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  • [Review] The Last Story (Wii)

    [Review] The Last Story (Wii)


    Hironobu Sakaguchi, father of the Final Fantasy saga
    , left Square-Enix some years ago and since then he has been working on some RPG games like ASH, Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. His most recent game, "The Last Story", comes exclusively for the Wii in its last years as game console. Let's see the result of the return of Mr. Sakaguchi to Nintendo.


    Story

    The Last Story sets us in Lazulis Island, a prosper city of the human Empire. The leader, Count Arganan is having some troubles recently with the Gurak (ancient enemies of mankind) and he needs someone to clear a certain cave. This is what Zael and his friends are payed for since they are a band of mercenaries. During his mission Zael explores some old ruins to receive a mysterious power called “The Power of Outsider”. Something long time ago mentioned in old prophecies. Count Argan...
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  • No April fools joke this year.

    No April fools joke this year.

    I really haven't had the time do anything this year, honestly.
    ...
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  • [Review] Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

    [Review] Mario Kart 7 (3DS)



    Mario Kart. Probably those two words are enough for you to know exactly what I'm going to talk about. In the game history there are many great and funny games that last one generation of consoles, however others (and mostly Mario related games) are rebuild over and over for each new console keeping the same spirit of the original games. This time we talk about the new Mario Kart exclusive for the Nintendo 3DS.



    Gameplay

    Mario Kart 7 is not the revolution of the saga since it's been the same in the last 3 consoles (DS, Wii and 3DS) but it has some new interesting things, but first we're going to remember the common things. In MK the main event is the Grand Prix with the 4 cups (Mushroom, Flower, Star and Special) with 16 completely new tracks and the other 4 classic cups (Shield, Banana, Leaf and Lightning) with 16 classical tracks from previous games...
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  • [Review] Final Fantasy XIII-2

    [Review] Final Fantasy XIII-2

    ~ Final Fantasy XIII-2 ~
    ~ Square Enix ~
    ~ Age Rating: 16+ ~
    ~ Genre: JRPG ~
    ~ PS3/Xbox 360 ~





    Kupo~~


    Well its been a while I wrote one of those, so here it is finally, bit late, but here it is, Final Fantasy XIII-2, one of the rare ocurances where Square Enix actually continues a story with the same characters, and there are already 2 other games in this universe too (Type-0 (I'll review this one when the localised version comes out) and Versus), not the same characters tho, so at least square seems to like this universe a lot.

    The game has been improved quite a bit, but like with all improvements, some new problems came out, dont get me wrong, i loved the game, but it does deserve its critisism where its due.

    Also i apologise that this review is somewhat long, it wasnt intentional, but somehow it ended up twice longer than my normal reviews, so its a bit too long, but i couldnt really find where to narrow it down without removing relevant information. Also the screenies are a bit blurry, the game it self is sharp, but i dont have the ability to take my own screenshots on my current PS3 setup and finding ones without various companies logos plastered all over them is surprisingly hard.

    So my ranting aside lets dig into the game.



    Release dates:
    • December 15, 2011 ~ Japan
    • January 31, 2012 ~ NA/PAL
    • February 2, 2012 ~ Australia (Wow Ausies actually got a game before Europe did for once)
    • February 3, 2012 ~ International


    Ratings:
    • ACB: M
    • CERO: B
    • ESRB: T
    • PEGI: 16



    Graphics: Well the graphics are pretty much what you expected, not may changes here, they did reduce the texture resolution a little bit, but that is mainly because the last game choked in framerates a bit, especially on the 360 and this game features even larger areas. But apart from that the game is still one of the best looking console games to date. The new areas in the game are designed really really well, and some look really stunning, Acadamia 4XX AF for example, i know this name wont mean much for those who haven't played, but to sum it up its the major city of the game. Either way, you will get what you expected from the game, graphics are top notch and even if there are a couple things to pick on here and there, it is still a pleasure for the eyes.

    Sound: The sound is top notch, i really cant complain about anything here, i played the dubbed western version and watched videos of the Japanese one and voice acting is great in both of them, the music is great too, which is a trend in Final Fantasy series anyway, it has a lot more vocal songs than the last one, but they dont get annoying, and the Dying World 700AF music is just amazing, especially combined with the atmosphere there.

    Story: This i will write in 2 sections, the one right below this in spoilers WILL contain spoilers and read it only if you beat the main story or if you dont care.

    Well like with any story involving time travel the story does get messy a bit, but it is a very well writen one and i actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The story in a rough nutshell involves Lightning disappearing right after the end of the last game, and Serah being the only one that can remember her, so she joins up with a new character Noel, who is sent by Lightning to bring Serah, and they set out to find a way to get Lightning. It gets a lot more complicated than that, but i dont want to spoil anything for anyone. All the characters from the previous games make at least an appearance, some more involved, some less, but they are all still there. Story wise apart from the ending i dont really have a lot of things to pick on. As for the ending, here comes the spoiler part.
    Spoiler
    Ok seriously the ending was a punch in the face, like trully, i was sitting there with a WTF face all throughout the credits, they win, everything is fine, new cocoon launches with its incomprehensible name, happy music plays, everyone's happy and then... Serah just dies, really, they just killed her off, snap, just like that, and then everything just breaks apart and goes to shit, Lightning is frozen or dead or whatever, goddess is dead, Valahalla pops into existence, Mog dies too, not that anyone cares about him after Serah died... And if you unlocked or youtubed the secret ending, you also find out that Caius is still alive and that was his plan all along, which is like a second punch in the face. Really that is the most messed up ending in all of final fantasy series, i mean a lot of them had character deaths, some more sad, some less, but this one is just WTF.

    And the director isnt even being clear of what will happen with the series from this point, one of his arguments was that did that cos he wanted the players to explore the paradox endings, but i call total BS on that cos the paradox ending aren't even related to the ending and while are fun, dont add anything to the main story, the second thing he mentioned is DLC expansions. So at this point it is unclear, either there will be a FFXIII-3 which would be something totally new to the series since they never continued one story that long, and this one already has 2 games in it and 2 others that are based in the same universe (Type-0 and Versus) or it will be released as a DLC, either way that means money out of pocket to actually see a proper ending, stupid square enix.


    • Serah Farron - The true main character of this story, while both her and Noel are the leads, the story circulates around her a lot more than Noel. She is Lightnings sister, and was the only non playable core character in the previous game, now she is back, kicking an awesome battle dress. She is supposed to be 21 in the game, but i wouldn't give her one year over 16 personally, if that, but she is still pretty hot. Personality wise, i would have to label her "normal", meaning she doesn't have the extreme personalities like the characters in the previous games. She is likable though and makes a solid main role.
    • Noel Kreiss - The new addition to the series, a guy from a very distance future, traveling back in time with hopes to create a new future. Personality wise i found him a bit plain though, he is an alright character, i liked him even, but he could have held more depth.
    • Mog - Technically a main character, he is more like your personal assistant flying around you all the time, he also acts as Serahs weapon, transforming into it during battle. But boy did he get on my nerves sometimes, his personality is just silly, as if they weren't sure what to give him, so they made him into a.. greedy money loving mog? or something of the sort, although if he does annoy you, just toss him around a bit, he always screams like you are torturing him every time you throw him.
    • Lightning - She acts as a narrator of the game this time, observing everything from Valhalla, personality wise she hasnt changed at all from the previous game, still tsundere to the core, she is also playable for a bit in the prologue part of the story. (Also obtainable as a pet in DLC, see DLC section).
    • Sazh Katzroy - Only makes a short cameo appearance in the story, however now has his own DLC expansion which allows you to get him into his party (See DLC section)
    • Hope Estheim - Needs to be mentioned too as he plays quite a big role in the game, he is somewhat different than the Hope you seen in the last game, his personality is actually mature and strong now instead of the EMO boy in the previous game, and despite the fact i hated him in the last game he is actually not so bad here. Also his looks are changed some what, since the first time you encounter him is 10 years since the first game.
    • Vanille and Fang also make a Cameo appearance along with some new side characters, i will skip these to avoid making the section too long.



    Gameplay: Well the gameplay it self is very similar to what all of the final fantasies were, you have the running around part and the battle part. Unlike in the previous game, they switched back to the old system of random encounters, however it doesn't follow the same swooosh screen every 5 steps like before, now the monsters spawn next to you and you get this timer called moogle clock, during this timer you can either A) Hit the enemy before it hits you and get a preemptive strike B) Get hit by the enemy in which case the battle starts normally C) Try to run away, if you cover a set amount of distance between you and the enemy, the battle will cancel out, however some enemies are so persistent that they will change you to the ends of the world. If the timer runs out and neither of the previous mentioned point is reached, the battle will still engage and you will have the retry option locked, which means you cant use retry to fast end the fight and try to run away again and will have to see it through to the end (if you die you still get the retry option however).

    The maps them selves have undergone a lot of changes too, the previous game was accused over and over for being too linear, so now the areas are much wider, with plenty of side paths and such to explore, you no longer feel confined by 2 walls all the time, there are a lot less "invisible walls" that you could find in the previous game too, and your character can jump, which is actually used quite a bit in some areas.

    But the biggest addition is of course the time travel stuff, which allows you to hop back and forth between all the stages of the game, i call them stages, because they are separated by drastic location changes and loading (the loading times are a bit on the long side too, but the areas are huge and detailed so it's forgivable.). This does make the game some what less linear, though you still have to follow quite a straight path if you follow the story, there is a part where you can go two different paths, but in the end you will still have to do both of them, so its just choosing which doing first. It also has a time reverse option, which is quite nice, what it is, is basically an overglorified save game +. You can do that on any stage and that will allow you to replay that stage like you never done it before (minus the quest item collection), while letting you keep your characters as they are, it is used quite a bit to collect fragments, but mainly its just fun to go back and whoop some bosses ass you had troubles with before.

    The promised multiple endings are a bit of a false advertising, the only real alternative ending i would say is the bad ending you can get while getting the story (which btw you should get while you play the story the first time, will save you time backtracking later, it wont make you loose any work you put in anyway). The other endings labeled paradox endings are... well they are technically endings, but they are just really cutscenes of "what could have happened if..." and while they are quite fun to watch, they usually cut off right before it gets interesting and just makes you go aww, but what then. One of them is really funny though (The flan one for those who already played). There is no confirmation if these will be continued in DLC content or not, so it is hanging in the air so to say.

    Moving back to the whole time idea a bit, it is executed quite nicely, most of the areas will change some what depending on what time you are in, some over going cosmetic difference (Like it will be different season or something), to being completely new maps, but even the cosmetic changes will change the surroundings quite a bit, things get affected by time wear, areas can become accessible or inaccessible, and so on.

    The NPC/City issue has been addressed too, now there is plenty of NPCs and cities, though the shop is centralised still like in the previous game, though instead of a floating console (which never made sense in some areas), you now get this Chocolina chick that sprouts the most annoying lines ever and i find my self mashing X to skip dialog every time i talk to her just to shut her up. There are plenty of side quests too, like seriously plenty, a bit too many even i could say, im not sure about the quest count, but it will range between 60 to 100 depending if you count chain ones or not.

    During the story and from side quests you will get these items called Fragments, as items them selves they serve no purpose apart from having descriptions in your item list, by collecting certain amounts or all the fragments in certain areas, you will get fragment skills, which are gameplay skills, instead of battle skills, i will cover them right after the battle section. But getting them all is a pain, each quest will reward you one, so that means if you want to get all of them, you are inevitably stuck with doing all of them. And there are several very annoying ones, the top 3 being the slot machine one, where you need to win 7777 coins out of it, thankfully that one is easily solved by buying a ton of casino coins, and jamming the auto play key on your controller, and go away for an hour or two, and if you're lucky you will have gotten it. The second one is revealing all maps at 100%, which is just tedious and the gold medal winning one is of course kill EVERY monster in the game, all the bosses, special boss modes you might miss in your initial play through and so on, and boy does this game have a huge bestiary, ranging easily over 200, so be ready to pull up a guide if you want that one, because the game isnt nice enough to tell you what mobs you are missing.

    The grinding is less grindy too, at least XP wise, if you bother collecting fragments and get as much as you can before finishing the main story line (a couple of them require you to have it finished), just the rewards from obtaining them will be enough to max out 4 or even 5 of your jobs, the others you will max out just by leveling your pets. So that saves a lot of grinding, unlike in the previous game where the amount to max out end game was about the same you needed to max out before the main boss.

    But with making something good, they have to go ahead and spoil it with something else. For those who played the previous game and actually bothered getting the ultimate weapons, remember farming Trapezohedron? Remember the jolly 5% drops from Adamantoises, well guess what! They made that even harder to get, now it drops with the same marvelous 5% drop rate from a monster that is a lot harder to kill than a Long Gui (The nastier version of Adamantoise), and now you need a whooping 2 of them to craft it, and if you want auto haste hermes shoes, throw in another one, so thats at least 5 or 6 if you do both chars. So its a nightmare, i honestly have the game at 100% completion, but i only have 1 of the weapons. Luckily there are alternatives, one being a 50% ATB charge boosted weapon, which is frankly faster than the 6ATB block weapon, since 5+50%=7.5, but has less dmg, so it balances out on about the same, and the other is the Odin weapon, which is only really worth for commando mode, it is 5 bars and no boost but if you have all the fragments it has NASTY dmg.

    Battle system: This one hasnt't really gone through that many changes, if you played the previous game hop past the first paragraph to the second one where i will discuss the changes from the previous game. As for the ones who haven't played the first game, here's a quick rundown. The game uses an ATB (Active Time Battle) battle system, which you could see through out the whole game series being improved bit by bit, though unlike in older games like VII, it uses the style of X-2 and XII and is real time, though you still have to wait for your turn bar to charge up. For those who are unfamiliar with this at all, you basically have a bar charging and once the bar is full (or part full, depending what you do) your character will execute the action. Unlike in previous final fantasy games (with the exception of XIII of course) you control only one character and the other characters will be controlled by the AI, which seems to cause a lot of arguments about the game being less involved, i could counter that argument by using the same ever so popular FF VII as an example, but thats already a side discussion and not part of the review. Another new addition is the Paradigm system (onc...
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  • Review: MediaMan - Organize With Fun

    Review: MediaMan - Organize With Fun

    As with many here on HongFire, I have a decent anime collection (as well as books, manga, games, and music). Some media I have out on shelves for easy access, other media is on loan with friends and family, and the rest is boxed up in storage until I can get a dedicated gaming room. After much procrastination, I finally felt it time to find a means for organizing my collection digitally.

    I needed an application that was easy to use, supported multiple media types, visually easy to use and customizable. After trying various applications, MediaMan ended up on top; so this is my review of it.


    MediaMan Window
    Launching MediaMan brings up the main interface for viewing your collection, which is split up into different sections. The left pa...
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  • [Review] The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)

    [Review] The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)


    In 1998 a game called Ocarina of Time was released for the Nintendo 64 as the new adventure of Link, being one of the first full 3D games in history. For many critics is the best game ever made and for many fans one of the most loved ones. That game was a complete revolution adding a lot of new elements that later other games would copy. Last year inside the 25th anniversary of the Zelda saga a remake for the 3DS was released. There's a good and a bad thing with remakes; the good thing is that you can enjoy the same experience better (better graphics, fixing bugs, new quests...) but the bad thing is that you can compare it to newer games and the magic can be lost. Let's check the game. Link is a kid that lives in the Kokiri forest with other child...
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  • [Review] Girl of the Wild's [Korean] [Webcomic]

    [Review] Girl of the Wild's [Korean] [Webcomic]

    Girl of the Wild's




    Alternative Name: 소녀더와일즈

    Author: Hun

    Artist: Zhena

    Genre: Comedy, School Life, Fighting

    Release Cycle: at least once (1) a week

    Original Author's Website: http://comic.naver.com/webtoon/list....=1&weekday=sun





    Synopsis:

    Webtoon Live's (description)
    The artist of Pet Diary and Nineteen Twenty One, Zhena (Kim Hye Jin), and the writer, HUN, tell the story of a few little wild girls and their war-like life.

    Baka-Update's (description)
    Wilds high, it has a history of 42 years as a fighting specialist all girls private highschool meant solely for the elite. The place Wilds-League is held, the most popular event...
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  • [Review] Puella Magi Madoka Magica

    [Review] Puella Magi Madoka Magica



    Year: 2011
    episodes: 12
    Genre: Magic Girl, Drama, Fantasy
    Studio: SHAFT
    Writer: Gen Urobuchi
    Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
    Music: Yuki Kajiura


    “What creates life is a wish”

    - Magia
    What would you wish for? Would that wish be for your personal gain or for the sake of others? Regardless, how far are you willing to go to make that wish come true? Enter the world of the Puella Magi, where all of your deepest desire comes true for a very dear price. At first you may think of this as a typical Mahou Shojou (Magic Girl) genre anime with annoying characters and a childish plot, but by the time you delve deeper, you will know it is beyond any conformity and norms of a typical magic girl show. This anime will show to us the monstrosity of human nature in a subtle and unexpected manner. A rare form of anime that will make you question yourself, others, and humanity as a whole. In the world where Madoka Kaname lives in,...
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  • Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



    Hey folks. It's been an eventful year with its many ups and downs. Anyway, it's holiday time, and we want to wish you all to have the very best for your Christmas and New Years experience and hope that next year is very good to you, friends and guests alike.

    ~Cheers from all the staff at HongFire~...
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  • [Review] Professor Layton and the Last Specter (NDS)

    [Review] Professor Layton and the Last Specter (NDS)



    Professor Layton is back and we just have to celebrate it! Our favorite English gentleman face a new mystery in the first game of the new trilogy that, curiously, occurs before the already released games for the Nintendo DS. Here you will meet your assistant Emmy and a young boy called Luke.



    The specter of Misthallery One day Hershel Layton receives a letter from a old friend who is the mayor of a village called Misthallery, that looks a normal letter for an old friend but Layton shows to his new assistant Emmy Altava that there's a hidden message asking for help so they're gonna have to investigate. In that village there's a legend about an ancient specter that protects the village from any menaces but if someone asks the specter to use its powers for evil purposes, the specter will attack the village, and actually that's th...
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  • Idol of the month: September & October
    Juas



    Hello there fellow members of Hongfire! Here we are again to decide Hongfire's idol of the month and this time we want you to vote your favorite idol from our last month candidates!

    Misato Shimizu ( 清水みさと)


    24 Years old
    Measurements: 88 - 57 - 83 (cm)
    Gravure idol

    Ai Koromo ( 愛衣)




    28 Years old
    Measurements: 95 - 60 - 86 (cm)
    Gravure idol
    ...
    Misato Shimizu
    16.67%
    2
    Ai Koromo
    58.33%
    7
    Sayuki Matsumoto
    8.33%
    1
    Kokone Sasaki
    16.67%
    2
    10-03-2016, 12:55 AM
  • Idol of the month: August
    Juas


    Hello there fellow members of Hongfire! Here we are again to decide Hongfire's idol of the month and this time we want you to vote your favorite idol from our last month candidates!

    Misato Shimizu ( 清水みさと)




    24 Years old
    Measurements: 88 - 57 - 83 (cm)
    Gravure idol

    Yoko Kumada ( 熊田曜子)




    34 Years old
    Measurements: 92 - 56 - 84 (cm)
    Gravure
    ...
    Misato Shimizu
    11.63%
    5
    Yoko Kumada
    18.60%
    8
    Ikumi Hisamatsu
    39.53%
    17
    Yuka Kuramochi
    6.98%
    3
    Maho Hashimoto
    23.26%
    10
    09-03-2016, 02:40 AM
  • Idol of the month: July
    Juas

    Hello there fellow members of Hongfire! Here we are again to decide Hongfire's idol of the month and this time we want you to vote your favorite idol from our last month candidates!
    Misato Shimizu ( 清水みさと)




    24 Years old
    Measurements: 88 - 57 - 83 (cm)
    Gravure idol


    Yoko Kumada ( 熊田曜子)




    34 Years old
    Measurements: 92 - 56 - 84 (cm)
    Gravure idol

    ...
    Misato Shimizu
    13.73%
    7
    Yoko Kumada
    19.61%
    10
    Misaki Nito
    27.45%
    14
    Aki Hoshino
    17.65%
    9
    Kokone Sasaki
    21.57%
    11
    08-01-2016, 01:51 AM
  • Idol of the month: June
    Juas



    Hello there fellow members of Hongfire! Here we are again to decide Hongfire's idol of the month and this time we want you to vote your favorite idol from our last month candidates!
    Misato Shimizu ( 清水みさと)




    24 Years old
    Measurements: 88 - 57 - 83 (cm)
    Gravure idol

    Ikumi Hisamatsu( 久松郁実)




    20 Years old
    Measurements: 83 - 59 - 86 (cm)
    ...
    Misato Shimizu
    12.62%
    13
    Ikumi Hisamatsu
    12.62%
    13
    Yuuri Morishita
    34.95%
    36
    Aoi
    17.48%
    18
    Yuka Kuramochi
    22.33%
    23
    07-02-2016, 12:52 AM
  • S1 best actresses 2014
    Juas
    And this was in 2014, how can they be so damn sexy?
    ...
    06-27-2016, 06:52 AM
  • Naugthy grvavure idols
    Juas
    GrAVure

    The Japanese entertainment industry has a very powerful tool in everyone of its fronts: women. Indeed we can say that this is not exclusive to Japan but is probably a country where female idols are a phenomenon and it doesn’t matter if they are singers, actresses or just models.

    In this case is where we have our beloved and well known Japanese idols and more often than rarely cute and sexy gravure models take a step forward and become AV actresses. So thanks to a new case in this matter (that I’ll announce at the end) I’m gonna talk about a few of these girls.


    Arisa Oda


    The first woman that came to my mind when I was remembering girls. In 2004 Arisa Oda made her debut as gravure idol, made the typical sexy shots and even played as a character
    ...
    05-05-2016, 10:19 PM
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