Tuesday, February 25, 2014

LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII REVIEW

OK, Let me make some things clear first.
I play game because I enjoy it and I want to have fun.
Challenge in game is okay, as long as it is not overwhelming.
Because for me, the biggest challenge is in real life, not game.
If you want bigger challenge, go out and face the world.
IMO, Life have the best graphic and you can't never guess what awaits you around the corner..

I love the what most people called as "cheesy" story RPG where you have to save the world with the help of your friends.
If people says it's unrealistic, sorry to say... It's a game, it's not supposed to be realistic.
If you want something realistic, turn off your game then experience what's called LIFE.
You can't be more realistic than that...

So, let's talk about the latest adventure of Lightning aka Eclair (Claire) Farron in Lightning Returns.
The story takes you back on Lightning after she falls asleep at the end of FFXIII-2.
It's been 500 years and it's almost the end of the world when Lightning was awakened by Bhunivelze.
She is now have a new "job" as a savior and have to collect soul from people who she deemed worthy.
On her side, there's the ever faithful "young" Hope Estheim who help her in achieving her goal.
Of course, there's more "plot" than just saving the world, like most RPG.

Now one thing that really catches my attention is the Schemata system, where Lightning change roles using different clothes.
Nothing wrong with that. It's almost the same thing that happened with Yuna, Riku and Paine at FFX-2.
But what bothers me is most of the clothes really didn't suit Lightning's personality.

 
Some are okay, others are really absurd and it makes me really questioning the system.
In FFX-2, the Sphere is designed to match with the girl's personality.
So you have the elegant theme for Yuna, the "genki" theme for Riku and the mature theme for Paine.
In Lightning Returns, Square Enix just decided to make Lightning cosplay-ing with weird clothes.
I feels like playing Barbie, since you can also change the color of the clothes.
I can't take her seriously when she wear a mustache or wearing those Moogle's theme clothes.....
But again, it's just me....
I can't really remember her as a serious and determined woman when she wore those funny clothes and accessories....



Enough about cloth... Errrr,Schemata sytem or whatsoever...
Let's talk about the battle system... which ALMOST non-existent.
Enemies can be avoided, in fact it is not really recommended to fight enemies unless you needs something from them.
"Small" enemies is not to be taken lightly because some of them COULD kill you in minutes.
Playing on Easy Mode is recommended if you play the first time, because it can be frustrating dying.
Why? I'll tell you later.
Fighting enemies earns you Gil, Magic (if you are lucky) and items that needed for stuff or quest.
Items can be used to make new equipment or finishing quest.
You can also get EP from battling monster, but if it's already full... Then you are wasting your time.
Lightning won't get XP or status related upgrade from battle, she got it from Quest.
Oh, right... There is no XP on Lightning Returns, so no grinding...

Speaking about Quest, Quest is where you can get most of your money and stat rising.
So it is advisable to finish as many quest as you can to rise your stat.
HOWEVER..... Time is your enemy here.
You have LIMITED time to do sub quest and main quest.
As you explore, time is keep on moving and some quest can only be activated in specific time.
Some quest are interesting, some quest just plain boring.
You have to organize your time so you can finish the quest as soon as possible, because once the day ends, you will return back to the Ark and a day passed.
You only have 6 days to "finish" the game, but you can prolong it by collecting souls.
How do you collect souls? ........ Quest, of course.

I don't really enjoy being urged to finish everything as soon as possible.
I like to enjoy my game with my own pace and not being rushed, so this time limited is what annoys me the most.
To add it all, Hope really irks me with his constant "reminder" that we have limited time every single minutes.
I used to like you, Hope... But you really testing my patience now.
Kinda weird because when I play Persona 3 and Persona 4, I also have to manage my time, but I don't feel as urged as this...
One thing that irk me sometimes is how NPC sometimes blocks me when I talk with other NPC, it also happens during scene.

 

Boss battle can be really tedious, so you need to abuse the Stagger status.
Yes, Stagger is being the key of winning the battle, so you have to know your strategy before attacking enemy.
Guard is your life safer when enemies unleashed their badd-ass skill...
However, I do have to admit that the battle system is a lot better than the previous one.
Too bad that I try to avoid battle as much as I can....
I won't spoil the story, but I'd prefer the old Lightning, back on the very first FFXIII.

Overall, from all three tittle of FFXIII, the battle in Lightning Return is got to be the best one.
Nothing new from the music, in fact... Ever since Kimi ga Iru Kara, they don't have the theme song anymore.
Graphics.... is okay, but I never pay much interest about graphics. ^^a
Lightning Returns is better than FFXIII-2, but still can't beat FFXIII.
Considering that SE want to put Lightning on FFXV, I am sure that this won't be the last time we'll be hearing from Lightning.......

I think I'd prefer to play FFX Remaster after this....

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SHOPS IN JAPAN

Apparently one of my friend ask me about where to shop in Tokyo.
He wants to know the perfect place where to go to buy CD / DVD / OST from anime or game.
I can't really say for sure, because it is depends on the budget and needs.
There are some things that gives you different bonus depends on where you bought the game, like Sengoku Basara 4 who just offered different costume for different characters based on where you bought the game.
If you don't want anything special, I think all store is good to go.

However, if you do want some old things (like 2nd book, 2nd game and so on), then I urges you to go to Akihabara.
Yes, the "otaku" heaven located on Tokyo....
Feast your eyes on different clothes maid and have fun if you ever interested in coming to one of the Maid Cafe.
Tons of store here, located on the main or small alleyway, if you have time, go explore!
 


Beside store, they also have some interesting Cafe, like the AKB48 Cafe and Gundam Cafe.
Once you found the AKB 48 Cafe, Gundam Cafe is located next to it. You can't missed it!
......... Unless they decided to move it sometime in the future. ^^;

  

When it comes to electronic, Akihabara is your best bet.
You might have to compare prizes between store if you want the best prize.
Most of the store can speak basic English, so that's a plus.
However, it would help if you have a list of what you need in Japanese, so they can help you look for it.
One of the Animate is also located here, a good place to try to find new merchandise from anime / game.
Animate sells all kind of things, from key chain to DVD. However, they usually only sell the latest one.
If you want to look for old game/ novel/merchandise, you'll have better luck elsewhere.

Animate also located at Shinjuku and Ikebukuro, however the Animate Ikebukuro focused on girls.
You can also look around Ikebukuro if you are searching for doujinshi, but basic Japanese is needed if you want to know what doujinshi you're looking for.
Prepare your pasport because sometimes if you bought R-18 doujinshi, they will ask for your ID.
... It happens to me once, what... I don't look old enough? XD
IMO, Ikebukuro is more suited for girls than boys.

Second things is usually cheaper than the new one and most of them are in good condition too.
If you are lucky, you can find rare and collector's item too, however it can cost a lot more than others.
I managed to get a couple of PS3 used games and Date Masamune nendoroid from Akihabara and Ikebukuro.

If you want to shop for fashion, head to Ginza or Shinjuku.
You can also try Harajuku, but it's just not my style so I usually avoided it every time I go to Japan.
My favorite shop is Uniqlo, because they have my size and I like the simple design too.
The price is also a bit friendlier than in Indonesia.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

So last Sunday, my aunt took me to one of the musical show by Jakarta players
It's my second one to watch it, the last one was last year.
The last one I watch was Broadway ke Java. and it's really beautiful.
Impressed by the last performance, I decided to accept my aunt's invitation to watch the next one.

I am not really familiar with musical or Broadway, so the title Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat didn't sound familiar.
I do know Andrew Lloyd Webber and most of his song is quite nice, so I think I can enjoy the performance quite well.
After enduring children singing "Do you want to Build a Snowman" and "Let it Go" on the hallway (my niece also singing the same song over and over again at home), I enter the show hall and let myself enjoying the show.

Sypnosis:
The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors come to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable. Joseph, his father's favorite son, is a boy blessed with prophetic dreams. When he is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and taken to Egypt, Joseph endures a series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged. Set to an engaging cornucopia of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to bubble-gum pop and rock 'n roll, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless.

Here are some pictures that I managed to take.
It's a bit blur because I am only using my smart phone and I am not really good taking photo with moving object... ^^

 

 

 

 


The Pharaoh is portrayed as Elvis and it really makes me laugh! XD
 

 

This is Elhaq Latief who plays as Jacob
Have to admit that he have a strong voice.

 

 

Overall, I think the show was awesome and the performance is brilliant.
I enjoy watching the show and can't help laugh here and there.
My favorite song is got to be Benjamin Calypso.
Good work, guys!
I can't wait to watch another one of your wonderful performance!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

EXPLORING JAPAN WITH FRIENDS PART III

Sleeping on the bus is not really comfortable for some people.
I have some problem, but I can still sleep.
But apparently my friends are having trouble sleeping on the bus while we were on our way to Tokyo.
It helps if you choose a nicer seat, single seat is recommended... But it cost extra.

Anyway, we arrived at Tokyo in the morning, around 7.30 o'clock at Tokyo Station.
The first thing we look for is toilet where we can change, brush our teeth and wash up.
We buy SUICA card to help us go around Tokyo then put our bags into the available coin lockers.
After that me and my two best friends head to Tokyo Game Show at Makuhari Messe, while the other two decided to go to Disneyland.
Got a little lost, but nothing serious. We can change trains quite easily. :)

To get to TGS, I already mentioned it in my previous entry, so you can see it there.
I handle the registration and after a bit of talking with some people, we can head inside.
I am fortunate enough to get access on Business Day and on the 2nd Day of Business Day is not too crowded.
Here are some pictures...

 

  

We only stays until about 3 o'clock before heading back to Tokyo Station to meet up with the others.
After that we're heading to Ikebukuro to look for our Hotel, the Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro.
You can find it on the internet, it's a good place to stay.
Since there are 5 of us, we decided to rent the traditional room where we sleep using futon.
Like most hotels that we used before, the bathroom is small, but the toilet and the bathtub is separated.
We were so exhausted but still eager to go out to see more.

So, after taking a bath and rest for a moment, we decided to head to Asakusa Temple.
The front desk is really being helpful showing us how to get there.
But before heading there, we decided to grab a bite to eat.
Me and one of my friend decided to eat at Yoshinoya, sure we have that in Indonesia too...
But the portion is bigger and the taste is a bit better than the one on Indonesia.
 

Finish eating, we're heading to Asakusa Temple.
The place is usually packed with tourist during the day, so it's a good thing we decided to go at night.
Not far from the station, we can also see Tokyo's new landmark, Tokyo Skytree.
 

Just a short walk from there, we found the Asakusa Temple.
It's still quite crowded during the night, but not too much and a lot of shops is already closed.
... Which is a good thing for our wallet. ^^a
We try the O-mikuji there and I'm the only one who have little luck, the rest have bad luck. ^-^v

 


After finish walking around it, we though about going to Tokyo Tower, but we were too tired.
So we're heading back to Ikebukuro, making a stop at Convenience Store before deciding to call it a night.
IMO, Tokyo Skytree looks so much better at night, with all the lights on like that...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

EXPLORING JAPAN PART II

Woah... Been too busy with works and playing Sengoku Basara 4.
Truthfully, that games really controlling my live right now. XD
Anyway, let's continue about exploring Japan with friends.

There are benefits travelling with friends, and it's a lot more exciting travelling with them.
I can read basic kanji and one of my friend can read Chinese kanji, Japanese and Chinese kanji is a bit similar.
So she really helps when we were reading map that included a lot of kanji.
She read the kanji and I try to find a japanese word that related to it.
We can also sharing the accommodation's fee, so it's a lot cheaper.

DAY 2  OSAKA -KYOTO

  

We want to feel how it feels to ride Shinkansen, but most of the ticket using Shinkansen is expensive.
So we decide to take Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto, a very short ride.
It cost 840 Yen (about IDR 100,800) and takes about 14 minutes only.
If you are taking the regular train, it only cost 540 Yen (about IDR 64,800) and takes about 28 minutes.
We stop at Kyoto Station, a huge station and also connected to a mall.
After putting our bag inside the coin lockers, we head to Kyoto Tourist Information.
Since we have a couple of place we have in mind, they just gave us a guide on what is the best way to get to our destination.

Our first stop is Nijo Castle, one of the World Heritage in Kyoto.
This castle is beautiful and the park is HUGE!
Lots of beautiful spot to take picture, we really enjoy this place.
I bet it'll look prettier during autumn or spring where a lot of cherry blossom blooms.
 

After finished with Nijo Castle, we take the train to Toei Kyoto Studio Park.
Since there are 5 of us, we got a discount for entry ticket from Kyoto Tourist Information Center. 
The entry ticket is 2,000 Yen (about IDR 240,000) and inside there are a lot of attraction.
The place is quite packed with students and I catch their curiosity glance toward my friends once in a while.
Beside some attraction (like ghost house or live action), you can also dress up as some samurai or other feudal characters.... with a fee, of course.
They also have Toei Anime Museum, gift shops and restaurants. The Curry Udon is delicious!
 

  



Finish with lunch and dressing up, we left the Studio Park then head to the train station.
Our next stop is the famous Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), which takes quite a while to reach.
You could ride a bus to head there, but me and my friends decided to take a walk instead.
It's quite far, about 10 - 15 minutes walking in slow pace.
But the view is really beautiful, and I have to admit that it is a romantic place.
I bought omamori for a friend, then we take the bus to Gion, the famous district.
We take a stroll along the road, visiting a couple of shops while we walk around.
We didn't see any geisha, probably because it is beginning to get late.

   

From Gion, we take the bus back to Kyoto Station.
You can use the train, but sometimes it is best if you travel by bus when you went around the city.
Lots of places to see at Kyoto, so one day is definitely not enough.
The reason why we head back to Kyoto Station is to take a bus to Tokyo.
Yes, we decided to take a night bus from Kyoto to Tokyo, instead of taking shinkansen.
It's a lot cheaper too, because we spent a night at the bus instead of a hotel.

The bus left late at night, about 11 - 12 o'clock and they are ON TIME.
Take only about 10 minutes to get on a bus, check the passengers and the bus left.
If you are late, then... too bad.
Lot of people are using bus, heading to different city in Japan and most of them are girls.