Thursday, April 29, 2010

Final Fantasy Trading Arts for sale

Since lately I'm in a perpetual financial trouble, I decided to sell at eBay my full set of Final Fantasy Trading Arts figures.

It consist of all the 7 figures (6 + the secret one) from Final Fantasy Trading Arts Vol. 1 (released in 2004) and the 7 figures (again 6 + secret) from Final Fantasy Trading Arts Vol. 2 (released in 2006) .

Volume 1: Rinoa, Sephiroth,Vivi, Lulu...

... the secret figure Zack, Yuna and Cloud.

Volume 2: Tifa, Vincent, Zidane, Riku...

... the secret figure Vicent in Turk outfit, Tidus and Selphie.

Interested buyers can check the eBay page here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

1/8 Saber Lily by Alter

One of the most delayed figures in recent times (I ordered it when I was still living in Japan), I received 1/8 Saber Lily by Alter a few days ago.

Sculpted by Yagyu Toshiyuki, before it's release date it was already expected to be inferior to the gorgeous Good Smile version, but at the end it's one of the few cases that the finished product is actually better than the prototype versions.

The colors are more brighter than the GSC version (that used pure silver for the armor), and resembles more the original concept art of Saber Lily. In a way, the pose gives her a gracefully aura of sorts.

The amount of folds on the frilly skirt gives an extra elegant feel to it. Is also subtlety shaded.

Back side.

I can't decide if I prefer GSC's Saber Lily dynamism or Alter's Saber Lily gracefulness... so it's nice to own both!

Friday, April 23, 2010

My videogame collection II: Nintendo DS

I purchased a black Nintendo DS Lite in late 2006. At first it wasn't a handheld console that I wanted to purchase (the gimmick of the touch screen is not really necessary in the kind of games I usually play on handhelds), and was very tempted to buy a PSP instead, until a fellow student from my university showed me Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan... 10 days after that, I purchased the NDS and imported that game...

Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan (2005) A rhythm video game that made me decide to purchase the console. Is about a manly cheer squad cheering for various troubled people, that sounds really weird (and, in fact, it is) . The crazy story mode, the overall setting and the 15 songs featured are really good. Since it uses fully the touch screen, is really hard to do a similar game in another platform (but Hatsune Miku Project DIVA was similar enough...)

Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2
(2007) The sequel to the former. Includes a playable "rival" cheer squad, and a bit of improvement in the gameplay (now you can skip the cut scenes until the very beginning of the song, for example), but the 19 songs included are in overall weaker compared to the prequel.

Elite Beat Agents (2006) The spiritual sequel to Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan for the western markets. The ones cheering in this game are agents from a secret government agency, and the 19 musical themes are all of western origin, but the overall gameplay is the same. Not as good as the Japanese counterparts...

THE iDOLM@STER Dearly Stars (2009) Really not as good as I expected. The original iM@S games are hard to tag (musical raising simulation game?) and the DS version manages to butcher almost all the aspects: the stats of your idol means nothing, the auditions are just a mini-game between chapters... The story and the characters are not bad, so is not a complete waste, but is not really iM@S game.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (2005) Is the port of a Capcom's visual novel for the GBA, released in 2001 only in Japan. You play as the defense attorney Phoenix Wright and you objective is to win in a wacky courtroom. I don't like the localization that much (I hate when people try to "westernize" names and places), but despite that is really an enjoyable game.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice for All (2006) The second installment of the series, introducing more memorable characters like Franziska von Karma.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations (2007) The third one and the last that was originally released in the GBA. Possibly the most well rounded one.

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (2007) The first one that is not a remake. Maybe because almost all the old characters were dejected in order to begin a new era with brand new characters, but I didn't enjoyed the game as much as the first ones. Still is a nice game per se.

Another Code: Two Memories
(2005) Known in North America as Trace Memory, is a little adventure game that creatively uses the unique features of the NDS to solve the different puzzles. A bit too short.

Hotel Dusk: Room 215
(2007) Another adventure game by the makers of the previous one. Longer than Another Code, is more oriented towards an older audience (after all Kyle Hyde, the main character, is a thirty-something years old ex-detective, while the main character of Another Code, Ashley, was thirteen.)

Nintendogs: Chihuahua & Friends
(2005) The extremely popular pet simulator. It was bundled with the NDS when I purchased it. I only played with a Yorkshire Terrier puppy (the same breed as my real life one) for a week or so, and never again touched the game. Now the poor puppy must hate me...

Big Brain Academy (2005) The other game bundled with the console was this one. A Brain Training/Age wannabe more focused in mini-games. I kinda dislike this kind of "casual games".

Trauma Center: Under the Knife
(2005) A "medical simulation game", is really a series of mini-games driven by a visual novel styled plot. Is enjoyable to play (except the X-missions) and I must admit that one of the motives that made me buy the game was the visuals of the nurse Angie Thompson (the blond in the cover).

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (2006) A series of Final Fantasy themed minigames. Way too childish, I bought it only because was only 9 euro.

Final Fantasy III
(2006) An enhanced remake of the original Famicom/NES game. I highly prefer the stylized character designs by Yoshida Akihiko over the ones that appears in the CG movies. The similar Final Fantasy IV is in my wishlist.

Chrono Trigger (2008) A port of the original 1995 SNES version with added contents like the movies that comes from the 1999 PSX version. As I said in the entry when I purchased it, this is probably the best RPG from the 16 bit era.

The World Ends with You
(2007) I think this is the best Square game released in the last 10 years or so (no including the remakes and ports). Visually similar to Kingdom Hearts, is truly a completely original RPG, taking place in the modern Shibuya instead of a fantasy world.
I think this game is the only RPG that takes full use of the touch screen (normally the lower screen is used to display maps and buttons) : you must touch, scratch, drag and blow to the mic to use some of the in-game attacks, and both screens are used during the battles.

Etrian Odyssey (2007) An RPG with old-school flavor. Very difficult, even with a max level party and the best equipment you can get easily owned in a mere random encounter. One of the features of the game is that it doesn't have an auto-map, and you must draw one in the lower screen. Also remarkable are the cute character designs by Himukai Yuuji.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Valkyria Chronicles DLC

Since the downloadable content for Valkyria Chronicles have a 33% discount until the end of this month, I purchased all of them at the same time, and now I finished all with A rank.

Expert Skirmishes: A fourth difficulty setting is available for the 9 missions of the skirmishes tab, without the tanks available and the enemy troops doing a lot more damage. It took me a while to A rank all of them.

Behind Her Blue Flame: A couple of missions using the Imperial forces (one of them with two different variations). The main characters are Selvaria and the faceless engineer Johann (clearly referred as Karl in the Japanese voices), the rest are voiceless and faceless Imperial soldiers.
The missions are a bit hard due to the bad health and aim the Imperial soldiers have, but the main unit is obviously Selvaria. Her personality is greatly expanded in the cut scenes, and as a bonus extra mission you can use her in her valkyria form.

Selveria blushing is moe!

Enter: The Edy Detachment is a single mission using some of the most colorful "generic characters" from the main game: the fan-favorite tsundere Edy, the homosexual Jann, the masochistic Homer, the pacifist Susie, the stoic Marina and the somewhat gray Lynn. Again, the cut scenes fleshes a lot more those not protagonist characters.

And Challenges of the Edy Detachment are six skirmish missions focused in each class.
The briefing of each battle and the mission results are explained by the characters from Edy Detachment (except Lynn, that seems to be forgotten).

Marina blushing is also moe!

Now, after about 70 hours of play time (finishing the main game 3 times), I'm totally over with the game, so now the next step is to wait until summer for Valkyria Chronicles 2.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My videogame collection I: Game Boy Advance

Since I don't have anything new to write about and the blog is disturbingly lacking in updates, I'll list the games that I own and I have at hand (the Dreamcast and PSX ones I have stored under a thousand of things, and the MegaDrive, SNES and NES ones are in "whereabouts unknown" status).

So I'll begin with the handheld games, starting with the ones for Game Boy Advance.

I bought a black GBA SP in 2003, mostly because at that moment I was doing over 2 hours of train commuting every day... Almost all the games consist of RPGs and ports of old-school games. My tastes in videogames had always been old fashioned.

Golden Sun (2001). Was the best GBA-only RPG available when I purchased the console. I liked it when I first played, but now I forgot almost everything about it, so it was not a memorable game for me.

Golden Sun: The Lost Age (2002). The second part of it. Purchased at the same time with the first one.

Breath of Fire (2001) A port of the SNES version. I'm a big fan of old Capcom games and of the old school RPGs, so was an instant get.

Breath of Fire II (2001) Idem

Lunar Legend (2002) Yet another port. I have a soft spot for the Lunar series because of the reasons that I explained in a previous post.

Tales of Phantasia
(2003) A port of the original SNES and the only version available in English. I liked this game a lot (I have figures of Arche and Mint) and embarrassingly is the only Tales game that I played.

Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls (2004) A port of the PSX version. I keep purchasing the old FF games over and over... Of both games, I prefer FF1 by far.

Final Fantasy IV Advance
(2005). Another port and my second favorite FF game.

Final Fantasy V Advance
(2006) For some reason, I never have the willpower to finish it. I began both this and the PSX version of the game and I dropped both late in the game (around the time of the death of certain character). Is my personal cursed FF.

Final Fantasy VI Advance
(2006) My favorite FF game and the first one I played. This was the last GBA game that I purchased.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
(2003) This was the game that made me decide to buy a GBA. At the end it was not as good as I expected...

Sword of Mana (2003) an enhanced remake of the first Seiken Densetsu / Mana game using the style of the at that moment latest game in the series, Legend of Mana. This game, along with the aforementioned Legend of Mana made me to loose all the faith in the series (and is a shame because Secret of Mana was my first RPG ever and I remember dearly).

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
(2004) I really enjoyed the first Kingdom Hearts and this was the title that bridged it with the sequel. Unlike Kingdom Hearts 2, I sorta liked Chain of Memories .

Riviera: The Promised Land (2004) A enhanced remake of a Wonderswan game. I liked A LOT this game, probably due to the visual novel-esque characters drawn by Tobe Sunaho, because as an RPG is extremely poor and linear.

Yggdra Union: We'll Never Fight Alone (2006) The second episode of the Dept. Heaven series (Riviera is the first). I bought it after the hype that I had with Riviera. Actually I never played it (yet).

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars (2001) A tactical RPG with giant robots, is a side story of Kojima Hideo's Zone of the Enders series. I'm not a fan of the mecha genre, but I liked both Z.O.E. games in the PS2.

Super Puzzle Fighter II (2003) Pretty much the best puzzle game for the GBA, featuring Capcom characters.

Final Fight One (2001) The classical Final Fight with added dialogue and two extra characters (Alpha/Zero versions of Cody and Guy)

Guilty Gear X Advance Edition ( 2002) A terrible version of Guilty Gear X with very bad graphics, ear-bleeding sounds and nonexistent AI. Purchased only because it was at a bargain bin for 5 euro.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival (2001) For me this is the really ultimate version of SSF2T and not the disappointing Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Too bad the GBA controls are not the best way to play it...

Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper (2002) I bought it because of the addition of Eagle, Maki and Yun, but now is largely outdated by the superior PSP version.

Final Fantasy Adventure aka Mystic Quest (1991). The only game for the original Game Boy that I own. Called Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden in the original release, is the first entry in the Mana series that was remaked as Sword of Mana. As odd as it may seem, I prefer this version over the remake.

Shin Seiki Evangelion
Mahjong Hokan Keikaku (2000) I usually buy European releases because are easier to find, and a few cases the American editions if the game is not published in Europe or had a very limited print. This is the only Japanese version that I have.
I learned how to play mahjong with Eva to Yukaina Nakamatachi (PSX), and I wanted to have a handled Evangelion mahjong game. I still play it from time to time, since I still need to unlock Magi computer and chibi-Rei
UPDATE: Soon after I wrote that, I finally managed to unlock all, after years of attempts!

『Amazing. You unlocked everything. You played this game quite a lot, don't you think?』

And Metal Gear Solid aka Ghost Babel (2000) Pretty much a game based in the PSX game with 2D graphics and original story and characters.