The Lost Record of Weird Ian: 19th March 2010
[mostly damaged section] ... is why Yakuza 2 is one of the greatest games ever. Anyway, with that out of the way. I've finally got around to playing some new stuff... like Yakuza 3! Just kidding, all I've done in that so far is install it, and watch the plot summary videos of the first two games. They ingeniously get around the problem of the PS2 footage being low resolution by making the video window tiny. The 25 minute summary of Yakuza 2 seemed to make the game seem substantially more boring than it was to play it for 30 hours by focusing on the least interesting thing about it, the love interest. Look forward to more inevitable coverage of this soon.
Also, I just got a mail saying that my dubious import copy of Yakuza Kenzan has just been shipped. The confirmation mail was pretty vague about the exact delivery time-frame, and didn't even seem to be sure if it would ever turn up, which is always a good sign.
I've also played the first hour and a bit of God of War 3 and the demo of Splinter Cell: Conviction. So naturally I'm here to talk about...
Final Fantasy (iPhone)
There's something that feels kind of wrong about paying more than £5 for an iPhone game, but at the same time there is clearly nothing wrong with paying £5.49 for a decent version of the original Final Fantasy. Paying that much for the 24 year old NES version would be a bit of a stretch, but FF1 is a game that does clean up real good given some modern menus and a few tweaks to the battle system. The iPhone version seems to be a modified version of the 2007 PSP re-release, so has great looking redrawn graphics, extra dialogue and cutscenes, and decent orchestral music.
The biggest problem for me with the original version was that there was a bit issue with combat targets. If you selected the same target for your team and the you killed the enemy in the first move, your team would attack empty space instead of selecting a different monster to attack for the rest of the turn. I've always wondered if this behavior was actually part of the game design, or just a limitation of the primitive NES battle system. It also has the archaic spells per day system (where you can only a limited number of each level of spell before needing to sleep in an inn or tent) replaced with a more standard MP system.
Unfortunately this version is not without issue. Their attempts to get around the lack of buttons on the iPhone have resulted in a slightly clunky interface. The button that opens your menu button only appears if you stop moving for a second or so, menu selections require you to hold your finger on a selection for about a second, and the menus themselves are take longer to open that I'd like. One of the things I'm really enjoying about FF13 at the moment is how snappily the menu open and moves. Sluggish menus are one of my pet peeves, I'm looking at you Fable 2.
So if you can get past the expensive seeming price tag, and the inevitable slightly crap controls, this seems like a pretty decent version of a primitive but nonetheless important piece of JRPG history.
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