Friday, April 18, 2008

On Lost Odyssey and Fan Fiction

Even having killed 60 hours of life following the story of this guy, it's all good. He's pretty badass, anyway.

To be completely frank, the concept of a role-playing game actually instills fear within me. Why? It’s not because I don’t think they’re fun - I really do get a nice kick from RPGs. The fact of the matter is that my curious mind gets so drawn into RPGs that it causes me to break my midcore gamer status and go all-out to complete them.

I swear, once I inserted Disk 1 for Lost Odyssey in my ‘360 some Friday several of weeks ago, I was unable to turn it off for a straight 24-hour span.

That was the first RPG to that to me for quite a long time.

Some of the more critical gamers and magazines out there have frowned on the more classic-style of combat mechanics Lost Odyssey utilized, but I really have no problem with it. Actually, I’ve always liked the classic RPG combat style. It certainly sets it apart from the loosely similar real-time strategy genre that way. The more modern (e.g. Final Fantasy XII) combat system seems to lean more towards the RTS side of gaming. I could just be overanalyzing it, though. After all, it’s been a while since I’ve played Final Fantasy XII.

One of the most notable RPG games with a classic combat system I can recall upon from way back when is Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest. I will not disclose the details of how I so inquisitively stumbled upon it, but it was pretty much a mildly enjoyable game that managed to draw my simpler, younger self in. People today may look at it as too plain, but looking back on it - I think it actually made me feel less intimidated by the scale of RPG games to the extent of having me play them more actively.

It may not look like much from today's standards, but I did
actually enjoy Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest quite thoroughly.

Now, having just completed Lost Odyssey, I’m pretty impressed with how it has been. The game managed to keep my interest until the very end, and I wasn’t disappointed for the most part. Although the ending could be considered a one-dimensional “everyone lives happily ever after,” everything else leading up to it progressed on a very wide scale between epic and mildly remarkable. Sure, for the snobs out there, “mildly remarkable” isn’t enough, but I beg to differ. I think getting a little too much of “epic” would simply demean just how much “epic” is worth.

I don’t ask for much as a midcore gamer, as you can see. I like to enjoy them as they are, for what they are, and as much as I can. I may not be revisiting Lost Odyssey anytime soon, but I managed to take a lot out of it.

Not only that, but A Thousand Years of Dreams included with the game evoked a lot of emotions. Since they hired an actual writer to compose it, the memories within the piece ranged from grippingly depressing to bittersweet. I definitely liked their approach in giving Kaim a backstory, as a lot of these moments covering his thousand years of life would've really been tough to include in the game itself without being awkward. I think the coincidental triggering of these dreams throughout his travels was the best way to reveal these locked memories.

The antagonist in this, Gongora, isn’t much of a character so as to say, so I probably won’t delve on him. Really, Gongora could simply be considered your generic villain. They do attempt at giving him a “past,” but the revelation of his previous observations of magic and emotions in the mortal realm are somewhat lackluster. Let me make it clear that I don’t expect everything I cover to have an ideal anti-hero, anyway, so I wasn’t too disappointed. It actually just made it very much easier to say goodbye to him, in the end.

Setting that aside, Lost Odyssey really was a good change of pace, and I am glad that I picked it up.

In fact, the game actually made me feel like writing some fan fiction for it, which moves me to my next train of thought. Whenever I’m not busy IRL and whenever I have completed or overplayed some game, I usually end up writing fan fiction. Just today, having been reminded of the Gears of War universe reading about how Gears of War II may turn out, I actually ended up writing a little something using its back story. If you like reading fan fiction, you can check mine out, here!

By the way, if you’re interested on what I might cover next in terms of gaming, I’ll probably be picking up the Halo 3 Legendary Pack very soon, so look out for my thoughts on that!

Look forward to my little "review" of the
Legendary Map Pack for my next gaming blurb!

Friday, April 11, 2008

And today's forecast...

calls for mostly cloudy skies and a 100% chance of nuclear winter...

Not exactly, but welcome to the realm of the Avant-Garde Anti-Hero, headed by a self-proclaimed "individualist" with no goals for the future! As this place has what is possibly one of the most eccentric names a blog could use, one may wonder: what's the purpose for this place?

Well, here's your answer:

Absolutely none!

The "individualist" behind this little blog just felt like exercising his freedoms. Hopefully, this one won't be a waste.

I guess you could call me a Jack of all trades, master of none. Of course, even though I would very much prefer the distinction of "Renaissance Man", it would only make me sound conceited, which is a course that is definitely not wise for any blogger writing his first blurb.

Now that you've wasted your time reading through all of this, I should get straight to the point. Even though there will be no solid course as to what this blog covers, the nonconforming Jack of all trades I claim to be boasts several of interests that I'd probably find something to discuss about:
  • Gaming
I am trapped somewhere between being a midcore and hardcore gamer. Whenever I'm not failing at life, I'm usually playing some game for my '360 or on the computer. Now, the game in question could be anything - from Assassin's Creed to Lost Odyssey to Halo 3 to Call of Duty 4. I play almost literally any game that catches my attention. As a matter of fact, I am more than likely to pick up my reservation of Grand Theft Auto IV in the coming weeks and reserve Gears of War 2. Believe it or not, I'm also pretty fond of a range of strategy games. From the Total War series to Command and Conquer, there's usually some point of time when I get drawn into an RTS. Oh yeah - and you can catch me on Xbox Live, if you haven't noticed my gamercard to the right yet.

  • Anime
DISCLAIMER: I am the farthest thing from a weeaboo, a narufag, or whatever lesser lifeforms you can think of. At the same time, I'm probably not an otaku. I have a very particular taste for anime. As I've named this place Avant-Garde Anti-Hero, you can expect me to mainly cover anime where the protagonist is an anti-hero. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

  • Photoshop
Photoshop is God. Well, at least, second to her:
(Ironically the above image is not a 'shop. Well, she is God...)

  • Computers
What dorky blogger isn't nowadays? Just give me an NVIDIA GeForce® 9800 GX2 and maybe even a second flat panel display, and I'll be all set. Having my computer and '360 connected to the same HDTV is pretty nice, but being able to use a second monitor for my computer would be perfect.

  • World domination
Well, I did call my blog the Avant-Garde Anti-Hero, so the above was bound to be placed there.
(Lelouch Lamperouge - badass anti-hero protagonist of the anime
Code Geass)
Also, to all aspiring American anti-heroes that seem to have some taste in anime, I strongly suggest for you to look out for Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion on Adult Swim April 26th. Of course, for those of you who are more impatient and prefer Japanese voice-acting with English subtitles anyway: there are always alternative methods.

If you're the kind of guy who would root for Death Note's Light, then definitely look out for Code Geass or else:
Well, that's about it. If I started stuffing this little first blurb any more, it probably would be the last thing from "aesthetically pleasing," and we all know how important that is.