TakuChat http://www.takuchat.com Fri, 23 Jan 2015 08:26:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Air Ships May Still Appear In Final Fantasy XV And Other Details http://www.takuchat.com/air-ships-may-still-appear-final-fantasy-xv-details/ http://www.takuchat.com/air-ships-may-still-appear-final-fantasy-xv-details/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 19:37:28 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27309

In a recent interview with Gamestop Final Fantasy XVs new director and when asked about AirShips appearing in the game he had this to say- “To be completely honest, that’s still to be determined,”-“But the development team does understand that … Continue reading

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In a recent interview with Gamestop Final Fantasy XVs new director and when asked about AirShips appearing in the game he had this to say-
“To be completely honest, that’s still to be determined,”-“But the development team does understand that this is something everyone is looking forward to. It is a huge technical challenge; as mentioned earlier, all areas are connected. We are trying to tackle that challenge. So at the moment we can’t say yes, they will be included, but we do want to and we’re ready to take on that challenge and see what can be done.”

He also spoke of Dungeons in Final Fantasy XV and how they will be making an appearance in the game as well-
“In the most classic Final Fantasy title category, for me, dungeons [were] very scary things that were chaotic and uncontrollable,” he said. “In the dungeons, there is this kind of strangeness where something that shouldn’t necessarily be there in real life is existing. That kind of strangeness, the non-normal, that feeling you get in those circumstances, will be experienced in XV.”

On a more disappointing note Tabata also revealed that “The world is connected by continuous land,”. So gone are the days of exploring continents, it seems we are now stuck to one.

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Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Combat Special trailer http://www.takuchat.com/final-fantasy-type-0-hd-combat-special-trailer/ http://www.takuchat.com/final-fantasy-type-0-hd-combat-special-trailer/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 19:25:10 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27307

Well Square Enix is releasing another trailer for Final Fantasy Type 0 HD, this one shows off the different combat mechanics for the characters. Check it out- Final Fantasy Type-0 HD releases for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March … Continue reading

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Well Square Enix is releasing another trailer for Final Fantasy Type 0 HD, this one shows off the different combat mechanics for the characters.

Check it out-

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD releases for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 17th for North America and March 20th for Europe.

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New BloodBorne Trailer Shows Off The Games Controls http://www.takuchat.com/new-bloodborne-trailer-shows-off-games-controls/ http://www.takuchat.com/new-bloodborne-trailer-shows-off-games-controls/#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2015 20:46:42 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27283

BloodBorne is set to release on March 24th, check out the trailer below- More from TakuChat Some new BloodBorne Gameplay BloodBorne Gameplay trailer with info The Order: 1886 Goes Gold, Trailer Included 50 seconds of off screen gameplay for BloodBorne … Continue reading

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BloodBorne is set to release on March 24th, check out the trailer below-

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The Order: 1886 Goes Gold, Trailer Included http://www.takuchat.com/order-1886-goes-gold-trailer-included/ http://www.takuchat.com/order-1886-goes-gold-trailer-included/#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2015 20:34:39 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27280

And so it begins- #TheOrder1886 has officially gone Gold! Here's to everyone who walked the road with us! @RAD_Studios @PlayStation pic.twitter.com/o7lMQbmSiX — Ru Weerasuriya (@Ru_Weerasuriya) January 16, 2015 The Order:1886 releases for the PlayStation 4 on February 20th. More from … Continue reading

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And so it begins-



The Order:1886 releases for the PlayStation 4 on February 20th.

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New To The Witcher? Get Caught Up With This Recap Trailer http://www.takuchat.com/new-witcher-get-caught-recap-trailer/ http://www.takuchat.com/new-witcher-get-caught-recap-trailer/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 07:20:49 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27272

Just as the title implies, CD-Projekt Red released a new trailer recaping the events of the Withcer world, check it out below- More from TakuChat The Witcher 3 gets some E3 gameplay The Witcher 3 “E3″ trailer is out. Child … Continue reading

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Just as the title implies, CD-Projekt Red released a new trailer recaping the events of the Withcer world, check it out below-

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Xenoblade Chronicles X Gets a New Trailer and Japanese Release Date http://www.takuchat.com/xenoblade-chronicles-x-gets-new-trailer-japanese-release-date/ http://www.takuchat.com/xenoblade-chronicles-x-gets-new-trailer-japanese-release-date/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 17:21:45 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27262

During todays Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced that the game will release for Wii U on April 29th for Japan. More from TakuChat 30 minutes of Xenoblade gameplay is out for your pleasure New Zelda announced for the Wii-U Reminder: Wii … Continue reading

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During todays Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced that the game will release for Wii U on April 29th for Japan.

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Yakuza 0 Gets a Character Walk through http://www.takuchat.com/27251/ http://www.takuchat.com/27251/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 19:11:37 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27251

Another week, another Yakuza gameplay walkthrough, this one is showing off the games cast of characters. Yakuza 0 releases in Japan on March 12th. More from TakuChat The Future of Yakuza Yakuza 0: 1988 Gameplay Gran Turismo asks…What Next Gen? … Continue reading

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Another week, another Yakuza gameplay walkthrough, this one is showing off the games cast of characters.

Yakuza 0 releases in Japan on March 12th.

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KHInsider Recreates Sora’s Keyblade From Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer http://www.takuchat.com/khinsider-recreates-soras-keyblade-kingdom-hearts-3-trailer/ http://www.takuchat.com/khinsider-recreates-soras-keyblade-kingdom-hearts-3-trailer/#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 21:59:44 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27242

A mere month back at the Kingdom Hearts even in California there was a trailer shown off behind closed doors, while only a few saw it we are still hearing of it from the few fans who did. One fan from … Continue reading

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A mere month back at the Kingdom Hearts even in California there was a trailer shown off behind closed doors, while only a few saw it we are still hearing of it from the few fans who did. One fan from KH-Insider is going beyond that and is trying to recreate parts of the trailer for us to see. Below is the recreated art for the  Keyblade that Sora wielded in the footage, apparently the canon is formed by fusing the two guns and then it charges and fires some multi-colored blast.Check it out -(recreated by   Zephyr)

You can see His first piece here released a little while back shows of the new environment that Sora walked through in the footage as well.

 

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In Final Fantasy XV You Are Killing Robots http://www.takuchat.com/final-fantasy-xv-killing-robots/ http://www.takuchat.com/final-fantasy-xv-killing-robots/#comments Sat, 10 Jan 2015 03:00:47 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27210

In ther recent burst of Final Fantasy XV trailers and news something a bit odd has slipped through the cracks. During the Jump Festa trailer that was released only a few weeks back there are these strange men that Noctis … Continue reading

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In ther recent burst of Final Fantasy XV trailers and news something a bit odd has slipped through the cracks. During the Jump Festa trailer that was released only a few weeks back there are these strange men that Noctis and his group are fighting, something people noted was that they are rather stiff and unresponsive. But here is the thing, the are supposed to be that way. They are not human, I know it sounds crazy but lets look closely.

Watch the guys in the background around 1:30-

Ok, so you probably didn’t see it but if you pay very close attention you will notice that many of the “men” in the background have arms that transform or open up into guns. Below you can see some gifs of the transformation-(picture version made by Rose_of_May)

Look at those Square feet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But these may not be the only troops in Final Fantasy XV, if you remember the original trailers for Final Fantasy XV and even the re-reveal trailer as Final Fantasy XV you will see these troops-

These soldiers also appear to always be covered, though they have much more human like movement than the ones in the recent trailers so it may be that they are humans who are opposing the Nation with the Robotic army. In any case it is best to keep an open mind to all the possibilities.

What this all means for Final Fantasy XV is still unknown, but as the game gets closer to launch and we get more and more information we will surely get to know more about these strange new enemies.

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Yakuza 0 Money gameplay walkthrough http://www.takuchat.com/yakuza-0-money-gameplay-walkthrough/ http://www.takuchat.com/yakuza-0-money-gameplay-walkthrough/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 19:42:08 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27232

Well Sega released another gameplay walkthrough for Yakuza 0, this one showing off the sidequest you can do to earn yourself some more money. Yakuza 0 releases for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 in Japan on March 12th. More from … Continue reading

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Well Sega released another gameplay walkthrough for Yakuza 0, this one showing off the sidequest you can do to earn yourself some more money.
Yakuza 0 releases for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 in Japan on March 12th.

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Check Out Evolves Opening Cinematic http://www.takuchat.com/check-evolves-opening-cinematic/ http://www.takuchat.com/check-evolves-opening-cinematic/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 19:31:23 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27230

2K Games and Turtle Rock Studios released the opening cinematic for Evolve. Evolve releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC February 10th. More from TakuChat Destiny Leaked Dark Below DLC Opening cinematic Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Gets a … Continue reading

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2K Games and Turtle Rock Studios released the opening cinematic for Evolve.

Evolve releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC February 10th.

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[Reviews] Dedicated Movie Review: Disney’s Frozen (2013) http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-dedicated-movie-review-disneys-frozen-2013/ http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-dedicated-movie-review-disneys-frozen-2013/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 05:52:18 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27200

(Happy new year! I had to get around to writing this eventually. I had planned to open 2015 with this film right away, but since I wound up being busy, I decided to dedicate this review to a friend who … Continue reading

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Walt Disney Pictures - Frozen 2013 - movie poster - from http://www.movieposter.com/poster/MPW-93542/Frozen.html

(Happy new year! I had to get around to writing this eventually. I had planned to open 2015 with this film right away, but since I wound up being busy, I decided to dedicate this review to a friend who loved the movie and to post my own thoughts as close to his anniversary as possible. Enjoy!)

Frozen is foremost a love story, but not so much of the romantic sort; the truer and more skillfully written centerpiece is the sisterly relationship that lead characters Elsa and Anna share. While the former primarily sets the plot’s events into motion, the movie largely emphasizes the latter’s selfless attempts to provide physical and emotional support for her sibling, regardless of what happens to be in the way (which sometimes includes Anna’s own behavior). Regardless of Frozen’s few issues with structure and focus, it is a compelling and fun story from start to finish that is well worth checking out no matter the season.


Do you want to build a friendship?

What could have been a standard Disney opening is given a new life with a beautiful song in traditional Scandinavian styling. A snowflake arrives and is joined by many, and the title literally freezes over. A scene of harvesters gathering ice establishes a young boy, Kristoff, and his reindeer Sven. Meanwhile in the kingdom of Arendelle, young princesses Anna and Elsa are fast asleep, and one of them is much more easily woken than the other. But Elsa knows how to get her sister up in the middle of the night–they’ll build a snowman! Anna has the ability to create artificial snow and ice, and she uses this to great effect in a scene that makes their castle’s ceiling look like the magical one in Hogwarts. It’s adorable watching the sisters play together, snowman included, until Elsa accidentally knocks Anna unconscious, causing the girls’ royal parents to rush in.

The king and queen seek help from trolls, who propose a bittersweet remedy: Anna will be stripped of all her memories of Elsa’s abilities, but Elsa herself will only grow in “strength,” even as her powers become increasingly difficult to control (causing her to reject even her own parents’ touch). She is forbidden from contact with the outside world and vice versa, leaving her devoted sister without her best friend. If that weren’t enough, a tragedy soon comes along that thrusts the girls into responsibility and adulthood. It’s treated with decorum, even if it’s not quite as character-defining as a similar event from Disney’s more recent Big Hero 6.

Walt Disney Pictures - Frozen 2013 - Anna and Elsa as children - from https://hombresmujeresyfeminismo.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/frozen-un-disney-cada-vez-mas-feminista/

Anna is still determined to reach out to Elsa in her need, but the soon-to-be queen of Arendelle has turned her punishing isolation into her own choice. She is presumably suffering alone, though her sister’s demeanor has decreased as well. The kingdom seems nicely defrosted at this point, however, and more importantly, today is Elsa’s coronation. Some of the castle’s statues and symbols make me think of Christian Scandinavia. Kristoff, the boy from the opening ice harvest, is now of age, and he still has Sven. Elsa gets dressed remarkably quickly for her crowning, and seeing as this is probably the first time in years that many of the kingdom’s people have seen their now-queen, they’ve come out in droves to see her–and Anna has romance on her mind!

The movie’s mood begins to lighten greatly and to settle into the comedic tone it carries for most of its progression, and Anna and Elsa make an excellent musical duet, especially with the massive tonal differences between Anna’s happiness and Elsa’s misery. While one sister is clumsily developing a relationship with a boy (Hans) whom she’s only just met, the other is debating whether to take her gloves off in order to grab her regalia, which will freeze if she does so. The girls’ jokes about cup and later “foot” size give a knowing wink to the adult audience, and more notably than I often say about this kind of humor, it makes a surprising amount of sense in context, since Elsa and the especially desirous Anna are both of newly marriageable age.

Walt Disney Pictures - Frozen 2013 - Kristoff and Sven - from http://www.septiemezone.com/2013/06/17/premieres-images-pour-le-film-de-disney-animation-frozen/frozen-kristoff-sven/

There’s a nicely done dance scene, establishing one villain who’s about as subtle as a bag of rocks, while Anna and Hans develop a mutual obsession. It’s a goofy sequence, never mind all the chocolate references, that becomes especially interesting in hindsight. Hans proposes, Anna accepts, and Elsa refuses to bless this shallow relationship, making the movie much more intelligent than it had seemingly set itself up to be. It’s worth questioning whether Elsa’s response is based more in wisdom–remember, she’s been shut away in a castle for much of her life–or in a cynicism the movie shares to an extent, since she has a hard time trusting herself because of her powers, never mind anyone else. Regardless, an emotional rift opens between the two sisters, and Elsa in her anger accidentally shoots ice onto the floor.

She runs off, leaving Anna shocked while creating a thematic similarity to (of all things) X-Men’s themes of power acceptance and rejection. Indeed, the film’s premise begins to feel just a bit similar, except with Elsa having no one in her life to help her understand and harness her useful but sometimes excessively powerful abilities. The girl winds up turning a fjord to ice, trapping numerous ships in place before again forcing herself into isolation; Anna, entrusting another individual with maintaining Arendelle, goes off to help her sister.


The cold divide

Walt Disney Pictures - Frozen 2013 - Elsa singing - from https://cfensi.wordpress.com/category/media-type/television/the-voice-of-china/
The song does a surprisingly good job of withstanding all the hype I saw prior to watching the movie.

Elsa launches into a now famous ear-worm (that shall not be named), somewhat repetitively written but impeccably well sung, as she devotes herself to a sort of chaotic embrace of her own nature and strength. The song does come across a bit selfish–even if the cold she’s unleashed doesn’t bother her, what about the people whose lives, property, and livelihoods she’s put in danger?–and her own, rather libertine message of self-acceptance doesn’t really “take,” as the movie finds her still struggling with this ideal in later scenes. On the bright side, her music video contains some really well done ice-spewing animation.

Afterward, the movie’s setting takes on some nicely unexpected depth as it centers on a trading post (and sauna) desperately trying to clear out its now-useless summer stock. Seasonal supply and demand actually matter in Arendelle, and the store owner Oaken has very little winter equipment, which Anna will need for her journey. Kristoff returns to the story, and he can’t very well sell ice in the spring or summer with the countryside covered in a blizzard. He at this point is smarter about relationships and intimacy than is Anna, but she steadily grows in maturity as she helps him gain his own needed supplies.

Walt Disney Pictures - Frozen 2013 - Anna, Kristoff, Sven, Olaf - https://casadellefate.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/libro-interattivo-per-frozen-il-nuovo-film-disney/
Olaf’s timely appearances help Frozen do a strong job of changing its mood when desired.

A pack of wolves comes after the pair, leading to some impressive action including wolves being set on fire (though not in detail), culminating in a damsel-in-distress situation that has its traditional roles reversed. Anna has now destroyed Kristoff’s sled and its cargo, which she admirably takes full responsibility for. Nevertheless, Kristoff realizes that it’s in his and Sven’s best interests to cooperate with Anna and push forward to the mountain Elsa has made into her new home.

They then meet Olaf, a living snowman similar to the one Anna and Elsa made as young girls who serves as this story’s quirky comic relief. Such a character could quickly have grown obnoxious and intolerable, but Olaf and his brand of silliness remain impressively likable and welcome throughout the movie. Its humor grows more juvenile at this point as well–it’s not long before a “yellow snow” joke appears, and seeing Anna panic and kick the snowman’s head off, then accidentally sticking his carrot nose through his head, is hilarious. The heroes’ new icy friend has the perfect dream for his kind, launching into a completely enjoyable and ridiculous bit of music … about what he most wants to do during summer.

Walt Disney Pictures - Frozen 2013 - the snowman in summer - from http://novedadesdisney.blogspot.com/2013/09/nuevas-imagenes-de-frozen-el-reino-del.html
This really is as silly and over-the-top as it looks. And it’s great.

There’s a darkly laughable impaled-snowman gag that would hardly have been possible with a normal human in a children’s film, and while Anna has little mountain-climbing experience, she does not lack for fervor. She finally reaches Elsa’s beautiful frozen palace, whose owner is happy to see her but is determined to be alone so she can be who she is without hurting anyone. Elsa doesn’t know how to undo the severe damage she’s done, and she intentionally summons a giant creature to eject Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf from her sanctuary.

Olaf gets thrown off the mountainside, breaking into pieces (“do me a favor–grab my butt!”). He gives his all to keep the film from darkening too deeply, but Anna’s running low on ideas for helping both her sister and her exploring partner. Elsa feels like she’s given too little screen time and character development in a story that exists almost entirely because of her, but after seeing her repeatedly shut everyone and everything out of her life, she seems as at odds with herself as with anyone else. So much for her earlier resolution.


Whatever snow does in summer

The gang seeks help from previously established but still eccentric sources, who make the movie’s humor even stranger, complete with rather inappropriate jokes about Kristoff’s interaction with his reindeer, as well as his bathroom habits. These “sources” quickly and abruptly try to set Anna and Kristoff up as a couple, but she has grown and developed out of her instant-romance habit, especially since the “love” advice she’s getting has an added familial value.

Frozen develops into a more straightforward and serious story as Elsa meets new and formidable enemies, making for solidly constructed but still fairly child-acceptable action. Kristoff and Anna are now essentially in two races against time, complete with villainous intrigue and deception that blatantly includes an intent against Elsa’s life that the story makes no attempt to hide from younger viewers. One of the character-related plot twists feels itself like a minor cliche after a decade of “subverted fantasy” going back to at least Shrek. Olaf has a remarkably brave moment, Elsa is at least trying to make things right, and it occurs to me that Disney’s art style is now as capable of rendering convincing human emotions as well as Pixar ever did.

The conclusion feels a bit standard for the genre, complete with one character-related resolution I figured a film like this would be too self-aware to embrace, but it’s fairly well done. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the movie’s speedy pacing and felt that the characters and their interactions were more interesting than, at times, the plot that surrounded them. Of particular note, anecdotally I’ve seen a fair bit of conversation about whether Elsa’s inner dilemmas are an analogue for self-acceptance for gays and lesbians (this is nothing new–going back to the light X-Men comparisons, I remember seeing the same conversations being held for those movies a decade ago), which I think is a rather poor connection.

While Elsa being called a “monster” early in the story is a particularly cruel moment she should never have endured, her powers will cause disaster if left unchecked, which some of the villains are desperate enough to kill in order to prevent if they feel they must. Hence, in an era where messages of individuality seem in my mind to be so commonplace in movies as to become hard to distinguish–Cars 2’s was particularly bungled–this movie perhaps accidentally creates a better message by showing that even the best gifts, such as Elsa’s powers, can have drastic negative consequences if not used responsibly.


Conclusion: Warm-hearted

While Frozen has a few stumbles with regard to its story’s themes, it is still a strongly built family film with plenty of character-driven and heroic but fairly restrained appeal for both boys and girls, and it’s well worth seeing throughout the year.

The film doesn’t really go for so much of a ‘girl-power’ theme (I doubt it would have gotten any farther than Anna would have gotten without Kristoff or vice versa, to be frank, and Elsa’s actual powers end up causing or accentuating a lot of her difficulties), which I feel gives it a flavor perhaps more gender-neutral than Pixar’s Brave had. Anna and Elsa have a beautiful if somewhat one-sided relationship, but one of the movie’s best gifts is showing–as did 2014’s How to Train Your Dragon 2–that sometimes the best and purest love doesn’t come from a hypothetical ‘perfect mate’ but from the family you already have beside you.


Image credits (property of Walt Disney Pictures)

- Movie postersource
Anna and Elsa building a snowmansource
Kristoff and Svensource
Elsa singingsource
Anna, Kristoff, and Olafsource
The snowman in summersource


This article was originally written and published on my movie-review blog, Projected Realities.

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Retro Review: Final Fantasy IX http://www.takuchat.com/retro-review-final-fantasy-ix/ http://www.takuchat.com/retro-review-final-fantasy-ix/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 06:55:22 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26999

Story “Final Fantasy IX ’​s plot centers on a war among nations. Players follow a young thief named Zidane Tribal, who joins with others to defeat Queen Brahne of Alexandria, the one responsible for starting the war. The plot shifts, however, when … Continue reading

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Story

“Final Fantasy IX ’​s plot centers on a war among nations. Players follow a young thief named Zidane Tribal, who joins with others to defeat Queen Brahne of Alexandria, the one responsible for starting the war. The plot shifts, however, when the characters realize that Brahne is working with an even more threatening person called Kuja.”-Wikipedia

The story in Final Fantasy IX starts out a bit different from many of the past entries; instead of being dark and moody or epic and enchanting, the game starts with something a bit more quirky, and it is great.

Throughout the game you take on the role of Zidane, the blonde monkey tailed guy. Unlike other Final Fantasy games where you very rarely play as other characters, IX has you switching constantly throughout the entirety of the game. While sometimes it can be a little distracting, for the most part it serves to push the game’s story along well and gives a good level of insight into the characters in your party. This also puts the spotlight on the game’s other wonderful characters such as Steiner and Vivi.

The main plot of Final Fantasy IX is surprisingly different than the other games. While most entries in the series come off a bit grandiose and epic, Final Fantasy IX seemed to want to go for pure charm, and for the most part it achieved just that. Throughout the campaign of Final Fantasy IX you are confronted with many creative and wonderful characters, some are friends, others are not. Alongside these wonderful characters you are introduced to a good amount of antagonists in the game as well. Sadly there is a set of villains in particular who will likely fill you with homicidal rage not because they are evil, but because they are horribly obnoxious. These characters are Zorn and Thorn, obnoxious jesters who seem to only hold up the plot and waste screen time; They will annoy you throughout a solid chunk of the game.

Really though this guy is a great villain.

But do not fear! There are some very good villains in the game, in particular the main villain Kuja. While Kuja does look like a tragic Drag-Queen accident he is in fact a rather deep and interesting villain. It is hard to go into detail with this character without spoiling the surprises the game has to offer; I’ll just say Kuja isn’t your typical super evil villain. He has far more going on than just pure hatred and malice and should be regarded as one of Final Fantasy’s best villains.

The Visuals

As with basically every Final Fantasy ever, Final Fantasy IX is gorgeous. The graphics are insanely detailed for a PlayStation 1 game, and the animations are smooth and generally good-looking.

The character designs in this game are what tends to be the most jarring and off-putting thing for this particular title in my experience. Unlike the previous entries in the series, Final Fantasy IX went for a more cartoony look for the characters, which of course caused many people to turn away from the title and caused others to gravitate toward it. For me it was a mix: some characters looked good, such as Vivi, Steiner, Zidane, and Garnet, while others such as Queen Brahne and Amarant looked weird. Overall I think the majority of IX’s cast is good looking and has a pretty good degree of charm about them, which is something most games in my opinion lack entirely.

vivi

The Combat

The combat in Final Fantasy IX is of course turn-based, and it has your typical role-playing game actions such as initiating attacks, casting magic, and using items. Unlike its precursors Final Fantasy VII and VIII, IX doesn’t have much of a twist on the combat itself so much as in the way you level your characters.

While you can level up like your typical RPG, most of your character progression comes from leveling and earning abilities from your weapons and equipment. This idea may not sound too bad, but it can be a bit tedious and obnoxious having to equip a weaker weapon in order to earn abilities you’ll need later down the road.

Outside of the leveling the combat is very simple, and honestly leaves very little room for strategy compared to VII, VIII, and some of the other entries in the series. While the combat can be enjoyable at times, it can also be undeniably frustrating. A great example of this is that your character goes into their Trance state (a slightly more powerful version of themselves) without you wanting them to, so you don’t get to save it or choose when to activate it; instead you have to hope it happens at a good time, not when a random weak enemy slaps you.

Beyond that, there are the random difficulty spikes; with most Final Fantasy Games I can go through and beat them without many issues. That was not the case for IX, I would go a good distance slaughtering everything around me, but then out of nowhere some random thing will completely destroy me. The thing about it that frustrated me so much was that it didn’t feel like I should have died most the time, the enemies would sometimes just keep taking turns while my characters would just sit there waiting to attack, and often just die because the game wouldn’t let them attack, sometimes this would happen  for upwards of 3-5 minutes.

In the end, I was not impressed by Final Fantasy IX’s combat, and while it is still serviceable after a while it just seems to become tedious and a bit infuriating as you sit and wait while your characters don’t attack for minutes after you have told them to.

The Music

Final Fantasy IXs music is composed by Nobuo Uematsu. Do I really need to say more?

The music is amazing, even among Final Fantasy standards: IX has wonderful music, from the insanely enchanting Melodies of Life to the amazingly addictive Qu’s Marsh (listen to it below).

Everything else

This being a Final Fantasy game, there is tons to do outside of your typical main story, such as random side quests and weapon collecting, all of which are done decently here. Then there are the Final Fantasy IX-exclusive side quests, those being Mognet and the funky card game that I still do not understand.

The sad part is the card game falls a bit flat, unlike VIIIs but luckily for us Final Fantasy IX has Mognet. The Mognet side quest is awesome, basically throughout the game you play mailman for a bunch of Mogs, and it is hilarious reading all their little letters. It might sound a bit bland but it actually adds a nice bit of humor to the game and can add quite a few hours if you get into it.

Conclusion

While Final Fantasy IX has some flaws and a minor issue or two, overall the game is truly a wonderful experience. Between the wonderful characters, the enchanting music, and the fun and interesting world, the game is very much worth your time and effort.

Retro Review: Final Fantasy IX

vivi
Zidane
final-fantasy-ix-garnet

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[Reviews] Movie Review: Noah (2014) http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-movie-review-noah-2014/ http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-movie-review-noah-2014/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 04:00:04 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27190 What better way to end the year than with an ‘end-of-the-world’ film? The single biggest question I think worth asking about director Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is whether the viewer is willing to appraise the movie in terms of the story … Continue reading

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Paramount Pictures - Noah 2014 - movie poster - from http://entertainment.time.com/2014/01/29/noah-russell-crowe-poster/

What better way to end the year than with an ‘end-of-the-world’ film?

The single biggest question I think worth asking about director Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is whether the viewer is willing to appraise the movie in terms of the story it wants to tell, or if its rather wayward treatment of the Biblical inspiration invalidates the whole production out of hand. It’s worked well before. One of the first stories recorded in the ancient text is also one of its most bittersweet, where man and beast alike are wiped from the earth because of the extreme evil filling it, as shown in Genesis 6. The Lord God in his grace is willing to give a few last souls and the animals another chance, but first come the rains …


The beginning of the end

The film begins with a short explanation of the line of Adam, who with his wife Eve had three children, Cain, (who later killed) Abel, and finally Seth. Then the story brings in the “Watchers,” rock monsters that look impressive even if I don’t exactly remember them from studies. These Watchers, in this story, helped Cain’s descendants create a great industrial civilization, but its cities devoured the world by way of their wickedness. Amusingly the continents here in the story aren’t arranged like they are today, thus placing the film at probable odds with a “young-Earth” timeline barring divine intervention. Only Seth’s line defends and protects what is left of Creation, and from this family, the young protagonist is entrusted with caring for the well-being of the world.

Noah’s beginning is rather quickly paced, as several miners show up, led by one Tubal-cain. He cements his role in the story by committing a murder, and the adverse impact of his men on the environment is also shown. The now older Noah, by contrast, is scolding his middle son Ham (yum) for pulling up a flower to look at it, since his family only collects what they have a need and a use for. A raindrop falls, and a flower sprouts in an instant. It’s an impressive visual effect, as are the others to this point, even as the Watchers with their rough-at-times animations tend to look and sound like Transformers.

Paramount Pictures - Noah 2014 - Noah's family - from http://www.futuregamez.net/movies/noah/noah.html
Noah, left, and his wife Naameh, far right.

Bona fide action comes in the form of several poachers, who have been chasing a majestic but mortally wounded animal and now have Noah surrounded. The thing is, he’s quite a competent fighter, making this movie begin to look like one of those post-apocalyptic survival films, a description it kind of fits except that the apocalypse hasn’t arrived yet. Noah’s children are baffled by the idea of eating animals at all, and their father reminds them that strength comes from the Creator (an idea echoed in Psalm 18:29), not from the poachers’ apparent notion that eating animals makes them stronger.

Noah tells his wife Naameh about Ham’s encounter with the hunters and about the flower, which she is taken aback by. It gives her comfort about God’s plan of justice–Noah, not so much. There’s a very quick dream-flashback to the tempting serpent in the Garden of Eden, the forbidden fruit, and a mysterious shadow that becomes recognizable later.

The film by this point has gotten off to a good start. The effects, most of the acting, and especially the fast pacing all do their part to make this increasingly strange production enjoyable and worthwhile without necessarily having to appeal to, or perhaps against, any one specific audience.


A more traditional story?

In stages, Noah receives both a vision from God, who is going to destroy the world, and a standard-feeling quest: Go to your ancestor Methuselah’s mountain. Off go he, Naameh, and their sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, despite whatever skepticism they may have. They pass through a devastated but surgically cut forest, part of a local ecosystem that has been destroyed and left to rot. Even the miners’ equipment is dilapidated, and one of the boys casually asks if the owners are all dead. Many are, but there’s one girl who’s still breathing but is grievously wounded. Her name is Ila. Naameh and Shem help nurse this girl’s injuries, but the evil men have returned for a chase, complete with shaky camera. Noah wakes a giant before running back toward the men with a weapon, and he gets bonked.

He himself awakens to witness several other rock monsters, each with decent-looking rendering. They speak, and one of them is cynical about Noah’s motives in heading toward Methuselah’s mountain. His distrust makes sense–you have nature-evoking monsters resisting the whims of a man whose bloodthirsty forces show contempt for the earth. One of the Watchers tells Noah their history: they pitied Adam and Eve as they fell into sin. These creatures were angels who came to Earth to help mankind, though such was not their place, making their story feel similar to both the Greek story of Prometheus and Star Trek’s Prime Directive. Now they are stranded in shells. A scene of many evil men being burned up is quite a spectacle despite the surrounding movie trying to condemn violence (including its own? The action scenes throughout are too much fun to make a message like this work).

Paramount Pictures - Noah 2014 - evil men being burned - from http://www.noahmovietruth.com/2014/04/did-methuselah-really-protect-the-watchers-noah-movie.html
Not pictured: Many, many crispy, wicked men.

Noah and Shem eventually reach Methuselah, who looks and acts somewhat like Yoda but sounds like Gimli. He is a delight of a grandfather, and the two older men (Shem is asleep) discuss the future fate of the world. Noah wants to intercede on its behalf and save it from destruction, and he eventually has another vision–it’s the bow of the giant vessel known as the Ark, with masses of animals gravitating toward it. He is also given a seed from Eden. As with any story based on pre-existing material, blatantly straying from that material can make the plot unpredictable and its purpose unclear, but most of the numerous changes are entertaining in their own way, even as the film feels more like a standard but well told fantasy epic than a fastidious “Bible story.”

Noah plants the seed, and from it God instantly creates a beautiful forest, complete with really good animation that looks much better than what the Watchers get. There’s a massive time lapse, with tons of different nature scenes that look like The Tree of Life on fast-forward, and the Watchers are shown helping with the Ark, which is marvelously rendered, complete with wooden scaffolding and the visible internals of the ship structure. I don’t know if the wooden platforms could hold giant monsters with rock bodies, but whatever. God did it.

Paramount Pictures - Noah 2014 - Ila and her mate Shem - from http://newsnyork.com/noah-movie-review/
The first person to make a Gryffindor joke gets to swim.

Ila and her mate Shem are playfully chasing each other, and the former’s Emma Watson doesn’t come across like her well-known role of Hermione Granger at all. Rather than being friendly but bookish, she is amazingly considerate first and foremost, stopping their displays of increasingly passionate affection when she notices the still single Ham looking on, and her kindness persists throughout the story. Though the Biblical account mentions Noah’s sons having wives when they enter the Ark (Genesis 6:18, 7:13), the movie makes one of its most noticeable divergences and deprives Ham of one, for which his desires make up a large part of his character motivations. Japheth is still fairly young at this point.

Birds of all kinds have come, and their swirling for the camera is an amazing sight. Naameh is working with plants and filling various food bowls; Noah never doubts his or God’s plans, so not only does this showcase the faith God has given him, it also keeps the plot from slowing down (“no, God, I’m going to go do something else”) while the audience waits for the inevitable. Before any of that happens, however, Tubal-cain and his men show up again. He was cynical about ‘miracles’ at first when he saw the birds, and he thinks that the Ark is intended as protection from him and that God doesn’t care what happens in this world. While Noah trusts in God and in the Watchers, Tubal-cain trusts only in his own abilities and equipment, plus the men at his back. He intends to survive the coming storm (if there will even be one) in Noah’s ship and to crush the giants while he’s at it.

The animals come in an orderly fashion, not in a stampede, and they all seem to be in single pairs (as opposed to seven pairs for certain animals–Genesis 7:2-3–but explaining the difference would probably slow the movie down). At this point I’m wondering what will happen to the Watchers, an important question the film hasn’t really dwelled on, since Rock-types are weak to Water, after all. Tubal-cain’s “forces” are in disarray, many of them starving and heavily demoralized, and they’ve resorted to cutting up animals as their finite resources run dry without the continued and undeserved grace God gives. Donning a hood, Noah takes a look at his aggressor’s civilization, which is a hellhole, complete with cannibalism, a man offering his girls (whether for sex or food) in exchange for meat, and one poor animal having its leg ripped off while it’s still alive.

Paramount Pictures - Noah 2014 - Tubal-cain's wretched city - from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/filmchat/2014/02/noah-faces-tubal-cain-in-new-tv-spot-for-noah.html
Did at least some people simply follow Tubal-cain due to lack of choice? I don’t know, but that would be tragic.

As Noah’s feet are shown to be stained in blood while fire begins falling from the sky, I’m reminded of how I felt going in to watch this film. Based on Aronofsky’s The Fountain, I wasn’t expecting a positive or sympathetic portrayal of God, since even the firmest of believers would have reason to admit that the idea of wiping nearly all life from the earth is at the very least a tragedy, whether necessary or not. No such emotional challenges come in this film, and after seeing the consummate wickedness that so many of these people exhibit, I unfortunately felt nothing at their demise, nor did the movie seem to ask me to. It’s no wonder Noah is too shocked for words to explain to Naameh just what he’s seen.

Ham has run off, and Ila chases after him, yelling for Ham so many times that I feel like I’m watching Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo again. Wives for the younger boys aren’t coming yet, and Noah and his wife begin to have their first dramatic divide, as Naameh appeals to the boys’ goodness and their positive attributes while Noah thinks he and his family will complete their task only to die like everyone else, an idea Naameh at least tries to rebuke him for.

Tubal-cain, who doesn’t actually cease to be relevant in the story when the flood comes, is an immoral but highly engrossing character who continues making armor when the rains come and declares himself to be like God in the giving and taking of life. “We are men,” Tubal-cain says to a civilization with many starving women and children, and men united are “invincible.”

Paramount Pictures - Noah 2014 - water rushing into the Ark - from http://collider.com/noah-movie-images-emma-watson/

It may be important to note that, since emotional violence is something I’ve never really enjoyed in my movie-watching, this film’s excess in this area is probably its single biggest failing. If seeing a girl beg repeatedly for her life in torture fashion (to no avail, of course) is not something you are willing to mentally accept and deal with, you may want to skip this scene, and I’ve known several people who avoided the entire movie because they simply know things like this set them off. While Noah’s physical violence seems fairly typical for the rating, arguably minus a shot of one man’s bloodied leg only half-attached, this is downright terrifying and not at all something I would be comfortable with allowing children or young teenagers to watch. As if that weren’t enough, the girl gets stomped, and the audience gets to watch.

More enjoyable, yet far more intense, are the escalated conflicts between Tubal-Cain and the Watchers, who are being assaulted by his fire weapons and in some cases impaled. The movie never tries to blame God for any of this, and as the conflict nears its conclusion, the entire world is covered in huge storms while water springs up from the earth, causing the Ark’s scaffolding to fall away. There’s a genuinely amazing scene of Noah himself being trapped outside the Ark and desperately trying to enter. He ends up haunted by the screaming of the people caught in the Flood, though why the movie gives all of them less emotional emphasis than it gave one girl, I have no good idea. Ila and Shem want to save lives, and Noah’s decision of whether to kill them all is, for him, a difficult and remarkable dilemma. As the waves rise, many people cling to rocks and mountains, which does them no good–they simply fall into the water, nameless, and the film essentially forgets about them.


Noah’s arc

Paramount Pictures - Noah 2014 - interior of the Ark - from http://collider.com/noah-movie-images-emma-watson/

At the film’s halfway point, it sheds its fantasy trappings and becomes a compelling if sometimes macabre character drama. The story’s namesake is telling the story of God’s creation, and it’s beautiful, even as the lightning and fire could potentially set off sensitivities to rapidly flashing lights. Noah reminisces on the initially perfect state of the heavens and the earth before the first man and woman are shown in their sin, which then manifests as Cain killing Abel, followed by armies against armies. Noah’s demeanor becomes more pessimistic, leading him to ponder some very negative decisions for the sake of creation. Said family has other ideas.

(Minor spoilers ahead.)

Despite his uncertainties, when Noah calls to God, the Lord remains just as silent as He was when Tubal-cain tried doing the same thing. This causes many problems, since (as more sensitive Bible-minded viewers may want to know) Noah, despite his faith, doesn’t hold himself morally accountable to anyone except himself and his confident but often inconclusive beliefs of what God wants. He and Tubal-cain feel like self-dependent character mirrors who each make up a lot of their ideas as they go, except that the latter doesn’t even bother claiming his beliefs are from God. I’m just going to say it–Noah starts the movie a likable character but develops backward into an out-and-out jerk. His abrupt change of heart toward the end of the film feels less like a logical decision, in light of everything else he’s done and believed throughout the story, and more like the movie trying desperately to give its two hours of madness a happy and cathartic ending.

(Spoilers end here.)

In fairness the film’s second half is quite hard to elaborate on without spoiling everything, and yet that half isn’t so integral to the story as to make explanation unavoidable like it was for Last Temptation. Even if Noah’s character development doesn’t always make a lot of sense, however, the interactions of everyone around him are stellar, particularly as some of Noah’s intentions threaten the love and trust of his entire family and make parts of the drama that much more scarily plausible. That being stated, I did find the film’s ending satisfying even if the events leading up to it could be rather uneven at times. Ham’s ending is more bittersweet, which in this telling makes its own sad kind of “sense” after all that he put his father and family through. And that really only leaves one question.


Conclusion: Was it worth it?

Paramount Pictures - Noah 2014 - animals heading toward the Ark - from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140328-noah-animals-ark-movies-hollywood/

Ultimately I really liked the story, minus a considerable portion of its lead’s behavior. Noah’s family, his world, and even his nemesis are all particularly interesting to witness, and for the most part I went along with the changes this movie made to the Biblical narrative, since those changes usually kept the story fun to watch. (People familiar with the original story may remember its unpleasant epilogue, and on that note there is a shot of rear male nudity some viewers will want to be aware of.) This leads me to a narrative dilemma that to this day I haven’t resolved.

Let us assume for the simple sake of discussion that the Bible is a reliable account of history, therefore making the moments where God steps in to directly intervene less “convenient” and more “it just happened that way.” That being stated, Noah is meant to entertain, not to be a historical recording, and yet it still has its moments where God provides a conflict resolution just in the nick of time. Is a deus ex machina still only that when in the context of a historical story that’s been rewritten for the sake of drama?

Beyond all of this, the film in the end is a genre-shifting apocalyptic epic-fantasy character drama whose experiments are usually successful, and I would say its biggest obstacles will be the inordinate variety of content issues (intense violence including the Watchers’ bodies being ripped apart, scenes of rapid flashing lights, emotional trauma, some nudity) that I expect to divide audiences looking for “clean” Biblical entertainment just as much as would the story’s own decisions. I was able to enjoy the film despite all of these issues, but I can speak for no one else and have personally known several people for whom one or more of these issues was a deal-breaker. Noah is quite a lot of things, not all of them good or consistent (the environmentalist message seems to get largely dropped after the first third of the movie), but it is never boring, and if all these things will not be a problem for you, I really do believe this movie is worth your time.

Paramount Pictures - Noah 2014 - rainbow - from http://throughancienteyes.blogspot.com/2014/04/noah-bloodline-of-watchers-and.html
That does kind of make a sequel impossible, which is just as well.

Image credits (property of Paramount Pictures)

- Movie postersource
Noah’s familysource
The burning hordessource
Ila and her mate Shemsource
Tubal-cain’s ‘society’source
The Floodsource
Ark interior – as previous
Animalssource
Rainbowsource


This post was written and published on my movie-review blog, Projected Realities.

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Here’s a video showing Final Fantasy XVs NPCs http://www.takuchat.com/heres-video-showing-final-fantasy-xvs-npcs/ http://www.takuchat.com/heres-video-showing-final-fantasy-xvs-npcs/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 11:21:26 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27187

In the video many questions are answered, but sadly most are just rehashes of information we already know. Though we do get to see some new pictures, I recommend skipping through the video. Check it out- More from TakuChat In … Continue reading

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In the video many questions are answered, but sadly most are just rehashes of information we already know. Though we do get to see some new pictures, I recommend skipping through the video.
Check it out-

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