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Old 11-10-2023, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Encino, CA
4,579 posts, read 5,453,876 times
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Playing Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3. It was released last night at 9:00pm PST. GREAT GREAT GAME!!! It has all the COD Modern Warfare 2 maps we've all come to love from the original MW2.
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Old 11-13-2023, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Fiorina "Fury" 161
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Over the weekend I made it to Disc 3 of 4 of Final Fantasy VIII Remastered. I have been pleasantly surprised about how much I have enjoyed the game so far. In addition to progressing the main story, I have been getting quite wrapped up in walking around the Balamb Garden academy and all of the various towns just talking to the townspeople, especially to engage them in the Triple Triad card playing/collecting mini game, which is a ton of fun.
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Old 11-13-2023, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kings Gambit View Post
Playing Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3. It was released last night at 9:00pm PST. GREAT GREAT GAME!!! It has all the COD Modern Warfare 2 maps we've all come to love from the original MW2.
I got absolutely nothing done on Saturday because I played MW3 the entire day. In fairness, my wife bought it for me for my birthday and had no issues with me wasting the day on it. I married a good one.

I'm enjoying most of the maps. Turns out that I still kind of hate Rust*, but there are enough other maps that I'm willing to suffer through it once in a while. Overpass and Estate are probably my favorites in multiplayer.

Zombies is much better in MW3 than it was in the last couple of iterations, in my opinion.

Ground War on Popov Power is a blast for snipers and has some great close quarters combat areas as well.

I played War Mode a few times, but I think I'm done until there is a better map selection. The same map over and over gets old pretty quick.

*I did have some fun on Rust once I unlocked the grenade launcher. I basically claimed the top of the tower, put a claymore at the top of the ladder, and rained death upon the enemy. Dropped an ammo box and went again. Ended up with a KDR of 4.3 on that one. LOL
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Old 11-15-2023, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Encino, CA
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I've only played multiplayer (not campaign, Zombies or Warzone) and I LOVE it. Took a while to figure out the whole unlocking of items via the dailies though. I am absolutely loving the "new" MW2 maps though. Brings me back to when I spent hours and hours and hours playing through to get Fall Camo on all of the weapons.
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Old 11-19-2023, 06:38 PM
 
3,954 posts, read 5,103,813 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kings Gambit View Post
Playing Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3. It was released last night at 9:00pm PST. GREAT GREAT GAME!!! It has all the COD Modern Warfare 2 maps we've all come to love from the original MW2.
I got MW III at launch and have been playing it ever since. Really enjoying the weapons and the nostalgia of the classic maps.
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Old 11-21-2023, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Fiorina "Fury" 161
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Default Final Fantasy VIII Remastered

I finished Final Fantasy VIII Remastered.

Having never played Final Fantasy VIII before, I experienced the game in 2023 without any nostalgia goggles, and with the remastered version, it appears I have been able to compress time in order to write this post as if it was just released. I had always heard mixed things about FFVIII, some of which held true for me, and some of which I was pleasantly surprised to find out were way better than people said.

The Story

You play as Squall Leonhart, a 17-year-old student (cadet) at Balamb Garden Military Academy. Students train to graduate to become SeeDs, which are elite mercenaries often called upon by governments and even civilians to provide military support or protection. Squall is joined by some other students and individuals along the quest who share a cohesive bond in one way or another, which is to be revealed as the story evolves into fantastical and frankly sci-fi based overarching themes.

Junction System

The junction system is much, much better than what I had heard about it. "Junctioning" simply means "linking," so you get stat upgrades by linking both magic and your GFs (Gaurdian Forces, aka summons) to your stat options. Leveling up doesn't even matter that much and there is no MP meter to worry about either, which was quite refreshing. The GFs learn new abilities via ability points (AP) that you get from battles. Once the abilities to do so are unlocked, you can refine both magic, which is maxed at 100 count for each spell, and regular items into higher levels of magic or multiple levels of different items, which can then be further refined into various usable and/or rare items. Choosing to turn items into magic will help reduce the time it takes to "draw" magic from enemies, even though you have the x3 speed option with the remaster to make spamming the draw ability less of a grind.

If that wasn't enough, you can turn enemies into cards, then play those cards in Triple Triad and win even more cards, then turn those cards into items, or magic, and on and on and on. It's very intuitive. One neat ability via the Tonberry GF, that I needed a guide to even know about, was "Call Shop," which allowed me to call any shop in the game, whereby I could buy their store items right from where I was standing without ever having to step foot in those shops again. I was able to open the menu anywhere and spend a lot of time tinkering about in the ability refinement submenu to see what I could create.

I would have to spend pages describing all of the functions and options of the junction system, but I found it to be quite good, if not addicting. The overall criticism of the junction system isn't warranted, and I mean that with all sincerity. As I got deeper into how things worked with the refinements, I was left with the impression that the junction system was "playable human ingenuity." It's understandable, though, that with as menu-intensive as FFVIII can be, why it would be an issue for the causal gamer, or even fans of RPGs who like this stuff, but just don't want something that involved. To be sure, if you include the card collecting Triple Triad minigame, which operates in a separate menu, I would say I spent 50% to 60% of the game in menus just tinkering around with all of the refinement features. Mind you, it's not necessary to play the game this way, but I'm totally into heavy menu navigation. That's why I play turn-based in the first place, so I really enjoyed this part of the game, especially when things started to feel truly secondhand.

That's not to say the system is without problems, as FFVIII suffers from a menu layout issue, which is the main reason IMO that it could seem confusing at times. Going back and forth between menus involves a ton of manual entry and navigation, which you obviously get more acclimated to the more hours you spend with it, but they chose to go with horizontal navigation rather than vertical/top down, which can be somewhat cumbersome. They also used abbreviated title names for the stats and used icons, which function like emojis, for the elemental and status effects. That seems like a weird choice since platform games weren't as cross-platform to mobile back then as they are today. Perhaps that was so that the in-game battle menus would stay reduced allowing for more open space to see things ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. (They do have easily accessible tutorials explaining what everything is if you want to spend time reading all of them. Garden is an academy, after all, and you can even take tests to increase your rank as a SeeD in order to earn a higher salary.)

Triple Triad Minigame

I got so caught up in Triple Triad that I collected 89% of the cards without using a guide. Excellent minigame for the most part, except that the rules change throughout the different regions, so it got infuriating when the random rule, which pulls cards at random instead of you selecting which cards you want to play, got applied. Some of these rules can be abolished, but it takes several steps to do so, and which rules get abolished is also randomly generated out as well based off some percentage, depending on who you play with in what region. There is a tutotrial in the main menu for Triple Triad, and it made sense to me when I read through it, but when you play with this "random" rule + the "plus" rule + the "same wall" rule combined, you're not going to beat the algorithm of the NPC, so that means endless resets in order not to lose your most valuable/rare cards, only to win by luck, or if you're lightning quick doing the math in your head for all the card-flip combos.

Script and Character Development

Squall has to become a reluctant hero as the story unfolds, which he clearly doesn't want to be. He has a "whatever, can't be bothered, mopey, cold shoulder" attitude which gets long in the tooth, especially in the second half of the game. I guess he just wants to be a mercenary? He's encouraged and supported by his entourage to lead based on his skills, I suppose. He is hot and cold with his love interest, even in big moments. Things tie in better at the ending credits*, but still, throughout most of the game Squall makes various half-hearted attempts at character growth, but he's often feckless and ineffectual, getting through many of the situations based on luck or happenstance, instead of strategy. The only reason Squall grows at all is because he has fighting skill and he was the protagonist given to the player, so of course he has no choice but to be thrust into his role(s). Otherwise, would he choose to be there? But maybe I should cut him some slack, or add a "most definitely should" to qualify it: I probably wouldn't have wanted to try and figure out how to attempt to save the world at seventeen years old, with party members all around the same age, either.

I found some of the sidequesting to be helpful in this game. There are so many little touches that keep the story progression in sync. All of the NPC dialogue stays updated throughout the different story scenarios when you revisit a region after major events. It is evident that the developers spent a lot of time on this. There is even a public diary started by Selphie on the Balamb Garden interface that you can periodically check to get story updates, including having the other party members write entries in it. It's effectively similar to how the blog feature works on City-Data. There is also a scenario involving Zell and another person (I won't name them) at Balamb Garden who seeks him out elsewhere and gives him an important item to upgrade his Duel limit break, and that tiny, tiny little sidestory, which I found on my own, was a nice touch to round out the whole concept and atmosphere of Balamb Garden.

Main villain: The main villain was not interesting, nor was their ultimate motivation for their actions. There is a different setup for the villain that the game could've gone with, and they sort of do with that character, which I was getting pumped up about, but the plot point for that is to set up a different meaning, which works okay, but they could've kept with that and not needed the main villain at all to set up the same plot devices. That's as spoiler-free as I can word it.

*Credit to the ending credits, as the animations are very life-like and have a ton of personality. It's too bad the writing in the game doesn't match as well with the personalities of the characters seen in those animations, as it's clear they all care about one another. Some of the character movements are a bit stiff, possibly hampered by the limited technology of the time for the in-game modeling. This was the first entry in the Final Fantasy series to feature realistic, adult character models.

I platinumed this, and I would play it again, even with its faults.
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Old 11-21-2023, 05:19 PM
 
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Triple Triad is an addictive minigame, but those rule changes can be frustrating. The card collection aspect adds depth to the game, and mastering it is a rewarding challenge.
Squall's character development is an interesting topic. His reluctant hero journey and stoic personality can be polarizing, but it's all part of his growth throughout the game.
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Old 11-21-2023, 07:28 PM
 
17,379 posts, read 12,341,105 times
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Baldur's Gate 3, which is well deserving of all the awards it is getting.
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Old 11-22-2023, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Austell, Georgia
2,219 posts, read 3,914,009 times
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Been playing MW3
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Old 11-24-2023, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Fiorina "Fury" 161
3,545 posts, read 3,748,742 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoopyra View Post
Triple Triad is an addictive minigame, but those rule changes can be frustrating. The card collection aspect adds depth to the game, and mastering it is a rewarding challenge. Squall's character development is an interesting topic. His reluctant hero journey and stoic personality can be polarizing, but it's all part of his growth throughout the game.
^^ AI? A few followups either way.

I usually wait until after I have completed a game for the first time to look into lore, backstories, to research/read up on things I may have missed or to get other perspectives. I just try to have fun when doing OG plays. I liked FFVIII enough that I will replay it again someday. It's entirely possible that on another replay I could see things I missed the first time around when it comes to hidden symbolism. While there is some convolution and twists in the story as to be expected, even desired, the characters themselves are pretty straightforward; they are regular people, who eat hotdogs, and use magic...and fight aliens.

Squall's self-doubt and standoffish behavior as a way to protect himself may have been needed to show realism in order to achieve the game's central message of overcoming his shortcomings, and that he, too, can care about people. It's just that there wasn't a lot of buildup to what should otherwise be major moments for a lot of the reveals or character interactions, especially since the game gives you a window into Squall's thoughts the entire time. I mean, you're deep into Disc 3, and it's still a lot of "whatever" or "I don't know what's going on" or "I can't really remember," the latter of which is at least given an explanation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoopyra View Post
And while the main villain might not have been as captivating, the game's overall story and character interactions make up for it.
I'm reading different things about the Japanese to English localization. It's possible that Squall's "whatever" line is meant to be sarcastic in actuality, or is less curt, along with his dialogue in general which may have affected how he comes across. And that some of the final boss's dialogue got chopped out of the game. I have no idea if that's true as I don't speak Japanese or know how they did the localization, so I would have to take the Internet's word for it. As far as making up for it, the ending credits and post-credits were amazing in finishing out the characters. Up there with the best ending I've seen.

I have been playing some of FFIX and Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition, but probably going to focus on IX next 'cause chronological order.

Last edited by Free-R; 11-24-2023 at 11:32 AM..
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