The Ballad of Caius

I apologise profusely for that.

As a forewarning this post contains very light spoilers. While Lightning’s Story: Requiem of the Goddess is a post-story DLC, it doesn’t really reference the post-story events if you don’t have the story content in the explanations or videos. Which I don’t. As copyright claims caused me an inconvenience which led me to change what I’d upload and share. Still, if you’d prefer not to know anything about Final Fantasy XIII-2 then I’d suggest you turn away now. Or click the back button. Or even close the window.

Don’t even think about clicking on the YouTube video below, either.

Lightning’s Story: Requiem of the Goddess continues the events of the main story to what some may consider a more satisfactory conclusion. Personally, it feels more like an introduction to Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII to me. In that you’re fighting as only Lightning in a series of two battles which have fairly different rules compared to what you’re used to.

The first and most interesting of those rules for those who are fighting for the first time is that dying is kind a good thing. As, whether you win or lose the fight with Caius, you’ll still gain CP which will advance Lightning’s roles and abilities. Second of those rules is that none of her Paradigm Roles are actually featured in the main story. For instance, while a Knight is sort of like a Sentinel it functions with a completely different ability. So, if you’re like me, and took a Blast Wave to the face because you wondered why reducing the damage would matter, you’ll be pleased to know she has a complete immunity ability as a Knight. Thusly, you take no damage. Not less. So, there are a few things you’ll need to adjust to.

The next most interesting part of this is that Lightning at full strength almost can’t die. In that, the only way you could lose is to switch to the Conjurer and just cast buffs on yourself over and over again. Even the Sorcerer would actually damage/wound Caius. That said, you will hilariously get an incredibly bad score for using Lightning at full strength due to how easy it is. But you can also weaken or strengthen Lightning if you’d like to adjust the difficulty. So don’t worry if you accidentally hit full strength.

In fact, I think you always hit full strength once you’ve defeated Caius in the second phase.

If you’re successful against Caius in the second phase (with a five star rating) with Lightning below Lvl 10 you’ll get rewarded with a Paradigm Pack addition. The Knight of Etro variant of Lightning herself, as a rather powerful Commando with many unique(?) abilities which probably make her the best Commando you can acquire. With a considerable amount of health, too.

Needless to say- it’s not for everyone. You’ll need to adjust to different mechanics than you’re used to, you’ll be fighting alone, and you’ll only have the stock items and abilities the DLC affords you. But it does close off the story rather nicely and opens the transition into Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII quite well. Which is actually my next stop on my journey through the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. As I’d like to complete them all in order. Rather looking forward to the next one, too. Oddly, despite Lightning being the only playable character, the equipment list is vastly broader than in the previous two instalments. The combat also looks to be quite the change of pace as well.

Have a nice weekend, all!



Paradox Police

You never know where one will appear next!

Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a pretty complex instalment in that respect. While there is a main story to follow, there are also numerous optional areas which you can visit to unlock even more areas or any of the remaining fragments. It’s odd to encounter an actual quest system, too. Especially if you’re used to the linearity of Final Fantasy XIII where the Cie’th Stone missions were the only actual quests. Of which you were limited to one at a time (and undertaking them again was annoying). Now you can have dozens of quests strewn about all kinds of locations!

I do wish there was an actual quest log, though.

It can be a little frustrating to return to the Historia Crux and then to the location only to find that you’ve yet to finish that quest. Or that you even know what it is. However, that’s a minor point as there are often reasons to visit as many points in time as possible. Mostly to collect creatures and find specific creatures that you’ll need for infusions or specific Paradigm Roles.

On that point, the creature system is quite fascinating and much broader than I initially anticipated. Especially the infusion system. Which essentially allows you to consume one creature to empower another and gain bonuses for doing so. Most interesting regarding this is that you can infuse Sentinels into Medics or Ravagers into Commandos and so on. They’ll retain their initial role when infused, so, for example, a Cactrot is a Medic and if it is infused with a Chocobo (a Commando) it will remain a Medic. That said, it can gain any of the unlocked passive abilities the Chocobo might possess. So while the weapon and accessory upgrade system is out- there’s more than enough to upgrade and tweak in the creature system to replace it.

I’ve been having a lot of fun collecting creatures to empower the ones I’ve got in my current Paradigm Pack. It’s a little finicky, though. You won’t always get the creatures you want and you can’t have duplicates. So if you’d like to use a creature for multiple infusions you’ll need to capture it, level it, and then infuse it before you can obtain a second one. Chocobos being the only exception as they will be used for Chocobo racing at some point. I’m not sure if the actual creature progression system will feed into what makes a good racing Chocobo or if they have unique statistics.

Kind of like the breeding system in Final Fantasy VII.

It’s nice to have the freedom to make all of these choices at your own pace. It’s also really nice that I do believe you have the capability to unlock the entire Crystarium before tackling the final encounter, which means I can continue to develop them as I’d like them to be. Which makes a little more sense to me as I’d prefer to go into that encounter at full power as it were.

Given the number of optional areas you can unlock, it seems that the story can continue for some time to come if you’re committed to completing everything there is to do. I’m not entirely sure as to what the fragments actually do. But I assume it has something to do with the ending or the possibility of receiving an ending as (in true time travel fashion) I’ve heard there are multiple endings. I’m aiming to collect as many fragments as I can but I don’t know if I’ll get them all, I’m also unsure as to how you go about unlocking a new ending and so I may only see a few. Unless it’s a system like in Chrono Trigger where going to specific locations opens up that ending. So you can essentially get them all without having to restart the adventure over and over.

Have a nice week, all!


Adventuring on Gran Pulse

The wildlife is certainly something!

When first introduced to Gran Pulse you’re experiencing what was common in Final Fantasy as a series but not in Final Fantasy XIII as instalment. A sprawling world filled with danger, treasures, exploration, bosses, and the ability to experience any or all of it at your own pace. You also (finally) gain the ability to choose your own party and experience the breadth of the various Paradigms which are available. However, this freedom does come at the price of sometimes being overwhelmed or simply outmatched.

Particularly with the Cie’th Stone missions which are quite literally all over the place.

Geographically and in terms of difficulty relative to numerical ordering. Exploration is key with Cie’th Stone missions, as often you’ll be unable to find new missions or the ones you can find are too difficult for you to complete. They’re also useful for opening up new areas or mechanics. Most are tied to the achievements you can unlock, too. From a character development perspective it will be when your characters unlock the highest level of power they can attain (pre-completion). That said, while I have mastered the three primary roles each character has- I’m hesitant to invest in any of their secondary roles. Mostly because even with over 700k CP I’m barely able to fill one of those roles out.

They’re also vastly statistically inferior to primary roles and cost a considerable amount to unlock and upgrade. Often at very little benefit. As there are few who will gain the range of abilities or effectiveness in that role as someone who has it as a primary role. That said, some secondary roles for certain characters open up abilities that the primary roles don’t.

Gran Pulse is (unsurprisingly) home to some of the rarest equipment, accessories, and components. Often hidden behind any of the myriad of challenges this harsh world has to offer, but usually worth the price of admission when you start acquiring some of the most powerful items. Like the Genji Gloves. Or the Growth Egg if you’re going for those character development achievements. It’s quite amazing how much there is to do and yet how little there seems to be available to begin with. It seems fairly linear- but it isn’t. Not by a long shot.

You probably won’t be able to do it all on your first visit, either.

Leaving isn’t permanent- but it likely will be for most people who will move on to finish the story and defeat the final boss. I didn’t return the last time I finished Final Fantasy XIII, but this time I intend to go back and acquire a few more achievements and maybe even try to clear all of the Cie’th Stone missions. It’s been fun, though. If nothing else I’ve had a good time. It also brought back some great memories of playing the Final Fantasy series when I was younger. That said, this isn’t the end of Final Fantasy XIII- I have the whole trilogy to get through and I intend to do just that! I’m particularly stoked about what Final Fantasy XIII-2 has in store for me.

I was going to talk about creative things today as I’ve been working on something new. That said, I don’t have too much to share regarding that particular piece besides a rather hilarious sneak peek I posted over on Twitter. I should have it finished soon. So, if you don’t see it in the next post it should be in the one after. I have been playing a lot of Final Fantasy XIII recently. So, this post seemed to fit as I could talk about something I enjoy and do something slightly different in the process.

Have a nice week, all!


Old Haunts

The best places to go back to.

I’ve been thinking about the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. I was originally going to pick it up on my newly acquired PS Vita, however it would seem that there’s a little snag regarding the physical version you can buy. It includes Final Fantasy X-2 as a download code. Which is sort of okay as I don’t really care too much for Final Fantasy X-2, but if I’m paying for both titles I’d like to be able to play both. Of course I could just download it. But I don’t necessarily have the free storage to download it at the moment.

Whereby it would make even less sense to pay more to expand my storage capabilities.

That said, the very same Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is now available on Steam and that could be a better option. The entire Final Fantasy XIII trilogy is available on Steam, too. While there is a good chance that the recently announced Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age will make its way there at some point. Or (at a stretch) make its way to PS Vita.

So I could have Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy IX on my PS Vita and everything above that in my Steam library. I’m unsure as to whether Final Fantasy XV will ever come to Steam, but I’d reckon it’s likely even if we have to wait an additional couple of years to see it. Still, I’m a massive fan of the Final Fantasy series. It’s one of the reasons I became as enamoured with RPGs as I did. It’s one of the few things you’ll ever see me playing filled with childlike wonder and glee, too. The other being Chrono Trigger. Even if I’ve probably finished Chrono Trigger over thirty times (that’s not an exaggeration either). While I haven’t read/seen too much about Final Fantasy XV, I’d still love to play it just because it’s a Final Fantasy title.

A fitting name for such a beast.

A fitting name for such a beast.

While Final Fantasy XII (and above) weren’t my favourite Final Fantasy titles, I do admit they deserve a second chance. Final Fantasy XIII was an entry in the series which I didn’t really enjoy the first time out, but I definitely enjoyed it more the second time I went through the story. Mostly due to the fact that earlier in the story they restrict who you can have, what you can do with them, and how useful they are. Once you reach Gran Pulse (I think it is) you’ve finally got the freedom to build the party that you want.

Greater selection of Paradigms to choose from, too.

Which would probably be my major complaint (for lack of a better word) with later instalments. They had interesting stories, characters, combat mechanics, and so on but there was always an annoying feature. Like the constant party shuffling early in Final Fantasy XIII. Or the fact that some parts of Final Fantasy XII played out like an MMO with intense grinding.

That said, Final Fantasy XII was an entry in the series that deserved the definition of epic. It was a stunningly beautiful title with an excellent selection of music, it also had a huge and vibrant world and took many risks with and different directions in many key Final Fantasy mechanics. It’s an interesting conundrum I’m faced with for sure. It’s such an influential series (for me personally), and I’m unsure as to which would be the best way to continue to support it. Steam seems like the obvious choice for the later instalments. Especially if those later instalments are released with very little changes to the original versions of said instalments.

Have a nice week all!


Where It All Began

There are some things you can never get back, right?

I’ve been looking at the purchase of a PS Vita recently. It seems like an odd move as the last console I owned was the Nintendo DS Lite (I think it was) which I bought about seven years ago. It could be more, it could be less- but I know I had it when I got Chrono Trigger for the DS and that came out in 2009 (if I recall correctly). It also seems like an odd move because since the PS2 I’ve not really been much of a console gamer. That said, I’ve played on systems from the SNES to the PS1 to the Dreamcast to the Gamecube.

I did play on the XBox 360, too.

I don’t really reference that one much, though. Mostly because it was probably in the region of less than five titles and most of what you’ll find on my profile comes from the Games for Windows Live functionality of several PC games. I guess it was then when I really decided that consoles didn’t really offer me too much any more. However, there were plenty of things on older systems that I still liked and/or wanted to play. Being in the UK there were certain titles you could get (like Suikoden) and there were ones you couldn’t (like Suikoden II). It’s always been annoying that I could never get a PAL copy of Suikoden II or that Chrono Cross never actually released over here.

That said, for whatever reason, on the PlayStation Store you can get an EU copy of Suikoden II. Which is where the PS Vita comes in. Yet, again, for whatever reason, you can’t get an EU copy of Chrono Trigger despite it recently being ported to the Nintendo DS (making it available in Europe). It was also on PS1 and is on the US store under the PSOne Classics.

One my save files from the PSP version of Final Fantasy.

One my save files from the PSP version of Final Fantasy.

Chrono Cross is still just out of reach, too. US only.

So, yeah, the two titles I’d gladly spend cash on are still just out of reach. But, the others- like Suikoden and Suikoden II- are on there. They’re not too expensive, either. With most of the classic Final Fantasy titles going for £7.99 opposed to the £10.99 of the Steam PC ports. Which is really what started this whole exploration back into consoles.

Being someone that played Final Fantasy IV to VI on the SNES it has always annoyed me that every re-release since feels the need to change something. Besides the ones on the PS1 (Final Fantasy Anthology and Final Fantasy VI). Even the Gameboy Advance re-releases (that I own) added updated features which add nothing (in my opinion) to the original titles. Of course, you’d be hard pressed to get an original unaltered NES Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy III set. But I can live with the alterations there. If for no reason other than I can play them on modern systems. There’s also Final Fantasy VII to IX on the EU store under the PSOne Classics.

It might seem silly to a lot of people (even to myself) but it seems like a worthwhile purchase to get a PS Vita just to be able to get a mostly unaltered complete set of classic RPGs. I know some (mostly Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy IV) have been altered slightly- but it still seems worth it. Finally being able to play Suikoden II would be pretty neat, too. It’s one of those purchases I won’t really know the value of for some time. Still, the sixteen titles I’m looking at seem to make it worth it just by themselves.

Have a nice week, all!