Saturday, January 9, 2010

"The After Years" and DLC. Also, Castlevania Post-mortem

I've had the first part of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years downloaded to my Wii for quite a few months now. I think I might have even downloaded it on its day of release. I played it for a few hours, then promptly ignored it until a few days ago.

I'm not sure what it was that made me boot it up again. I think I wanted to listen to a podcast or something while playing a videogame, and was sick of Mario at the time (it took me forever to find a coin in a level in World 6 and I was pissed off about it) and so I just booted it up.

Well, that was costly.

I beat the game (well, the first part of it anyway) and have now downloaded the next four parts at three bucks a pop. Luckily, I had some points left over on the Shop Channel. Regardless, I now have beaten two of the four DLC things - Rydia's Tale and Yang's Tale. I'm now playing through Palom's Tale and am probably close to beating it, honestly. They are pretty quick jaunts, about an hour or so each.

And for the most part, I'm enjoying myself. The most glaring problem? The encounter rate is ridiculously high! So high that I sometimes cannot stand playing the game because there have been numerous times where I've moved two spaces and then have to fight another battle!

The other problem is that each chapter is wildly different from the last in terms of party makeup. I hated playing through Rydia's Tale because there's her and her goofy dwarf friend and neither one of them have any healing spells. So I have to grind for cash and then buy a bunch of potions to heal. Then there is the chapter I'm on now: I have two mages in my party, one who can use White Magic, while both can use Black - and that's great! Only problem is, battles take longer because I have to watch the stupid magic animation play out every time, because neither one of them can hit for any damage above like 10, when they're able to hit at all with their physical attacks. It's pretty annoying!

But I really like seeing what happened to all these characters after Final Fantasy IV. Meeting the sons and daughters of characters like Cecil and Rosa is pretty neat (even when they name their kid Ceodore - that has got to be a translation error or something. What a stupid name!). There are a few nice touches, too - when there is a flashback to Final Fantasy IV, the sprites of all the characters revert to the old SNES style - the exact sprites that game used. It's subtle, but appreciated. And the graphics that remain are decent! They remind me a lot of Final Fantasy V, actually - somewhere in between FFIV and FFVI in polish - with slightly larger character sprites. And the music is basically FFIV's soundtrack, which was good. Some remixes would have been nice, though.

At any rate, I'll finish it one of these days.

I also played through and beat Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth today too! Finally figured out how to beat that final form of Dracula. It wasn't that hard and I'm somewhat embarrassed that I died on him as many times as I did that first time. The game took me about an hour to beat, and I discovered that I now have a stage select! Which is great because I'm already sick of the first two stages. Not a whole lot to say about the game that hasn't already been said - it's a solid Castlevania game, one that I'm sure I'll revisit periodically.

No comments: