Final Fantasy 10 + 7 + 8 + 13 = 15

FF15 is not just one more RPG from Square and not just another Final Fantasy Title. It is a fresh start in the right direction and goes to show that even long ongoing franchises like Final Fantasy can still compete with other fresh and new games within its genre.

Platform

I have only used this section title twice, because most of the time explaining the platform of a game means explaining why 1 + 1 equals 2. However, this is the first time Final Fantasy (a part from the online version) is given a new platform; open world. The open world-ness (if that’s a thing) of FF15 is very well put together and feels very apart of the world you explore. From the aspect of the story the platform fits and puts the world in the eyes of someone who was isolated for most of his life. You know share that same outlook, both you and the protagonist see the world almost for the first time. With the many activities (fishing, hunting, cooking and mining) it almost seem that they spliced in some MMO into this version of Final Fantasy which also means that the multiplayer add-on will be coming soon and probably online play as well.

Characters


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Very much like other FF titles the cast is good but not great, however still well above most other RPGs lately. Audio sync is somewhat of an issue at times put other than that the seamless conversations, topics, relatable dialog all seem to fit most of the cast from FF15. A very well rounded supporting cast makes you want to know more about the history of each character. Even the basic NPCs are better than most other FF titles.

Graphics


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Not Uncharted 4 amazing but my well done and on par with ps4 capabilities. The light and shadows are good, the absence of collision (for the most part), almost no texture pops or collation means they spent probably the better part of the 10 years to make sure it runs good. In battle, the effects and Noctis’s warping, doesn’t show that much of a hurdle even when the number of enemies stack up.

Battle System


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Speaking of battling the battle system has been demoed for a while and playing it first-hand just seems different, not in a bad way. The biggest complaint is the camera. Enemies are quick to move out of the camera making you twist and turn in order to get a good strike in. The magic attacks are good and powerful however very limited. The teamwork and team based attacks are a very welcomed addition but not necessarily new to the franchise, it’s just that FF15 finally got it right.

Ascension


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The upgrading system is very similar to FFX. However the biggest difference is that instead of being character based organized its skill based organized and some skills have a “party” effect making decisions on some skills very hard to choose. Luckily AP is gain by pretty much doing anything. With a plethora of AP you can expand your stats very quickly but don’t expect the monsters or demons to go down lightly.

Location, Location, Location


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Going from one place to another is a task that almost every game has and it’s either by vehicle or by foot and FF15 approach is different and actually seems to be the best way to go. It offers the satisfaction of just looking around as your strategist drives or driving yourself and the controls are so that you still can take in the sights, stop and do what you want without having to worry about driving off the cliff. The same goes for flying as well.

Story

So far within my very short play time, the story seems to be well written and fits the setting and does capture some critical areas when trying to suck the audience into the world of Noctis. Seems to be in a straight line and I don’t think there will be many (if any) plot twist or shifts reminiscing of Final Fantasy 8, surprise endings like Final Fantasy 10, or shockers like the famous Final Fantasy 7. However, I do believe that the plot will still hold up to the rest of the game and support the gameplay that is very well presented already.

Best Final Fantasy Ever?

Many aspects of FF15 are very good and some are even excellent but I don’t think this will surpass the awesomeness of some other Final Fantasy titles. With that said it does play, feel and look likes one of the best RPGs this year and one of the best this decade. As far as game of the year I still hold Uncharted 4 in that spot; however if Uncharted didn’t come out this year then yes I would grant game of the year to FF15. It is well rounded, beautiful and for the most part feels “complete” just how I felt at the end of Uncharted 4. Thinking on it, I have to give FF15 a B+.

Watch Dogs 2 | Everything Is Rooted

Smoother and more fluid than its predecessor, Watch Dogs 2 ups the ante improves the story and gives us a better protagonist to rally behind.


/Gameplay

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A subtle but no too demanding initiation starts your journey. The menu and controls seem too condensed as if it would be better playing with a keyboard. With so many approaches to how to handle a situation it sometimes feels like you don’t have enough buttons on the PS4 to make things just a tad bit simple.
The cover system is not bad but not good either. It makes since to me to take from The Division or Farcry to enhance the cover system, either way it’s not terrible. At times you may find yourself floating over objects and edges, it could be a source of entertainment until your being fired at and it quickly transforms into frustration.

The driving physics are poor. It seems every car has super-soft tires making overly normal turns look like it’s on a slot car race track. I do enjoy the near realistic crash and damage, too many rear-ends and your car will not be speeding anytime soon. Vehicle controls are bit cumbersome with the whole touch to control the media or using L1 as you drive. Luckily in a chase against the 1-time quick L1 hacks still prove to work smoothly, I hope that you don’t have to take your eyes off to hold down L1 to see a mini-menu for more select options, figure out which one and then pass the object you was going to hack right before selecting it; that would make me mad.

Sneaking and using the toys at your disposal are very fun and enjoyable, while full on combat could be improved; however this isn’t terrible but does take some getting used to. Like the cover system, the combat should have picked up some tips from other games. It seems like they just tried to improve over the initial installment.

Hacking is at its best and give a very open-ended-like play through as you can choose and/or combine different approaches to getting the job done. Growing the hacking abilities also proves to be something to strive for and can easily be done by completing side missions and discovering research points. When it comes to figuring out what to do next choosing a mission, finding a clothing store on the map, car retrieval, scouting and other tasks all come from your phone; mirroring how we basically are today. I find it a bit of a play on our reality and it was well implemented into this game.

/Graphics

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While many would say that the first Watch Dogs came very short of their E3 demo; Watch Dogs 2 is a slight improvement. Not amazing but defiantly better than Watch Dogs. Not that many pop-in textures and very little faults here and there. There are still a lot of clipping, collision errors and flicker. Lighting is decent and character detail is ok as well.

/Sound

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Effects and speech are improvements from the first installment. Acting is pretty good and the sync could be better from other NPCs but for the main story ones the sound sync is great. Sound effects are crisp and music blends are nice and not too loud definitely a plus if you have a very good sound system. Ambient sound is randomized and does bring more detail into the game, almost as well as GTA.

.Connected

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Right out the gate, not including the online experience (which they didn’t have ready at day 1) not including a PS4 Pro play through, Watch Dogs 2 deserves a solid B. If you are a Final Fantasy fan, wait until that drops before picking up Watch Dogs 2. If you just got Dishonored 2 then you can wait for a bit before checking this out. If you haven’t bought a game since CoD or BF1 then this can be your next purchase. If you didn’t like the first Watch Dogs then don’t buy this one, I would heavily suggest renting or borrowing it first. For this to be the second came it almost plays as if this is the 3rd or 4th game, I had to remind myself that this is only the second title.

I’m impressed with this year, not too many flops and a few surprises here and there. With that said, I very much hope that FF15 will knock it out the park.

Battlefield 1. A beautiful representation of a horrible time.

EA DICE’s Battlefield 1 is well put together with a multiplayer probably at its best that it can be. I’m glad there is finally a multiplayer that has all roles/loadouts being effective in almost any map. Besides the multiplayer, the story and campaign is captivating as you play as multiple solders and here their take on the worst era in human history.

Graphics

I get it. It takes time to squeeze all of the juice out of a ps4 and while the graphics of battlefield 1 does look good, you don’t know how much is missing until you play it on pc. I haven’t yet, so with only playing the ps4 version I can say that it is good. Not too much texture popping, transitions are a bit rough and so are checkpoints. However, despite a few little nuances, the graphics are what you expect from the frostbite engine; crisp.

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Mishaps

Some gripes about Battlefield 1 that it is slightly buggy and does seem to punish you for it. There is no game that comes bug free however during multiplayer (not the alpha or beta) there are occurrences that do leave you quite vulnerable and during the campaign some bugs you can take advantage of. Nevertheless, none of the bugs fully depreciates the entire game.

Gameplay

The detail of introduction and the chaos of war is depicted just as crazy as the stories that came from it and seeing a German solder shell shocked and just walking around aimlessly during the shooting is brilliant. Sadly, after the swift introduction the AI falls down a bit, well maybe a bit more and you’re left with the same basic npc characteristics from previous titles. From a multiplayer aspect, everything is rainbows and sunshine. The multiplayer is reminiscent of battlefield 4 however it’s also nothing like it at the same time. Combat is more sporadic, spread over a much larger landscape with battles overhead and all around. The blinding of light, smoke and weather make it more intense. Soundtrack is nice and very hopeful. The sound effects are really good. This is the perfect game for those with medium to large surround sound systems.

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Other thoughts

I like the fact that this game doesn’t try to give you why these events happened or the politics of it. It doesn’t try to spin it from a fictional standpoint either. The goal, I believe, was to give the gamer the experience of time where the chance of dying; the fear of engagement and the gloom of war was just another Tuesday and how maddening the whole war was as over 10 million solders lost their lives.

Overall DICE did a phenomenal job making it look and feel slightly different, enough to make me want to buy it and the multiplayer is decent. For now before any DLC drops the grade I give it is a B-.

If you’re on the fence, I’ll say stay there or rent it. If you love the battlefield series then this is surely something you might be interested in. If you’re thinking between this and Mafia 3 or waiting for CoD I would suggest renting it first.

Uncharted, for the last time?

Right off the back U4 is a very well put together game that starts off similarly as U3. In fact Naughty Dog has been pulling out the same mechanics and technique since the beginning. Well if it isn’t broke… however, can a game solely survive on the story and suspense alone?

So I didn’t read any reviews and no articles about U4 at all, I wanted to surprise myself and was really shocked to learn that Co-Op won’t be available until around August timeframe. Kind of a bummer.

Gameplay
Let’s start it off with something that hasn’t changed. The game play mechanics is still the same with no improvements, well to be fair, it doesn’t suck either but by now I would expect something things to be just a bit different or better.

Gun fights have that similar feel as well but still packs that suspense and chaos of previous titles. Finishers are smoother and there are more improvements making it more swift and flowing. I find headshot to be a little bit more of a challenge but changing some settings fixed most of that.

Cover system improved slightly by using the environment more, however, getting away from alerted enemies is slightly more difficult that it should be.

Obstacle interactions between Nathan and Sam are seamless and looks like you’re watching a cut scene. Driving is typical but still an improvement over U3.

Story
What can a say it’s a Amy Hennig sorry, Naughty Dog story. Any who, topnotch amazing and gripping like a large budget movie. It doesn’t get any better that and they have proven once again that a story, when told correctly with great direction can carry a series on its own.

Graphics
Wonderful. Even though it would probably never be on PC, U4 should be just to experience it at 60fps with even more tessellation and lighting effects. If you seek game solely based on graphics Uncharted 4 will be impressive. A true testament to game design. Somethings, I could tell right off, were added profusely to show “look what we can do” and while that is cool it’s also kind of forces certain dialog or “look here” spots that, later on, get slightly annoying.

Overall the graphics are very good and actually more than what I expected and if you thought that the e3 graphics was going to make it into the final game, please don’t expect things like that.

Sound
Why don’t people talk about sound in games? Music and sound effects matter… lol. Seriously if you do not have a surround sound system then you lose a lot of value from this game. The sound and music is very good. The DTS and Dynamic Range is really good. I also enjoy the extra setting added in to tweak the delay, spatial profile and channeling. To those who system is above 500w will be greatly rewarded with theater quality brilliance.

Multiplayer
While upsetting that co-op isn’t ready, still the multiplayer is there with only a few modes for now and, I guess, because of the delay in making the game, most if not all of the content in the future DLC’s will be earn-able but free. So… this is where the 60fps ended up. I knew the game was held back to 30 but they did promise that it would develop some aspects to 60 and they did it in multiplayer. Clean and very smooth, I love it. Maps are ok to start with and the powerups kind of even the playing field a bit. I would need more time to say if it’s just as good as U3 and probably need to wait on more content too.

Charted
The Uncharted series is a good series and each one has its best moments. Each one became a hit and each one kind of stands on its own and can be played without knowing who is who.

With that said Uncharted 4 is the best one in the series and not because of gameplay, graphics or mechanics but because of the story, the way it’s portrayed, driven and conversed. It one of the few series/games that define “Adventure”; however, no solid “A” grade, even though I would love to give it that.

I must give it an A-.

Nearly perfect.

Inside is out there

The latest game, Inside, from the creators of Limbo is an indie game that leaves you with an array of questions, however is still really entertaining. Available for PC and XB1.

IGN gave it a “10/10”, rare, but I wonder if it truly lives up to that.

Gameplay
Much like Limbo the gameplay is a side scrolling platform with shifting views from time to time with puzzles throughout. You’ll find yourself looking at the red shirted boy for queues on whats going on or what is going to happen. If your playing on the PC you might want to change the Grab button to the other side of the keyboard.

Graphics
Very nice, on the PC it sheds brilliant blend of contrast and color. A meticulous take on detail without making it look realistic. If you don’t know this already, I love game music and the lack there of was saddening at first but then it gave me a better concentration to solve the puzzles; when it does show itself, its is nice.

Story
This game will have you guessing and the end may make you mad or like me, make you want to know more about this world and why something are what they are in the game. It’s almost too short and for $20 on Steam I hope there is going to be a part 2 at least.

Is it a perfect game? No. When I think of the other games which were indie and that I gave an solid A to (or A-), like Child of Light, Inside can hold its own but still not A quality, I think its mostly a B+ at best. Is it worth $20? Kind of, I would feel better if it was $15, I say catch it on sale and give it a go.

No Man Sky Universe

(originally written Aug 10, 2016)

Hello Games brought an interesting conundrum into the world of gaming. No Man Sky offers, well most of you know already, and endless exploration adventure that just might supersede the next 5 playstations. A game so big that it’s more of a single player, first person adventure since the likelihood of you ever seeing someone else is bleak, like less than 0.1% chance, even though it’s officially an MMO. But is it the killer that will compel everyone to design procedurally generated amazing games? Maybe. Will you like it? Unless you love exploring and slow grinding then you probably won’t. However I love it. Might have to give up on Black Desert Online 🙁

GamePlay

Let’s jump right into it. Fighting sucks. Whether it’s animals or those dam fighting sentinels or pirates, either way it gets nerve racking. Luckily you’re able to fine tune the controls to your liking however land fights are still kind of poor cause your character needs to be upgraded (a lot) to handle most threats effectively. Mining is straightforward and your multi-tool is very useful and be upgraded to mine more and fast. It will be frustrating at first because you will lack the storage needs of a true explorer but almost every planet has at least one suit upgrade pod. I haven’t found any ship upgrade stations yet but they do exist. You can save up some units (money) and buy nice upgrades and even barter with aliens for their ships. There is a narrative and path, you can stray away from it, like really far away from it, however you will notice that many elements are locked until you do the “next step” so-to-speak. No maps (except for the nebula map) means you will get lost a lot and that’s ok and scary. I once lost where I was going because I walked away from the controller and I think my ship hit an asteroid and was flying off course… for 30 mins 🙁 i was in the middle of nowhere. Scans help but at first these scanners suck, but guess what; you can upgrade them as well. OMG save points are horrific. While you do save when you get out of your ship, if you fail to save (find a waypoint) when you are exploring on foot you will be SOL. If you die in space (or on land) make sure you go your grave marker so you can recover your inventory, if it’s still there. Trading is also a feature. Which means trade daily and trade often. This will be your primary source of Units and your access to other elements or items you may need. Each trading post, base or station has its own “high priority item” that marked with a star.

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Graphics and Sound

Not mind blowing but decent and pop ins are ok because there are literally no loading screens. There was only one error I found that some POIs (points of interest) are bugged and you can ever approach them, they simply just move farther away, glad this is a rare occurrence. Also the math that’s involved can get buggy causing a collapse and the screen will freeze and you be prompted to report the error. This has happened to me 5 times now which is not a big deal if I was on PC, however for the console I think 5 crashes is a bit concerning. The music isn’t that bad and I love the clam to serious changes and the shifts in between good combos. Usually after a while I turn off the music but for now it’s still on.

Perfect for Remote Play

With the lack of life threatening entities, for now, mobile play though the Vita is pretty good and you will definitely kill some time however the controls you will have to get used to.

Too Big?

Unless you have always dreamed of flying endlessly through space and discovering worlds, No Man Sky is way too big and too repetitive for most players. Dogfights, hostile aliens, Monsters, and the occasional vicious plant life are kind of rare, your typical, and not to be messed with, opponent will be mother nature. You will more likely be tested by negitive 90c weather than a floating beast with 2 heads and tentacles for legs.

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Endless Sky

Overall, No Man Sky brings out the kid in me.. Wondering what is in a cave or seeing what I can find on a distant Moon. Love it, however it still doesn’t feel like a heavily populated or interactive universe, unless i just haven’t came across a heavily populated solar system yet. It needs more MMO elements. Things that will make the need to explore even more bounding to the player. Extreme missions that might take you near a black hole or a dying neutron star. That would be awesome. Bias aside the game gets a B-. I hope that DLCs and Expansion Packs makes up for the tediousness.

Mafia 3 – A Scorsese Game…

I don’t know if the man himself would have liked Mafia 3 but I bet he would have been impressed.

Overall Mafia 3 is good. The acting is superb, the story is adequate and the gameplay keeps you going. Even the collectibles are worth collecting, especially if you like cars and nipples. The biggest downside to Mafia 3 (that you can almost ignore) is the graphics…

I had to check my ps4 to make sure it actually said ps4 on it. On PC there is no question about the quality; it’s much better. I don’t know about xbox, mainly because I don’t have one. However, it’s ignorable to a certain extent.

The game’s best quality is the acting. While it’s no Last of Us, it still brings amazing and convincing acting to the game and sucks you in to the story quickly and this goes for all acting not just the main characters. The well written plot almost seems too simple, but it is effective.

The gamplay isn’t bad but it does keep you going. Most of the side missions are nearly the same between your underbosses. After you take over your second district you should have a pattern established and quickly realize it’s going to be like this for the rest of the game. Amazingly it doesn’t get boring, at least for right now. I’m currently working on my 5th district and I haven’t put down the game since Friday. So with that I think it accomplished it task. I hope the end lives up to the story so far.

The soundtrack is very good. It’s the 60s and the best of the 60s is playing which is good for the younger crowd that doesn’t even know what a LP is or what a record player looks like.

Which leads me to the setting; it not only portrays the 60s in its true light but also is perfect for this storyline. Try to systematically destroy a crime organization now, it just wouldn’t fit and you would probably have to add so much more to the story for it to make sense.

When comparing Mafia 3 with its predecessors and other games within its genre, I can say this installment stands out, a lot. If you can get it, grab it. Mafia 3 gets a solid B+ in my book.

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Encryption in Oops! File Manager Professional

Oops! File Manager 1.3 is out and the biggest improvement is encryption. This article will explain how it works and how you can take advantage of it.

The New Feature

Previous versions of OFM hashes then copies the file you are monitoring whenever the original hash of that file changes. When OFM copies a file it copies it at the bit level and just makes an exact duplicate.

With encryption enabled, if a change occurred or if you’re initially backing up a file, then when OFM copies the file it is encrypted at the bit level then placed in the backup directory. To make sure that you can tell which files are encrypted we added “.aes” to the file name.

The encryption used is AES 256-bit with 128-bit and 256-bit keys for maximum protection. This new encryption feature in 1.3 is not on by default. You will have to set a Master Password under the “Tools” menu.

Once you set a master password, that password will be used to encrypt your files. The password itself is encrypted using the same level of encryption. Once you set a password you can undo the password and decrypt all files. You would have to “Restore” all the encrypted files to recover them. You can change your password too; however, files encrypted with an old password will be locked until you backup these files again. Running another backup uses the new password, thus enabling the file to be restored if needed.

So what isn’t encrypted?

The database and majority of the files in the installed directory is not encrypted. The database does contain information that is encrypted (i.e. master password). However most of the database isn’t encrypted.

Will more encryption be added and will it be available for free?

We plan to add more encryption to the database and force passwords for file restoring and other features in the future. Once these features are in the Professional Edition the Free Edition will receive encryption. Our overall goal is to protect backup files and make a portable USB version.

What else is in the works?

You may see other features like Google Drive and Dropbox integration, Live Monitoring, and advance notifications by email coming in the near future.

As always thanks for reading and using Oops! File Manager!!!

How to NOT accidentally overwrite your OFM Database

If you haven’t downloaded Oops! File Manager yet, I’ll say give it a try. This article is mostly about the OFM database. If you haven’t read any relatable articles on OFM then let me reiterate by saying that OFM uses a single file database to store everything that’s going on with the application. This makes the possibilities of this file to be corrupted or overwritten, a little high but still rare.

However, the most confirmed way of damaging the OFM DB is installing updates. When updating OFM you must only use the “Update_Only” install file to make sure that the installer doesn’t overwrite the DB by accident. If you are downloading it for the fist time then the regular install file will work fine. If by some freak of nature you use the typical “setup” install file, while trying to update your older version of OFM, then its a good chance that the OFM DB is gone.

To stop this from being a possibility, locate the DB file (OFMdb.sdf) in the installation folder, which should be in the “AppData\Roaming” folder (i.e. C:\users\yourUserName\AppData\Roaming\Oops File Manager\). After you found it, simply copy it to a safe place. If this ever becomes a reality you can easily restore it by moving it back to the install folder.

SNEAK PEEK: Good news is that version 1.2 of Oops! File Manager will have a built in database backup that will happen every 5 days. Right now it is locked in at every 5 days; however, we are exploring the options of the Professional Edition having the ability to change it.

As always, thanks for reading!

Connect Oops File Manager to Google Drive (Windows)

Did you know you can connect Oops! File Manager (OFM) with Google Drive? Well, you can and its pretty easy.

OFM uses a single file database along with file hashing to keep track of your hard work. If your have OFM professional then you will be able to link your OFM backup hashes to Google Drive and you also need to have Google Drive installed on your Windows device (laptop, PC or tablet). Before we begin there are some choices to make about this mod. Doing this will mean that OFM will constantly feed update and file changes to Google Drive, which means if your tracking lots of files you can easily take up lots of space on your Google Drive account. I would suggest doing this slight mod if you want some redundancy in the case your computer catches on fire or decides to quit life.

First, you must locate your Google Drive folder. This is usually located under your user name on your computer (i.e. c:\users\yourusername\Google Drive). Copy this address to Notepad or anything else (word, notes, etc) you will need this path later.

Second, make a folder in Google Drive called “Oops File Manager”, this is optional; however, it’s a good idea if you want to make sure your backups are separate from other files that are on your Google Drive.


Step 1 and 2

Third, open OFM and click on “Tools” in the menu, then click on “Properties”. Notice the first choice, “Default Backup Directory”, you will need to change this to the Google Driver Folder. Click “Browse”, it will ask you if you are sure you want to change the backup directory, click “Yes” and navigate to the Google Drive folder. Once there, select the Oops File Manager folder you created. Lastly, click “Save”. Now OFM should start moving your backups to the Google Drive folder.


Step 3

Now that OFM is backing up to your Google Drive its now best to copy (from time to time) the OFM database in the case of your computer blowing up. Find the file OFMdb.sdf in the OFM install directory (see pic below) which should be located in your AppData folder (i.e. c:\users\yourusername\AppData\Roaming\Oops File Manager\), simply copy this file to the Oops File Manager folder you create in your Google Drive.


Step 4

Hope this mod helps some people out!

As always, thanks for reading!