Final Fantasy VII Remake Review

I played the original FF7 on the PlayStation back when it was first released. My friends and I spent countless hours on it. I loved the story, secrets, sidequests, and getting all of your characters overpowered. Fans have been asking for this remake for a long time and I was really excited to get started on this game.

As a bit of a disclaimer, the remake isn’t complete. The original game was 3 discs and could easily take you over 100 hours to complete if you do everything. This remake doesn’t even take you through the first full disc on the original game. However, it does add some extra content to the portion of the story it did cover. In my opinion they did a great job of adding some extra depth to a lot of the early characters. So even though the game isn’t complete, it still has a lot of content.

Because this is a remake, there are definitely a lot of changes from the original game. Combat can be turn-based, but the standard combat mode is more action-adventure with some turn-based battle options. For example, I can be attacking enemies with Cloud, similar to the recent Kingdom Hearts games, then go to the command screen and order Barrett to use a spell or special ability. This makes for a well balanced game because you have better control over the combat. Limit breaks, materia, and a lot of the abilities from the original are still in the remake. But summons and limit breaks are much more rare and can usually only be used during boss battles.

The level designs, graphics, and voice acting are all pretty solid. I really enjoy going through some areas of the game and recognizing everything around me from the original game. One of the boss battles I just finished was really entertaining because I remember it from the original. Many of the same places, bosses, and events from the original still take place in this game.

In my opinion, the most important part of the game is the story and I find myself more immersed in it than I was in the original. You really connect with the characters in the added events, improved graphics, and voice acting that the original wasn’t able to use.

Whether you’ve played the original game or not, I feel like anyone can pick up this game and have a really great time with it. My only real complaint is the camera can sometimes be a nuisance during combat and I’m not sure if the leveling and grinding you do in this game will carry over to the next portion of the remake. But overall, this game is a masterpiece, just like the original. I’d give it a 9.5 out of 10.

Update: 4/28/2020
When I wrote the original post, I was most of the way through the game but hadn’t finished it yet. I beat the game a few days ago and took some time to process it. I’m just going to be blunt here, that ending was trash.

Some people may label me a “purist” but that’s not true. I liked the entire game until the last few hours of story. I liked the new events with Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge. They elaborated on pieces of the story that weren’t in the original that I really enjoyed. But the ending was almost like they fired their writers and brought in someone new that decided they wanted to change everything.

They undid all the best parts of the story in the original to try and do some crazy alternate universe or timeline type of story. Maybe it’ll pan out in the future versions of the game, but the end of this game was kind of like watching the last season of Game of Thrones. Vast majority of the story is amazing, then tanks at the end. Frankly, it makes me not want to play the future games. If they were planning on changing the story this much, they shouldn’t have called this a remake. It should have been called Final Fantasy VII – II.

I’m trying to keep the whole game in mind with my newest rating, but it’s hard to do when the ending was so terrible. My new rating is 7.5 out of 10. I’m tempted to go lower, but the rest of the game was so good that it would be unfair to go lower. I pre-ordered this game because I was so excited to play it, but I won’t be buying the next one unless I hear the story is worth it.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order Review

Image result for star wars jedi fallen order

I’ll be the first one to admit, I’m not a huge fan of the Star Wars movies. However, I’ve been playing Star Wars games for decades. My favorites were probably Knights of the Old Republic and The Force Unleashed games. So I was excited for this game, and thankfully it didn’t disappoint.

I was expecting the game-play to be more action-based, like The Force Unleashed games. In that game you get very powerful and throw force abilities around like crazy and dominate huge groups of storm troopers and other enemies. This game surprised me, but in a good way. It’s more of a mix of Sekiro type battles with platforming and puzzle solving.

The story follows Cal Kestis, a Padawan that survived the Empire’s purge of Jedi. Conveniently, he’s lost some of his connection to the Force because of the trauma of a past event. So when you first start, he’s fairly weak. You’ll pick up new abilities along the journey that will unlock different paths that you can explore in each of the worlds.

This game is also partly an RPG, where you build up Cal’s combat abilities as you level up. You’ll choose between improving his Force abilities, light-saber attacks, or other physical abilities. Combat is very similar to Sekiro, you can attack, dodge, or parry. My first instinct was usually to dodge, but I learned quickly that parrying was usually the better option. I played through the game on Hard. It was a little bit of a struggle at first until I got the hang of parrying. I also tried to take on a sub-boss early on in the first world that I probably wasn’t ready for. I died… a lot, but it helped me learn to parry better.

When I mentioned platforming earlier, you’ll need to explore the worlds you’re in. Initially, each world will have parts you can’t access until you progress in the story. Abilities like wall running, or Force Push will open up new areas or help you solve puzzles. While you’re doing this, you’ll find snippets of story or health/force bar upgrades. So it’s definitely worthwhile to explore and solve puzzles. Thankfully, the game provides a 3D map so you can very accurately trace where you need to go.

The story itself was done very well. Without going into it too much and ruining it, I felt that they brought in some excellent voice actors. Each character had purpose and added to the story. There’s just enough backstory to help illuminate you on each character’s motivation without really slowing the story down. Cal has a unique ability with the Force that allows him to recall past events with certain objects or places. As you explore, you’ll use this ability to uncover parts of the story that were actually compelling to read.

Overall I really enjoyed this game. The only real point of frustration was the load times felt a little long after I’d die. So if you struggle with a boss or enemy, it gets really frustrating reloading and working your way back to them. My only other complaint is that I wish there were more worlds and more content. I feel like I finished this really fast even though I explored almost 100% of the game. To me, there also isn’t a ton of replay value in this unless they drop a lot of downloadable content; though I’m personally not a fan of spending more money on a game I already bought. I’d give this game a 9 out of 10. I might recommend waiting until the price drops or some used copies are available, because I don’t feel there’s a lot of replay value.

Review of GreedFall

Its been a long time since I’ve gotten to play an RPG that’s really story and character driven. The style is very similar to a BioWare game like Dragon Age or Mass Effect. But is it a cheap knock off or a game worth buying?

The game is set in a colonial style time period. Characters have a lot of the same style, armor, and weapons of that period including basic firearms. Their civilization has been struggling to survive under a plague. But they found a mysterious island with an indigenous people and huge monsters that they hope will have a cure of some kind.

Your character is nobility and charged with helping to lead the new town on the island. As with most RPG games, you build your character as a warrior, magic user, or ranger type but you can also mix their abilities to develop a unique style.

Combat is more difficult than I first expected, it does take some skill. Once you get the hang of it, it’s fairly easy, at least on Normal difficulty. Like Sekiro or God of War, you can parry, dodge, or attack. Firearms and magic provide a method of ranged attacks to mix it up.

You’ll have help along the way with two party members in combat. There is no way to control what they do in combat, but they can heal you and tank. There are plenty of characters to join you along the way that you’ll build relationships with, very similar to Mass Effect and Dragon Age. With quests to help them and pursue romantic relationships.

My favorite thing about this game is the quests. Many games like Elder Scrolls have a lot of quests that feel like a chore. Go to this location, retrieve something, bring it back. GreedFall hasn’t done that to me yet. The quests are more complicated, requiring different abilities like persuasion, science, or other abilities to pursue different methods of completing the quest. They’re more fun and don’t feel like a chore.

Another interesting component is your reputation. There isn’t a morality meter or anything of that kind. But there are different factions in the game such as the merchants, a scientific group, religious group, and nautical group among others. Depending on your choices, your reputation with these factions will go up or down. If your reputation goes up enough with groups you get rewards and quests.

All of these features are great and I personally enjoy the story and RPG elements of the game. Unfortunately no game is perfect. One problem is that the graphics and character animations are dated. It doesn’t bother me that much, but other players may find it annoying. I also don’t like the camera and moving around often feels clumsy and slow compared to other games.

Overall, I feel the game is good. I’d give it an 8 out of 10. I’m enjoying it, and recommend it to people who enjoy RPGs and BioWare style games. But I feel it needs something new to set it apart from a BioWare game, and GreedFall looks like an early Xbox One game or even a Xbox 360 game in terms of its graphics. I bought it and feel it was worth the purchase, I’m looking forward to seeing more from this gaming studio in the future.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Review

Sekiro was made by “From Software,” they’re well known for the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne. They’re renowned for creating challenging games where you die a lot. The only one of their games I’d tried previously was Bloodborne and I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan. So I was skeptical when I heard Sekiro was a great game, but eventually I decided to give it a try.

I’m really happy I did. If you go on YouTube you can find countless videos of people complaining or raging about this game and how hard it is. The game is difficult, but I like that. Most games these days are so easy, they have maps and minimaps to follow. If there are bosses they’re easily beaten, even on harder settings. But that is definitely not a problem with Sekiro.

Sekiro is like the games I used to play where you have to learn your way around without any maps or guides. There are secrets littered all over the place if you look carefully. Learning different skills isn’t just entertaining, sometimes it’s necessary to beat certain bosses (not required, but it makes them easier.) Best of all, there are a lot of challenging bosses and sub-bosses. Each one takes some skill, learning their moves and properly deflecting to find prime opportunities to attack.

The feudal Japan setting is fantastic, the game looks amazing. The story was okay, you’re a shinobi trying to protect your lord. Your lord has a power that others want, and that’s where the protagonist comes in. Frankly, I didn’t really care about the story that much. It was okay, but not riveting. That doesn’t detract from this game, as the graphics and gameplay are incredible.

My favorite part of the game is the replay value. Once you beat the game you can keep all of the skills you’ve earned, your vitality bar, items, attack power, and your prosthetic arm abilities you acquire. As tough as the game is, it rewards you with another play-through with everything you had in your previous play-through. I love it when games do this, otherwise you beat the game and that’s it. You can replay it again, but then you have to re-acquire everything and it loses its luster.

No game is perfect and Sekiro certainly has some flaws. My only major complaint is the camera. There are situations where you’re in a cave, or you get backed into a wall or corner where the camera goes nuts. When this happens you can’t really see what’s happening. Almost as if sensing this, the boss or enemy you’re fighting will wail on you dealing heavy damage before you can get away. This led to a lot of swearing on my part and it really gets frustrating at times. But in a way it adds another element to the fight. Don’t get yourself backed into a wall or corner where you don’t have room to move, the game will punish you for it.

Needless to say, if you aren’t looking to be challenged and you hate dying in video games, you’re going to despise this game. If you want to just power through a game with no trouble at all, Sekiro isn’t for you. However, if you like games that take a lot of skill and you’re willing to put up with some punishment, Sekiro is a fantastic game. I give this game a 9 out of 10 and definitely recommend buying it.

Wix is Horrible!

Previously, my website was designed and maintained through Wix. At the time, it seemed like the easiest way for someone without web design experience to build a decent looking site.

Unfortunately, the people at Wix are swindlers and charlatans. Apparently they like to charge you more than the services you want without even notifying you! Then they wouldn’t let me cancel and get a refund for the full year that they overcharged.

Thankfully my bank came to the rescue. Since Wix is shady and likely knows their customers wouldn’t approve their ridiculous rates and didn’t inform me of the charges, my bank was able to successfully dispute the charges!

So now that I escaped from the clutches of Wix, I am now in the middle of redesigning the page. I appreciate everyone’s patience during this transition.