Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Well, that was quick (and I expected it)

Some recent events around these parts have a lot of people up in arms.  A rally took place, expressing a rather disliked opinion, and people who disagree with that opinion held a protest in response.  In the USA, the First Amendment to our Constitution grants all citizens, among other things, something called Freedom of Speech.  This allows individuals and groups on all sides of any issue to express their opinion.

I don't generally voice my opinion on issues because I'd rather maintain fun and lighthearted relationships with friends and acquaintances, but I was getting swamped with tweets and retweets about it and expressed my opinion out of frustration.  I should also mention that I basically spent the past several months trying to phrase this opinion in a non-inflammatory manner, and that me expressing it was inevitable.

The following is a full explanation of what I've experienced, explained in the most generalized and least ambiguous way possible, complete with a glossary of terms for the one term it uses.  I like my technical writing principles.

SJW: (noun) Social Justice Warrior.  Typically younger people who are new to activism.  Their hearts are in the right place even though their minds aren't.

Now, here's the explanation.  Consider this scenario:

Person APerson BPerson C
Position on issueForForAgainst

In this scenario, even though Person A and Person B both disagree with Person C, Person A not only thinks Person C has no right to express their opinion, they also don't think Person B has the right to say that Person C has the right to express their opinion.  In fact, Person A will go as far as implying or even outright asserting that Person B wholly endorses Person C's opinion.

Who's who in this scenario?  Person A shall remain nameless, because I have the mental maturity to protect the identity of someone I no longer wish to associate with.  I find myself taking the role of Person B.  Person C represents the group conducting the rally.

Am I sad about the loss of acquaintance with Person A?  Not really.  Person A, as all SJWs do, lives a double life.  They just finally allowed their true self to show through the façade, that's all.  If anything, I'm relieved that I no longer have to deal with Person A.  In fact, in addition to blocking Person A (who has also blocked me), I blocked three other people who could have just as easily taken the place of Person A, and I'm just as relieved to no longer have to deal with them.

I did make a few more relevant tweets during and after the blocking process, which in retrospect may have been ill-advised, but I'm not going to delete them.  One was basically calling out Person A on their logical fallacy (I'm unsure of the specific type of logical fallacy, but I do believe their statements qualify as one), and the others were a series where I first bragged about having blocked people, then expressed a small amount of additional related frustration.  Person A may have already blocked me before I sent the tweet calling them out.

For other unrelated reasons, this situation closes a chapter of my life.  The timing just paired well.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Final Fantasy 4 Dropped

It's sickening how much of a free ride Final Fantasy games get these days, given how shit most of them are.

They all suffer from the same critical issues:
  • Random encounters
  • Physical attacks alone are not enough, you have to use magic
  • Spells cost too much
  • MP recovery items are ridiculously rare
  • MP recovery items don't recover enough MP
  • If they can be found in shops at all, MP recovery items are ridiculously expensive
  • Inns gradually cost more and more as you progress through the game
However, there are some other issues that I'm only 100% sure apply to Final Fantasy 4, so here's a separate bulleted list:
  • Can't tell what items do when looking at them in the items menu (I have all these things like UniHorn and HrGlass1, but what do they do?)
  • Can't tell what the stats are on a piece of equipment, whether it's in your inventory or if you're looking at it in a shop
  • Many menu sequences are cumbersome and unintuitive, such as when using a Potion, first there's the opportunity to move it around in your inventory, and then you use it, but if you want to use another one straight away you have to re-select it again
  • I've only ever gotten one Remedy, and I used it (I haven't seen it in any of the shops I have access to)
  • Potions and the Cure line of spells have different recovery values seemingly per-use, but also in-battle vs. out-of-battle
  • I reached a "Training Room" that gave me basic instructions on how to play the game only after having played the game for several hours, most of the things it told me about I'd already figured out on my own by feeling around in the dark
  • Said "feeling around in the dark" was the only way I was able to figure out how to "sheathe my sword" during a fight where it was apparently required to not fail horribly (by "sheathe", they mean "unequip", and there's a hidden menu where you can change your weapons during battle)
  • Randomly dropping money when running from a fight
  • Enemies can often take three or four actions each before you get a turn
  • Actions all have different activation times, but the game never explicitly tells you this
  • Edward is a pussy and runs away when you're trying to heal him
  • Items and MP are consumed even when their target becomes invalid during the activation time (i.e. I was trying to heal Edward but he hid like a coward during Cure2's activation time, Tellah still loses the MP for Cure2)
  • Cecil, for story reasons, gives up being a dark knight and becomes a paladin, only to deal far less damage even once you level him back up to where he was to begin with, and then he gets subpar white magic because "lol paladin"
  • The writing feels very stiff and robotic, even if the story is somewhat decent
  • Trying to make me care about certain completely obnoxious characters when they heroically sacrifice themselves to save the rest of the party
  • Constantly cycling who's in my party so I can't just go level up somewhere and reduce the game's crap-factor through grinding
  • A certain boss has a weakness to metallic weapons, so he casts a spell on the cave he takes up residence in to make anyone with metallic items equipped be unable to move, so basically I have to equip total shit equipment in order to do anything in the cave, except I can't do anything because I can't deal damage worth shit
  • The effect that gets put on a character with metal equipment is Paralysis, but unlike normal Paralysis, it can't be Esuna'd away (though oddly it goes away if the character dies and is revived)
  • Tellah says "don't worry, with my magic, we're invincible", yet the effect still persists
  • Said boss also deals 9999 damage per hit when I have maybe a tenth of that as max HP, and wipes my party before I can deal any damage whatsoever thanks to the activation times on everything
If you need a reason why I'm dropping Final Fantasy 4, just read all the bullet points.  It's a shit game, and if you like it, you have shit taste in video games.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Chrono Cross

Finally able to check this one off.  Despite having a fair number of flaws, most of which are regressions from Chrono Trigger, it's by no means a bad game.  Anyone who overlooks it is doing themselves a disservice.

I get the feeling that a lot of the hate this game gets is because it isn't exactly like Chrono Trigger, but with a new story.  The battle system is different, character progression is different, and the way equipment and skills are handled is also different.  The thing is, the battle system is actually pretty neat.

I like the Stamina system, it works a lot better than a traditional ATB system and works with the element grid to open up a lot of strategy that Chrono Trigger never had.  The move from the traditional experience point-based level-up system to a story-based level-up system reduces grind and keeps you moving forward in the story.  You can still grind money and drops, of course, but that's at your own discretion.

Equipment being mostly crafted rather than straight-up purchased is an interesting move, but it's not handled poorly.  There aren't extreme shortages of a critical material or anything.  The final tier of equipment requires you to put in some effort and use the summoning mechanic that you might otherwise ignore, which may very well get you to use summons on a more regular basis if you end up liking that sort of play style.  Skills being split into regular "Elements" and the more traditional techs is interesting, since you can allocate elements at will, regardless of color.

As for the final boss battle, well, there's two ways that it can play out.  This is even hinted at with the Cryosphinx fight.  You can do it the traditional way, by dealing enough damage that the final boss dies, or you can do it the right way.  Just prior to the fight, the game goes to great lengths to suggest that each of the elemental colors have an associated tone, and that producing these tones in the proper order results in an "elemental melody".  It also hints that you should follow up this sequence with the Chrono Cross.  Doing this will instantly defeat the final boss, regardless of HP, and net you the best ending.

If you're like me and want to see both the bad and good ending, then don't be like me.  I stupidly saved my clear save over my "just before the end" save, so if I want to see the bad ending, I have to go all the way through the game again.  Unfortunately, the game doesn't let you continue a clear save, it forces you to select New Game + or Continue +, neither of which will let you hop back in where you were.  If you save to a different slot on your memory card, you can just reload your save and do the fight again.

Despite logging a number of personal complaints about the game, I still largely enjoyed my play time and will definitely come back later for some New Game + action.

Everything after the break will be talking about final boss strategy, so... don't click "Read More" if you don't want to read more.  If you came directly to this post from a search result or something, you may wish to stop scrolling down.