Wouldn't you know it, Wal-Mart was more than adequately stocked.
I put the disc in, but I remained undecided until the first "hunt," where I learned of the ROGUE TOMATO. Since that point I have felt that no matter what pain may arise from this game, I must forever attempt to see the best in the experience, for the thing has a freaking rogue tomato. In the drawing, it looked a lot like a Mandragora from FFXI, but with a fanged, tomato-shaped head. I love tomatoes and I adore cute things with fangs, so to discover the two features combined? I'm so sold. I'm hooked. Why wasn't the rogue tomato the major marketing ploy!? When I finally found the Rogue Freaking Awesome Tomato in person, so to speak ... it was wearing striped pajamas.
Give me rogue tomatoes. Yes, give me an army of demonic Rogue Tomatoes. They shall join my Prinny Legions and Doom shall be had.
But I'm sure you would like to hear more of the game than just the single Rogue Tomato.
The opening cinema was way too long. Squeenix, I am very glad to see the progress you have made since your sprite days, and I'm happy that you are so proud of your "armor" texture. But really. At the rate these are going, you might as well forget the gameplay and just start making movies full-time.
In general, the game has its obvious draw from FFTA (as the world and races are the same ... there are even duplicate locations and (oh gak) Montblanc the Moogle), but it also has undeniable connections to progress and game mechanisms made in FFXI. I find that there's a bit of FFX in the system as well. The "License" system seems to be very similar to the Sphere Grid in layout, but with squares instead of circles ... and unless you have a guide or have played before, you cannot plan ahead. The Sphere Grid was much more attractive ... the Licenses, which might make you think of cards (which would again reference FFTA), are put onto an oddly-shaped checkerboard.
11, being an MMORPG, had other people slapping the same monsters with you. 12 attempts to compensate for this lack by providing other party characters with mostly uncontrollable AI. It is true that many of our fellow gamers are stupid and thus this system is somewhat accurate to the horrible stress that can result. If one played with smart people, however, the party was able to refine such concepts as "hate management," "pulling," and "OH MY GOD DON'T TOUCH THAT/GO OVER THERE YOU FOOL." Vaan and Penelo, my only two characters at this point, are fairly equal in capabilities. I would, however, prefer that Vaan take all the damage as I am controlling him directly. That is, I want him to be the "tank" in combat situations. Since he does fairly equal damage to Penelo, this doesn't always work out, or at least, I haven't figured out how to tell Penelo to back the heck off. Or take, for example, the round area with three hyenas. I wanted the treasure in the area, but I certainly didn't want to fight all three at once, and as I lacked some sort of projectile or taunt, I could not lure one out of the group. I very carefully circled around to each treasure, and had almost made it out scot-free when Penelo ... lovely, responsible Penelo ... did not cling to the edge as I did, and attracted the attention of all three monsters. Beautiful.
The load time between "zones" and the townsfolk themselves is a little slow, and thus reminds me very much of FFXI. It evokes memories of trying to work my way past the Lower Jeuno Auction House, a packed location. I've been MMORPG-free for several months now, but I can still remember how people would talk to me and emote at me there, which meant that they had to be within a certain distance of me ... only I couldn't see them, no matter how hard I tried. They'd say, "Wenwren, I'm standing right next to you!" I'd spaz out for five minutes trying to find them, unable to see them due to the intense lag.
Characterwise, I don't give a damn about anyone yet. I thought Penelo's outfit was pretty cute until I spotted the weird leather spines she has projecting off her shoulder blades. Does she hide a rocket or some sort of mechanism under there? Does she turn around and stab people with them? Do they go up and down depending on her mood? Does she secret food away in them, adding to her stores in case a hungry day should come?
In all honesty, I am really dreading the cosplay of this game. I usually keep such sentiments to myself as the hobby has enough drama without my negative opinions, but this is a very deep-seated fear. I predict beautiful efforts, but I also predict an almost unprecedented amount of scarring experiences.
If it weren't for Final Fantasy, I bet there would be a lot more geeks without knowledge of Roman numerals.
So I was at Barnes & Noble the other day, attempting to return the extra book I wound up with as a result of forgetting my baby shower gift in New City. The cashier had the best accent I have heard in years, although now that it has been many hours since I experienced it, I cannot tell you what it was. It was so addictive, I began to speak in it before I realized what I was doing. I was shocked and tried to stop, fearing that he might think I was mocking him, but I could not help it. In and out of the lilt I went, and I almost immediately agreed to do an exchange just so I could get away from the accent and get my own tongue back. The money was already spent anyway, right?
I think he died a little on the inside when he saw the contrast in my exchange, but it was only fair, because his accent was killer.
Lenaburg, Middle of Nowhere Villagers arrive with their furnishings, of course. If you desire any of their possessions, there are two ways to obtain them: you either wait until the next Flea Market day rolls around and attempt to buy it from them, though there are some goods which they will not sell, or you send them a barrage of presents in your letters, which causes them to place the new items in their home and move all the old stuff out to the town recycling bin.
Octavian, the Cranky octopus, showed up in town with the rare Robo-Stereo. Thus, Ziti has been sending countless little notes to him, hoping to induce him to give that one coveted item up. It took weeks ... weeks of painfully long, expensive duration, as he gave up everything (including his picture!) but that. Finally, the other day, Ziti found it in the recycling bin, and joyfully claimed it. Once she finds the Robo-Lamp, she will have the complete Robo-Series. It will be Robo-riffic!