Kingsglaive: The Lone Gamer’s Movie Review

Posted in Action Adventure, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy XC, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff on September 18th, 2016 by thelonegamer

Well, at least it’s much better than Spirits Within.

As the gaming world counts the weeks to the late November release of the long-in-development Final Fantasy XV, gamers all over have a wide selection of material to occupy their attention before the actual game hits. Of course there’s the anime OVA series, FFXV Brotherhood (nowhere near as good as FMA Brotherhood, I assure you), which is of course made to introduce us to the heroes of the game- Prince Noct of Lucis and his roadies. Kingsglaive, a fully-CG animated film, is another such prologue, though much more immediate to the events within the game.

As the opening seconds of the movie roll in with the familiar voice of Lena Heady (our most beloved mad queen of Westeros) giving narration, we are introduced to the big players- Lucis is the ‘peaceful kingdom of magic’ while opposite them is The Empire of Nifleheim, a militaristic nation powered by Magitek (ah, Magitek, we know you so well). The Empire of course is on the verge of total victory, with the capital city of Insomnia (really? A city is named after a sleeping disorder?) the only remaining bastion of Lucis’ control. After a flashback showing some tragic events that befall Lucis’ former ally, the country of Tenebrae, we get into the thick of action with the Kingsglaive.

The titular Kingsglaive are apparently Lucis’ main (or perhaps only) military force- not sure about how many, but there seem to be not many- certainly nowhere near a hundred strong. The Glaive are ‘mighty warriors’, all of whom are recruited from Lucis’ provinces (all of which are probably now under Empire control or attack) due to their ability to use magic. The magic they wield though comes from one source- the King of Lucis himself, King Regis (voiced by another GoT stalwart, Sean Bean). So who are the Glaive? They look kinda cool- very similar to Assassins from Assassins Creed, but in black and wielding one main weapon- a dagger or short blade which they use primarily to ‘Warp Strike’; as in, they throw the dagger and then can teleport to wherever the weapon goes. While it certainly LOOKS awesome, I find it highly impractical and sorta haphazard. I guess the Glaive are trained to be really good and accurate throwers, but come on- you’re limited by throwing range, the speed of the person’s arm, his accuracy, the fact that they can go wildly out of control (and many do in the course of the action) with a bad throw.

Anyway, in these couple of dozen or so fighters is Lucis’ main defense. What has the enemy got? Oh, aside from armies of certainly a lot more soldiers, both human and mechanical (armed with GUNS), they have Magitek war machines AND apparently controlled monsters (just like in the games!) which range from flying creeps and cannon fodder to larger beasts like a Cerberus (three-headed fire dog) and a smoky demon which also seems to be half mechanical. How a few guys with daggers is able to hold off such a force is beyond me. But well, somehow they do.

Or do they? At the moment of apparent defeat, the Empire withdraws, allowing the Kingsglaive to get a breather. Later on, the court of King Regis is visited by a strange visitor- the shabby but kinda cool-looking Ardyn Izunia, perhaps the first Final Fantasy villain ever to sport a fedora and what seems to be a beak on his right arm (really, WHAT THE HELL IS HE WEARING?). Ardyn brings an offer of peace- well, pretty much an armistice, which offers a stop to the war at the cost of Lucis surrendering all its territories save Insomnia itself. Oh, and the Prince must also marry the Princess Lunafreya, who has been an Imperial captive/ward all this time.

Of course, you just know that the Empire is up to no good, and from there it’s a nice build-up to the day of the treaty signing. In the meantime, we see ugly sides of Lucis, which utterly puzzle me. So the Kingsglaive are all recruited from non-residents of Insomnia… WHY are they regarded by Insomnians with an obvious racist disgust? They are DEFENDING YOU, IDIOTS. The Glaive themselves are not your picture of loyalty or unity either- of course, you have the gung-ho, fearless hero Nyx, his clumsy oaf of a best friend Libertus and the one hot girl, Crow. The rest are either faceless and unimportant or belligerent or smarmy. With their ranks thinned and dissent growing cracks in their resolve, in the Kingsglaive may lie the fate of Lucis as the Imperial plot soon unfolds.

First off, the movie is GORGEOUS. That much can be said readily. There’s a lot of detail in the characters, and its much improved from previous Final Fantasy films. Faces of many characters look great, and at least by this time we don’t really think uncanny valley that much any more. However, there seems to be a slight disjoint between lip syncing- or perhaps the mouths of characters don’t quite seem to jive with the words.

While the first half of the movie up to when the shit hits the fan, the movie is quite engaging. However, after a certain point and we head into an unwieldy final act, it all crumples into a mess of a pursuit/chase, and large scale “Giant Monster’ action and action that’s so zippy and flashy, it can only be described as anime. Things happen to characters that normal humans would not walk away from easily, betraying the CG nature of the actors and the world. And the action in the final battle, while pretty amazing, seems hollow, without weight and ultimately, unsatisfying.

But then, I guess Kingsglaive is not meant to satisfy. It’s here to set the stage- with the bad guys winning or on the upswing, while the heroes are- well, they’re not here. The real heroes are in the upcoming GAME, which you will need to play to get closure. I wonder though how closely they’ll keep this movie to the final game? In that way, I guess that while Kingsglaive has its faults, it was worth seeing and certainly has me stoked into kicking Imperial butt this November on my PS4.

Dead Fantasy’s Monty Oum Passes Away

Posted in Action Adventure, Dead or Alive, Fan Service, Fantasy, Fighting Games, Final Fantasy, Gadgets, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies on February 3rd, 2015 by thelonegamer

A Preview of Monty’s Dead Fantasy 8 at AKon22.

You may or may not have heard of the name Monty Oum, but if you surf the web a lot and watch anime, you may have seen some of the earlier work of this late web animator. He became known mostly for his cross-over Machinima videos, featuring characters from different franchises clashing together in battles you’d probably only see otherwise in fan fics or fanboy wet dreams- such as his first work, Haloid (bringing together Halo and Metroid) in 2007.

The Released episodes of the Dead Fantasy Series.

His most popular work is arguably the Dead Fantasy series, which threw together characters from the fighting game Dead or Alive against the heroes of Final Fantasy. It was all done using the actual models from the games, but with fight scenes and an eye for angles and dramatic effect that would do Hong Kong fight choreographers and anime directors proud. The Dead Fantasy series would go on for six episodes in the next few years, until Monty went into a prolonged hiatus, showing only brief previews of upcoming parts afterwards.
When Oum announced his employment with Rooster Teeth as a web series animator, his indie works were put on hold. Ten days ago, he was hospitalized and in a coma following a severe allergic reaction to a routine medical procedure. Despite all efforts including crowd-sourced funding to support him, Monty Oum passed away on Feb. 1, 2015. He was 33.

I don’t really know if the cool videos Monty created were art, but they were definitely entertainment and brought many a fanboy dreams to eye-opening reality. One can only imagine now if only he was given a chance to, at what he could have accomplished with his wonderful eye and imagination for action-fantasy. Thanks for the awesomeness, Monty.

Final Fantasy Tactics Hitting iPhone This Week!

Posted in Fantasy, Final Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, iGaming, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch on August 1st, 2011 by thelonegamer

The iOS version is optimized with full touchscreen controls. Swipe that job wheel!

Famitsu has just announced that their long-awaited classic strategy-RPG, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, will FINALLY hit the appstore on Thursday, August 4. Delayed several times after initially being announced for a 2010 release, this PS1 classic has been on iGamers’ wish lists for a loong time. That it’s a perfect fit for iOS devices is demonstrated in a demo vid over at Famitsu- the iPhone version of FFT has been given fully-functioning touchscreen controls- swipe physics are implemented, and navigating through menus looks pretty intuitive and easy. In battle, you can conveniently rotate the battlefields to get a better view of the action, and pinch to zoom in or out. Pretty slick!

Remembered by Square fans for it’s addictive stat-building, wealth of jobs and classes, compelling storyline and challenging scenarios, Final Fantasy Tactics will surely eat away hours as players build their army of death dealers to survive a treacherous world of ambition, conspiracies, intrigue and demonic invasion. I’m thinking, will I finally be able to figure out what a damn Calculator is for in combat?

The version to be released this week is for iPhone and iPod Touch. An HD iPad version is expected to follow later in the fall. You can find a cool video showing off live gameplay over here.

Final Fantasy XIII: 10 Things Off the Top of My Head

Posted in Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy XIII, Gaming, My Stuff, PS3 on March 14th, 2010 by thelonegamer

Finally got to start playing the latest Square-Enix opus, Final Fantasy XIII, this weekend. I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about this latest FF, not all of it good. I didn’t finish the last couple of installments in the series, but I decided to give this one a try. Well, how am I finding it so far?

10. It’s freakin’ GORGEOUS. No ifs and buts about it, the game looks amazing on my 42″ LCD, in full 1080p through HDMI. Well, at least the pre-rendered CG bits do. The real-time segments are still eye-pleasing, though bits like fingers aren’t as impressive as the characters’ faces.

9. The Voice Acting is Pretty Good. I mean, the performances, at least. Some of the dialogue though can get cheezy. “Your Hero is here”?! Yeesh.

8. Combat is interesting. Albeit in the early goings-on it’s your usual slap-matches, kinda like FFXII, but you don’t control or move anyone directly. Once I get in deeper and open more options, it should get a lot better. For now though… repetition is kinda getting to me.

7. Character designs are here and there. Once again, a mish-mash of odd-looking protagonists. Main heroine Lightning looks like a futuristic elf-warrior, while Snow walked out of some Japan pop drama. The oddest are probably Snow’s posse, with a barmaid who walks around with an assault rifle in one hand over her shoulder and a guy who hunches like Blanka from Streetfighter. It’s good that the graphics are so nice, you take these things as a matter of course.

6. What is up with Vanille? I’m sure this perky jailbait who can just traipse into monster-infested grounds or restricted magical army territory and kill things with a weird staff/wand/fishing line has an explanation somewhere, but I’m sure it won’t be enough.

5. I wanna hug Lightning until she pops and showers the room in magical neon sparkly-strings.

4. It’s all very linear, but I don’t mind. Story seems very interesting.

3. Comic-relief companion Sazh Katzroy and his afro-living Chocobo sidekick aren’t as irritating as I thought.

2. When is the hot chick in the blue sari showing up?

1. I really hope this doesn’t take too long to finish. Because I wanna finish it.

So far, so good, I guess. The combat’s getting deeper with Paradigms and tactics as I get deeper. Haven’t met the villains yet, just the flunkies. All in all, it’s a gorgeous adventure with a colorful cast of characters. Yeah, it’s FF, and it’s back.

Famitsu scores Final Fantasy XIII

Posted in Fan Service, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy XIII, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, RPGs, Xbox360 on December 9th, 2009 by thelonegamer

Kotaku just posted a scan of the latest issue of Famitsu, with the review scores for the upcoming Square-Enix epic, Final Fantasy XIII. The latest FF gets a 39/40, a wonderful score by any measure, though probably score whores may bristle. This still puts FFXIII in the higher echelons of Famitsu-scored FFs. In comparison, FFXIII got the same score as FFX, and score higher than FFVII (38). The highest scored FF is still FFXII at a perfect 40.

What does this mean? Absolutely nothing, dudes. The game will sell through the roof there, as it will outside of Japan. Lightning and company will be playing on PS3′s and Xbox360′s everywhere in the next few months.

Check out the original article here.

Played the Dissidia Final Fantasy Demo…

Posted in Action Adventure, Fighting Games, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VII, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PSP, RPGs on August 12th, 2009 by thelonegamer

… and well, it was okay. You get several characters (Cloud, Terra, Sephiroth among others) whom you take through several fights, each one teaching you the basics like Brave Attacks, HP Attacks, Quick Moves, Power Moves and so forth. To call this a Final Fantasy Fighting Game would not be totally wrong, however it’s also not totally right. It seems to be as much a real-time strategy/RPG as it is a fighting game; it’s not so much your use of combos and quick reflexes as it is getting your character into the right position, using the right moves and building up your powers with customizations. If you expect to blow through this with button-mashing, you’re gonna be very surprised as your character flounders about in floaty jumps, swinging at the air while the enemy pelts you with spells or missiles, then summons a super-attack to Ultima your ass.

Still, it was pretty entertaining to beat the heck out of Tidus and Squall (although Cloud always expressed regret at the end of the round) and later the heavily armored Garland. It’s not a Tekken or Soulcalibur- that much players have to realize going in. If you’re looking for more conventional beat ‘em up action, wait for Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny. For those wanting to lay the smackdown on FF’s Finest with quite a bit of RPG-esque micromanagement, Dissidia is out later this month.

Final Fantasy XIII Looks Amazing

Posted in Final Fantasy, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, RPGs on January 29th, 2009 by thelonegamer

Square-Enix just posted a new trailer to their long-awaited (and still being awaited) sequel, Final Fantasy XIII. The HD vid shows off, as usual, amazing CG cutscenes along with some gameplay. I still have no freakin’ idea what’s going on in this new adventure… but well… that’s pretty much par for the course in ANY Final Fantasy… heheh… anyway, it looks pretty awesome. Surely a game to keep on any gamer’s radar.

Since SE seems to be very protective of the trailer, best check it out at the official site. Click here.

New (well, at least kinda new) MGS4 Trailer

Posted in Action Adventure, Final Fantasy, Gaming, Metal Gear Solid 4, PS3 on April 24th, 2008 by thelonegamer

Here’s a new trailer from Nicovideo Japan that’s been turning heads all day today. It’s actually not totally new- most of the scenes are from previous trailers, just remixed and re-edited and shown with some cool, dramatic voiceovers and music. But the ending sequence shows a scene that’s pretty new, though familiar. And it’s finally cool to see green stuff and vegetation in a MGS4 spot… heh.

Check it out!

Dealing with a Crisis

Posted in Action Adventure, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VII, Gaming, PSP, RPGs on March 21st, 2008 by thelonegamer

I got my copy of Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core for the PSP, and it looks pretty awesome. The game is the latest and perhaps last part of the Compilation of FFVII series, which has so far not gained the total respect of critics to say the least. But the reviews for Crisis Core seem to be pretty good, and the game looks to have the same drama, tragedy, action and wonder that permeated the original game, which should make for some tearful but engrossing RPG action. The story, of course, involves the player putting on the boots of Soldier 2nd-Class Zack Fair. Aside from his tour of duty as Shinra special operative, Zack has to contend with a mysterious rebellion among Soldier, conflict with his mentor and friend Angeal, potentially lethal run-ins with a pre-psychotic Sephiroth and an inevitable fate that is sure to be not pretty. Still, it looks to be an awesome ride.

The combat seems pretty cool, combining real-time running around with weapon/attack/move selection, and some odd factors like a slots-like interface in the side affecting the course of combat. The presentation is excellent, with Advent Children-esque CG movies and superior PSP graphics for the real-time parts. All in all, this is probably one game FFVII fans should not miss if they have Sony’s portable… just prepare the tissues. Full review once I get around to it then.

Final Fantasy XIII Details

Posted in Final Fantasy, Gaming, PS3, RPGs on January 24th, 2008 by thelonegamer

The latest issue of Famitsu Japan revealed quite a bit of information about Square Enix’s next big RPG, Final Fantasy XIII. Yeah, we’ve all heard before that the game is set between the two worlds of Cocoon (a floating utopia created by crystals) and Pulse (the natural, more dangerous world beneath).

The previously shown hero character, a female warrior named Lightning (not her real name), is joined by a bandanna-wearing guy, and this time by a pigtailed girl (not Ranma). All three are assumed to be playable characters, as well as members of the Lusi, a special breed of individuals chosen by mysterious, supernatural beings known as the Farsi to carry out special tasks. It appears that Lightning at least has a mission to bring down Cocoon, on orders from the mysterious Farsi. This is enigmatic since the Farsi are apparently the ones who created Cocoon in the first place.Taking a bigger role in the game and story apparently are Summons, including veterans like Shiva (who can transform into a bike), Ifreet and Carbuncle. It is not known how large or to what extent in the game their role is, but it has been seen that they will play a part outside of just simple battles.

A demo of Final Fantasy XIII has been implied to arrive sometime in late 2008, to give players a feel for the game’s battle system. I however have no illusions that this almost-legendary title will be appearing on our PS3′s anytime soon. Well, all we can do is wait and see. More on this as it happens, and there should be more in the months ahead.

You can check out scans of the latest Famitsu feature on FFXIII at Gamersyde.