Off to the beach for Landen’s first time in the sand and surf. Spoiler alert: he gets sand EVERWHERE.
So for the second time in three games, I will admit that I was wrong – this game is much better than I gave it credit for. Previously, I had tried playing it once, got maybe an hour in, and never played it again because it was so terrible. It’s not so terrible. I remember at the time thinking it was a game geared for kids – with silly young characters and broad “comedy” that featured the same “jokes” over and over again.
Well, it is. I can’t really argue that. But I put it into perspective, I was a kid when I was playing Final Fantasy II (IV) on the Super Nintendo and probably didn’t mind that it was geared towards me. FFIX is different than 7 and 8 by taking out some of the overt darkness of those and making it lighter in tone. And actually, it did what it set out to do – it was a very good throwback to the older games. There were inside references to them, and just had the feel of the origins of the series. I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable it became. And I kinda marked out a little when it all boils down to crystals in the end.
My team of Ratboy, Lesbia, Darkie, Sr. Oaf, Herps, JL Bait (my favorite name ever), Tubby and Twinkie finished the game in about 79 hours. Since I hadn’t beaten it before, I didn’t want to rely on a walkthrough as I’d done with the past games. However, I did want to try to accomplish as much as I could – so I ended up using the walkthrough to do sidequests and other miscellaneous things, but never to actually advance the game. It worked out pretty well.
- A lead character who is not a) whiny and emo or b) a sword-carrying fighter. He’s a thief. That’s awesome. Being a fan of thieves and stealing/looting/otherwise obtaining items, this was definitely a major plus. He was a womanizer, and those are always fun characters. Boo to having him fall in love with the lead girl, though. That story’s getting old with the FF series.
- Making magic not totally worthless. This is probably the first FF game where I deliberately used a magic user (who else didn’t use a moogle charm to avoid the magic-only tower in FFVI? I know I did. Every time.) The black mage had spells that mattered, and the white mages (two of them!) had different spells and specialities that helped in battle. Though the tiny girl became kinda useless later on.
- The story for the most part. It’s a pretty linear story with defined characters and relationships, and a goal you’re constantly working towards (though really, you have to wonder why the main character is even doing it, as he has no vested interest other than trying to get some tail from the main girl – kinda weak motivation to risk your life a million times.)
- Gone is the complex junctioning system. And the armor and weapons aren’t simply ‘this one is better than that’ . . . you need to determine what plusses you will give up for what negatives. Levelling up isn’t entirely laborious and annoying.
- The ending. While none of the movies in the game were anything spectactular, the ending tied together a lot of loose ends, much more so than most of the other endings. It’s good to actually get satisfaction when beating something you’ve been working on so long.
- All the old references. I nearly crapped myself when Lich, Krakken and Tiamat (from the original) showed up. But why’d they get rid of Kary for an idential creature of another name? Who knows?
- Bahamut is badass (in the movies – see below.)
- Regen kicks ass in this game. By the end, I wasn’t even healing myself up at all.
- Who is the bad guy you’re supposed to fight? I know it might be hypocritical to praise IV and mock IX for this, but really, it changes so much it’s very hard to keep track of. “Oh wait, HE’S the bad guy now? Let’s get him! Oh wait, it’s THAT GUY? Let’s get him then!” By the end, I didn’t really care – I just slaughtered indescriminately.
- If I heard the main guy say “You guys stay here, I’ll take care of this myself” on more time, I was going to put my foot through his post-hensile tail. Seriously, there are dudes trying to kill you – bring as many people along as you can.
- Bahamut is only a badass in the movies. He can destroy an entire town and castle in one fell swoop, yet when you put him in battle against a medium-level monster, he only does 3000 damage points? WTF?
- The music was unimpressive.
- The card game was just as addicting as in VIII, but it had two drawbacks: 1) it was based FAR more on luck than in VIII, and 2) IT DIDN’T GET YOU DIDDLY SQUAT. I probably spent a good 10+ hours of my time just playing cards for the completionists aspect of it. (Yes, I got 1 of each of the 100 cards) And my reward was getting to bitch about it here.
- Sidequests weren’t actually very fun.
There was no The Awesome to speak of. The game was solid, but lacked that one wow factor, like the Yeti or the Nail Bat. They even ruined the devour ability by having some creature of unknown gender do it (and only that) through the whole game. I swear, can you possibly have a more one-dimensional character? Yes, we get it, you like food. Now go away.
All in all, this was a very fun game that I’d recommend. It does make me laugh when I read the reviews other people have written and they say “It’s the best game since 6.” Well, it didn’t have much to compete with – 8 was pretty lousy and 7 is the most overrated in the series (I remember reading a review of the top 5 Final Fantasy characters every, and all five were from FFVII – blasphemy!) I’d put it as the best since 5. Maybe even 4. Not sure – I’ll have to compare all my notes when this is done to try to assemble a list.
Total time playing this silly quest: a nauseating ~456 hours.
Onto FFX – where I *really* wish I owned the international version so I could try to defeat Penance, the toughest superboss in any game. I guess I’ll have to settle for just doing everything in the game.
If you go to YouTube and browse ashsparks, here’s a glimpse of the utter adorabilocity you will behold:
A silly game Smackson and I discovered a few months ago (yes, it’s been that long)
By the time I came home from my last trip back east, he was sitting up no problem. Of course, now he’s nearly crawling, so this might be dated. But whatever, none of you have seen it.
Possibly my favorite video ever.
Well, not on TV (yet), but here’s a nice piece on ESPN.com.
I’d have been interviewed, if I was about 12 strokes better a round. And actually there.
And I’m gonna get maaa-aaa-aaaried.
HOW DOES HE SLEEP LIKE THAT?
Ashley was away this weekend, meaning he had a whole weekend of his old man watching him (with a little help from Granny along the way.) Well, as soon as Ash leaves, he starts to act under the weather and a little less happy than normal. This affected his napping, and he hadn’t really napped more than twenty or thirty minutes without waking and crying. He had been soothing himself and going back to bed. But yesterday he woke up and started SCREAMING. I gave him a few minutes to calm himself, and he finally did as I was about to go and try to sooth him myself (I didn’t want to cut his nap very short, because usually if he sees us, he gives up napping.) Since he calmed down, I let him rest. I go in 20 minutes later just to check on him and I see the above. Sound asleep. Both legs caught in the crib (although one he could get out himself). I didn’t even know what to do. Wake him? Let him be? I woke him and it was unpleasant and the end of his nap, but probably the right choice.
Here’s another pic to offset the “oh no!” factor of the first. More pics (and hopefully some of those fabled videos) soon!
So we’re looking into buying a microwave for the new house (BTW, we have a house now, or will as of October 1st). We were comparing two models and the special features of them. They were primarily similar. But the one I was looking at boasted 3 fan speeds to the others’ 2. I was impressed by this.
Ashley looked at the microwave where, in very bold letters, it clearly stated:
Apparently not moving at all is a speed. It was kinda brilliant in a way.
So after fifteen years of MTV’s stupidity, The State finally was released on DVD. It hasn’t weathered perfectly, but it still is one of the best sketch comedy shows that I’ve seen. It certainly made me realize that the fashion of the mid-90s was really almost as bad as 80′s clothes. But that’s neither here nor there.
I figured I would try to list my favorite 10 State sketches of all time. This isn’t easy. So I did 20. There are many good ones, including one or two never-aired sketches that were surprisingly good. (It should be noted that the rest of the non-aired ones are hidden away for a reason.) So let’s give it a go.
Honorable mentions: Chip’s Party, Don Law, Service with a Smile, Jurassic Park, Hi Brow/Low Brow, Relationship Line, Booger, Booger & Fartybutt, Senator Cavanaugh
20. Missy Von Kimmelman – Mini documentary of a psychotic cheerleader – Probably Kerri Kenney’s best role, and any skit featuring the slaughter of animals and a crucifixion as school spirit is okay with me.
19. The Animal Song – A bunch of people in animal suits sing about animals – I think the description explains why this is on my list. Notable moment: Mike Patrick Jann’s “hoouck!”
18. Louie & The Last Supper – The last supper is interrupted by Louie yelling “I wanna dip my balls in it.” – While Louie was deliberately a one-note character, putting him in a famous inappropriate setting was the way to make it relevant again. Notable moment: seeing it live.
17. Hot Dogs – A sunbathing man is hit with hot dogs, and he blames the hot dog vendor standing next to him – I have to be honest, I have no idea why I like this skit so much.
16. Roughing It – Campers set up camp in a man’s apartment – A great concept, a number of great lines, and one of the best ensemble pieces of the show.
15. Prison Break – The big wide-open gate to the prison is considered “off limits” – Fantastic concept, well executed, and an unnecessarily good performance by Showalter.
14. Choking – The international sign for choking gets carried away as everyone signs everything – A good ‘escalation’ sketch, where things continue to get sillier based on a great concept.
13. Cutlery Barn – Ummm, 4 people talk in a silly voice about fried bumblebees, I guess? – This is easily the strangest skit on this list, and I probably shouldn’t even say more about it. Notable moment: the skit.
12. God is Dead – God and someone wearing a “God is Dead” shirt see each other and freak out – This writeup took longer than the skit takes. It’s just awesome.
11. The Bearded Men of Space Station 11 – A marshall tries to executing the entire crew of a space station for having beards, which he believes can’t grow in space – This is an example of something being funny, then not funny, then extremely funny. There’s really only one joke in this sketch, but it’s rewritten 20 times for maximum laughs.
10. Where’s the Mousey? – A family keeps shouting “Where’s the mousey?” but they have no idea why – Being there for this skit’s filming probably helped its rating, but it’s just a great skit anyway. Apparently, it was concocted as a joke and never meant to be filmed. Notable moment: the ENORMOUS mousey.
9. Jerry’s Audition – An actor tries a ‘choice’ by acting dumber than a rock during a beer audition – Especially funny for any actor who’s been on auditions and has been told to make bold choices. Tom Lennon is my hero.
8. Barry Lutz Show – a.k.a. Monkeytorture, a researcher tortures monkeys and talks about it – Probably one of the most famous of the sketches on here, this one is as true a ‘classic’ as there is. There really isn’t a miss in the whole skit. Brilliantly written and acted.
7. Terrorist Situation – Terrorists hold up a place to get 150 bucks or so – Another great concept, and while it isn’t the most fluid (it bounces around different jokes), each joke is damn funny.
6. Sideways House Family – A family lives and struggles in a sideways-built house – This is on the list for two reasons alone: the best set and the best entrance in any skit. Notable moment: Tom’s entrance.
5. Mind Match – Contestants battle on a game show for orphans – Another ‘famous’ sketch, this is well composed and even better produced. There is not a moment missed by the actors. Notable moment: why are the orphans dressed like they are in Oliver?
4. Taco Man – A mailman doesn’t deliver mail, he delivers tacos – Another example of a one-joke skit that is so well written that each layer on the joke makes it funnier. Family Guy should take note. Notable moment: “Goodbye mailbox”
3. Tenement – A retelling of a dramatic scene with harsh language that needed to be softened – A skit I ended up doing in high school as part of an assembly of some sort, this is probably the best idea The State had come up with. Stellar writing, performances, and the sets were great. This was probably the height of The State.
2. Betty’s No Good Clothes Shop and Pancake House – An ad for a stores that sells terrible terrible clothes and pancakes. This skit still makes me laugh my ass off. Perfectly delivery from Ben.
1. Porcupine Racetrack – A short musical telling about the racetrack where porcupines race – Probably the least funny skit on my list, this one is just classic. Easily the best showing of the overall talent of the group, even if it doesn’t have jokes in it, per se.