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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Final Fantasy Type-0 (Report 1)


A couple of hours into Type-0 and I'm still fumbling with the controls and, well, everything. This game makes Disgaea 3 and Persona 4 look like child's play. There is so much going on gameplay-wise/story-wise/battle system-wise that I needed to print out a Bible-size guide just to familiarise myself with the Basics ~ and it is not even a walkthrough. There are missions, side quests, secret quests; and there are some 14 characters whose physical/magic abilities need to be learnt and upgraded... this is serious (J)RPG!!!

Like Final Fantasy Crisis Core, which was my first JRPG experience, this is all in Japanese so there is a lot of guess work going on here. Now that I've played quite a few JRPG, at least I know the basic requirements. The gameplay reminds me of 3rd Birthday ... oh yes, I can feel my neck going stiff already!!!

Rem & Machina
For thematic reasons I have decided to have Machina & Rem on my team, led by Ace. Quite fun to play with these characters right now but will explore more training ground before attempting more missions. So far, I had completed one and getting the hang of it!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Final Fantasy Type-0

So it's Goodbye Persona 4: the Golden and Hello Final Fantasy Type-0

Having done all that I'd wanted to in P4G NG+ (levelling up, getting all the skill cards and items), it's time to move on. But to what? I was looking around and there aren't that many choices. I'd started playing Final Fantasy 4 - the Complete Collection and FF3 (on the iPad) but I just didn't get into them. Despite them being "classics", well, that is exactly what they are ... Old Games. The interface is pretty basic and gameplay uninspiring. I'm sure they were great in their time (like, more than a decade ago, at least) but now they just feel dated. The fact I only have the PSVita really limits my choices.

So I checked out PSN (again) to see if there were any new titles ... no luck. A lot of the new releases are in Japanese ... then I noticed the price of FF Type-0 has dropped Significantly (from about US$62 to US$25), which is a Real bargain. Yes, it's Japanese but at least I am quite familiar with the FF gameplay (this is supposed to be quite similar to FF Crisis Core, my first ever FF experience). So quickly downloaded it and am being thrown at the deep end immediately; i.e. after the quick cinematic intro I have to start battling (totally oppose to P4G, which took forever to start...). So have to learn the controls pretty fast ... but so far so good, am still fiddling with the camera but am sure I will get used to that. The only downside IS I have no idea what's going on (other than the fact I need to beat the crap out of whoever that's in my way) ... But the premises is pretty interesting.


The story revolves around 15 students from a magic academy who are determined to fight the invaders of their kingdom. Players can have up to three students/characters on the team, each specialising in a different weapon/magic type. So I imagine there will be a lot of costumisation there ... 

There are several downsides; 1) the game is pretty dark, literally, and 2) I will need to look at a lot of walkthroughs on the Internet to actually understand what I'm doing. But thank goodness there is a quite a complete walkthrough on YouTube so I'll be following that.

Anyway, time to Type-0 .... will report later if it's a game that I can enjoy and complete...


Friday, December 21, 2012

The End of the World

OR is it? Well, the very fact I'm penning this blog does suggest the end is not quite here yet (in Asia anyway) but neither is December 21, 2012 over yet (It's late afternoon in Europe but morning in the US; though New Zealand and Australia had obviously survived the date ~ but the supposed disaster?) 

So, in the next few hours, what can still happen? Well, not being a rocket scientist myself but I assume nothing, like, BIG, is gonna hit earth; I mean, we would have known by now if, say, another planet/asteroid is gonna crash onto us (wasn't that how the dinosaur era, which lasted millions of years, ended?); neither do I think the Marsians are about to descend onto us in a surprise attack. I guess there can still be the possibility of undetected earthquakes/tsunamis (that can wipe out the whole of Japan) but let's hope not.

I'd decided to spend my "last day" at the yoga studio (naturally) and I took a "peaceful Yin" class ... of course, the teacher who gave the class is known to be a bit on the tough side so the 90-minute session was anything but peaceful. It was a hip opening class and, boy, were my hips opened after the class! We just did a series of poses that we had to hold for a LONG time and REALLY stretched the groin area ~ it was like an endurance competition. Instructor told us to concentrate on the (unpleasant) sensation of our body being stretched  but the more she said that, the more I concentrated on the (unpleasant) sensation ... but am sure the exercise was good for us since most of us spend our days sitting down and, as the result, our adductor muscles get shorter and tighter by the day ... and having tight adductor muscles means inflexibility and a lack of range of motion. 

There have been quite a number of scares over the past couple of years (remember whatever experiment that scientists were conducting at CERN was supposed to create a Black Hole and wipe the earth out? Well, that didn't happen and they discovered the Higgs Boson ... Whatever ... ) ... but the only real disasters I can think of now is the earthquake in Northeast Japan and the economic meltdown in the West. 

I think humans are forever optimistic and, yes, tomorrow is another day. 

Another day playing Persona 4: the Golden for me. Been grinding levels and farming skill cards (Absorb Wind is still missing but by fluke I got the extremely rare Absorb Physical card) and I have still to decide what to do withe the Trumpeter Persona ... compared to Alice, Yoshi, Kaguya and Tam Lin, it is still very weak and pointless ... so, more skill card farming to build it up ...

End of the World? Not yet ...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hot Yoga

There was a time when I could only handle about 30 minutes of yoga practice inside a heated room (temperature hovers around the mid-30c). And I could never stay still during savasana because the mind kinda went bonkers when the body was hot. But these days I'm getting more used to it. Instead of feeling fidgety, I actually feel calm and relaxed despite the high temperature. I still sweat a lot though cos I'm the sweaty type (walking up a hill is enough to make me perspire profusely)... but the whole experience feels great ... after a hot class, the body feels/is detoxed and cleansed. 

But hot yoga is potentially quite dangerous also. For a start, not everyone can function in intense heat and it's not unheard of that yoga students faint right outside a studio because their body cannot adjust to the sudden change of temperature. The heart beats so much faster (for men) in the heat too so I wouldn't recommend this form of yoga to anyone who has a heart condition. Another hidden hazard is that your mind gets kinda tricked into believing that your body is more flexible in the heat. It does get more Relaxed but there are still limitations. I recently pulled some hamstrings and am quite convinced I did that during a hot yoga class because I didn't even realise it was pulled until a week or so later. Another downside to hot yoga is your body is still kinda hot almost an hour after practice and if you are not careful, you could catch a cold because  the weather outside could be cold but your body is just not feeling it. That's my theory anyway.

Okay, back to Persona 4: the Golden. I'm now at the end of my second playthru and am wondering if I should play it once more (if so, it will have to be later). I have built some decent/superb Personas now: Yoshi (for physical damages), Alice (dark magic), Kaguya (light magic), Tam Lin (tri-auto skills), Trumpeter and Jack Frost (elemental magic damages). I also have Helel and Izanagi but have yet to decide what to do with them. They can have some good skills but I already have enough dungeon crawlers and boss killers on the team. But their designs look pretty cool (esp Izanagi) so I will think of a way to build them. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

An Intermission

A quick break from Persona 4: the Golden (about half way second playthrough...) I returned to the mat feeling strong. The left adductor muscles still hurt a little but the strength has returned. Have come to realise two to three yoga sessions a week is, like, the optimal for me. Any more classes will only strain the body physically. We practised balancing on the block: tree pose, eagle pose and warrior 3 ... wow, that was challenging but fun!! Am addicted to twisting now ... each twist exercises parts of the body that never gets much exercise ...

Okay, back to Persona ... am hoping to cruise through Aug/Sep to unlock Naoto, my favourite character, together with Kanji ... they are the perfect pair in this game...in the meantime, I don't think I will be able to unlock all the social links ... what a pain!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Persona 4: the Golden (Part Seven)


This is turning into a Persona Blog! Okay, after thinking I was gonna give this game up after first playthrough (this seems to happen a lot with other games too, cue: Tactics Ogre), I had a severe bout of PSVita withdrawal and quickly returned to it for a second serving. According to game forums, best way to do/enjoy the second playthrough is to fast forward all the lengthy/boring conversation/story (there is actually a button for that function to skip scenes!) and do some of the quests that I didn't have time for the last time. PLUS, in this playthrough I can now unlock one exclusive character + secret boss battle. Sounds good to me. 


GREAT OST (thanks to uploader...)

In the meantime, am taking my time to max those "social links" (doing those Margaret's Requests sounds fun, but expensive) and I cannot wait to unlock both Kanji and Naoto so this time round I will have them as core members of my new team (Chie and Yosuke were good in the first playthrough but no point having the same team again ... though will keep Yukiko as the healer as Kuma doesn't sound as good). So, there IS something to look forward to after all ...