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Everything posted by Julius

  1. Hoursemarque's next game is quite the unexpected departure.
  2. Football Season 2022/23

    It's looking more and more like United might actually sign Casemiro; I think there were some rumours a few weeks ago going around that he was going to get a pay bump from Real, but United are reportedly ready to double his salary. Considering he's won all there is to win at Real, I honestly can't blame him. Worst case, they continue losing, but he experiences a new league and culture; best case, they actually turn things around, though I think plenty more is needed than this I think it could help sort out their spine more than any of the other recent signings they've made. Even more than the Ronaldo signing last year, this one seems like it could be scary just considering it should break up the hilarious duo of McFred, and especially seeing as United have needed a proper DM for 5+ years. Pretty funny that they make a move like this after Pogba leaves when one of the things he needed most was a DM to let him roam more freely at United. It'd also be a great chance for Fred and Casemiro to warm up their partnership ahead of the World Cup in November. The scarier part to me is that they were being linked so heavily with Rabiot before this and now they seem to seriously be trying to get one of the best defensive mids of the last decade (and he's only 30!).
  3. Elden Ring (25th February 2022)

    The GOTY-elect still killing it: 16.6 million units shipped as of the end of June.
  4. So yeah, I guess it's official now.
  5. God of War Collection

    Yeah I wouldn't say the control scheme bothered me, so much as it was a point of curiosity as, at least from the PS2 games I've played, it felt like most of the curiosities with controls were hashed out in those earlier years in the generation. This game's controls just felt positionally older than the game is? I think right stick to dodge was just odd because of the camera angle compared to a lot of other games I feel use it, which I think normally have a higher positioned camera (it's definitely a little odd to be using it when the camera swings down to be behind or around Kratos), and jamming R2 for QTEs was odd I think just because of the range of the thing on the DualShock 3 compared to the DualShock 2? I think I was over it in the sense that I could play the game by my second session without really needing to think about it, but those two things stood out – there are definitely some other games with odd control schemes from that generation which have taken some time to adjust to, I think it's just God of War's age relative to them which made it really stick out to me and make it feel older than it is. Never a big issue but more of a "huh, right stick to dodge? Jam R2 to open a chest? That's certainly a choice." The camera bothered me though, I hope and expect that gets better in God of War II. I wasn't too surprised by that to be fair, there's definitely a scale of camera quality and control which fluctuates a fair bit in that generation (probably a hangover from PS1 titles in the case of many sequels), and in all fairness God of War does some really cool cinematic stuff with its camera in cutscenes to compensate for that a little bit. It's pretty crazy to contrast cameras in 3D games and realise that some of the earliest big examples, like Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, hold up much better in my opinion than in games that followed them; think that just retroactively justifies Nintendo's approach to game feel helping some of their games age more gracefully. Speaking of today's standardised controls in games (and just trends of nuances which carry over a lot in general), I do wonder if/when things change up, how some of today's games are going to feel in the future for people who will be coming back and playing them for the first time. I can already imagine the over-the-shoulder third-person camera in games like God of War and The Last of Us being considered as making the game feel sluggish or slow, or the patched in lock-on for Ghost of Tsushima is Up on the D-pad and that's definitely an oddity for a game like that I feel. Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day thinking of more examples
  6. Playstation 5 Console Discussion

    GamesIndustry.biz have just released an interview with Nicolas Doucet, Studio and Creative Director at Team Asobi (Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, Astro's Playroom), that's well worth a read: Some takeaways: Studio is currently at 60 employees, up from 35 when they were part of Japan Studio. Fully expect to grow beyond 100 employees. Their next title will be a full-blown commercial title, and their biggest to date. Some of what Doucet has to say about their design ethos - their five pillars of Magic, Innovation, Playful, Universal and Quality; their desire to keep finding new ways to play resulting from new tech; and a focus on game feel being what's at the core of the idea of being a Japanese title - really sounds very Nintendo-like. I love it. Astro's Playroom was absolutely a culmination of that and was so much better for it. Most employees are still working from home, but they all get together every two weeks in the office to get together in order to pass around the controller and go hands-on with what everyone has been working on. This has amusingly meant there being more office space devoted to gaming than, well, being an office! Can't wait to see what they've got in store for us next
  7. The Disney & Marvel Games Showcase was announced yesterday, and is scheduled for 21:00 BST/13:00 PT on Friday 9th September during Disney's D23 Expo.
  8. MAXIMUM POWERRRRRR! Wave Race 64 arrives next on the service this Friday (19th August):
  9. Splatoon 3

    A free demo is going to be available on Saturday 27th August ahead of the game's full release next month; a tutorial and some other features will be available from the 25th in order to get ready.
  10. God of War: Ragnarök (9th November 2022)

    PlayStation have released an animated video recapping 2018's God of War journey as the build-up to release continues: A bit under three months to go...
  11. Football Season 2022/23

    Tuchel to Conte:
  12. Football Season 2022/23

    Yeah, I'd happily take the draw going into this, any point from Conte is a point I'll gladly take shame Romero is a grade-A twonk leading up to that second though, but I gave up on these refs a long time ago Loved seeing the heat between Conte and Tuchel, just the cherry on top! Mou vs Wenger vibes, post-match interviews should be fun...
  13. Football Season 2022/23

    Defenders FC returns, what a volley that was by Koulibaly. Just in time too considering Lukaku and Timo got on the score sheet yesterday... Yeah, I'd be surprised if the score stays as it is now, that's for sure, I think Spurs are a seriously scary proposition for this season (I'd say this about any team Conte takes on and is actually supported to have success with), but fingers crossed we score another and can nip it in the bud. We haven't really had a game plan to commit to all summer - hell, I have no idea what our target for this season is meant to be, and I don't think Tuchel does yet either other than to qualify for the UCL again - meanwhile Spurs got their business finished before most clubs even started talking about their summer plans and Conte is a deadly serious coach when it comes to training, they're going to run laps - in a very literal sense - around most teams this season. Hopefully that works in our favour come the World Cup in November
  14. God of War Collection

    I mean, I did say there was good stuff! I guess to clarify what I mean: when a track stands out to me in a game I'll normally go out of my way to look it up. The only track I looked during my playthrough was Deliverance from God of War (2018), and that was just to compare it with the Hades track. It has good tracks, just nothing which made me pull out my phone and look them up. I think that's where my bar is these days for standout tracks, hopefully II makes me pull out my phone and go music hunting I'm not planning to right now, just because if I did I'd probably end up committing to going for the Platinum, and I'm trying to wean myself off the Plat/completionist mentality at the moment and just enjoy games a bit more and play more. Obviously not to say that they're mutually exclusive, but my desire to do that comes and goes I guess, and I definitely found myself feeling a bit exhausted by it after getting the Platinum for TLOU last month. I think I've got more Platinums than I ever have before by this point in the year, not counting upgrades I think I'm at 5? 3 of which were 100+ hour endeavours, and while I'm sure there'll be a couple more I might Plat before the year is up I definitely need a rest from it where I feel I can get it. So basically: not for now, but if/when I ever come back to Plat this game, I'll be checking it out for sure!
  15. God of War Collection

    Well, that's a wrap on God of War. God of War? More like God of QTEs or God of Puzzles, amirite? (Yeah I'm right but it was still good fun ) I put a fair chunk of time into it yesterday (not sure what else you're really meant to do in this heat!), and probably could have beaten it last night...but it was late once I got to the final stretch of Hades, so I finished it off this morning. I had a lot of fun to with this game, from it's fluid combat, to learning fun combos (yeah, Square, Square, Triangle is reliable, but it's not the most fun and stylish way to go about playing), and using new weapons and powers as you get deeper into the game; I really enjoyed using Poseidon's Rage early on, but once I got my hands on Army of Hades, that quickly became my default magic of choice when I felt I needed to use something reliable (I ended up maxing it out, alongside the Blades of Chaos). I also really enjoyed swinging around the much bulkier and harder-hitting Blade of Artemis, to the point that the Blades of Chaos definitely took a backseat in the second half of the game or so. The music was good - nothing stood out too much, other than a part of the Hades music sounding like it was halfway to Baldur's Theme, which was almost certainly a coincidence but a weirdly nice thing to spot - and well, while the story wasn't a strong point, it was functional, but what I really enjoyed about it was the presentation you'd get with the flashbacks having something unique or interesting going on. I've said it before, but I also liked the scale of the game, it felt big, but never too big. Also, while I'm sure this is more down to sharing influences from something like The Legend of Zelda, I definitely got Dark Souls and ICO vibes from the game at times, whether it be it's interconnectedness (a few times I audibly went "oh, okay, we're doing this?" Escaping Hades and Amphitrite's Chamber were probably the best examples of this), it's atmosphere, and especially in its creature design (the Minotaur boss reminded me a whole lot of the Capra Demon) and some of its architecture (Mount Olympus and Athens definitely went to the same school as Anor Londo's design philosophy) when compared with Dark Souls. I loved that Minotaur boss fight, I think it's pretty easily the best one in the game from both a design and gameplay perspective, took me a couple of attempts! I definitely came away genuinely understanding why no-one ever got to Pandora's Box between the puzzles, bosses, and the traps also, that reminds me, before I forget: this game has a load of great and fun puzzles, and many of them felt unique! I think there's a really fine line to ride with puzzles in games like this where you need to balance a player knowing what the game is asking of them, and then knowing how to execute said ask (which becomes more complex the more tools are at their disposal), which is a really hard balance to strike I find, so kudos to the folks at Santa Monica back in the day who worked on some of these puzzles. I mean, just as a quick point of comparison: I mentioned Zelda before and actually played Ocarina of Time earlier this year, and while I'll probably get around to talking about it in a bit more depth at some point, my problem with some of the puzzles in that game is not that they were difficult, but that I found myself with so many tools at my disposal that I found myself overthinking the puzzle a lot of the time, only to then realise more often than not that the simplest solution was what the game was asking me execute. Hell, sometimes I didn't even know what the game was asking me to do. For me, I think that's one of the tougher parts of that game to understand going back to it for the first time today: whereas Breath of the Wild gives you a bunch of tools and you're free to experiment and probably find a few ways to complete a puzzle, Ocarina of Time has a few too many tools for the number of solutions it's ready for (which is normally just the one). Anyways, that was a slight detour, so back to God of War: as for the not-so-good, I'll double down on the camera being pretty woeful at times, especially any time you find yourself platforming towards the camera (which is both a camera and design failing I guess). Some parts of Hades were a nightmare because of this, not in the sense of it being hard or even that frustrating, but it just slowed the game down unnecessarily. Talking of slowing the game down unnecessarily, I don't get why some 70% of enemies have i) nearly as much health as they do and ii) respawn, I get that the game is a hack-and-slash, but it really just makes the game a bit long in the tooth at times. There are definitely exceptions to this where it's asking for more than just going on a killing spree (I really liked the Cerberus fight at the start of the Challenge of Poseidon, needing to learn to manage the pups so that they don't Digivolve into full-on beasts), but most of the time it just wants you to kind of aimlessly kill, which just becomes a bit boring - despite a fun combat system! - when some standard weaker enemies take a while to defeat and can then respawn(/are replaced?). As a minor and unrelated nitpick, there were a couple of times where the sound mixing was way off and the music made the in-game sounds or dialogue virtually inaudible despite being fine the rest of the time, and the worst case of this for me was down in the Floor of Spears™ puzzle room where the sound of the spears winding up to destroy your feet is supposed to give you an idea of how long you've got left before they, well, do that and kill you. Lastly: I thought the final boss fight section was pretty weird, and, for me, a big step down from the highs of the Minotaur, especially given that the entire game has been building up to this confrontation. The first phase with Ares was so laughable I had to check if I'd put the difficulty down by accident, because just summoning the Army of Hades and using a spin attack had him down in the space of about 10-15 seconds. The second phase taking on your past was fine, but the third phase of the fight - and the second phase of actually fighting Ares - was just weird in that you're stripped of your weapons, all of the abilities you've earned, and instead you're slowly swinging around this heavy sword. The camera is different for this fight than all of the other fights you've been in throughout the game pretty much, and the game becomes a 3D arena fighter with health bars? Maybe it's just me but I hate when games do things like this, trying to go for some epic sense of scale to serve the story, but at the cost of sacrificing the game in the way you've been playing for 8 hours up until this point! Just...I'm sure there are those who are fans of this, but doesn't get a pass from me This game was good dumb fun, with some great puzzles, boss fights, and combat, aged now a good bit by its camera and things like enemies having too much health/respawning which just stretched some standard encounters out a bit too long for my liking. I enjoyed it, but hopefully I'll see how its sequel improved at some time in the next few weeks
  16. God of War Collection

    First post in this thread in a bit over 12 years? Well, guess this calls for a slam more than it does a bump! I've outlined this elsewhere, but one of my gaming goals for the year is to play through all of the God of War series (well, the stuff that matters, so no, not the text-based Facebook Messenger game which was apparently a thing) in preparation for Ragnarök's arrival in November. With us getting the solid release date for that game early last month and me picking up everything I needed to play through the series last month, earlier today I booted up the first God of War. I played 15 minutes or so of this a few months ago testing out how PlayStation Now was on PS5 (which was fine, but I'd rather just play the game from the console or disc rather than stream it), which definitely set my expectations somewhat for the game, and today I've put in a few hours, and have just arrived at the Temple of the Oracle in Athens. As always, before jumping in: I'll probably have more middling and negative stuff to list off in this first post. I almost always do. It's very hard to not notice these things playing through some games for the first time! Let's start with the positives: this game feels fantastic. I love how fluid the combat is (even if, a lot of the time, I think it boils down to ye olde classic Square, Square, Triangle – at least it has so far), I'm a big fan of the variety of animations Kratos uses in combat, and I'm really enjoying stringing together long combos (I've not really played too many character action or combo-based games like this for a long time, maybe since I had a PS2? So it's definitely hitting that nostalgia spot for me). I have no real idea what's going on story wise, but hey, that's fine by me, because I'm just here to have fun and see what still holds up about this game. I wasn't expecting a skills-based "magic" system in this game, so I've had a lot of fun using those in general combat as I've picked them up, especially on the few occasions where it's been called for in puzzles so far. I also just really like the architecture and design ethos of the game, there have been a few times already where I feel like I've had a few options on which way to go, but I'm not really going out of my way to do and see as much as I can in this game (trying to take a break from that mindset...for now), and I think every single time I've come to some fork in the road, my gut instinct - clearly informed by some subtle design decisions - has pointed me in the right direction without fail. I also really enjoyed the first boss fight (even if it did take me a moment to clock onto what it wanted me to do because I don't think the framing of the battle does a great job of really setting you odd in the right direction), though similar to most enemies in the game so far, it definitely felt like more of a sponge than it needed to be. Now, there are some negatives, but I don't think they're necessarily bad things about the game itself, but just ways it's showing its age. Like it's camera. Man, I hate some cameras in games, especially fixed perspective cameras like the ones you got in MGS2, but at least those were consistent; this game jumps pretty freely from behind-the-back to fixed angle to another fixed angle to swinging around to another fixed angle to a wide shot and...man, it's super disorienting, not in the sense that I'm getting lost, but in the sense that it's making me physically feel uneasy at times (in fairness, it's super hot - I wonder what Kratos would do if the Greek Gods were pushing humanity off the brink through global warming? - which is definitely compounding that feeling, but I think it would still be there regardless). Aside from the general uneasiness of jumping between angles at this game's every whim, the camera just creates inconsistencies in how you approach things, for instance the age-old "you're tiptoeing across a ledge/beam/whatever, so let's change the angle while you're doing that and have you need to actually adjust your character's movement based on the angle we go to, and no you can't continue with the input you were using before", one of my absolute biggest pet peeves in gaming. I'll adjust, I'm sure, but it's stuff like this which I thinks makes some 3D games so much harder to go back to (I actually thought this game was older than it was before booting it up, so it's funny that this approach was taken in a game released towards the end of the generation where I feel it was mostly figured out?). And then there are just some general curiosities to the game, decisions which aren't really negatives to the game, but are certainly decisions made at the time which I'm not sure they'd stand by today. Such as the sex mini-game – that sure was a choice, and that sure was a thing, and I'm not really sure what to make of it, though I did find it hilarious that the top halves of these women in the cutscene prior to the mini-game being made accessible made them look like they were a generation ahead of Kratos on a purely technical perspective, you can see where the priorities were for that short moment in the game more curiously: R2 to interact with and open things, but even weirder than that, mashing R2 to lift heavy doors/gates – this has to be one of the weirdest feeling QTE-style inputs ever, especially with just how much the DualShock 3's triggers can travel when compared with the triggers of the DualShock 2. And also, right stick to dodge/roll? Man, again, just feels super weird, and definitely took some getting used to! Anyways, looking forward to putting some more time into the game tomorrow, hopefully I'll get to take on some more bosses and adjust to the camera a bit more! Maybe? Possibly? Who am I kidding, probably not
  17. Started listening to the early Patreon release of this week's Easy Allies Podcast this morning, and it starts out with Blood mentioning that their income is getting a little on the lean side; it's been plugged a lot more in recent months (especially after last month's credit card issue on Patreon), but this is the first time I can recall it being said straight up top. I'm trying to look on the positive side, but while we've talked about it on here before, the impression that I'm getting is that the days left of the Allies - in its current form, at least - are growing severely limited
  18. I watched it on blu-ray this time, I've started to slowly immortalise some of my favourite series by putting them on my shelves From what I can see it looks like it's still up on Funimation, but isn't on Crunchyroll yet? Which is odd considering the acquisition and so many dubs coming over to Crunchyroll since then, but I'm still waiting for shows like Yu Yu Hakusho to migrate over too Actually, this is a good chance to share something I've found really cool and helpful over the years: I recommend because.moe/uk, which is an anime search engine specifically designed for finding where certain shows you're looking for are available (I've linked the UK site specifically, but they also have versions for the US, Canada, and Australia). It's best to click on the streaming service logos it shows just to double check they're still there (as oftentimes they'll keep the show's page despite the show leaving the service, such as for FMA:B having a Crunchyroll logo next to it, which messes the results up a little bit at times), but it's otherwise one of the more useful anime-watching tools I'd recommend
  19. Started Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood for a fourth time a couple of weeks ago as something to accompany me while I started using my exercise bike again, and well...I finished it last week in the space of a week and a half or so. Yeah, it didn't remain an exercise bike exclusive watch for me for very long. I said this in 2020 before rewatching Hunter x Hunter... ...and then this after finishing my rewatch... So, uhhhhhhhh... ...I'm here to take that back. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is at least on par with HxH, and in some ways is much better - most importantly, it doesn't drag its heels at all, neatly getting in and out in the space of 64 episodes, during which it delivers a masterpiece of a storyline, with a massive frequently recurring cast which puts many other stories to shame, a great hard magic system in alchemy, an excellent score, and excellent character arcs. Most importantly: pretty much every character who isn't just sitting in the background has a clear want, and they do their damn best to go after it. There's a reason it is one of the most highly rated anime series out there, topping many lists online and being featured in many debates about the best anime of all time. I think the show most comparable to it, funnily enough, is probably Avatar: The Last Airbender: they're of similar lengths, and have many, many similar strengths throughout their run. FMA:B is also, I'd argue, the best starting point for people getting into anime today with very little exposure to the medium otherwise - it perfectly waves together a story in a distinctly Western setting with an important understanding and representation of conflict and differences in culture, and the occasional weirdness of anime, from its comedic moments to some horrifically darker ones. Unironically: 11/10. There are 10's and then there are masterpieces like this. It's FMA:B, HxH, Steins;Gate, and Princess Mononoke at the pinnacle of anime for me. Now I'm left thinking about going back to the 2003 series and picking up the manga...or rewatching Steins;Gate
  20. The Last of Us Part I (2nd September 2022)

    Isolated comparison clips between Remastered and Part I (I honestly can't tell what's appeared where anymore, this game has had a really weird marketing cycle): If nothing else, this sure looks real purty!
  21. Couldn't seem to find a thread for this, but anyways, it's been delayed from its vague 2022 release window to 2023 For a bit of a refresher, the game was originally revealed during Summer Game Fest last summer with this trailer, when it was confirmed to be coming to PC via Steam: Before this gameplay trailer last August (actually, a year ago to the day!) announced that the game would also be coming to the Nintendo Switch during an Indie World Showcase: Well, let the wait begin...
  22. Kirby's Dream Buffet (Summer 2022)

    Overview trailer: Launching next Wednesday on 17th August; priced at £13.49.
  23. Final Fantasy Official Thread

    Oh yeah 100%, that's what attracted them to her, there's little denying that I guess what I'm suggesting is the inverse? Not necessarily that people were attracted to her because of her origin, but they may have subconsciously taken that away (that they're [more] open to being attracted to people of other cultures, and Asians particularly, if they hadn't before, just due to the lack of exposure), if that makes sense? I could certainly see that being the case depending on the ages people were when they first played the game. Anecdotally, I had a friend in high school who randomly came out with "I'm into Koreans" after starting to watch anime and play League of Legends (which is a whole other kettle of fish) You're probably right about them looking at other characters like Lara Croft for what was popular at the time though, we got the final remainders of that in the early 2000's and then I feel the guys in the art departments started to calm down a little bit. Sort of. Maybe. I mean it's not all sunshines and rainbows regardless, I'm pretty sure VII is partially responsible for some of the, uh, more questionable parts of the internet and modern culture when it comes to things like Cait Sith The first link is just an article, though it does go on to point you in the direction of the feed. That second link though...yeah I'd save that one for after work, it has pictures of the questionably posed model in question Will be sure to keep that in mind definitely got my expectations set fairly low in that regard from clips/memes and such over the years, that much is sure. It'll probably be a tossup between X and Like A Dragon the next time I'm in the mood for a longer JRPG
  24. Well, looks like we're finally going to be getting some new Scarlet and Violet news!* *and more, because it's Pokémon, so there's always more. Do we start hoping for a Mystery Dungeon Explorers remake now or..?
  25. Final Fantasy Official Thread

    In all seriousness, while there were many smart decisions made around Final Fantasy VII, the decision to have two girls (well, and Barrett) each representing the game's target markets geographically (Aeris/Aerith is distinctly Western, I'd go so far as to say European, in her design; and Tifa is distinctly Eastern) was absolute genius. Not only does it cater to both markets, I think considering that this was well before the mass globalisation of anime/Asian culture/etc. and that what we find attractive physically is typically an aggregate of what we're exposed to, I think there's a good chance it could have helped younger folks (and potentially older too) who played the game at the time in the West be more open to being friends with/dating people of a different race, and the same could probably be said for those playing the game in the East, too. I'd also be willing to bet that for many it was their first "real" exposure to an Asian girl or woman, just because that was the reality back then in a lot of the Western world. And I'm sure her, uh, features also didn't hurt in that regard either. I might be reaching there, but I imagine it's true for some (even if they've never consciously thought about it before). Hell, I'm mixed race (White/Asian) and being surrounded by white folks 99% of the time growing up meant that I didn't even really meet people of different races outside of my own family and their group of friends until I actually moved country. I don't think I could have been attracted to a different race if I tried because I simply didn't even know I could find them attractive due to lack of exposure in fact, if anything, the overbearing strength independence of Asian women (Filipinos, specifically) in my family put me off that idea entirely until just a few years ago And no, my parents didn't meet due to Final Fantasy VII and my dad cheering Tifa on as best girl. Though now that I think about it, they did meet and get married in 1997, the same year VII got release...coincidence? Anyways, I do agree with @Happenstance: while I thought Tifa was by far and away better in VII (and I still would say I'm Team Tifa after Remake), I do think VII Remake did a great job of fleshing out Aeris/Aerith in a way which the original game did not. VII's music is ridiculously good and, two years later, I still can't believe that Remake made a lot of tracks even better – I didn't even imagine it would be possible! I think there are very few soundtracks - gaming or otherwise - which come close, and even in the realm of Final Fantasy, I think the only thing I could debate (with the games I've played) is that VI might do a better job of giving party members their own theme and then recalling them throughout the game, which leads into the outrageously good reprisal of each theme during the credits? But even then, that's down to a different approach rather than VI's OST being outright better than VII's. Too many tracks to name that I love, but while I love how preposterous One Winged Angel is, I still think Those Chosen By The Planet (and how it's awesomely recalled in Birth of a God) are stronger themes for the character of Sephiroth, whereas One Winged Angel does an excellent job of capturing how ridiculous the position he ends up in really is. I'm so glad we got some of it in Remake! Oh wow that's super interesting, I first played it in 2017 too (though I don't think I finished the very last part until the very beginning of 2018..?). I think my key takeaway was that there were definitely some parts to the game which don't hold up tremendously these days from a design and technical perspective (general room-to-room navigation is a bit of a nightmare at times, gorgeous as some of those pre-rendered background are, and then there's obviously the well-documented translation errors, things like that), but more surprising to me was that I don't think the final act of the game - until you reach the very end - holds up under any real scrutiny? I found it very messy, to put it lightly, it went off the rails in a way which I don't think the game benefitted from (well, until it all got turned into memes and the sillier parts of the extended VII canon). I thought everything up to and including Temple of the Ancients was virtually flawless from a character and story perspective, though! There's a reason she turned up in the Italian senate, that's all that has to be said oh, and there was also that questionably posed Tifa statue! Damn, Tifa's having a busy 2022 I've only played VI, VII and IX so far, all for the first time in the last 5 years or so, and I find my answer tends to swap between all three pretty regularly – I think they're all great games with (well, other than the music) entirely different strengths. Overall, though, I'd probably say that I consider VI to be the strongest of the three from a critical perspective, so maybe that's my favourite? It's mechanically airtight, and something I think it has over the other two games (sorry VII and IX) is that there is a natural narrative throughline from beginning to end, whereas VII and IX both fly off the rails in their final act somewhere along the way for me in ways which have me going "uh, the how hell did we get here?" I need to play more Final Fantasy games, though, can't believe it's nearly been two years (!) since I played through IX! It'll probably be I, IV, or X next (sorry @Hero-of-Time, VIII is kind of just...waiting off to the side with V )