasy series, that is, not the Final Fantasy XIII series. Without confirmation from Square Enix, this is a big pile of maybe, but really, would anyone be surprised?