>uh-oh, pt. 2

>Sorry if that last post was too cliffhanger-y; I suddenly looked at the time and realized I had to be somewhere else in a hurry.

So, then: yes! I finally finished FF13’s infamous Chapter 11, and now I’m a few checkpoints into Chapter 12. And I’m still very much on board.

The game’s got some issues, of course, and the biggest is its pacing, which is all over the place. The first 15 hours are relentlessly linear and incredibly confusing, story-wise, and then suddenly the game pulls a 180 and gives you nothing but side missions and wide open spaces to traverse. The game picked up for me once I decided to be done with the side missions and start getting back into the story, and now the game feels perfect: I feel like I’m making legitimate forward progress, the environments are more and more stunning, and – most importantly – I’m really getting into the battle system.

To wit: for the first 40 hours or so, I mainly just stuck to the “Diversity” paradigm – i.e., melee/magic/medic. Even if it was slow and inefficient, it still generally got the job done. But now, suddenly, the Synergist and Saboteur roles are becoming more and more useful, and finishing a battle is now a bit like solving a puzzle – there’s a strategic element to planning everything out, and as a result the combat is far more engaging and enjoyable.

It is ridiculous that I’ve spent this much time with the game in the first place, but in the end, I’m glad I stuck with it. Especially considering how dry the release calendar has been of late – a game this long couldn’t have come along at a better time.

>uh-oh

>It wasn’t exactly a New Year’s Resolution, but my intention for 2010 was to stop spending so much money on music. Not that I was going to suddenly start stealing it – I was just going to be a little less brash and recklessly impulsive. And so far, I’m actually doing OK – I’m definitely on pace to spend less money on music this year than last year.

The problem, of course, is that those reckless impulses don’t just die; and now that I’ve got a bitchin’ computer and a Steam account that I can actually start paying attention to, I’m falling into the same patterns. To wit: Steam had a gigantic sale on a bunch of Codemasters racing games – 4 of which I’d already played on the 360 – and I bought ’em anyway. Shit, I ended up buying the GTA4 – Episodes from Liberty City pack, which I also own on the 360, and that wasn’t on sale.

I’m such a goddamned whore. And I still haven’t even really touched Dragon Age. (Although it must be noted – even though I’ve only played it for about an hour, it is soooo much better than the 360 port.)

And the thing is, I still spent the most time this weekend on Final Fantasy 13.

Speaking of which – I’m done with Chapter 11!