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Now as I haven’t been posting in a while I feel the need to apologize.  I recently was in contact with an old friend from when I played the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI.  He told me about a free modified private server for the game, it’s nostalgic fun without the drama.

Everything is faster and is soloable or done in 3-6man groups, which is a lot better than the retail version of the game for me because I have little time or patience for 18+people.  (Near the end of my time on the retail version Id only play drunk and then I’d log off or go afk sporadically, people don’t like that).

Anywho I can’t quite remember the point of this post… it was either to explain why I haven’t been posting or to talk about XI, so I’ll do both.  Thanks to my handydandy wordpress app, I can do something at work…

FFXI is probably a dead game now. But in it’s hayday it was by far one of the best MMO’s of its time.  I used to tell World of Warcraft players, if the game doesn’t want to make you stab someone in the eye while you are playing it, yet have you not want to do anything but play it when your free, its not a good MMO.

Nothing could be done alone in XI, to level up effectively you needed 5 other people and hours of time.  Which sounds annoying, because it was… but the balance of first 15, then 18, now 20 when the new expansion comes out, jobs made the game fun… and everyone knew the jobs because they were traditional final fantasy jobs. You had Warriors, Thiefs, Monks, White Mages, Black Mages, Red Mages, Paladin, Dark Knights, Rangers, Summoners, Samurai, Ninja, Dragoons, Bards, Beastmasters, Blue Mages, Puppeteers, Corsairs each with a seperate purpose, and each job was also flexible with a sub job at half the level.  And you could change your job at any given point by going into your house.

Its hard to explain, but it was a great model for MMO’s.  If you had time to deal with the bullshit…  the private servers are where it’s at now if you ask me. Much easier and simpler but still has the nostalgia for me, without eating my life away.

~written by JM

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Kingdom Hearts: An Odd Pair

When I was growing up, my mom was a huge Disney fan.  Even now, actually Especially now since all my Christmas Decorations are up it looks like Disney sent a tornado through here.  So when I was a kid and Kingdom Hearts came out, my mom found it odd that I wanted a Disney video game.  I neglected to tell her it was a game in which Mickey Mouse a complete bad ass.

Seriously, I think of Mickey Mouse in Kingdom Hearts and he kind of reminds me of Yoda from Star Wars, little short guy, crazy attacks with his blade, and he talks kinda funny.

Anywho, the Kingdom Hearts series is without a doubt aimed at 9-13 year olds.  The entire story involves traveling between different Disney universes, teaming up with the hero of that universe, being insanely corny, and fighting that universe’s villian while fixing a multi-universe problem of “Heartless”, by killing them with your Key-Blade… Yes your Sword is a Key.

It’s freaking awesome.

Now back in college, I played a lot of old video games… Everyone did honestly, if you’re in college or recently out of college you know for a fact 50% of dorm rooms had a N64.  Freshman year I brought my PS2 originally to act as a DVD player, and brought some games just for the hell of it… And I played Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 again.  And I loved them just as much as I did the first time around.  I am at heart a Disney kid and I loved the fact that I had Donald and Goofy on my side and I was fighting Ursula, Hades, Jafar, and Captain Hook.

Another added Bonus to the games was the fact that one world was made up of… Yes… Final Fantasy characters. There are two things I remember as the best fights of the game, probably for sentimental value.  The first was fighting Cloud and Leon(Squall) as a team in Kingdom Hearts during one of the tournaments on Mt. Olympus.  The second one being Fighting Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts II.  The nostalgia in having characters from different Final Fantasy games interact is one of the greatest things about this series.

Anywho, Kingdom Hearts, it might have been aimed towards younger kids and teenagers but anyone who enjoys Disney and/or has a soft spot for the Final Fantasy series will enjoy these games.  The characters and script can be corny, and the plot is a little strange but overall the game is worth it.

Speaking of which, I loaned those games to a girl I was seeing, we aren’t seeing each other anymore… I should probably get my games back…

~Written by JM

Metal Gear Solid: Snakes Departure (hopefully)

Solid Snake is one of the greatest characters in video game history. Fact.  His story spanned Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2, to Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Metal Gear Solid 4.  (For those that don’t know Metal Gear Solid 3 focused on his biological father Big Boss.

Snake started as a rookie member of an elite sneaking unit called FoxHound, if Metal Gear he was forced to invade a militarized country known as Outer Heaven.  He succeeds in his mission and takes down the leader of Outer Heaven along with a protype bipedal tank known as Metal Gear, his commanding officer Big Boss.  In Metal Gear 2 Snake has to go to Zanzibar land to recover a kidnapped scientist and take down a new Metal Gear weapon, and once again confront Big Boss, who survived their encounter in Outer Heaven.

In Metal Gear Solid, Snake is pulled out of retirement to stop an uprising of his former unit FoxHound on Shadow Moses Island, it is revealed here that Snake is a close of Big Boss and he has a brother who is also a clone known as Liquid Snake who has staged the uprising. Once again their is another Metal Gear weapon, this one able to launch untraceable Nukes from any location.  In Metal Gear Solid 2, Snake’s story continues, even though he isn’t the main character,  It is revealed that an organization known as the Patriots controls every action that happens in the country through staged events and the media.  And finally in Metal Gear Solid 4, Snake has to take down the Patriots.

Now first of all, I left a lot out.  Its a long story I don’t want to explain here.  And second of I don’t want to give too many spoilers for anyone who might not have played Metal Gear Solid series, but basically at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4 it ended Solid Snake’s story.  However, back in June Hideo Kojima revealed he plans to produce Metal Gear Solid 5, and that Solid Snake’s story might not be over.  Now there have been other Metal Gear games since 4, but they have focused on Big Boss’s back story and Raiden (The main character in Metal Gear Solid 2).  And that’s fine.  But to bring Snake back for Metal Gear Solid 5 is re-god-damn-diculous.  His story is over in my mind, and I don’t see how Kojima could keep him around.

Granted Solid Snake is a great seller, and its a business, so sell what sells. But it really is a slap in the face that if the franchise doesn’t move on.  Fans love Snake but, at least in my opinion, when you rap things up nice and neat, like what was done in Metal Gear Solid 4, you shouldn’t unwrap them and bring him back, just to probably wrap them up again.  Its just not a good formula and is really insulting to fans and to the character you spent decades to build.

~Written by JM

Chrono Trilogy Unfinished…

Now with this and my previous post about Final Fantasy, you probably figure I’m into older RPG’s… Which is true, but I will branch out into other genre’s… However there is always something that bugged me…

Chrono Trigger was an amazing RPG, fantastic story, great plot twists, and the ability for multiple endings was one of the first of its time.  It was released in 1995 to remarkable reviews, and is personally one of my favorite RPG’s outside the Final Fantasy series.

Chrono Cross was released in North America in 2000 to also great reviews.  I actually played Chrono Cross first because never had a SNES, didn’t get around to playing it until it came out with FFIV for the Playstation.  And I loved Chrono Cross aswell.  The fact you could play the game 5 times and still not have all the characters I found fascinating.

Now I know the connection is loose between Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, but it is there.  Kid is clearly the baby Lucca found in the end of Trigger, and Lucca is named as the caretaker of Kid’s orphanage that Lynx burned.

Back in 2001, Square trademarked Chrono Beak I’m assuming for a new Chrono game.  I didn’t hear about it until recently, but I’m actually disappointed it never panned out.  The Chrono series had impeccable stories and the battle system was similar to Final Fantasy but had many intricacies that made it even better.  Dual and Triple Techs displayed teamwork, and actual positioning mattered for an older RPG.

Unfortunately a third Chrono game is a dream that will never be fulfilled.  Even if Square did come out with a third game, it will probably be overly complicated and focused too much on graphics rather than story and gameplay such as the new final fantasy’s have become (See previous post).

~Written by JM

Call of Du-de Really???

Happy New Year from everyone at DnA.  The first post of 2013 is going to be about how brilliant Activision is, and how ridiculous the general public is.

2013 is going to have a lot of new video games, plus a lot of sequels to previous games… I expect a new Madden in late August, a new MLB The Show in the next few months, and of course, a new Call of Duty this coming November.

Now it’s getting a bit redundant if you ask me about how often Infinity Ward comes out with a new Call of Duty game… Every November since 2004, with a 1 year hiatus in 2005.  Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy the Call of Duty games, when I was a senior in college I bought Modern Warfare 2 for my PS3.  But every year to come out with a new game which honestly plays exactly like the old one with just a few minor changes.

Yes I know Black Ops and Modern Warfare have different story lines, and different guns, but lets be honest… Everyone blows through the story in less than a week, then it’s all about playing online with friends.

Now it’s genius on Activision’s part, selling a $60 game to millions of people every year rakes in a butt load of cash.  But I don’t understand how the general public keeps dealing with this nonsense.  I was hanging out at the local watering hole with some friends the midnight before Black Ops 2 came out. People legit got up, left at 11:30 to go to gamestop, buy the game, then came back to close out their tabs.  At least half a dozen of my friends just bailed because a game which is exactly like the one that came out last year, was coming out again this year.

Once again, I’m not denouncing Call of Duty or Video Games at all, but I don’t see the big hype.  I might buy Black Ops 2, or maybe wait for the 2013 version, but come on… Ditching on friends to go play a game that you could have been playing earlier that day because EVERY ONE OF THEM IS EXACTLY THE SAME… I don’t know, it seems like Activision brain washed people into spending their hard earned money every year on the exact same product.  My point is that the public should stop acting like a bunch of zombies and playing into Activision’s hand.  Wait for them to come out with an ORIGINAL IDEA, and then buy into that game.

~Written by JM

Final Fantasy Fails…

Hey everybody, B.C. Video Game Rants is now under new control due to our return… The original writer was a collaborator when DnA first started, but now he’s out.  For the time being this is JM… The new writer for DnA Movies and Sports.  I have renamed the blog DnA Video Game Rants because I’d like it if the other writers helped me out over here.  (I’m also going to restart TV Show Reviews, but that’s for another day.)

Final Fantasy is an impressive and amazing franchise that has branched over 25 Years, Starting with the Original Final Fantasy… Now today, I’m not going to rant about every one, BUT there is something I’d like to say.

The new ones suck.

Now I wasn’t playing video games when Final Fantasy came out in 1987, namely because I was born in 1988.  So the first one I actually played was Final Fantasy 7, which I thought was unbelievable (Unlike our previous writer).  The next one I played was tactics, which was different but has maybe the best story out of all of them.  I then went on to 8 and 9, before going back to play 4, 5, and 6, and then eventually the first few before 10 came out.  And I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them.  Each had its own quirks with the battle system, and leveling up but the basic principals were all there.

I did get sucked into the MMO of FFXI for a while, which also was a great game, it stayed true to the Final Fantasy name…

However, X-2, XII, XIII, and the newest MMO XIV, Are. You. Freaking. Kidding. Me.

The only one which had an actual decent story line was XIII, but I still couldn’t finish it.  It didnt have the grab of the others, and I wondered why for a while… But I now know why… Its in the battle system.

X-2 was girl power at its finest, which is fine if that’s what you want to do in a game, but the battle system was retarded. I just couldn’t play it more than a few hours hoping it would get better.  I mean I’m running around as 3 chicks constantly changing their outfit and weapons in a high speed battle scene. It just didn’t have the Final Fantasy feel.

XII I had hopes for, The battle system and experience system had hopes, but the story and the fact that not one character had a preset role infuriated me.  I know they tried to create flexibility in every character, (which is one reason I liked X so much) but in X they HAD preset jobs, and could just customize a bit.  You can teach Lulu some armor/weapon break skills, but you’re not going to give her Aurons sword.

XIII again I had hopes for.  And yes everyone had different abilities and attributes… But there again was that job switching ability during battle.  No… Stop… Have you’re stuff set up before the fight begins and commence the battle that way.

I know what you want to say, 7 and 8 had no “Preset Jobs”  Except they did. Everyone grew in a specific way and had limit breaks which highlighted their attributes.  Would anyone here give Cloud the Steal materia and use him to take shit.. Yes it works but you wouldn’t have the same success if you gave it to Red XIII or Yuffie.  Are you junction-ing Selphie to be your strongest fighter in FFVIII because if you are you’re retarded.

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but the class system was important, and new Final Fantasy’s thew it away, Bring back the class system, and bring back the Turn Based System… It’s what made Final Fantasy what it is today.

Until popularity rises, this blog, Sports and Movies, and TV Review will be using the same twitter account @DNASportsMovies, Be sure to follow us.

Zelda Ocarina of Time to Calm Down

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (LoZ:OoT from here on out) is largely considered to be one of the greatest games of all time.  It remains in the list of top ten video games on many different highly regarded websites 13 years and two console generations later.  While it is an enjoyable game with many merits I cannot say I understand how it maintains the popularity that it does.  Many claim one of two reasons: it is innovative or it was the first LoZ game they ever picked up.  I’m ignoring that second argument on the basis that nostalgia is a terribly blinding force. 

 So let’s take a look at the first point which mainly revolves around LoZ in 3D as I shall demonstrate.  Most of the puzzles aren’t anything special: shoot/hit an eyeball/switch, kill the mini-boss, push the blocks, summon or remove the blocks, use the dungeon item.  If you’ve ever played The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past these should sound really familiar with one exception – they are in 3D so the depth of the puzzles is a little greater.  Not that this is a step in the wrong direction but a game shouldn’t be praised for the simple fact that the console it is on allows for an expansion that most likely would’ve been done previously if not for the fact that 2D would make multi-level puzzles really confusing.  This statement isn’t even actually true; Eagle Tower in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening has you knocking down pillars in various rooms in order to lower an entire portion of the dungeon to the point where it is accessible.  While this isn’t the most amazing puzzle ever it does go to show that the puzzles in LoZ:OoT aren’t exactly baby’s first step.  It might have more stamina and be able to walk farther but this is something only a doting parent should find amazing.

The next thing that people love about Loz:OoT is the namesake of the game.  The ocarina is apparently fun to play.  I personally don’t understand that; I’d much rather pull out the ocarina and cycle through the different songs I know like in LoZ:LA than have to memorize a bunch of arbitrary button presses or double check the song list every single time I need a specific song.  It isn’t even as if musical instruments are original to the game.  Every single game features musical instruments, even the original because shock of all shocks – music is important to the LoZ series as a whole.  Once again the console allows for the game developers to do something I’m sure they would have done earlier in the series if the game could have handled it. 

Last but not least we have the supposedly amazing story/ characters.  The game does have remarkably likable and unique characters but the plot as a whole isn’t anything special.  Seven sages and one of them is Princess Zelda; at the risk of sounding repetitive I must say this sounds remarkably similar to LoZ: LttP.  The addition to the LoZ mythology is nice but in the end it doesn’t really tell you much about the world – it seems like it exists because somebody told the developers that people were starting to expect more depth from video game plots. 

If you want a really cool story in the LoZ series go for Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker or more recently Skyward Sword among others.  Ocarina of Time may be the progenitor for many elements of the LoZ series that are now considered standard fair but that does not mean it is the best game in the series, let alone one of the best games ever.  The LoZ series as a whole has not stagnated, it has been   constantly improved upon and LoZ:OoT isn’t the first game in the series to start that process.