Archive for October, 2010

Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of light, classes

Posted in Games, RPG with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by link6616

Wow… I have no idea how long I’ve been playing this for but it’s still amazing. It’s still everything I hate about RPGs but done perfectly. I love it…

Before though, I said that the classes didn’t seem to matter that much. But at that point I hadn’t really been able to do much with them. Classes in 4 heroes take a few of the better steps out of Wild ARMs XF’s book with class benefits being super apparent from the get go.

If your character has never been a white mage before, and 50 levels later you want him to be one, he’ll be an awesome white mage. He COULD be better if you upgrade his white mage crown (what you use to change jobs) but the overaching abilities that make white mages good, he has…

So, how do classes work you ask? Well, throughout the journey you collect ‘crowns’ representing jobs, each job has 3-5 levels. Each level grants (so far) one ability. These abilities are basically spells without you needing to have a spell book in your inventory. Along with this, most classes have a passive ability of some kind. White and black mages make their respective colours of magic cost 1 ap less (which makes level 1 magic like normal attacks), Slave-makers don’t use AP when they use an item and so on.

Typically the first active ability and the passive work enormously well alone that even without upgrade you’ll still rock as a class… The level 1 white mage ability for instance allows your next healing spell to heal everyone (costing 1 ap and a turn to cast this first though). This alone allows anyone to very quickly become the party healer. The level 2 ability costs an extra 1 ap and also increases the power of the healing, making it more useful yes, but by no means essential… The class upgrades are much less required as they are just helpful. And given these abilities cost more AP than the last, it’s often questionable how valuable they really are.

Classes also change your stats, and in this game, very small number changes make big differences, so while classes do not affect what you can equip to each character you are probably not doing your white mage any favours by not upgrading her spirit, nor your fighters by not giving him the biggest axe. However, because you can equip what you want, you still retain a large amount of customization…

What’s really great about all these is that it’s very difficult for your character to feel samey like they do in many other RPGs without setting up each character as the same class with the same equipment. Every class makes the characters feel entirely different, and your equipment more so, so your white mage in dungeon 1 feels different to the same white mage dungeon 2. This doesn’t mean the game is constantly throwing lots of confusing random junk at you, it’s simply that the very minor changes impact your play style a lot, but in very predictable ways.

I’m not sure what’s going to be of merit to discuss next… But I’m looking forward to finding out

Dull update, writing…

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15, 2010 by link6616

I recently got back my results on my assignments in uni, and was essentially told, “if you work on writing, you’ll be able to get much much higher marks as your arguments once worked out are good.

So, I’m working on improving my writing much more, and thus updating more frequently, as the best way to improve is to practice. You’ll hopefully be seeing a cot of updates covering a large amount of different topics within gaming, and hopefully you’ll see the writing improve as I do this.

Signing out.

Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of light, first impressions

Posted in Clean up needed, Games, RPG with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2010 by link6616

I’ve been getting sick of RPGs recently… Sure I put in my required hours into demon’s souls and FFXIII among other things, but overall I’ve really not been enjoying them…

Then 4 Heroes comes out… and on a whim, I go why not, I need a new DS game and I didn’t want DQIX (although I might try it now). Expecting to be burned out after a while and then lend to my much more RPG loving X partner.  I’d heard that the new action point and item systems basically make the game a little bit more what I like about riveria. I was worried about the ‘old school’ aspects though,  as I’ve never even finished FFIV and V… Also, I hated these guys remakes.

So basically I shouldn’t have bought this game.

However,  I love it. Perhaps it hit me at the right the time just after I’ve dealt with most of my uni work, perhaps I’ve finally gotten over the many hours I grinded in Pokemon Silver… but 4 heroes manages to do a lot of RPG things very right, without being overly old school.

The game uses the basic structure of any old school RPG, wake up, go see king, perform basic task, meet 3 other varied teenagers, kill first boss, cause curse to ruin kingdom, save kingdom.

However it changes up this structure just a little by both giving the characters some personality, and by splitting up the party and having them separated by the narrative early on… Otherwise, you’ll need to examine everywhere for items, solutions and hints towards your goals. Normally, i hate this… But I think 4 heroes combines using less NPCs and making typically more interesting dialog from each (also nicely pacing hints from NPCs on how the battle system works) with a varied world to make it easier to find the hint you need.

The other core difference to many old school RPGs is the battle system… The battles in most RPGs only served to wear down your supplies and reserves. Well, 4 heroes uses the same principle in the end I suppose. However it makes this task a little less daunting and annoying by having a very low encounter rate with fairly quick dungeons, that it’s more about not dying in a given round more than anything else. As with most RPGs you have 3 core resources, Health, MP, items/money. 4 Heroes makes managing all these much more interesting than most old school RPGs (so far anyway) by using megaten like give and take on life (meaning your life goes up and down a lot, making it a real worry), an AP system over standard MP, and forcing inventory management to a new level for an FF games.  I’m going to tackle those last two seperately

Battles occur in standard turn based fashion ad revolve around one very important resource, AP. You only have at best 5 points, you get one a turn, and even attacking or using an item costs one of these points. Spells and special abilities cost more of course.  You can only have upto 6 additional actions prepared for you to do before a battle starts, so only 6 spells, or 2 spells and 4 skills. Meaning you will always have a pretty limited set of choices forcing you to plan ahead. Adding to that the auto targeting system in the game, which uses quickly learnable rules on what is targets (spells hit rear weakest foe for example), will force you to create a party that can deal with everything.

Finally item management forms a big part of 4 Heroes, you only have 15 slots for each character, including armor, equipment, spells and consumables. Given you will typically have 4 pieces of equipment plus 2 spellbooks, that’s 6 slots, leaving very few to pick up treasures. But that’s not all. After battles you do NOT get money. You get gems… Gems are currency for 3 things.
-selling for gill
-using to upgrade classes
-used to pay for gameovers

Gems come in a lot of types and each job needs different amounts of each gem to be upgraded. This causes some nice tension between what you want, you could not get those lovely items and more easily get better classes quicker, or get the items now and the classes when you can later…

Well, that’s about I have on 4 heroes of light for now. I’d talk about classes but there isn’t much to say, they’re highly focused, but so far not that interesting (only have 4 jobs so far)… So hopefully I’ll have more to say later.

Touhou fighters

Posted in Fighters, Games with tags , , on October 11, 2010 by link6616

Touhou fighters are a very interesting and unique take on fighters, and is the only series I know that made a bullet hell shooter, into a fighter… Both the fighters are very different to each other even though when you first look at them they seem very similar…

Both however revolve around a very interesting mix up idea…

To compensate for the HUGE amount of projectiles which with any other engine would make the game just dull and slow, touhou deals with this by making dashes totally invulnerable to projectiles, so the mix up up comes from the option to guessing games of block/dash(graze as the game calls it) and bullet/physical.

This mix up leads people to use bullets as cover to come in for a a physical, putting a lot of pressure on someone to guesss right… blocking bullets uses your meter, as does air blocking. This combined with traditional high low mix up shows a fighter that doesn’t need traditional throw as part of the mix up.

Also, lots of bullets are fun…

Next, touhou 12.3