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 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  Last Remnant in a Nutshell / by Spoony Spoonicus
 the waggoner  §  articles and general riff-raff exceeding your expectations of worthlessness.
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 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 01:26am 11/03/12 (01:01am 02/26/10) in 1h33m29s  §  4342 eyeballs
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 Bustin' down plots like the T pities fools.
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Well holy dog shit, Vinic's finally started to program the site again after nine months of sitting on his thumbs and playing shitty browser games. Hooray! Have a Nutshell for another unflushed Square Enix turd to celebrate.

"Combining elements of Eastern and Western RPGs" shouldn't mean that you're just recycling the worst and most boring cliches from TWO sources instead of just one.

The setting is a world that looks extremely similar to Final Fantasy XII; in fact, it looks like they just transplanted almost every character model and texture straight from that game without even bothering to make any improvements for the Xbox 360 hardware. The only thing that doesn't look like it's copied straight from a Playstation 2 game is the menu text, which like every Xbox RPG in existence is so small that it's barely readable.*

*I'm sure it's crystal clear on a 70 inch HDTV, but come on, I don't have a thousand bucks to burn. Besides, is it really that hard to use a bigger fucking font? This is the most basic of low-level game programming here, guys - if you make a text-heavy game, make the text fucking READABLE.

Proving that they're not even trying anymore, Square Enix has the game immediately take a page from the Hero's Book of Generic Motives and has the protagonist's sister get kidnapped by monsters. But that's not enough, oh no - he also has a magical Plot Coupon Amulet that unleashes cataclysmic superpowers whenever the story writes itself into a corner, which it invariably will. Many times. As Plot Coupon's first act, it glows and vaporizes all of Rush's assailants sans the one that has his sister trapped (of course).

Spoony: And it's all done with shiny aurora effects surrounding spheres of light. That sort of thing was visually impressive back when Final Fantasy X was released, but it's 2009 and glitter isn't fashionable anymore. Maybe you should focus more on your character modeling and less on graphical gimmicks; giving them more than one facial expression and mouth movement with a wider range than a hand puppet's would be a good start. I mean, when online-only first person shooters have more believable facial expressions than the cast of an emotionally-driven console RPG, that doesn't speak very well for you.

Some unspecified amount of time later, Rush stumbles upon a battlefield, where we're treated to our first glimpse of the game's underwhelming combat: riddled with excessive load times, graphical errors and a bunch of mechanics that ultimately have little to no effect on the overall strategy (or lack thereof). I suppose they justify it by saying that it's meant to mimic a bad PC RPG from the mid 90s running on an underpowered computer. Because, after all, this game combines EASTERN and WESTERN RPG elements!

Thinking he sees his sister down there for some reason, he charges right into the middle of the fight, somehow never losing an arm or an eye in the process. Hooray for the plot shield!

It seems everyone associated with Square is only capable of thinking in cliches, because one side of the war unleashes a cacaclysmic superweapon that sends the hero plummeting into a dungeon of some description. Despite the distance of the fall and the fact that he lands facefirst on solid rock, he manages to sustain no noticable damage.

Spoony: Didn't Final Fantasy III open with a scene just like this too? And IV? And Secret of Mana? And Secret of Evermore? And VI? And VII? And IX? And X? And Blue Dragon? And Lost Odyssey?

The collapse is also a clumsy excuse to introduce a new party member; this time around, it's a really bitchy female knight. Pointless bickering ensues, wherein Rush is accused of being a spy (because, of course, all spies run headlong into the thick of combat with no weapons while being as conspicuous as possible). We also quickly discover that even the dialog scenes have background textures appearing and vanishing at random intervals.

Spoony: No, really, what is with all of this pop-in? I'm having flashbacks to time spent trying to play Deus Ex on my crappy old Pentium 166 with the software renderer and no sound card support. It ended... badly.

A rescue party comes down moments later. It's established that Rush is the son of two prominent scientists researching Remnants, and because of that the Marquis offers his help in seeking his sister. Upon hearing this, Rush completely breaks character to hop around and giggle like an eight year old. Yes, really. Nothing says "compelling" like a war epic starring a tragic hero who acts like a kid in a candy store. And Square fans, after sitting through all of Final Fantasy 10's dialog and now witnessing this scene, still have the nerve to bash Disgaea for being too "immature and silly"; simply amazing.

Marquis Dickhead: Behold, the generic quest list!
Spoony: Oh, suck my balls. If I wanted a laundry list of boring fetch quests to do, I'd buy an MMORPG.
(Fun fact: I fucking hate MMORPGS.)
Marquis Dickhead: No, no, you don't get it! This is a throwback to those old "hunt the monster" RPGs on the Apple II. Because this game combines EASTERN and WESTERN RPG elements!
Spoony: ...Fine, fine. If you're going to replace story flow with a chore list, can you at least tell me what ones advance the plot and what ones are just meaningless busywork?
Marquis Dickhead: Of course not. That would be doing something innovative and convenient to the player, and we're clearly trying to avoid that.
Spoony: Another throwback to the days of archaic, minimally-designed interfaces, I suppose.
Marquis Dickhead: Of course. Because, after all, this game combines EASTERN and WESTERN RPG elements!
Spoony: *Sigh* Fine, I'll just grab a few at random and hope that something - anything - within them convinces me that this game wasn't a complete waste of money.

A few quests are played. It quickly becomes apparent that the battles we witnessed weren't trimmed-down versions for the sake of early game demonstration; you quite literally spend three seconds choosing what moves to use and then the next three minutes watching them animate. You have almost no interaction with every single battle in the entire game.

Spoony: I knew Square loved having monster summons and limit breaks be excessively long, noninteractive movies, but every turn? That is simply unacceptable. Especially when there's this much load time and graphic pop-in between EVERY SINGLE CAMERA CUT.

At the very least the quests don't take fucking ages to finish, because while battles drag on for way too long, the dungeons are quite short. Still, it's only a matter of time and a lot of effort wasted on dead end quests before you get bored of it and desperately wish for a game where you know you're making some kind of actual progress.

Spoony: Okay Square, I've had enough. I liked Final Fantasy XII because it was completely unlike the last few games in the series (hell, it actively went out of its way to buck a lot of the franchise's usual cliches). I liked The World Ends With You because it had a unique graphical style, original gameplay and several interesting characterizations; again, unlike pretty much everything else you've made in the last decade. So why in the hell would you come back to cliched, mediocre dreck like this? Was that bold new direction just your moving van's pit stop on the road to Blandville? Or do you think you can just live forever off your "cutting edge" graphics? I've got news for you, boys; they're not impressive anymore now that games like Bayonetta, Bioshock and Resident Evil 5 are out. Hell, even Muramasa: The Demon Blade has a fresher and more appealing visual style, and that's on the Wii. The Wii!

So how about this: If you must insist on making nothing but forgettable shovelware from this point on, at the very least you should optimize it for the platform you're releasing it on. There's absolutely no excuse for all of this popup and load time in an Xbox 360 game when first-generation games like Dead Rising could have hundreds of autonomous enemies onscreen at a time without even any slowdown. If a few college-age dorks on the Internet can make an emulator for the PSP that runs Nintendo 64 games almost flawlessly, there's no reason why you, with your vast programming staff and inside knowledge on the system and its hardware, can't get a Playstation 1 game running without lag and bad sound quality. (Comparison) It's especially inexcusable when the original game is available on PSOne Classics and runs without any flaws whatsoever on the same platform! I shudder to think of how badly FInal Fantasy XIII is going to operate; I won't be paying a dime to find out, by the way.


Spoony had planned to trade the game toward the Phantom Brave remake on the Wii, but unfortunately it was delayed at the time. So instead it was put toward Devil Survivor, a game which, within its first hour, manages to present a believable, detailed cast of characters, a story whose every element isn't recycled from a dozen better games, and a unique spin on the standard grid-based tactical combat system. It also doesn't take three full minutes for each combat turn to complete and graphics don't randomly drop in and out during every single camera cut; imagine that!
 rawks  §  rad comments, dogg.
 ~The Kid from Secret of Evermore  §  at 01:25am 02/28/10
I'd like to quote this world-famous review of FATAL, the worst tabletop RPG ever invented:

"Herein lies a useful lesson for game designers: if you're making a really shitty game, don't put in things that will remind people of much better games."

Just throwing that out there.
 ~Spoony Spoonicus  §  at 07:14pm 03/25/10
Update: Final Fantasy XIII opens with the falling-down-a-pit cliche too. Hooray for interpreting "breaking new ground" as "digging ourselves deeper into the Pit of Eternal Mediocrity!"
 ~FUN FACT  §  at 09:32am 07/12/11
If you thought Final Fantasy VIII was bad for punishing you for leveling up and forcing you to rely instead on a horribly broken Junction system, get this: Last Remnant is the same way, but doesn't even feature a Junction system! So if for some reason you actually want to put up with this shitty game, you'd better be running away from almost everything you fight!
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a cherry