Working As Intended? Tabata’s Final Fantasy 15 Decision May Disappoint Fans Of The Game

Final Fantasy 15

Final Fantasy 15

I’ve covered a lot of Final Fantasy in the last few weeks much to my joy and dismay. At the risk of inundating the audience with more news, something came out today that could not be ignored. The news was regarding Final Fantasy 15 and the story decisions. If you have not read a review of the game it can be summed up rather quickly. Most reviewers praise the game for the open world and battle system but take away points due to the obvious missing story elements. The most glaring issues coming via Chapter 13 for reasons I won’t spoil here. The team behind the game have already planned to release DLC to address this. However, the way the story is presented may be working as intended and this decision may disappoint fans of the Final Fantasy 15.

Does Story Telling Really Matter?

Most reviewers praise the game for the open world and battle system but take away points due to the obvious missing story elements.

According to the game’s director, Hajime Tabata, the unexplained nature of the story was intentional. In an interview with Game Informer cited via Novacrystallis, Tabata states that “We didn’t want to create a comprehensive and perfectly balanced story in this game. Instead, we placed importance on the main characters and for the player and Noctis to share the same experience when we tell the story.” If that doesn’t sound like a retcon then I don’t know what does.

Elsewhere in the article he mentions the time and money constraints by the latter half of the game but that doesn’t matter. I’m a long time Final Fantasy fan and this statement alone is egregious. What he just said was that even though the Final Fantasy franchise is known for their deep an intricate story telling that isn’t how I wanted to tell the story. That could have been excusable if the story was or felt complete.

Player’s Don’t Get Exposition For… Reasons?

What he just said was that even though the Final Fantasy franchise is known for their deep an intricate story telling that isn’t how I wanted to tell the story.

The main issue with things happening off screen is that it doesn’t give the players context for the events happening in the actual game. There are moments where if one of the bros are saying something important it got stopped when a battle is engaged. Did that conversation start back up once the battle concluded? No. That meant the player may have missed an important part of exposition that they didn’t realize. That’s not experiencing the game through Noctis’s eyes, that is poor story telling period.

In Final Fantasy games its not unusual to find books or documents that expand on the lore and motivations of characters. It’s not okay that the ONLY way players discover why “X” thing happened is to look in the supplementary documents scattered across the world. The game doesn’t even have a story recap that would keep track of things that may have missed by players. Some of the lore can only be found in the ancillary projects like Brotherhood, Kingsglaive and items in the collector’s edition.

Will This Be The New Direction For Final Fantasy?

I further thought that Final Fantasy would be safe because, regardless of how convoluted the stories can get at times, the stories for all the games were complete.

I have long grown weary of game developers not giving players a complete game and regulating it to DLC. JRPGs should have been safe from this phenomenon because the basis of the genre is story telling. I further thought that Final Fantasy would be safe because, regardless of how convoluted the stories can get at times, the stories for all the games were complete. If this is the trend that SquareEnix wants to start then I want no parts of the “new” Final Fantasy.

What do you think about this news about Final Fantasy 15? Does this news impact your enjoyment of the game? Do you think this direction of story telling is effective? Could this writer be overreacting? All points are valid in this conversation so let us know in the comments below.

5 Things You Should Know About Tales of Berseria

Tales of Berseria

I just loaded up the collectors edition on January 24th, 2017 when it dropped. I’m only about 6 hours in but I felt compelled to say a few things about the game. Tales of Zestiria left a bad taste in the mouths of fans from the series, mine included. I didn’t finish the game because something felt off from the opening menu. There was a controversy surrounding the game that didn’t help. In any case, here are 5 things you should know about Tales of Berseria.

1. It’s More Linear Than Zestiria

Linear in the sense that the Xillia series was linear. Zestiria suffered from being open world just for the sake of it. The world was colorful but bright and empty. The open areas of the map give the illusion of openness but not quite. I like having a clear direction to travel and the world being open for the sake of it has not been appealing for me personally

2. A Controversial Scene Was Removed

There was talk of a controversial scene in the very beginning of the game. I’m not going to spoil it but there is a video that highlights the part that was changed. The scene occurs very early in the game and the company promises that nothing else was changed in the US/EU release. That is evident by the skimpy attire that Velvet, the main character, runs around in. I love her outfit but of course there is always the option to change her clothes as you find more costumes.

3. Tales of Berseria’s Story Is Dark

The prologue sets the tone for the game. Since I just started I can’t say how it will end. But I can tell you that Velvet takes “by any means necessary” very seriously. The game made sure to let you know that this was not the typical “feel good” story. Zestiria tries to make the player feel like the journey is justified while Berseria does not hold your hand. A lot of the actions Velvet and company take have real life consequences to the people around you.

4. The Battle System Is Fun

They fixed the camera! Thank god because that was a hot mess in Zestiria. The main character Velvet can be very OP though once u figure out how it works. I have been using Velvet as my main attacker and all of her moves are connected to the face buttons on the Dualshock controller. It has been great watching her move across the screen in a flurry of kicks and punches. In addition her demon arm adds an exciting elements to the battle.

5. The Characters Are Great

I love that the main protagonist is not the traditional hero. Rokuro is my new husband. Their personalities shine through in the skits and various conversations held in the over world. Magilou is the designated comic relief and she was a joy so far in the journey. I can’t wait to see how all of their stories conclude in the end. Side note don’t forget to download the free dlc on PSN that contains additional skits.
Have you tried Tales of Berseria? How do you like it so far? Is it better than the Zestiria? Let us know in the comments.

Why I Fell In Love With Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

I was one of the people patiently awaiting for Stardew Valley to make it to consoles. Whether it was on my Vita or PS4, I was ready to dive head first and get lost in the charming pix-elated world. Full disclosure, I was one of those people who would plan my day around the Facebook game Farmville. I knew when my crops would spoil so I had to be there on time to harvest them. But unlike Farmville, in Stardew my crops didn’t wither in real time so its already a more relaxed experience. So on December 14, 2016 I set out to start my new life as a farmer.

Moving to Stardew Valley

Ignore the lightning bolt, check out all the stuff on your brand new farm.

The motivation to get players to the farm is a simple one. Your dying grandfather leaves his farm to you and encourages you to come run it when the 9 to 5 grind wears you down. A short cut scene later and there you are at Stardew Valley with Mayor Lewis to greet you. The place looks a hot mess when you get there with scattered debris, sticks, grass, etc all over the place.

As a new farmer you have a whole lot of work to do. Working on the farm makes time pass and your energy will deplete with each action. Upgrading your tools will help to consume less energy and eating Starfruit will increase your energy bar. These are all things you will learn as the game opens up and explains them to you.

Get To Know Your Neighbors

Private action with Penny and the kids.

Farming isn’t the only thing players can do. As a new resident, one of the first tasks is to get to know your new neighbors in Stardew. Most of them will be wary of you at first so you will need to talk to them daily and give them gifts to raise their affection towards you. You can give them just about anything as a gift including the things you grow on the farm or things you scavenge around town and mines. It will take some trial and error but eventually you will figure out what your neighbors like. I was a bit impatient so I looked up a guide.

As you get to know them, private actions will start to show up deepening your relationship. A lot of them depend on the time of day, weather and number of affection points, represented as hearts, to trigger. They seemed rather arbitrary so I would stumble on them by accident. The good thing is that time doesn’t progress during these scenes so it’s no harm in watching them. After you get to 8 heart points you can make an eligible bachelor or bachelorette, the gender of your character doesn’t matter, your significant other with a bouquet from Pierre’s shop. At 10 hearts, you can get married by proposing with a Mermaid Pendant to have a wedding 3 days later. I chose to romance Elliot and haven’t looked back.

Passing The Time In Stardew

Beginner farm design

Other than romancing and getting to know your neighbors, farmers can, well, farm. After you understand where to buy your seeds, how much time things take to grow, how long each month is and the seasons, you can get started making your farm. Getting money for more seeds is always a chore so growing your crops are important to remain in business. One of the best parts of the game is designing your farm and how you plant your crops. Some of the farms online can get really elaborate and players have a few templates to start with at the launch of the game.

Adventures in the mine.

When players are bored on the farm they have the option of going into the mines. The mines give players the materials necessary to upgrade their tools or find items to give as gifts. The mines are dangerous though so players will need to upgrade their gear in order to survive the lower levels. Another caveat is that the penalty for death is steep. If you die players will lose a ton of money to cover medical expenses and lose items taken into the mine. That alone made me less inclined to visit the mines but I did in order to build up the community center.

Help Stardew Valley Feel Like Home

This is how the community center starts off

After a while players will get the choice to help the town to build up the community center or join Jojo Mart corporation. Selecting one will lock you out of the other so the choice is yours. I chose to help the community center because it gave more purpose to my actions by completing bundles. Those bundles also provide gifts to the player of farm equipment that may not be affordable at the start of the game. While with Jojo Mart you just buy everything with money.

Players can also attend seasonal festivals. There are four seasons in the game (read:duh) that last 28 days. Each season the town has 2 festivals. The Mayor will send you a mail reminder a few weeks before then another a day before the actual event. Attending these events can raise your affection with your neighbors as well as earn players prizes for participating.

This Game Is Worth The Time

Summer festival. Be sure to make a good impression.

I could go on and on about this game because it’s so charming. It is hard to imagine that only one developer made this game and it’s paid off in a big way. I am glad that it got ported to the PS4 and I got the chance to play. I easily spent 60 hours in Stardew before I got to the “end” in year 2. The game could “technically” go on forever so players have spent hundreds of hours here. Check out the game’s website and give the game a shot if you haven’t tried it out.

Have you tried Stardew Valley or other farming sim games? How does the game stack up for you? Let us know in the comments.