Category Archives: PS3

End of an Era

Today at roughly 5.45 PM, my PS3 passed away. The display suddenly went all red-black and fuzzy and finally the blue processing light went off. 😥

I am undecided whether or not to repair it since the launch date of the PS4 is so near. The only games I have yet to complete on the PS3 are Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories and the upcoming Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster in early 2014 (the original Final Fantasy X and X-2 I have completed on the PS2). It doesn’t look very worthwhile to repair my PS3 since no new games that I really want to play on the PS3 are going to be released.

Both Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Diable 3 will also be released on the PS4, should I choose to play them in the future.

I won’t be buying a PS4 until some decent titles are released. At the moment, the launch title list look very disappointing. No RPGs at all.

In memory of my PS3, here is the top five list of my favourite PS3 games of all time.

  1. Tales of Graces f (440 hours played, platinum)
  2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (219 hours played, 1 Daedric Artifact away from platinum)
  3. Dragon Age: Origins (116 hours played, platinum)
  4. Lollipop Chainsaw (98 hours played, all costumes collected)
  5. Rainbow Moon (202 hours played, platinum)

You’ll notice there is a very glaring lack of Square Enix games on this list. That’s because the current generation of Final Fantasy games, well, suck. Even though you can play Final Fantasy IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX on the PS3 via the Playstation Store (I bought and completed all of them), I did not include them in the list because they originally launched on earlier consoles and cannot be considered PS3 titles.

Congratulations to Namco Bandai and the Tales series on becoming my new favourite RPG series! Tales of Graces f is my most played PS3 game at a whopping 440 hours. That’s more than twice the time I spent on Skyrim! Tales of Xillia came very close to making the list, but ultimately I decided Rainbow Moon was more addictive.

Rainbow Moon is one of those rare gems that come along every once on a while and go by unnoticed. Well, I’m telling you right now. If you like strategy RPG, pick up Rainbow Moon, but be prepared to invest at least 100 hours to even finish the main storyline. Definitely the best and most worthwhile Playstation Store exclusive title on the PS3.

So for the time being, looks like I’m stuck farming achievement points in Guild Wars 2. Oh well. 1,400 achievement points to Radiant Helm!


358/2 Days

I just completed Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days in the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix bundle today. The ending was definitely one of the saddest I’ve seen in a long time. ='( Xion… *cry*

Watching all the cutscenes in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days helped explain a lot and fill a lot of gaps in the plot in the time span between Kingdom Hearts 1 and Kingdom Hearts 2, the only two Kingdom Hearts game I played.

I received 3 gold trophies and 3 bronze trophies by completing Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days in just three and a half hours! As a bonus for completing one of the games in the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix bundle, I also unlocked a custom Kingdom Hearts PS3 theme. Today is a happy day!

Tomorrow, I’ll probably start working on either Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix or Kingdom hearts: Chain of Memories. Just listening to all that familiar Kingdom Hearts music, ah nostalgia~


Kingdom Hearts

Yay! Just bought my copy of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix today! 😀 I’m going to start it up as soon as my necromancer reaches level 80. I’m so excited! Woohoo!


Xillia-ted

I Finished Tales of Xillia for Milla’s story today! Final boss battle took me 1 minute and 3 seconds. My health did not even drop below 90%. I could have done it under a minute if not for the fact that the battle starts with only two party members, and every minute that passes one of the four missing characters joins the battle. I already had the final boss down to 10% health with only Jude and Milla and at the one minute mark, Leia joined the battle with a mystic arte and ended the battle.

After that, I cleared up most of the trophies except for the annoying skill-based ones like Jude’s Snap Pivot 150 times and Leia’s Elongating Staff 150 times. I finished up most of the collectible trophies like Enemy Sage in Magnus Zero, the EX Dungeon. The secret boss in Magnus Zero was the first time in the entire game I actually felt threatened. He has insanely high health being the secret unbeatable boss (like the Rockgagong in Tales of Graces f), splits himself into multiple versions several times throughout the fight (like Solomnus in Tales of Graces f) and moves very fast. At one point, my healer, Elize’s health dropped to 50%. But after whittling down his copies he becomes manageable. The entire three-phase battle with the Golden Mage Knight lasted 3 minutes and 39 seconds, the longest battle I’ve had in the game. Overall, it was a relatively easy secret boss battle in in RPG standards, considering I only used one Treat and one Hourglass (wasn’t necessary, but I panicked when the Golden Mage Knight split into three :S) in the entire battle.

With that sub-event completed, it brought me up to 89 sub-events, ONE sub-event away from a silver PSN trophy. 😦 In Milla’s story, there are a total of 97 sub-events and 32 of them are missable, so I think I did a pretty good job of exploring since I didn’t use a guide. I’ve done all the sub-events I haven’t missed and are still available to me except for The Lost Transcendental Ring, which involves acquiring 23 Mysterious Jewels and an optional boss battle. Without a guide, I collected 19 so I’m missing four and I have no idea which so I have to backtrack to each of the 23 locations. 😦 *sigh* Well, it’s either that or focus on doing every single sub-event on Jude’s story when I start it for his story’s trophy soI guess this way is less work.

Small reminder: tomorrow is a new month and that means new monthly achievements in Guild Wars 2! 😀


Tales of Xillia: A Midgame Observation

So currently I’m in the middle of Chapter Four on Milla’s story in Tales of Xillia on my first playthrough (haven’t played Jude’s story yet) and here’s how the experience has been for me so far.

The graphics are amazing and the anime cutscenes are very well rendered as well. Tales of Xillia ditched the cartoony graphics of its predecessors in favour of more realistic 3D sprites and environments; a very good improvements I’d say. The detail on the characters, monsters and environment are beautiful.

The music of Tales of Xillia is epic. The town, dungeon and world music each capture the feel of the environment, be it haunting, dreary, lively and even sorrowful. Sadly, the battle music isn’t as well done but still bearable.

Now that my party is at maximum level, combat feels more enjoyable due to having more artes to combo and link with. However, it still feels restricted compared to previous Tales games. At maximum level with all AC skills equipped, your character only has 7 AC (and if you equip the accessory Exceed which adds 2 AC, that is a maximum achievable AC of 9). Compare this to Tales of Graces f where my characters had around 24 to 28 AC. Lack of AC makes it harder to string together long combos; my combo count rarely hits 5 in Tales of Xillia unless I’m in a boss battle.

Unfortunately, Tales of Xillia seems to have taken a step back in party combat AI. Party members controlled by CPU tend to ignore whatever strategy you set for them and often times stand around getting hit. Their reaction time is slow and when a battle starts, it takes them like 4 to 5 seconds to start moving. This is even worse if you link with party members. If you link and cast a spirit arte at a distance, your link partner will just stand idly next to you without engaging the enemy.

As fas as shops and equipment progression goes, Tales of Xillia has one of the most grind-worthy systems I’ve ever seen. To buy new items and equipment from shops, you have to donate materials or gald to them to level their shop expansion. The sheer amount of materials needed just to progress from level one to twenty will take you close to ten hours of constant farming. And you can’t completely ignore this part of the game either, as it is the only way to buy better weapons and armour. While farming is part and parcel of every RPG, the amount of farming the game forces you to do also has a side effect of overlevelling your party. By the time you unlock level 10 equipment, you could already be level 30+, and this leads to steamrolling through the next few bosses. Since most battles will end in less than five seconds when you’re overlevelled, combat is no longer fun and becomes a chore.

Skits in Tales of Xillia aren’t as fun to watch as in previous Tales games because most of them are serious and lack comedy. While this coincides with the story and atmosphere of Xillia, it somehow detracts from the overall experience and you no longer get as excited whenever you uncover a new skit.

I still have one and a half chapters to go, and the bonus dungeon as well. Hopefully things will pick up in the final chapter.


Gentleman

So I’m at the beginning of chapter 2 in Tales of Xillia. I found this neat levelling spot outside of the main story available just before the end of chapter 1. When the game asks you to go to Felgana Mines, you can instead head north into Old Vicalle Mines. There’s no mention of this location anywhere so far except for a man in Leronde telling you to avoid it. Naturally, I ignore the man’s warning and proceed to explore the optional area.

Old Vicalle Mines has some extremely high level monsters for your current level (which I’m assuming to be approximately 25 – 30 if you haven’t been avoiding enemy encounters), but it also has some very valueble materials and items. I managed to survive encounters there once I reached level 30. The trick is to always circle strafe or sneak up on enemies so you approach them from  behind to trigger a battle where the enemies start stunned and at half HP. Then just spam all your most powerful artes (hopefully to hit elemental weaknesses). You’ll be getting tons of EXP and high-point material drops. For added effect, use EXP boosting food.

If you’re only around level 30, avoid the Gentlemen and that Devil Beast, Roparde, roaming the central chamber. Make sure your equipment (especially weapons) are significantly high (at least weapon shop rank 30).

Once you reach level 35 or so, you can start taking on Gentlemen who give even more EXP! I’m currently at level 40 after only two hours of grinding in Old Vicalle Mines. But avoid Roparde even if you do reach level 40 though, he’s an optional boss meant for level 60 and above.


Lilium

So my party is level 18 in Tales of Xillia at the moment. Still getting used to the combat system, at the moment I’m winning battles just by pressing the normal attack button. Guess I’m overpowered. The levelling system in Tales of Xillia resembles the Crystarium in Final Fantasy XIII or the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X, but it differs in some aspects. This system, named Lilium Orb, is shaped like a hexagonal spider web. Initially, the Lilium orb has three layers. Everytime you level, you gain growth points (GP). Each GP lets you fill a node, which grants a permanent stat boost (HP, TP, SP, strength, agility etc.), and two adjacent fileld nodes will form a line. The aim is to create a rectangle by filling four nodes to unlock a bonus middle node in the rectangle,  normally this grants skills or new artes.

To expand the Lilium Orb, you need to create three rectangles in the outermost layer of the hexagon, where one of the rectangles must have unlocked a key node (only one key node exists at a time i nthe outermost layer).

Since Tales of Xillia just came out, there aren’t any complete guides to allocating GP in the Lilium Orb around, so I’ve been focusing on expanding my Lilium Orb by filling nodes in the outermost layer without regard for arte unlocks. Of course, I prioritize unlocking skill nodes that give action counters (AC) since i know how important they were in Tales of Graces f.

Liking the game so far. There is a lot of farming and grinding, but the game makes it easy to farm materials due to gathering nodes and loot bags respawning instantly open zoning in and out of an area. I miss Tales of Graces f crafting system though. It’s so annoying to only be able to carry one food dish type at a time.

Really liking the Linked Artes. But I haven’t figured out how to chain linked artes yet, because so far every mob I’ve encountered dies in one or two hits.


Tales of Xillia on Playstation Store Asia!

Just a heads up for people waiting for local retailers to import Tales of Xillia from the US, you can download the full game from Playstation Store. It costs RM 219 in the Malaysian Playstation Store. There are also DLC costumes (swimsuits!), gald and level bonuses but I’m going to wait until I progress further into the game. Played an hour into Milla’s story, and the combat feels more rigid than Tales of Graces f due to the difficulty of maintaining a combo chain and lack of A-artes. On the plus side, you can jump! That means aerial attacks and combos. Also, there seems to be a lot of treasure lying around on the ground. And the first boss fight is laughable. I finished the battle in 6 seconds. Loving Milla’s battle theme though. ❤


Continuums, Acorns and Islands

Recently, I returned to Playstation Home after a nine month break. Here are some pictures I took in some of the new and updated existing spaces.

  • XI Continuum

This space can be reached from Aurora 1.7. I don’t quite understand what you’re supposed to do here, but everything looks all geometrical and abstract.

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  • Southern Island Getaway

This space has always been one of the most beautiful on Playstation Home. There’s plenty of activities too, such as fossil hunting, jet ski racing and scuba diving.

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  • Acorn Meadow Park

This is a new space which is basically a huge recreational park with rides, food stalls and gorgeous scenery.

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Tales

One month to go to the release of Tales of Xillia on the PS3! 🙂 Ever since I played Tales of Graces f (which is now my second favourite RPG of all time behind Final Fantasy VIII), I have been leaning more towards the Tales series and growing more distant from the Final Fantasy series.

Over the past few years, I feel that Final Fantasy has strayed too far from its roots and what made the series great in its heyday. The decline started with Final Fantasy X-2 (not FFX as most people believe, because while FFX did not retain all the traditional aspects of a JRPG (exp levelling system, open world exploration), it did have the full Final Fantasy package – storyline, graphics, minigames (although no card game, Blitzball is an acceptable and thoroughly enjoyable replacement), turnbased combat, limit breaks (in the form of Overdrives) lots of treasure and summons.

I’m not saying FFX-2 wasn’t fun, but it just didn’t have that Final Fantasy atmosphere. Instead of saving the world, you spend 75% of the game goofing around and chasing skimpily dressed villains in skimpy outfits yourself (okay fine, that part was enjoyable). But there’s no real sense of urgency and most of the game was just one big mashup of minigames (some just downright annoying). Also, did they really need a sequel to FFX? The ending of FFX was conclusive enough. Personally, I felt it was a Square Enix gimmick and just an attempt to cash in on the success of FFX (and this cash in gimmick would be repeated in later years).

Final Fantasy XI was the first FF to be an MMORPG. It was one of the first truly successful MMORPGs worldwide (back then, World of Warcraft did not exist). The game was immersive, huge, had plenty of FF lore and hundreds of thousands of FF fans could play together. What could go wrong? For one thing, MMORPGs were still new back then. While it had amazing graphics for its time, lots of content, good trading system, it was INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATINGLY DIFFICULT. A standard 1v1 fight against a monster your level would go anywhere from one to ten minutes depending on your job (god help you if you’re a White Mage soloing a behemoth) and the outcome of the fight would either be 100 exp (exp to next level increases with level, at level 1 you need 500 exp to level up, at level 74 you need 42,000 exp) or death (and you lose 10% of your exp every time you die). Once you reach level 40 or so, it becomes impossible to solo since mobs too low for your level don’t give exp anymore, and you’d be hard-pressed to solo a monster 5 levels lower let alone your level. Most quests in FFXI require a party to complete, in fact dungeon bosses require more than 72 people in an alliance to even have a hope of defeating. Nevertheless, there were many interesting things to do such as fishing (which was a minigame!), chocobo raising and racing, airships (which sometimes were attacked by pirates and you could never leave your character afk while on an airship), ships, quests, story missions (Guild Wars 2 copied FFXI in this too). The biggest downside? Monthly subscription fee. However, all MMORPGs had subscription fees back then so FFXI can’t be blamed for this.

FFXII was when the Final Fantasy series really hit its decline. Boring plot, uninteresting characters, completely unrecognisable leveling system, open world combat (while this is not necessarily a bad thing in games, Final Fantasy is not suited for action RPG combat). And the fact that the game can be beaten by one simple combination at level 20. Haste + Zodiac Spear. Yes, you can get Vaan’s ultimate weapon at level 20.

The Fabula Nova Crystalis saga had the opportunity to repair the Final Fantasy name, but made a botch of it. While FFXIII retained the series battle encounters and ATB combat system, it had the same problem that made FFX-2 terrible – no open world exploration. In fact, they made it worse by making it a linear path through every area with no option of revisiting previous locales right until the final boss (and even then only three past areas). Also, no minigames. 😦

Square Enix attempted to correct this injustice to the FF name by releasing FFXIII-2, the sequel to FFXIII. FFXIII-2 was marginally better and slightly more enjoyable than FFXIII, but not by much. It had minigames (a casino just like FFVII!), let you revisit past areas (in fact, you were required to revisit many past areas so many times it became confusing. Yet each area still suffered from a linear exploration path), a fresh party-building mechanic in the form of monster taming and a more light-hearted atmosphere compared to FFXIII’s grim futuristic environment. The problem was that to fully experience the game, you had to purchase DLC chapters. Even in the Colosseum, where you could battle cameo characters and bosses from past FF games, you had to first BUY (with real cash, not gil) those boss battles in order to fight them.

In the recent FFXV (formerly FFXIII Versus) trailer, it seems that Square Enix is trying to go the way of FFXII by choosing action RPG combat again. To be honest, the characters don’t really sound that interesting to me and none really stand out like Squall (FFVIII), Cloud (FFVII), Yuna (FFX) or even Steiner (FFIX). But it’s still in the prototype phase so let’s hope this time Square Enix redeeems itself.

On a side note, FFXIV: A Realm Reborn is slated for an August 27, 2013 release. According to user reviews, they have made the game a lot better than its original state. Still, I don’t see it being a competition to the MMORPG giants like WoW or Guild Wars 2.

Also, Tales of Symphonia HD Collection is coming to PS3!!! YAY! Release date to be confirmed, but rumoured to be 2014.