Saturday, August 13, 2011

AoEO; FFXII; 30>/=

That title looks all kinds of weird, doesn't it?

Its Age of Empires Online, Final Fantasy 12, and 30 Minutes or less.  The first two can be ignored for the most part, but the last one, oh so sweet.

My friend has been all over my ass trying to get me to play Final Fantasy 12, but after years of horrible games that were developed by Square Enix, I've been reluctant to want to.  He loves it, whatever, I'm trying it.  And I'm not sure how I feel about it as a whole.

The game, once you reach a certain point, requires very little actual "playing," and really just needs someone to walk the characters from point A to point B.  And that certain point is reached about 2 hours in.  Maybe.  I don't really remember, I'm at like, 70 something and I don't even think I'm halfway through.

What I'm talking about is the gambit system.  Which is basically a better functioning version of the paradigm system from Final Fantasy 13.  It's really weird playing this game after playing 13 first, because it feels like 13 was a prototype version of 12 that was reskinned and released on PS3 after Square Enix shit their pants because all they have been focusing on is Kingdom Hearts.

But its the gambit system we're talking about here, and 13 sucked balls, so fuck it.  The gambit system allows you to prioritize automated commands that your characters will do in a battle so that you don't have to spend time worrying about controlling all 3 people, because kids today are all hopped up on PCP and cant display higher brain function to save their life  What the gambit system eventually enables, is damn near complete AI control of the game, so you can sit back and watch, or beat off to Fran because you're a god damn furvert.

Everything else about the game, meh.  Standard RPG fare.  Stock characters, cliched plot twists, all in all forgettable.  I'm motivated to play the game only so I can see what kind of weird shit they snuck into the world.  Which is also a demotivator to me.

The world in the game is ridiculously large, and it is free to explore provided you are high enough level.  Which to me says "keep leveling up and see what's out here, forget the rest of the game."  Which I have done.  Because the rest of the game is so easy and boring, I have made the game become finding something difficult to kill.  And when I do find it, figuring out the tactics to beat it.  It has happened twice so far.  Substance is lacking.

I'll finish the game, but doubtful I will ever revisit it.

Next up, Age of Empires Online.  I was in the beta for this game, and it has changed quite a bit since I first played it, mostly for the better.

Why they insisted on making this game "online" is a fucking mystery.  The online moniker is highly inappropriate, because its basically just a single player game where you can AIM party chat with other people who are playing a basically single player game.  There is no real overlap of a game world, no persistence, nothing that makes it feel like you need to really be online to play the game.  There are quests that can be done cooperatively, but they feel like they were last minute additions and the developers were just like "shit, we have to do something to make it feel like its an online game!"

There is trading, and crafting, and players can visit others' "home cities," but its all a sham because you can either do everything yourself, buy what you need from others for ridiculously outrageous prices, or wait long enough until you get what you are looking for or can craft it yourself.

All that aside, the gameplay of it is kinda lame as well.  Every quest has a goal that you have to achieve, because that's how quests work, but the goal is always either "kill everyone" or "don't get killed by everyone."  They try to make you think there is more to it than that by giving objectives like "earn XXXX gold through the use of caravans" or "collect XXXX food by fishing only," and they will throw some time limit on it to piss you off because without a doubt, you will have to deal with an enemy that moves twice as fast as you do, and all the resources you were collecting have to be used to build an army to defend yourself because all the enemy uses is archer units and they hit everything else for 3 times the damage that anything hits them for.

It's fucking stupid.

I'm playing the game now, and yes, I did buy a premium civilization for it (because these people worked hard on the game, the deserve to get paid, but I probably won't be buying much else related to the game), because it is something to do, but the AI in the game is built poorly, and is cheaply increased in difficulty, and is so easy to break that it makes you wonder how much time was actually spent developing the parts that matter as opposed to shitting in a box and slapping an Age of Empires brand on it.

But wait, its a digital download, so I guess saying shit in a box doesn't much fit here.

Fuck all that though, because 30 Minutes or Less opens this weekend, and that shit is funny.  Its in the vein of Pineapple Express and SuperBad.  Its not a very long movie, but there were very few minutes of the time I had with it that I was not laughing loudly at something.  It will be a great quote movie for  years to come.

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