In other game news, I have to say that in spite of all the different blunders Sony has committed since launching the PS3, one thing that they've actually done well is the connectivity between the PS3 and the PlayStation Portable. I expected all kinds of hassle, but it was totally simple and painless. They get points for that, if nothing else. Speaking of which, I downloaded Crimson Room Reverse last night and was messing around with it for a few minutes.
I had never heard of it before but, from what I understand, the entire premise is that the player is trapped inside a room, and must search around for different items in order to solve puzzles and earn their escape. My interest was piqued immediately, though I must admit that after actually starting the game, I had no friggin' clue what was going on. I didn't even make it through the tutorial. Granted, I was half asleep when I tried, so I will definitely down a few cups of coffee before my next attempt.
Getting pretty close to the 30-hour mark and I'm still enjoying the game quite a bit. It's probably the most pleasant Final Fantasy experience I've had since Final Fantasy X, but as the game goes on, more and more of its warts are starting to show.
For example, when story events that move the plot forward are happening with a reasonable amount of frequency, the game really picks up a lot of energy and starts popping nicely. However, there have certainly been a few twists and turns that feel like they are included for no reason other than making the game longer. Foremost in my mind, taking a side trip to the village of the Viera (as visually pleasant as it may have been) and the resulting trip to the mine immediately afterward. Neither added anything to the experience or the story, and my interest started to flag a bit during those sections. The story itself is good enough that I don't really feel the need (or desire, really) for extra doglegs slowing things down.
Another downer, I finally hit the first section of the adventure where I felt like I sincerely needed to grind in order to progress. Bosses that inflict multiple status ailments at once or who have some other sort of "gimmicky" attack really grate on my nerves. Considering that money for gear is generally pretty tight and that players have to "buy" Licenses with earned points in order to equip certain weapons/armor/skills, that makes cheesy boss encounters extra annoying in Final Fantasy XII.
Upon getting to a certain area, the boss on duty had an automatic "Slow" effect on any players wearing metal armor. I had no way of knowing this of course, and naturally, my entire team was kitted out in metal. The answer? Grind out some dollars and buy different armor. The boss immediately afterwards was an Ice-themed 5-on-3 battle that was a struggle until I took the time to earn some more License points and activated a few skills that I hadn't previously unlocked. It wasn't a terrible ordeal, but the game basically ground to a halt while I took care of this busy work.
I get that the adventure wouldn't be nearly as entertaining if every boss was a cakewalk, but it's a little more work than usual to deal with these kind of wrenches in the gears. Tough fights are one thing—fights that make you completely rearrange your team and your tactics with this kind of leveling system are something else. Fingers crossed that these kinds of situations don't pop up too often from here on out… Mass Effect 2 comes out in about three weeks or so, and if I haven't freed Ivalice by then, Final Fantasy XII is going to find itself on the "I'll get back to ya" shelf.