Sunday, February 19, 2012

Goodbye Gokaigers

Today marks the end of this season's Super Sentai series, Kaizoku Sentai Gokaigers (海賊戦隊ゴーカイジャー). With the 51st episode broadcasted in Japan earlier this morning, we've come to the conclusion of the 35th Anniversary of Super Sentai. As an celebrative work to mark the anniversary, the unique feature about the Gokaigers was that it featured all previous Sentai teams in the same universe, and hence we were able to expect guest stars and cameos in almost all the episodes. It's fun seeing how they manage to get the same actors to reprise their roles, even after up to 34 years.

In the clip above (taken from the ending of the mid season movie) you can see all 35 Super Sentai teams. Pretty nostalgic since I recognise those which I've watched since I was Rena's age. Yes, I'm thankful for some of the overseas channels back in the early 80s. Rena's a huge fan of this year's show too, and she's learnt quite a bit of Japanese from it too. It's a great show for kids (IMO) since it talks alot about teamwork, bonds, and courage. Some parents may argue about how violet it gets but I figure since it's all people in comical monster suits it can't be that bad.

I've only watched up to episode 50, since I'm still waiting for the subbed version. You can bet I'll be watching it with Rena when it gets released. But there was a scene in episode 50 which I found cool. The members actually repeated their lines said back in episode 1, where they made their first appearance. But this time, the words mean a lot more now. You can sense that the characters have made progress, and that the plot has made significant development on each's back story. It's kinda cool, and I've compiled the 2 scenes into a video and uploaded it here for everyone's viewing pleasure. Until the next post, cya!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Ready for another Final Fantasy?

I've been a fan of the Final Fantasy series since VII. I went back to play VI, and have played every installment with the exception of XI and XIV, which was online only. Final Fantasy X is my favourite game of all time, and I have a poster of Tidus and Yuna in my office. I loved the movies, and adored the story in Crisis Core. You can tell since Zack is part of my blog banner. The difference about Final Fantasy and what sets it apart from other RPGs is that it is able to immerse the play in an entirely new world. Although each series is set apart with no connections, there are things you'd expect from each game, on top of the game mechanics and unforgettable music pieces. 

I used to write reviews for these games, but haven't done so in a long time. Not likely to write any soon, since it takes too much effort to write one that gives proper justice to the game, which is usually too deep to understand by a straightforward play through. The games have really changed since the beginning too. Newer installments nowadays are so much more complicated than the SNES days. Back then, you'd really only need to know what attacks to use against each category of enemies. Understand elements and physical/magical attributes would mean you're a master at that game. But not with the newer games these days. The guide books can be thicker than dictionaries.

For example, when I played FF XIII 2 years ago, I discovered the entire concept of fighting in the series has changed. And it's a revolutionary change. No longer do you control the actions of individual characters in your party. You role has been upgraded to that of a manager on the battlefield, and you command what roles each of your party member holds. This change, by itself, already means you have much more control over the combat system. On the flip side, many of the fight commands are now autonomous. 

For example, in the early days, if you found out that an enemy is weak against fire, you'd base all your attacks on fire. But in FF XIII, the computer will automatically select fire based attacks for you, and execute it for you. Sounds too easy? Not so, when you're the one having to assign who does the physical attacks, magical attacks, healing, and other spells in your team. In short, you don't worry about the small issues. Your main job is to make sure the characters complement each other well as a team, and that you trigger the correct setup for each team configuration, and that you can switch to the correct setup on the fly during the fights. It is so much more complex, because there's a lot of other mechanics involved as well, like the leveling up process for each role, and the bonus equipments, accessories, etc. There's even a system to recruit monsters and level them up. Seriously, I'm overwhelmed by the entire system in FF XIII-2. I'll need to break it apart piece by piece. On the left you see what I drew 2 years ago, to see which team configuration works best for me.

In a nutshell, Final Fantasy games are no push over and it's not child's play. It trains you as a manager and how well you organise your team mates, exploiting individual members' strengths and covering up their weaknesses. Strategic planning is also tested, since leveling up can be done in so many ways. I'll try to have fun with the whole thing though, haha. The only problem now is finding the time to get back to that world. :)

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Sentosa 2012!

Last week we brought Rena to Sentosa to visit the Flower exhibition which was held in junction with the Chinese New Year celebrations. Since it's the year of the dragon there were obviously going to be lots of dragon themed exhibits. It was pretty fun since we also visited the Underwater World, and I realised it's been decades since I was last there. No joke. And it looks exactly the same as I remembered. No shit. Anyways, after I accepted the fact that the tickets were expensive as hell I think Rena did enjoy her time there, especially since we managed to grab front seats for the show with the dolphins and the sea lions. Not too sure when we'll make a return visit, but at least we have some photos for the memory. Enjoy them in the photo montage here! :)