52 Weeks of Gaming: Week 17 (4/22-4/28) & Week 18 (4/29-5/5): Hymn of the Fayth

*Due to me not writing a lot of notes during Week 17, I decided to combine that week’s entry with Week 18*

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen: I have only heard great things about Dragon’s Dogma, with a lot of people saying that it one of the hidden gems on last gen consoles, which is why I decided to pick up the game. When I tried this game, I could tell that it was a last gen game, since the animations did not look impressive (like the Chimera’s attacks). During the tutorial section, there were too many voices talking over each other which was distracting. Gameplay-wise, the game reminded me of Dark Souls but with more solid and quick controls.

Whenever there is character customization in a game, I always take a lot of time creating an interesting character. What surprised me was that my name was not an option to choose for online. It turned out that characters from other Capcom IPs were options for online titles, so I decided to make my character look like Nero from Devil May Cry. I don’t know anything about Nero, considering I have only played the original Devil May Cry, but I thought his design from Devil May Cry 5 looked cool enough. Speaking of Devil May Cry 5, I ordered the game this week and will get around playing it in the coming weeks.

This game will be put on my backlog, since the game did not make me want to keep on playing and I still need to finish on Final Fantasy X and Tales of the Abyss before I go back and focus on this game.

Final Fantasy X: I really enjoyed the boss battles in Final Fantasy X. It feels like every battle has a focus on strategy rather than having a battle of brute strength. When I fought Seymour this week, this was my strategy: steal the potions from the two Guado guards to prevent them from healing, use Yuna’s Nul spells to protect the party from Seymour’s magic, and summon Shiva to counter against Anima. It took me a couple of tries for me to come up with this strategy, which made defeating Seymour much more satisfying.

Getting through the Thunder Plains this week was annoying. I had a hard time getting the timing right to dodge the random lightning strikes, which I though was right when the screen briefly flashes. I know that you have to dodge 200 lightning strikes in a row in order to get one of the ultimate weapons in the game, which is something that I have no hope in getting anytime soon. It was fun fighting the Cactuars, since you get better drops if you defeat them. However it got frustrating once they used 1000 Needles and then run away from the battle, leaving me gaining nothing and my party at low HP. Cactuars remind me of the Golden Hand enemies from Persona 4, being hard to hit and kill before they flee but have valuable drops if you succeed.

Sanubia Desert at first was daunting, being an open spaced area, but it wasn’t as big as I thought it would be. With Yuna missing from the party during this part of the game, I was in a tight spot. Whenever I play an RPG, I usually rely on having a white mage in my party. It was an enlightening experience for me to find different ways to restore HP and getting rid of status effects during battles, like having Rikku using Al Bhed potions.

Jecht Spheres were introduced as collectibles during my playthrough this week, and I thought that they were intriguing storytelling pieces. It gives the player a look at Jecht during his time in Spira and shows how he changed while being Braska’s guardian. One sphere showed Jecht being a drunkard in jail when Braska asks him to become one of his guardians, while another shows him talking about wanting to share his experiences in Spira to Tidus. It reminds me of finding Link’s memories in Breath of the Wild, where they weren’t necessary to understand the main story but it gives the player a deeper understanding of the game’s world and other characters.

Speaking of characters, I found Wakka’s inner conflict very interesting. He ended up clashing with Rikku after finding out that she is Al Bhed, even though he knows that she is not a bad person. When Seymour, a Maester of Yevon, decided to use the forbidden Machina in an attempt to defeat Sin, Wakka was hesitant to go along with the plan since it went against the teachings. Once he sees that the Guado were attacking the Al Bhed’s home base and understands what the Al Bhed were trying to do, Wakka starts to realize that the Al Bhed aren’t as bad as the teachings made them out to be. Wakka having a hard time coming to terms that there are some problems with the teachings of Yevon is something I haven’t see in games very often. I would like to see other games try to tackle conflicts of religion in a similar way.

The only problem I had with the story this week was when Tidus learned that Yuna will die after stopping Sin. I understand that everyone was having a hard time facing that reality, but I thought Auron would at least mention it to Tidus at an earlier point of the pilgrimage. The game made it obvious at many points up to this scene by having awkward pauses when Tidus talked about taking Yuna to Zanarkand and helping her stop Sin. Speaking of the game making things obvious, the twist that Seymour is actually evil was not that surprising to me as it probably was intended to be. From the moment he was introduced, his character design screamed evil, as he looked significantly different than everyone else (it also doesn’t help that he looks like one of the bad guys from Pokemon Colosseum).

Maybe they don’t look as similar than I originally thought (:P)

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