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Final fantasy tidus keyring keychain
Final fantasy tidus keyring keychain
Offered by Smart Tree
Price: $8.98
4 used & new from $8.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, March 14, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I like the way this keychain looks. It's faithful to the design from the game (though it is much thicker for durability purposes), and appears to be moderately high quality, at least visually, compared to the price.

The one main issue I have with it is the placement of the hook on the back, which allows the pendant to flop around and not always face forward. I thought this was very annoying. You can fix it by gluing it in place, but it should've been made in a way that doesn't require us to do this. However, that's just based on how I personally use this, and it may not be an issue for someone who just wants the pendant only, or something else.

Overall, a solid product for its asking price.

Mystic Castle 1500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
Mystic Castle 1500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
Offered by Oakridge Hobbies & Toys
Price: $28.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Image, Cheaply Made Puzzle, March 14, 2015
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I liked the final product of this puzzle once I got it all together. The painting is very detailed and beautiful, and it's not too blurry despite its large size.

However, when you look closely, you can see the texture of the material it's printed on through the colors. It does give it a rough canvas-like look that some might appreciate, but I would have preferred it to be more flat. Still, I consider this one worthy of being framed.

The above also contributed to making the puzzle difficult to put together because the texture interferes with the actual colors of the pieces. Not only that, many of the pieces were cut so similarly, you could put two together, and they would fit well, even if they weren't meant to be connected. Finding the right pieces was more often than not trial and error, and more frustrating than a puzzle should be, even one of this size. That blue sky in particular was a real pain to get together properly.

Another issue I have is that the cardboard used for the puzzle is very thin, and you have to be extremely careful with the pieces or they will start to peel apart very easily.

One thing this puzzle really has going for it in spite of all this is the price. Just know that you get what you pay for, and you won't be disappointed.

This puzzle took me over 30 hours to complete.

Fairy Fencer F - PlayStation 3
Fairy Fencer F - PlayStation 3
Offered by WeSellGames
Price: $33.90
18 used & new from $29.50

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did not meet my low expectations..., October 10, 2014
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Know what you're getting into before you purchase this game because it's not going to please everyone. If I could sum up this game in one sentence, I would say: This game feels like a glorified, less-fruity, tweaked re-skin of Mugen Souls. If that sounds bad to you already, steer clear because you'll be wasting your time. If not, read on.

By glorified, I mean they put more time and energy into the presentation of the game, making it look a lot better than Mugen Souls. For the most part... There are a lot of good designs and concept art associated with this game, but that only does so much for the game itself. As far as graphical detail goes, it's pretty minimal, and for a game that came out so late in the PS3's life cycle, it's downright disappointing. Most of it looks like a late PS2 game remastered to 1080p.
Behind that, however, is hiding something much worse. I can see why they used Uematsu and Amano's names as part of the game's advertising. It's because there aren't any other standout merits this game has. Graphical detail is something I typically overlook, but with how little the game has to offer, I can't let it slide this time.

The game revolves around Fang, and his unwanted quest that's suddenly thrust upon him by pulling a divine blade called a "Fury" from the ground, which contains the stereotypical moe character of the game, and fairy, Eryn. She persuades the stereotypically lazy, good-for-nothing Fang to collect all 100* furies so they can revive the goddess who's been sealed away along with the vile god whom they do not want to be freed. They soon meet a stereotypically sophisticated yet slightly masochistic girl named Tiara and her adorable fluffy fairy Cui. Hilarity ensues, due to Fang, Eryn and Tiara's clash of personalities, and with the other characters they meet along the way. The story is pretty light-hearted and silly most of the time, but most events feel pretty contrived.

Now, if you have played Mugen Souls before, you'll definitely feel a bit of deja vu upon entering the first region, the Sol Plains. Each region has different zones that are very linear. There is a bare minimum of exploration in the game overall, and it's only for finding treasures that are mostly useless in the grand scheme of things.
There basically is no overworld; you just navigate a menu instead. This is pretty boring sure, but makes character management quick and easy. You can pull up your menu pretty much anywhere. The only other interesting thing about the "overworld" is how you can manipulate the stats of your characters and enemies via "world shaping", by placing your Furies into the earth close to an area on the world map.

Character customization is pretty well-done, but not very balanced. You can choose to focus your characters' parameters around magic or physical attacks, but magic is pretty pointless aside from the stat boosts and healing spells. With physical attacks, you can add combos and customize them to your liking, making your standard attack command much more powerful. The Furies you obtain throughout the game have fairies in them as well, which you can sync to your character for additional bonuses and level the fairies up, which unlocks higher stats and abilities, and makes "world shaping" easier.

The battle system is decent, despite being very similar to Mugen Souls. It's turn-based, and your characters and your enemies will move freely each turn and attack within their range, which is generally based on which default weapon they use. Furies can shape-shift though, allowing your sword-weilders to use axe attacks and so on, depending on the character (once you unlock them, that is). A feature called "Fairize" (your character transforming via the power of their fairies) is used once you've built up your characters' special gauge enough, giving you a boost to attack and defense. However, the gauge becomes easier to diminish in this state, which will lower your attack power, and cancel out Fairize if it gets too low.

So, that's all out of the way, so why did I give this game 3 stars?

First, the regions. This is probably the laziest level design I have ever seen, and the worst part of the game for me. Not only is every single level linear, they are tiny. Unless you don't skip any battles, expect each region to be over with before long unless you haven't grinded enough for the boss. You won't have to grind too much though if you play the sidequests along your journey, but this will often require you to complete a region, get the quests, then go back to the same region to complete them. This type of padding needs to stop.
Oh, but that's not all. About halfway through the game, you will be required to redo many regions due to a certain part in the story. Not only THAT, you will find yourself unlocking new regions with the EXACT SAME DESIGNS AS PREVIOUS LEVELS. In fact, there's two of each level design, except for one, which has three... Compile Heart, you should be ashamed of this.
Oh, but even then, I'm not even done. While exploring the regions, you will be playing at a frame-rate of about 20fps, and depending on how much is on-screen, probably lower. For a game with little graphical detail, this is inexcusable, even at 1080p. Battles have an inconsistent frame-rate as well.

Utilizing world shaping and the character customization properly will break the game's difficulty instead of just giving you an advantage. You will be able to rack up WP (weapon points) without much effort about halfway through the game, allowing you to unlock every skill and regular attack combo, making the rest of it a joke. By the time I got to the end, I was winning battles in the final dungeon before my enemies could even attack, and during the final boss, I didn't even have to heal my characters at all.

Halfway through the game, you will find yourself in a point-of-no-return where if you wanted to 100% complete the game, you have to make sure you do everything, and do it all in the right order. This is tedious and annoying because if you don't complete Guillermo's sidequests before that point, you can't go back and fetch many of the items required to complete them. Lola's sidequests are ALL missable, forcing you to enter and exit a new region once you unlock it because that's when they become available. If you try to wait until after you complete the region first, the quest will be gone permanently. Expect to grind for money too, because you have to pay a lot just to start these.

Many boss battles are interrupted due to a story event, such as how your characters are struggling to win. However, there is no clear trigger or point of this because every time it happened, I was winning by a long shot. The battle will often resume with the boss back at full HP, but your characters will be where they left off before. This was really annoying more than anything.

The characters aren't very interesting, and many of them exist only for fan-service. You know, the anime kind. The only characters relevant to the main plot in your party are Fang, his fairy Eryn, and Tiara with her fairy Cui. Yes, Cui, the animal-like fairy who can't even speak is more relevant to the plot than most party members who are essentially tag-alongs. I don't understand why RPG makers insist on having about 6 party members if most of them are pointless.

Cutscenes are also pretty poor. It's hard to tell what's happening when the game uses standard dialogue scenes when there's supposed to be some sort of action taking place. Even though I wasn't pleased with the graphics, more animated cutscenes would still have been better than looking at HD talking still images the entire time.

A lot of enemies and animations are obviously copied-and-pasted from other Compile Heart games. Once again, lazy.

The soundtrack is pretty dull. Yes, it's scored by Nobuo Uematsu and his band, the Earthbound Papas, but most songs were forgettable or annoying. This is not classic Uematsu, so don't expect it to be.

Overall, it's an OK game with lazy game design choices. I wish the game developers put more effort into the game itself instead of trying to market it with famous names as something better than it really is. In fact, if you haven't played Mugen Souls yet, I would actually recommend that instead if you can handle the cute, fruity, fanservice parody nonsense that it is, at least.
Fairy Fencer F would get 2.5 stars from me. It was disappointing, even for Compile Hearts' standards.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2015 6:16 AM PST

Rock Band 3 - Playstation 3 (Game)
Rock Band 3 - Playstation 3 (Game)
Offered by gamedynasty
Price: $88.95
79 used & new from $39.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do NOT buy this for the Playstation 3, September 3, 2014
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Rock Band 3 is a great game. The track list might be off-putting to some, but overall, the improvements to the series make it undoubtedly the best rhythm game ever made.
However, if you buy it for the Playstation 3, you will be wasting your money, for multiple reasons:

1. The game is WAY TOO EXPENSIVE RIGHT NOW. >$40 used is ridiculous, and don't even get me started on the "new" copy prices. This is probably because they stopped making copies of the game for the PS3 early, due to lower sales and DLC purchases compared to the Xbox360.
2. Because they stopped support for the PS3 version, many songs are available for download on Xbox Live, but NOT on Playstation Network. There are still a lot (and I mean a LOT) of songs available, but there are a lot more on Xbox Live.
3. The Rock Band store is glitchy and slow. It will kick you out if you preview too many songs due to a server error. This issue was never fixed, and probably never will be. Good luck trying to find new songs you might like by previewing clips of them.
4. PS3 Rock Band instruments are difficult to find at good prices. You will most likely pay more than $30 for a single, used guitar. $50 for a used Rock Band 1 drum kit means no pro drums for you. Rock Band 2 and newer drum kits that support pro drums are much, much higher, meaning you're pretty much better off getting a professional electric drum kit to use instead (which is compatible with Rock Band 3, by the way), but it will cost you well over $100.
5. The game has frame rate issues. If you're the type who likes to aim for 100% of the notes in a song, good luck. The game screen freezes for up to half a second every now and then, sometimes multiple times per song. While this happens, you will miss every note because it won't recognize any controller input while it's frozen.
6. The game will randomly crash, kicking you to the XMB menu. This has happened to me many times now, usually in the middle of a song.
7. I don't know if it's the same on Xbox360, but you HAVE to be connected online to Playstation Network, JUST FOR THE GAME TO SAVE YOUR SONG SCORES, EVEN WHILE PLAYING SINGLE PLAYER. Playstation Network went down for maintenance in the middle of a long, long playlist I had going, and it saved NONE of my scores.

If you still would rather buy this version of the game knowing all this, then I can't stop you. Otherwise, save your money and headaches by avoiding this version of Rock Band 3 at all costs. The Xbox360 is the best version of the game to go with. (Avoid the Wii version as well, because it has even less of a downloadable song catalog)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 12, 2015 3:35 PM PST

Drakengard 3 - PlayStation 3
Drakengard 3 - PlayStation 3
Price: $16.99
42 used & new from $16.82

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This game is so twisted..., May 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
...And I love it for that. After playing the first Drakengard, I eagerly awaited this one, because it looked so much more polished and, most importantly, fun. The first game was tedious, monotonous, and randomly difficult. This game fixes the first two, but not the last. Read on...

When you play the game, the story is split into chapters. Each chapter is split into verses, and each verse is split into parts, such as cutscenes and levels. This makes it easy to go back to any part you want, which is a standard in the series. In addition, you will unlock mini-quests as you progress through the story. More on these later.

The story is absolutely brilliant, and the best part of the game. Every character is well-written and weird. So weird. The main character, Zero, is best described as barbaric. She's completely uninhibited, rude, vulgar, powerful and loves to kill things. Her dragon partner, Michael is killed while protecting her at the beginning, and is resurrected as a baby dragon, Mikhail, who is the exact opposite as Zero: pacifistic, playful, cheery and not very bright. Zero is on a personal mission to kill her sisters. Her exact reasons aren't known to the player most of the game, so it would seem that she's a terrible person at first, which may be kind of off-putting to some people who may want to play this. However, despite the game's sick, serious and twisted nature at heart, it does not take itself seriously. At all. The game is absolutely hilarious because of the personalities of each character, especially the four disciples (Dito is my favorite). Each character will banter with each other throughout each level

Gameplay is a mixed bag, depending on what part you're doing. For the most part, D3 is tons of fun. Ground missions in story mode are no longer tedious, boring slaying of armies who barely move. Instead, enemies actually fight back, and if you're not quick enough, you will get slayed. Zero can use four different weapons, swords, spears, bracers and chakrams. Each has their own specific use: swords are all-around balanced, spears are for penetrating defensive enemies, bracers are for racking up combos, and chakrams are ranged. You will usually find yourself fighting small groups of enemies at a time, or one to three large boss enemies. The boss enemies are very well made. When you first meet one, it's pretty difficult, and you may need to retry several times, but once you figure out their movements and are used to the controls, you will be able to figure out ways of defeating them without taking a single hit. Ground fights are fast-paced and fighting is more complex than typical beat-em'-ups, but once you get used to the controls, they are incredibly satisfying. However, the game's camera is pretty bad, but not nearly as bad as Drakengard 1. There's an option to make the camera follow Zero from behind, but in all honesty, it doesn't work correctly at all. The levels themselves are pretty linear, with three treasures hidden throughout.
Missions with Mikhail are either on-rail shooting/flying levels, or ground/aerial battles. The flying levels are, with the exception of one boss, pretty easy and forgettable. If you've played Drakengard before, you know what to expect with these.
The ground/aerial battles are a lot more fun, but the controls are a bit funky. Mikhail jumps/flies with X, and he can shoot fireballs or dive bomb the enemy in the air. On the ground, he can shoot fireballs and unleash a sweeping flame breath, which is devastating against enemy soldier hordes. Most of these levels are pathetically easy once you get the hang of the controls, which is kind of a letdown since most of them are very key boss fights, but they are still satisfying because of how action-packed they are.
Then there's Accord's requests, and this is where the game is ridiculously and randomly difficult. You unlock these as you play through the story, and they involve collecting items from enemies or treasure chests they are guarding in a time limit. Collecting the items from enemies is pretty fun most of the time, and the later missions become extremely chaotic to the point where it's difficult to tell what's even happening on-screen. The treasure chest levels on the other hand are incredibly aggravating, because in most of them, you are forced to use a weapon of a certain type only. The chests require many hits to open, and some weapons, especially early-game spears and chakrams, are horribly slow. In order to beat these levels, near perfect timing and even good luck is a necessity (because enemies will knock you away otherwise), making them unreasonably difficult and frustrating. To make things worse, when you lose, you have to wait for the game to re-load the whole stage each time. You will also unlock survival mini-games, which are pretty self-explanatory and difficult, but in a way that's actually fair to the player. If you lose, it's usually your own fault here.

Like other Drakengard games, this one has multiple endings and secret levels to unlock. I won't spoil anything, but I felt like this was portrayed in a strange way, and some of it didn't make much sense to me.

The music and voice-acting are superb, and keep the experience engaging. The same group that composed for Nier also worked on this one, so you may know what you're getting into if you've heard that one. This game's music is more bombastic and energetic compared to Nier, making it unique.

The game does suffer from framerate issues. When lots of enemies are on screen, or a lot of explosions or magic bloom effects are going on, it will dip as low as 10-15 FPS, which is VERY low, and it may render some controls unresponsive for a brief period. The game's graphics are not nearly as detailed as other PS3 games either, which is pretty disappointing considering these issues. I've read that this can be fixed by setting your PS3 to 480p (low resolution mode), but it looks blurry on a HDTV. Using a 1:1 pixel-compatible screen allegedly makes it look better if you do this.

Music from Drakengard 1 and Nier are available as downloadable content, and you can switch to these themes for battles, which is a welcome add-on. There are also cosmetic upgrades for Zero and Mikhail that give small bonuses. Future DLC will come out later, unless you ordered the limited edition from Square-Enix, which includes all of it (I think).

Overall, this is a very fun and entertaining game with a few technical issues, which is a little disappointing this far into the PS3's life cycle. Despite that, they aren't bad enough to render the game unplayable, and if you enjoy chaotic gameplay, twisted humor and an engaging mythos, you will love this game like I did.

Insignia 75W DVD/CD/HD Radio Compact Shelf System with USB Port NS-HD2114
Insignia 75W DVD/CD/HD Radio Compact Shelf System with USB Port NS-HD2114

1.0 out of 5 stars Confusing and Progressively Broke Over Time, November 24, 2013
I'm glad to see that very few people have had the misfortune of buying this, although it's hard to tell since it was difficult to find on the Amazon website.
I remember purchasing this unit back in 2008, and I liked it back then. But I was young, and didn't really know what I was getting into. The one standout point of the unit was the sound quality from the speakers. Everything else? Read on...

The first thing I noticed not long after purchasing it was that the HD radio was very spotty or just simply didn't work. Big deal, I didn't really care so much for HD radio at the time; I just wanted to check it out. It was still new and didn't have much content. Still don't care for it today.
Trying to get this thing to do what I wanted it to do was a tedious process because the remote, which is absolutely necessary to do anything with this thing, has too many buttons. The "screen" on the front of the dock was also tiny and only could display about 10 digital characters at a time, so even after I figured out what I was trying to do with it, it was impossible to tell if it was correct.
Also, not long after I bought it, I noticed that some CD's simply would not work in the CD drive, but some would. Back then, it wasn't that big of a deal though- I would just put those CD's onto my MP3 player and listen to it that way.

Fast forward about 2 years. The system would randomly glitch and display random, sometimes unintelligible characters on the digital screen. The only way to return it to normal would be to unplug it and plug it back in. It didn't have any effect on playability, but soon enough, this glitch would stop anything from working, forcing me to unplug it every now and then.

Fast forward 2 more years. I want to start buying and collecting my own music. I bought some CD's, put them into the player, and it would tell me "NO DISC" every single time. So that's great, I can't listen to CD's at all now. So I had to settle with the good ol' MP3 player again, which just isn't quite the same as CD quality. Now that I'd started collecting music, I found myself using the system a little more frequently.

Fast forward 1 more year to early 2013. My laptop crashed, and my main source of music became this system hooked up to my MP3, so it got used even more frequently. That was pretty much all I used it for too, but somehow this managed to make things even worse. The speakers started making a buzzing sound whenever they were on that made it sound like I was listening to FM radio with a slightly poor signal. I could counteract this issue by turning the volume up on my MP3 player, but now I can no longer listen to quiet music, which I often do now. Then, the remote stopped working altogether a few months ago. I found out when I discovered a new local FM station I wanted to listen to, but even if I used the buttons on the front to switch to FM, it tweaked out and simply won't work for ANY station now, and even if it did, I would not be able to change the station. Now, it's just an oversized MP3/iPod dock.

In retrospect, this system is pathetic. We have a stereo system from the 80's that plays CD's, FM/AM radio, casettes, and even works with MP3 plugins if we have the right adapter. And it works PERFECTLY, while this Insignia system can't even last 5 years. Heck, it didn't even last 1 year before it started to have issues.

Avoid at all costs if it still exists on the market, though I doubt it (and I doubt anyone will ever find this review).

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon - Nintendo Wii
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon - Nintendo Wii
Price: $19.99
27 used & new from $19.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Unique, Heartfelt Journey, September 20, 2013
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fragile Dreams is a very, very unique and creative game. That is, if you look at it without paying attention to the gameplay or any of the technical stuff. It's one of those games you keep playing and playing and playing just to find out what's going to happen next.

The story revolves around Seto, a lonely boy who embarks on a journey after an old man, the only other human he has ever known, dies. The world he ventures into is a post-apocalyptic Japan riddled with old spirits of a civilization lost around 15 years ago. Seto is alone for the entire game, technically, for he meets various other characters, only one of which is human. The rest are spirits, robots and even a talking electronic device. Spirits of the dead haunt every corner and appear to Seto through bitter envy of him still living, and try to take his life away. Seto's goal is to find the silver-haired girl, who is the first person he meets other than the old man. Throughout the game, you are joining him on his journey, a journey that becomes much more complicated than just that.

All of this is the game's strongest point: its presentation. This is a story that will grip you by the heart and force you to see it through to the end. And trust me, it's worth every second. Xseed released a lot of very impressive games this generation, and this is no exception. Throughout the game, you will find many objects that people have left behind before they all died. These objects contain memories which Seto can listen to whenever he brings them back to a save point (more on this later). These memories give the world its depth. Much of them contain heartwarming memories of people when they were alive. Some are funny. Others are sad. Many emotions surround every corner of this game and you will feel it. You will also learn about plot-relevant past events via these memories, so finding these items is critical in order to fully enjoy the game.

The graphics and detail are also very well-done, especially for the Wii. It's no Xenoblade, but this game focuses more on intimate locations: inside old buildings, an amusement park, hallways, etc. You may find yourself looking around every room before moving on just to take in all of the details. Things people have left behind, nature's toll on structures over time. It feels very real, like you're part of the game. Cutscenes are executed very well too. The game's soundtrack is phenomenal. Every piece of music in the game is beautiful, and sets the tone of your situation perfectly. Even if you think this this game is not for you, the music is worth listening to on its own.

There are two main gripes I had with the game: its bare-bones gameplay, and Seto's voice. Yes, the second sounds like a ridiculous complaint, but once you start playing, it will probably grate on you after a while like it did to me. His voice is very nasally and whiny, and he never shuts up. It could have been done a little better. Most of the other voices I thought were fine. Some were actually quite good.

The gameplay was created in the spirit of survival horror games like the older Resident Evil games. Yes, Fragile Dreams can be pretty chilling at times, but it's usually due to the memories and setting rather than what's happening around you. I always felt like something really bad was going to happen to Seto or the girl or the few friends he meets, but only because of the plot. On the other hand, some of the enemies look and act rather silly. Enemies are also not very threatening either, for the game is quite easy overall. However, when first playing, combat is a bit of a struggle because Seto has very few attacks. At first, I had trouble just getting him to hit things, most notably the flying birds, but once I got the hang of it, it got boring. It's as simple as "press A to attack and win" for most enemies you find. No combat strategy is involved at all. You can even run from just about any enemy because none of them can catch up to you. So, that makes the whole "survival horror spirit" pretty moot. Plus, most bosses are either easy or just annoying.

Also, similar to Resident Evil, you have an inventory based on a grid which can only hold so many things at a time until you get to a save point. This is mostly just tedious. Nothing else. Items are everywhere, and you may find yourself going back and forth, to and from save points repeatedly. To make it worse, your weapons will break RANDOMLY, meaning it's best to keep more than one on-hand, which reduces your inventory space even further.

To top it off, the game is pretty short, with not much replay value. If you get really involved in the story like I did, it will last you around 15 hours or so, collecting and searching out every item possible. Otherwise, the game could be beaten in about 5 hours if one wanted to.

If you can get Fragile Dreams for cheap, then I highly recommend it to any fans of RPG's or even anyone wanting to see what survival horror genre is like... sort of. This is something very different and very enjoyable for anyone who likes a sense of meaning and depth behind the stories they like to immerse themselves in. The game will make you laugh, cry, smile, give you the warm fuzzies, or just make you irritated trying to replace your broken weapons after hitting a jellyfish-like ghost that doesn't even fight back.

...How do weapons break after hitting nothing but ghosts anyway?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition - Playstation 3
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition - Playstation 3
Price: Click here to see our price
87 used & new from $11.90

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let's play the lag and loading screen game!, September 20, 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Sounds fun doesn't it?
I bought this game reluctantly, hoping that after the game had been out for quite some time, that all of the problems the original PS3 version had been fixed. Nope. Well, it seems like my experience was a little better than others' back then, but at the same time, I felt like I was only playing the game for half the time I was on it.

The loading times in this game are very patience-testing, and I'm a pretty patient person. They were tolerable the first ten hours of gameplay or so. After that, I started to experience frame rate drops every now and then. After about 30 hours in, it started to freeze.

You see, I could tolerate the loading times if that was the only problem. However, the game takes a very long time just to start up. To go from PS3 menu to playing the game takes more than a minute. That's too long to begin with. When my game starts to lag, it requires at least a soft reset just to get it working properly again. That means I have to wait for the entire startup process again. Or, if it freezes entirely, then I'm forced to hard reset, which makes me wait for startup again, AND this could potentially damage my system. This problem existed in the original PS3 edition and still exists with this updated one. Be aware of this before you buy.

So, the main question is this: despite all of that, is it worth buying for the PS3 at all? Well, if that is your only option, then yes. However, it is certainly NOT worth the $60 price tag. Get it cheap, wait it out. It will be worth it then.

With that out of the way, how does the game itself fare? Excellently. On the PS3, many other glitches seem to have been fixed. I have not encountered any backwards-flying dragons or anything similar that other people reported in the past.

This game is HUGE. Not only that, it is a major improvement over Oblivion, a game that was also fun, but extremely unbalanced. This is not so in Skyrim. Skills and leveling up are more streamlined, which many people have criticized the game over, but they work rather well. No longer do you have to worry about grinding your skills to max out your level-ups like you had to in Morrowind and Oblivion. Granted, if you choose to level up via non-combat skills, be prepared for a tough ride when doing quests. The game, while set to the default moderate difficulty setting, is pretty fair and balanced. It's not too easy or too difficult, and I recommend playing on this setting if you are just starting for the first time. You will die more than once for sure, but the game's autosave feature prevents you from losing too much time.

The game's presentation is great overall. The graphics are fantastic, and make you feel you are a part of the world. The music is also great, although there are not enough tracks to fill the time you will spend playing this game. Oblivion and Morrowind were the same: many of the songs you hear, you will hear MANY times. Voice acting is vastly improved over Oblivion, and for the most part, is believable and even engaging sometimes. Quests are more interesting this time around too, since they are all unique and have their own plots, characters, etc. Guild quests in particular are very engaging, especially the Thieves' Guild, due to their questlines having progressive stories to tell. Secrets, mysteries, lore, it's all over the place for you to enjoy.

There is one caveat regarding the gameplay though: the menu interface. Like Oblivion, very little is displayed in each section and a massive amount of scrolling is necessary to find certain items, or just to figure out what effects are being applied to your character. To add to this, all text in the game is very, very tiny and difficult to read if you have poor eyesight or are using an old TV. I played through the game on an old TV, and much of the text that appears in the upper-left corner is cut off, but it doesn't matter because the text is too small and blurry to read anyway. Unlike Oblivion, the map is a 3D rough render of the entire country of Skyrim, which is unnecessary- it lags, and it's less engaging than looking at a map anyway. Local maps are boring, and some (multi-layered caves in particular) are difficult to decipher because they use only two colors- black and white- making them look like a jagged mess of scribbles. I preferred Oblivion's maps over Skyrim's (and even Morrowind's) because they were more engaging and less laggy, though they weren't perfect either. The skills interface is pretty to look at, but it also lagged for me, especially after I had racked up many hours of play time (but to be fair, everything was laggy then).

In conclusion, the game itself would get 5 stars (despite the interface) if not for all the issues I faced while playing it. It has, and probably will forever have, too many technical problems on the PS3. The XBOX360 version fares much better than this one. I have not tried the PC version, but if you have a good PC, get that because you can add unofficial patches to the game if you have problems, as well as fun mods to enhance your playing experience.
Comment Comments (20) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2014 11:56 PM PDT

Arc Rise Fantasia - Nintendo Wii
Arc Rise Fantasia - Nintendo Wii
Offered by Legendary Games
Price: $89.00
27 used & new from $40.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too typical., September 20, 2013
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I played this game several months ago and it kept me interested enough to see it through to the end. However, since then, I have played other games that were very similar which had kept me interested more, yet they were older. Many years older. I'm referring to the "Tales of" series, which seems to be a very huge inspiration for this game, Arc Rise Fantasia. Battle system aside, they are so similar, one who didn't know better would think they are part of the same series.

First off though, let's talk about the plot, the story and characters. The characters are very weak in this game, probably the game's weakest point. The only exceptions are Ryfia, whose naiveté about the world around her is consistently entertaining, and Cecille, a little girl who fashions herself a super hero (although many would find her annoying most likely). Everyone else is pretty lame. In particular, L'arc, the main character, is a typical, flat, short-tempered, brash RPG hero, except that he is ever-so-slightly more cold-blooded than other typical heroes such as Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia. I'm tired of heroes like this. They are impossible to relate to 99% of the time. The rest of the party members are just plain flat.
The story is just okay. Very typical RPG fare with one twist that kept it interesting: L'arc and his best friend Alf (lol) are destined to compete against each other in an attempt to change the world in different ways. That one plot point alone kept me playing the game all the way through because all of the game's best moments involve L'arc and Alf. The other best parts involve Prince Weiss, a plot character who is unfortunately more rounded than most, if not all, of the party characters.
The world is only somewhat interesting to explore. Most of the dungeons are linear with little to no puzzle solving. The story brings you from place to place, often back to places you've already been at one point before, and makes the game feel pretty linear too, even though you do travel the world freely after a certain time. The lore of the world is a stronger point of the game though. It's another thing that kept me interested.

The gameplay is pretty typical for an RPG. Travel the overworld, fight random enemies that pop up around you (there are no random battles, thankfully), find a dungeon, enter cities, shop for better equipment, rest at inns, advance the plot, rinse and repeat. The story will take you back to old locations very frequently, and it will get tiresome. There are only a few sidequests and one post-game dungeon, but most of that is typical grinding and fetch quest RPG fare as well.
The battle system, on the other hand, is pretty well-done for the most part. It's turn-based, but your characters' positions in battle can have a HUGE impact on the battle's outcome. And it's not grid-based either. You can move any of your three characters around wherever you so please, but doing so will reduce the amount of time points you have and delay any other actions you wish to perform with said character. Any other action uses points as well, and the amount you have depends on which characters you use. The three characters' points add together into a larger pool that can be used by ANY of the three characters in battle. So, if you wanted to use them all to make L'arc attack the entire turn, or have Ryfia heal/spellcast the entire turn, you may. It's quite intuitive.
There are some nuances in battle. Sometimes, a character will spend a LOT of time walking around enemies, sometimes getting stuck for a bit, only to be assaulted before they have a chance to defend like you planned them to do. It's irritating, but only happens on some battles, but you will need to learn how to avoid it. Leveling up is a little on the slow side, so you may find yourself grinding more than you want, or grinding to improve your weapons. It's certainly not an easy game, but not too difficult either. In fact, I'd say the difficulty level and learning curve are pretty balanced. You will find yourself using items a lot in battle, though. Keep this in mind to save some frustration.

Speaking of items, the weapons system is pretty interesting, even though it mostly adds to the amount of grinding you do. You can customize weapons based on the gems they have, which give weapons unique powers. Once you get enough WP, which is earned in battle similarly to regular EXP, you can unlock the weapon's effect gem so you can move it to any other weapon you want. When all WP are earned for a weapon, you can fill the remaining slots until they are fully covered to unlock each weapon's hidden power. So, if you want to unlock all of these, expect to battle. A lot. It's an interesting system that could have been executed a little better, such as reducing the insane amount of battles you'll need just to unlock one piece.

The overall presentation is pretty... meh. There are very few animated cutscenes. Most scenes involve static images of the characters with a dialogue box underneath. Most of them are fully voiced, but the voice acting is just plain bad. Some of the characters' interjections are executed so poorly, I couldn't help but laugh. Not to mention Rastan's voice sounds like a poor Batman imitation. Listening to him talk made me cringe on occasion.
The graphics are somewhat better than either of the PS2's "Tales of" games; nothing impressive here. There aren't really any unique-looking environments to make up for that either, except for one of the last dungeons.
The music is also mostly forgettable, except for one song, which is annoying and still invades my mind to this day (I haven't played the game in over half a year). Nothing in this game really stands out to me.

In conclusion, not much separates this game from the crowd of RPG's available today. If you enjoy JRPG's in general, you will probably enjoy this game because it offers plenty of well-done parts among the typical fare you are already used to. However... don't set your expectations too high, or you will be disappointed. Enjoy it for what it is: a decent game with plenty of hours of play-time.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2014 8:53 AM PDT

The Immunity Zone
The Immunity Zone
Price: $11.12
10 used & new from $7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but they can do better, November 15, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Immunity Zone (Audio CD)
This album hooked me in the beginning, but I lost interest after a while. The main reason for this is most likely the fact that tracks 2 to 7 are too similar, being riff-heavy and in a similar tempo.They are ultimately forgettable, and the album becomes a bit of a drag to listen to from start to finish. However, for me, there were very relatable lyrics in a lot of songs. "Veil of Illumination" is the most interesting song to listen to, and it sounds like that is the one the band put the most effort into. The keyboard solos are extensive and amazing.

I think it was worth the purchase though, and it will be for you if you enjoy their music or others like them.

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