General Gaming · Rants

My Final Final Fantasy X Thoughts: Torn Between Critiquing and Praising

As you may or may not know I have been playing, slowly but surely, through Final Fantasy X with some reservations about it due to my aversion to turn-based gaming (if you don’t you can read my previous posts about it here and here to fully understand my journey). Well I am pleased to say that I have finally finished it! It’s been a bit of a struggle occasionally but I suppose when all is said and done it has won me over. That doesn’t mean I haven’t found plenty of faults with it though. When I first started writing this post it was meant to be a straight up appreciation post but then I kept remembering things that really annoyed me about the game and I got carried away. Now this is a half rant, half appreciation post. I’ll get the ranting out the way first as it’s never good to end on a negative! Plus my ranting isn’t to be taken to heart or anything like that, FFX is definitely a good game, I just need to vent my feelings about some of the things that were bothering me, particularly at the end. Spoilers ahead!

FFX

So first off, I did not complete the game “fully” in that I didn’t complete any of the side quests. I really did try with the monster arena but WOW, how boring is that? Yeah, let’s just wack shit with a sword over and over again mashing the X button until I die of either boredom or old age.  No thank you. I know that it gets harder when you capture more difficult monsters and the monsters in the arena are insanely difficult of course but I think my aversion to turn based gaming came through way too much here, if it was a case of running round an area hitting stuff as I go and picking up XP automatically instead of SMASH! YOU’RE IN A BATTLE! Animation of monsters coming in, oh look it’s my turn, attack animation, animation of me winning, point allocation… Then that would be fine. Basically I don’t have the patience to catch all the monsters and then grind enough to get my team to a level where they can beat the monsters in the arena. Dan is currently trying to complete 100% of the game in his own playthrough and while I can appreciate how some may enjoy it, it’s not for me.

Now let’s talk about the final boss battles starting with Seymour “my-hair-looks-like-chopper-handlebars”. He is persistent I’ll give him that but his last boss battle was bullshit. Maybe I just got lucky with this or something but it seemed like the wheel things he was attached to (furthering the chopper theory) were supposed to move and change the elements he was attacking with every round but he just stuck with Firaga the whole time until I killed him. It was a bit disappointing. Then we have the battle with Jecht and I must say at this point, damn the boss battle music for that bit was so cool, plus he looked incredible. It was a shame that it was quite an easy battle. Same goes for the fight with the aeons and Yu Yevon. Plus they had made it so that you can’t die which took away any sort of risk. I did kind of appreciate it though because I had no intention of running through the time filler room between the last save point and Jecht where you have to collect ice balls and avoid running into ice shards again. That was a weird room. It also seemed like the boss battles were easier than a lot of previous battles. I had spent a lot of the game (under Dan’s almost manic strategic gaming style) getting to know all these different tactics, what to look out for, what should be equipped, etc but at the end it seems like they say “nah, don’t worry about all that, just go for it”.

Finally, you know I’m going to end my rant with Tidus. We finally get to Jecht after learning throughout the game, and through the Jecht spheres, about the sacrifice he makes and how he really does love his son, even though he’s a dick to him, Tidus has shown some character development around Jecht after finding his sphere message things… But being the arrogant douche canoe that he is Tidus McTwatwaffle ruins what could have been a nice moment at their reunion by telling his dad he hates him. I thought it had been established that he actually doesn’t and it’s obvious he doesn’t really, he just has a huge flair for the dramatic which Yuna, for some fucking reason, seems to find attractive. You can do so much better than him Yuna, get it together girl. Oh, and also “this is my story” get to fuck Tidus, you self-absorbed prick, it is not your story. It is Yuna’s story. She is the one that had to summon all her aeon friends to be killed at the end, she is the one that lost both you and Auron on the same day, she is the one that was plot central, she did literally everything in that game and even when she got kidnapped she was like “I think not”, leaped off a building and flew to safety. She even outlasted Tidus so many times in battle, he was constantly dying. I honestly do not know why Tidus was dreamt up, was it just so that he could shout at Jecht during the boss battle to stop him from going into overdrive mode? Seems like it. I would much rather have played as Yuna throughout the game I think it would have made more sense.

Yuna
The real hero of this story

On to brighter things now; this game is absolutely beautiful, has some amazing voice acting, music, characters, monsters… It’s great, it really is. The story was also very good, what I could understand of it anyway, I had to keep double checking with Dan that what I thought was happening was actually happening but I often get lost when there’s a complicated plot so I think that’s more my fault than the game’s. I know that my ranting above has made it sound kind of bad but I enjoyed playing it. I will also admit that when Auron was sent a sneaky tear fell down my cheek and I had to take some deep breaths. So yes, I would highly recommend this game, I liked it and I will now consider Final Fantasy games more than I used to. I guess you could say that Final Fantasy X won’t be my final Final Fantasy game.

Once Dan and I have moved in together we’re going to play through FFX-2 which I know is meant to be bad but we’re going to approach it in a light hearted manner and not take it too seriously.

FF X2

To finish off this post I would like to ask my FF fan readers some questions about the FFX plot which I am still unsure about:

  • Is Yu Yevon the god that they have been worshipping all this time? Who or what is it? If it is the god they’ve been worshipping then why do they keep worshipping it afterwards in the epilogue?
  • Why doesn’t Yu Yevon just possess the dark aeons? Those things are crazy hard to kill. Can he not possess something unless it’s inside Sin?
  • Why was Seymour so set on marrying Yuna? Why did it have to be her? He could have chosen any summoner once she refused him, couldn’t he?
General Gaming

Panic and Swoosh – An Accidental 10 Year Anniversary Post for Phantom Hourglass

Looking over my recent posts the other day I realised that, despite being a gaming blog, I haven’t actually talked much about the games I’m currently playing. Unfortunately, being the busy bee that I am at the moment what with leaving my job, sorting out new flat details, making another costume (I’m going to be a unicorn this time, stay tuned for that) and various other things that I have given myself to do despite my lack of time, my gaming life has had to take a back seat. I intend to remedy this as soon as possible but for now the only thing I have time to do is get killed by the Blood Starved Beast (yep, STILL on that dude, it’s getting embarrassing) in Bloodborne over and over in half hour sessions occasionally and play The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass on my way to and from work. I haven’t actually talked about Phantom Hourglass yet and I wasn’t going to, mainly because it’s really old now and therefore not exactly hot off the press “check out this amazing game!” but, maybe because it’s old now, the more I play it the more I realise that Phantom Hourglass is VERY into using all the features available to the Nintendo DS and it’s been a really long time since I have played a DS game that has done that, I know that back in the day when the DS was first a thing we had games that used all these features but now I have my 3DS with various Pokémon, Mario, and some other LoZ games but I rarely use the stylus, microphone or camera and when I do it’s optional (usually). As this keeps tripping me up – I didn’t expect to be doing things like shouting at my 3DS to get a low price on a salvage arm for my ship (among other things) – I thought, why not? Let’s post about it and give it some love! Also, this is a total coincidence and I didn’t realise until I Googled the release date out of curiosity, but it will be 10 years since Phantom Hourglass was released on the 23rd June so this can count as an anniversary tribute post!

I picked up Phantom Hourglass in a second hand shop a while ago and as soon as I started playing I hit a block. I couldn’t get Link to move. None of the buttons worked. As it was second hand my first thought was that the game was broken but then, after an embarrassing few minutes of me just raging at the screen, I had a “could it be..?” moment, dusted off the stylus and tapped an area on the screen which Link then moved to. Yes, it was super dumb of me, I groaned and face palmed too. It wasn’t long until I realised that EVERYTHING in this game relies on the stylus. With most of my aforementioned games I must admit that on the rare occasion I need to use the stylus for a quick tap on something (e.g. choosing a Pokémon move) then I will just tap it with my finger. This is obviously not the best way to keep my Nintendo in pristine condition but it doesn’t really do it any harm either. I feel like styluses seem to have been phased out of most Nintendo Games at the moment with it being more of an optional feature than a game dependant one. As a result I am really unused to using it constantly like I need to in Phantom Hourglass, and when I actually have to attack something poor Link ends up swinging his sword around in a battle technique I like to call the ‘Panic and Swoosh’, it’s usually accompanied by equally panicked, incessant yells of “HYAAA KYAA HYEEEEEH AAAAH!!!!”, pretty sure this translates to “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, CRAZY BITCH?!” I think I’m pretty far into the story though now though so I must be doing something right.

Tetra
Still want a game where we can play as Tetra, but I think that ship might have sailed (pun unashamedly intended)

Another feature this game makes use of, which I don’t think I have ever used on my Nintendo 3DS, is the microphone. This was an embarrassing moment. I was on the train sat in one of the areas with the table and there was another three people I didn’t know sat around it with me. Everything was very quiet. I was happily plugged into my 3DS and Link was running around outside the Temple of Wind. I realised that to get the temple door open I had to get some windmills spinning. Guess what you have to do to get them spinning? You have to blow on the mic. After realising this I had a sneaky look round and tried to blow, very discreetly on the mic. It didn’t work. That’s when I had another, worse, realisation: you have to make a blowing sound because it’s a mic, it can’t feel you actually breathing on it. I sat there for about 10 minutes trying to get those damn windmills turning by fake coughing, sighing very loudly, and even fake sneezing on the mic to no avail, after the fake sneezing I started to get some odd looks so I stopped and spent the rest of the journey sulking that the world was not yet ready to just accept a woman blowing loudly on a Nintendo 3DS in public (that line will come back to haunt me completely out of context at some point in the future, I’m sure).

Despite my reserves about playing it in public – it’s rare enough to see anyone playing 3DS in public, let alone shouting into the mic and blowing on it – I am enjoying this game. Like its predecessor, Wind Waker, it’s a lovely, colourful world and it has some really good characters in it too. Linebeck, your travelling companion is great, even though at first I was put off by the fact that he’s meant to be the comic relief with very aimed-at-children humour (which is ridiculous, who would think to aim this game at children?!) but he’s grown on me. Plus he has a sweet-ass coat.

Linebeck
Look at his little booties! They almost look like hooves

While we’re on the topic of characters, I just want to bring up this weird but AWESOME side quest. I met an old dude who lives alone on an island (who, by the way, has a wife and son on a different island, but that’s none of my business…) and he tells you how he would love to meet a mermaid. When you leave his house lo and behold a mermaid appears. She kept diving away from me and out of frustration I chucked my boomerang at her, not expecting it to do anything, but it did! So I hit her round the head but she seemed to get over that pretty quickly. She then reveals to you that she is not a mermaid she just likes dressing up as one and she is using a swim tube to float. That made me love her so much. She’s living the life, who wouldn’t want to do that if they could? THEN I went back to the hut and set her up with this gross, wife cheating old man who thinks she’s a real mermaid and now she lives in a paddling pool in his house!!! That is hands down the best side quest I have ever done. Except maybe the one where you get drunk in Skyrim and marry a hag, which was also very fun. It was super easy and quick to do, not to mention I was hooked on all the drama, but I think I’ll have to keep coming back to it in the future as the game goes on, kind of want to know what happens next, does his wife find out? Does mermaid lady get bored, meet a merman and leave? Do they get married? Scandal…

Another little thing I’m enjoying about this game; like in Wind Waker, Link has some incredible facial expressions. In Wind Waker he had quite a sassy look which I always thought was funny, but in Phantom Hourglass he is a bit goofier, maybe because his head looks like it’s been squashed Hey, Arnold style from some angles.

So in conclusion, if you fancy an old (feels weird calling it old, still feels like the DS only came out a couple of years ago) game that is a bit of fun and goofy but also sometimes quite frustrating give Phantom Hourglass a whirl.

Are there any old games that you’ve been pleasantly surprised by? What are your favourite 3DS/DS games?

General Gaming

I’m Just Too Good At This Game…

Not to toot my own horn or anything but when I play games I am good, damn good, goodness shining through my screen, bathing me in an aura of virtuous light and promising me a spot in gamer heaven… And when I say good I am of course talking about my go-to alignment, duh.

I really like games that let you mould a personality and alignment is one of many tools that can be used to do that. Despite my appreciation of the diversity gained from playing through a story as a different alignment, particularly things like different or alternative side quests or a different ending, I can never play as an evil character.

If you have been with my blog since the very beginning, back when I had been close to taking this blog in a “read about my Dragon Age Inquisition play through” direction (glad I avoided that now, if you want to take a look my first couple of awkward posts though you can do so here and here), then you may remember that I created a character in Inquisition with the intention of making her a nasty character. Her name is Shawty and she’s a two-handed weapon wielding dwarf, she’s pretty damn awesome. She started out as a total bitch, as intended, but she has gradually drifted to become the same sort of character as all my others: kind and sassy. Although she is a little more brutal when talking to bad guys.

Dragon Age™: Inquisition_20170319205311

I honestly don’t know why I can’t be evil in games, as soon as I lose influence/approval/whatever with companions that are usually my besties, or they end up upset because of something I’ve done, I just feel guilty. I realise of course that they are not real people and that the beauty of it being a game is that you can be whoever you want to be. Maybe that’s simply it: I don’t want to be evil.

The closest I ever got to being an evil character was when I was trying to gain enough influence over a character in Neverwinter Nights 2 for him to not turn against me in the final battle. I was very tactful here and would only take out a team of characters that, being of a similar evil or neutral alignment wouldn’t mind too much, if at all, when I did or said nasty things to gain influence over him. This was actually pretty difficult because the best characters (in my opinion anyway) were all ‘good’ characters so it made fighting quite hard. When he wasn’t on my team though my character would shift back to her cheery, nice self. In that game your alignment can actually shift as well depending on what you say and depending on how far you are on the good to evil scale your dialogue options can change. In that play through my character was just rolling up and down that scale like an emotional yo yo, eventually settling on ‘chaotic neutral’ at the end.

Futurama alignment chart

This can all change away from a screen though. When we play Dungeons and Dragons I wouldn’t feel bad at all about playing an evil character, in fact I find it more fun sometimes depending on where the story is going. Maybe this is because the people on my team aren’t a bunch of pixels that are programmed to react to my choices and actions in a specific way. I know that whatever I choose I won’t offend any of my friends (unless they’re taking it super seriously, but none of us are really like that), it’s more likely to get a response in the realm of “oh, you are such a dick I can’t believe you’re doing that… Ah well what’s done is done might as well join in. ATTACK THE INN KEEPER! WOO!!!”. It probably helps that at some point or another someone will inevitably say something along the lines of “I roll to seduce the goblin chieftain”, taking away any element of seriousness that may have been there before and once that’s happened stupid behaviour and poor decisions are more or less expected and welcomed. The same goes for my friend that I mentioned in my previous post about turning someone into a gamer, she can’t be an evil character when playing a video game but in D&D she can be super sly and mean if that’s what she’s decided her character should be and you need to look out for her manipulative ways.

Side note: I’ve been looking for an excuse to put this in for ages, please enjoy:

D&D critical fail

So I guess the reason behind me not being able to be evil in video games is because I don’t want to hurt my fictional, animated friends’ feelings… It sounds a bit sad put that way so let’s just say that I tactfully befriend as many characters as possible in order to get the best outcome in the game. That sounds better.

 

What is your go to alignment? Can you play an evil character with no qualms? If so, what is your evil secret?

General Gaming

Quick Update – Embroidery and Twitter

First and foremost check out this amazing free-hand embroidery that my mum made for me!!! It’s me! How awesome is that??? It will take pride of place next to my computer to inspire me while I write my blog posts.

Embroidery logo

Secondly, as a couple of people may have seen already, I am making an attempt to have a Twitter account. I hate posting stuff on social media so I’m out of my comfort zone and I’m struggling with it a bit, I just don’t know what to say. The only reason I have one is because way back in April I had to tweet to request a game at the Rezzed After Party. After that I thought that as I had created the account I may as well mess around with it a bit and link it to my blog. I know I sound very negative about it but I would like to give it a try.

I’m not sure whether if I should keep everything I post about game related or keep gaming as the usual topic but tweet the occasional, random, general life thing as I see fit. Are there any Twitter Gurus out there that can give me some advice? (Or just anyone with a Twitter account really, I welcome any advice)

If you would like to follow me then my Twitter is @Dragonsteaparty !

General Gaming

Welcome to the Gaming World, I Shall Be Your Guide

Have you ever had a friend that was never really into games and you couldn’t understand why? You have a game in mind that you just KNOW they would like but if you try and get them to play it they act like you’ve invited them to join a cult. They might have played some of the “mainstream” stuff like Pokemon and The Sims, but never quite taken the full plunge into the gaming world. I’ve had, and still do have, quite a few friends like that and I will admit that I always try to get them involved to no avail… Until now!

In my first year of University I met my future best friend in my assigned student flat, and she would happily watch me play Final Fantasy XIII and God of War 3 on the PS3 but she never wanted to play anything herself. I found this super weird (need to be careful what I say about her here because she reads this blog sometimes =P), to this day I don’t understand the enjoyment behind watching someone else play a game and her indifference to trying was even more baffling to me.

When I was younger my sister used to watch me play games and it used to irritate me so much. I feel kind of bad about this looking back because, being the loving sister that I was, I was usually telling her to go away so she used to just watch really quietly and hope I’d forget she was there. This was usually if she came into my room and watched my play on my PC though but if I was on the Playstation/Wii in the lounge then it was fair game (sort of… depending on my mood). Weirdly though I never got annoyed with my friend for watching me play games. I did feel a bit awkward sometimes that she never wanted to play though. I was never sure if she genuinely didn’t want to or if she was just too polite to take the controller off me when I offered. Fast forward a few years and we were living together again in our final year of University. This time I had my PS4 and I was heavily into Dragon Age Inquisition, the remastered God of War 3, and Batman: Arkham Knight. Like before she would watch me play through them but this time something caught her interest more than before. That thing being Dragon Age Inquisition.

Dragon_Age_Inquisition_BoxArt

Her first experiences of playing DAI were the many times I got stuck on the harder astarium puzzles, I suck at puzzles in games, sometimes it’s quite worrying. I would shout out “HELP I NEED LOGIC!” and with a secretly-happy-to-be-helping-and-trying-to-make-me-feel-stupid sigh she’d take the controller and sort me out. Eventually she decided to make her own DAI character and it wasn’t long until we were both full on addicted to the game, it was all we’d talk about for a while. Her elf was getting it on with Commander Cullen while I had started a new game with bad-boy wizard Merlin (we were also addicted to watching the TV show Merlin at the time, but you really don’t want to get me started on that…) with the intention of romancing as many characters as possible (in case you were wondering I managed 5 characters before settling on the gorgeous Dorian). We talked about it like the characters were real people to the point where her boyfriend ended up a bit jealous of Cullen. It also started interfering a bit with exams and coursework and it took all of our willpower to make DAI a reward for after we finished working and not play through it all day.
While I was usually doing something at the same time this was the first time I would watch someone play a game and not want to grab the controller off them (aside from my dad). I can’t even watch Let’s Plays because they annoy me so much, unless it’s a Game Grumps format where they’re chatting and having fun rather than just sort of talking their way through the game. I was also weirdly proud of myself for introducing her to it.

Cullen DAI
Commander Cullen: Seducing non-gamers since 2014. *Smoulder*

Skip forward a year to the present and now she has her own PS4, every DAI expansion pack and has got Skyrim, Dragon Age Origins and Stardew Valley waiting in the wings for when she finally gets tired of DAI. Looking at all those expansion packs though it doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon. Have I created a monster?

In the past I have tried to bring other friends into gaming but it’s never really worked out. They appreciate them to an extent and will happily play “party games” like Mario Kart (I might put them off that though…) or Guitar Hero but they never get hooked. Sometimes they just don’t get it at all, I have a friend that’s never even played Pokémon, or anything really, and I have to take a deep breath every time I remember that fact. That’s OK though, gaming is not for everyone just like how I don’t like reading comic books, for example. Now that I know the magic formula for turning someone into a gamer though I’ll be trying to increase our gamer ranks whenever I can. Turns out all you need is 2 years living with them, constant monopolisation of the TV, and Dragon Age inquisition.

 

Have you ever introduced someone to the gaming world? Which game do you think is the best for introducing someone to gaming?

 

General Gaming

My Future Geeky Flat

It’s becoming a busy month for The Dragon’s Tea Party! I have been offered a new job! This means I’ll be moving away from London but that’s OK as I have been looking to get away from there for a while now as I’m not very happy in the big city. It’s a very stressful, busy place and I’m a lot happier in a smaller town near the countryside (still with some good nightlife though, don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere either). On top of that, what with recent events like the attack in London Bridge – which is the main station I go through to get to work every day – I would feel a lot safer being away from the big city right now.

My new job will take me to Dorset which means that I will be moving in with my boyfriend (so that I can stop referring to him as ‘my boyfriend’ and ‘my other half’ by the way, his name is Dan)! We have found a flat and there is a lovely room in there which will become The Games Room (or The Arcade, not sure what to call it yet). In this room we’ll have a table dedicated to D&D and other games, a space for the PS4, Dan’s desktop computer so I can FINALLY get back into PC gaming and my sewing machine, which isn’t really in theme with the rest of it but I need somewhere to put it. We’ve got lots of geeky ideas to furnish our flat with, most of which probably won’t happen straight away but hopefully will do in the future. I thought it would be fun to put a few of our ideas on here and see if anyone has any further geeky furnishing suggestions!

Here are some of the ones we have so far:

  1. Snorlax bean bag chair – OK this is super pricey but it’s ok to dream!Snorlax bean bag
  2. Continuing the Pokemon theme… Bulbasaur plant pots! I’m going to put these along the window sill in the living room with lots of little plants in there and maybe take one for my desk at work too.Bulbasaur plant pot
  3. Portal bookendsPortal bookends
  4. Game Grumps/Starbomb poster. I’m not as keen on Starbomb as Dan is but I think that poster is better… Not sure which one to go for (maybe both?) 

  5. Harry Potter themed key holder Alohomora

As well as that I’m planning on dotting a few cross stitch creations around the flat, mostly nerdy quotes to put in relevant places (the crumpocolypse Borderlands 2 one can go in the kitchen, the Zoolander/mermaid one in the bathroom, the Rick and Morty quote by the TV… I’m not sure where the Follow your dreams Game Grumps quote can go but I like it and I’ll find it a place!)

 

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I suppose I should also be thinking about boring things like sofas, tables and chairs but I’m too excited to do that.

Anybody got any geeky furnishing suggestions or any advice in general? I am getting very excited planning all this!

General Gaming

Nostalgia Moment: Neverwinter Nights (1 and 2)

Recently I was reminiscing with my other half about our favourite games, he has been very keen on launching his favourites at me (Portal, Final Fantasy, Stardew Valley, etc), all of which I’ve enjoyed (with the exception of FFVIII), while he hasn’t really tried ones that I like yet. He did download Dragon Age Inquisition but stopped playing literally when the intro was over. It hurts my soul that he did this but he didn’t like the gameplay, even though he didn’t see much of it or play for long enough to appreciate any character development or story… but I’m not bitter. I got to talking about Neverwinter Nights with him, a game which I may have mentioned occasionally in previous posts. He has never played it and I got a little carried away reminiscing about it. It’s about time that these games, both the first and second, have a post dedicated to them because it is easy to say that they (specifically the second one) are my favourite games of all time.

Let’s start at the beginning and I’ll set the scene. The year was 2002, potentially the summer, I was a mere child of 8 and I was watching my dad play his latest game: Neverwinter Nights. My previous favourite games to watch him play were Baldur’s Gate and Doom (those are the ones that stick most in my memory at least, Doom probably not for good reasons). Then BOOM along came NWN with its incredible story, wonderful characters, and – at the time – great graphics. I was hooked. I can’t remember specifically when I started playing NWN myself because I used to sort of have a go, often starting from the beginning over and over as I did with most ‘big’ games in my youth, one day though I did finish it properly, it was probably the first ever ‘adult’ game I ever finished and I was VERY proud. I then went on to play the expansion packs Hordes of the Underdark and Shadows of the Undrentide, which were also very good.

NWN1 graphics
Check out those sweet 2002 graphics at work. Side note: I miss the use of artwork for character portraits.

Thinking about it, the reason NWN appealed to me at such a young age was probably the wonderful storytelling in the game and the engagement with the NPCs. NWN is based on Dungeons and Dragons, using the same fighting mechanism and the same Forgotten Realms world as a base, this is also most likely why it has such a great story. When I started playing D&D a couple of years ago I realised just how similar the two were. The text scrolling along the side of the screen in NWN for example helped me understand (sort of) how to play D&D quite quickly, or at least to improvise what I didn’t understand to create a playable game.

Unfortunately I don’t remember a huge amount of the first NWN, just that I enjoyed it immensely, I always thought the paladin Lady Aribeth de Tylmarande (pictured below in her awesome armour) was one of the coolest female video game characters ever (she looked so badass) and henchman Daelan Red Tiger was always my bro. When I come into possession of a gaming PC/Laptop I will be playing it again to relive some of my youth but until then I’ll have to make the rest of this post about NWN2.

Simply because I remember it more and spent A LOT of time on it, NWN2 will always be my favourite game. The magic of that game is just something I’ve never experienced with anything else. I connected so much to the characters (that sounds kind of sad but I really did, especially my bestie Khelgar), the story was brilliant, there are so many wonderful things added to it that give the whole world and the story so much depth, for example when you have to find each of the spirits that knew the Shadow King – the big bad guy – before he was corrupted by power and they tell you stories about what he was like before. It gives you such an unexpected connection to this creepy looking dude that you fight at the end and you feel sorry for him. Then there’s all those books that you can pick up and read but you don’t need – who writes those?! It’s actually someone’s job to write them! – If you want to you can learn about all the places, and about some of the characters, through books, NPCs and codices found in the game creating a whole history behind this world, solidifying it in your mind and making it seem almost like an exotic, medieval style country you’ve never been to but learned about in school or something.

Shadow King
The Shadow King, bit of a tribute to Frank from Donnie Darko I always thought

SPOILER PARAGRAPH Another big thing was killing off Shandra halfway through the game. While she could be a little stuck up at first she grows on you and is set as a permanent companion, like your apprentice. I remember the first time I played through it and the death scene happened and all the companions expressing how they all felt about it (the gnome broke my heart, he was so upset) it was so unexpected as I’d never played anything that had killed off a main character before (this was 2006 so I was like 12 or 13 and hadn’t experienced as many games as I have now… but thinking about it I can’t think of a huge amount that do kill off main characters like that even now), I had tears in my eyes and had to take a moment to calm down.

MORE SPOILERS Then there was another new thing I had never come across in a game before – alternative endings. Before the final battle the Shadow King will try to persuade some of your companions over to his side, and it’s pretty much inevitable a couple will go, making you try to have them feel your glare through the screen as they swagger over to his side on a cloud of betrayal. I could never get enough influence over power-hungry Qara to have her not fight against me and the only way I ever got Bishop not to fight was by romancing him (more on that later). On top of that the Shadow King will also ask you if you want to join him, and you can! Despite trying to do an ‘evil’ play through I just can never be an evil character and never did that, I feel unnecessarily guilty about committing fictional evil acts. I’ve seen the bad ending though through the power of YouTube and it’s quite nasty in places. I’m glad I never did it or I would have been riddled with guilt.

On to what I mentioned before about romancing. This was the first game (lots of firsts here) I played where romancing was something that could add to the plot, or sub-plot. I almost always play as a female character and in NWN2 you have two love interests per gender. Both are heterosexual choices (the incredible display of Bioware’s sexually diverse characters didn’t arrive until 2009 when Dragon Age was released). As a female I had the choice between “he’s a bad boy but I can fix him!” Bishop the ranger, and “your holy aura of goodness and purity is blinding me” Casavir the paladin. I found this a bit unfair because Bishop was a total dick but was as fit as a bunch of 2006 pixels could get *swoon*. On the other hand you had Casavir, who was very nice but I thought he was boring and looked a little bit like he’d been beaten with a pixelated ugly stick (or maybe this is just my taste in men). I couldn’t shake the feeling they hadn’t meant to make him look quite like that. Pretty sure male characters got the best deal here with their choice being between pure, innocent Elanee the elf and the quirky, chaotic-but-not-evil Neeshka the tiefling. Seemed easier than the female’s choice of “you can either romance Satan or Jesus”. Despite my reserves about them I enjoyed the extra stories and side quests these romance options opened up, and the romance option was optional anyway so I didn’t have to stress about who to choose if I didn’t want to.

Perhaps I have been spoiled by the ‘golden age’ of RPGs because I am really struggling at the moment to find more RPGs of the same calibre of NWN, Baldur’s Gate, and Dragon Age. It seems like RPGs at the moment are either online, JRPGs, or they’re sort of from a first person perspective (The Witcher, Dark Souls, Skyrim…). While I enjoy those I don’t get as immersed in them as I do with my classic favourites, I never really feel like I am the character, I feel like I’ve been assigned a character to play. Sometimes I like that but I largely prefer having a character I can start from scratch with and mould their personality as I play through the game. On top of that I can’t really think of any characters from games recently where I’ve been emotionally invested in what happens to them and actually really like them. I suppose Borderlands comes pretty close, they have some good characters in there but as they don’t travel with you or fight with you – unless it’s part of a quest – it doesn’t really count. You could argue that you get that NPC relationship with JRPGs, playing through FFX at the moment I’d be pretty upset if something happened to one of my team but to be honest it wouldn’t hit me anywhere near as hard as if they killed off Varric in Dragon Age, for example (they don’t BTW in case you had a brief moment of panic, it was a hypothetical example).

Do you have any RPG recommendations for me? What are your favourite RPGs? Who else played Neverwinter Nights? Also, how cool would that NWN eye be as a tattoo? (Not thinking of getting one, just an observation…)

General Gaming

Pimp My Dragon

Hello there lovely readers, exciting stuff over at The Dragon’s Tea Party, some re-branding going on!

RIP to my old, what-was-meant-to-be-temporary-but-actually-ended-up-being-quite-long-term logo, in case anyone was wondering what the hell it was, it was of course a picture of a cat in an avocado costume… My reason for choosing this is simply that every time I see the picture it makes me giggle. Here it is in full for your enjoyment:

Old logo

Aaaaaand here is my new logo!

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The time of the Sassy Tea Drinking Dragon has come

Nice little story behind this. I was on the train coming home from one of my fortnightly visits to my boyfriend and was sat next to a girl who… not only was reading a Garth Nix book (one of the Abhorsen ones I haven’t read yet), she also had a Tardis notepad too. I knew it was meant to be and we had a lovely conversation about books, movies and drawing. Personally I am a terrible artist, (although I will discard all modesty and admit that my stick men are usually pretty flawless as long as they have no facial features or any detail whatsoever) she was showing me some lovely drawings from her Tardis notebook and I mentioned that I needed to up my drawing game to make the logo for my blog, at the time I was considering making a stick dragon, but then she immediately asked what I wanted and started drawing it all up for me. The next day she set me over the logo! I love it, it’s perfect.

I feel all official now that I have a proper logo, it’s weird.

A few more updates include me changing round the theme of my blog to match my logo colour scheme more and messing about with my widgets, About and Contact pages. I love messing around with all these colours and pictures.

Cosplay · Events · General Gaming

London Comic Con 2017!

Photo heavy post here guys! Comic Con was amazing, I had such a great time. I’m not quite sure where to begin. There were so many people, some that had come down from places like Scotland for it which is insane, that’s so far! I only went for the Saturday as I was working Friday and I wasn’t sure about going both days.

I suppose I’ll start by talking about the cosplays as, for me, they are the best things about it.

I love fancy dress and dressing up so being able to go to a huge convention where loads of people have put so much effort into their costumes is brilliant. I went as Link from Legend of Zelda, originally it was meant to be Link from Twilight Princess, it ended up more being inspired by that version though and after I had the main elements of it down I went for a more ‘weathered’ look. My dad made me an AWESOME scabbard for my sword which made me think about looking a bit more rough (if anyone likes the look and fancies their own leather armor goods then he would appreciate the business, get in touch!), I jazzed myself up with some hair beads (I was NOT wearing a wig after my previous Zelda wig mistake in 2015 – live and learn I suppose) and had some darker make up, still wouldn’t call it ‘rough’ but I think I looked pretty good. What do you think?

Link Front2

Link behind

I’ll throw in an action shot too for fun!

Link action shot

There was even a Legend of Zelda meet up and we all had a photo shoot which was awesome but unfortunately I don’t have all the pictures from that yet.

As you can see from a couple of those pictures the weather was lovely and, for once unfortunately, very hot – it was about 28° (or if you’re American 82°ish) and for the UK that’s enough to convince us that the sun is falling. I was feeling rather toasty in my leggings and boots but nowhere near as hot as my boyfriend who went dressed as Deadpool, he was boiling.

That’s us done so here’s a little slideshow of some of the other great cosplays we saw:

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While there were a lot of games to try and big gaming industry names like Playstation, Nintendo and Rising Star games there were so many people and queues that we only got to try a few games out. I put a bottle of milk in a basket in Harvest Moon, then took it out again, then put it back in and clicked on some eggs. That was fun… No idea what I was supposed to be doing with that. In Cooking Mama I had to time my icing sugar sprinkling so that I didn’t sprinkle it while wind was blowing through my virtual kitchen window, there wasn’t an option to just shut the window. Then I absolutely whupped my boyfriend’s ass on the new Tekken game. Those are the only ones I got to play, I was fed up with queuing – I will explain why in a bit – so I was unprepared to queue to play Breath of the Wild or to have a go with the Playstation VR headset. Nevermind! You can tell I wasn’t too impressed by any of the games I mentioned above but on the other hand I didn’t know what I needed to do or how to do it so it’s not the game’s fault.

Finally, special guest time! The people I had been looking forward to seeing the most was Billie Piper and Catherine Tate, unfortunately Billie Piper cancelled but I still got to meet Catherine Tate and got her autograph on my newly purchased Tardis door front poster. My plan is to take that same poster with me when/if I meet other Doctor Who actors so it looks like they’ve all signed the front of the Tardis. I queued for about an hour and a half to meet her, it was horrible, I hate queuing but my commute into London had trained me for that moment. Normally you had to pay an extra £30 for a photo with her, a professional one, but she was letting everyone take a picture on their phones with her then and there which was absolutely lovely of her. I said something a bit awkwardly like “I really loved you as Donna, you were great”, obviously she’d heard that all before but what else do you say in such a short space of time? Then she asked me where I wanted her to sign my poster and I just said “the white bit” which in my head had sounded witty but when it came out just sounded a bit stupid and there was an awkward silence. Point is she was really nice and her Q&A was great too.

Catherine Tate Autograph

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Kind of wish I wasn’t all dressed up for this part, she probably had no idea who I was meant to be

I was going to queue to meet Summer Glau too but the queue for her was actually longer than Catherine Tate’s and my feet were hurting, then I saw Sean Maher had a really short queue and I was going to buy a ticket to get his autograph but when I said ‘Simon’ instead of ‘Sean’ I realised it probably wasn’t meant to be (does that make me a bad Firefly fan? He does play my least favourite character to be honest).

In case you were wondering about art work and comic books I am afraid that, while I appreciate both of those things, I am not hugely fussed about them so I didn’t spend a significant amount of time looking at them. Below though are a couple of links to some websites with artwork that I really liked:

Dragonfly Heels (These are totally art, I didn’t buy any of these but I will one day, I just need a good excuse)

Dragonfly Heels

 

The Zero Room (where I got my Tardis poster, I also got a Firefly one)

Spineless classics (they have a whole book written out on one poster and I really wanted the one of The Hobbit but I had no idea where I was going to hang it as it was quite big

 

That just about wraps up my Comic Con post. I’ll probably have a few more coming up in the near future so stay tuned!

 

General Gaming

Starting to Like Final Fantasy…

Firstly, I’d just like to make my excuses for not posting much at the moment, just in case you were missing me! I have been dedicating a lot of my free time to finishing my Comic Con costume, there seems to be an endless line of things I can do to improve it, it’s very nearly finished though which is just as well as the event is this Saturday! Brace yourselves for some Comic Con related posts next week.

Being super busy I haven’t had a lot of time to game much recently but over the weekend I took a little break and played some more Final Fantasy X. Yes, not given up on it! In fact, it is finally time for me to begrudgingly admit something that I didn’t think I would, mainly because it will give my other half an excuse to throw more of these types of games at me, *deep breath* I like Final Fantasy X. To the point where I am now playing it willingly rather than my boyfriend suggesting it as an activity, and am considering playing some of the side quest bits too (capturing all the monsters for the Monster Arena in particular). You may remember me talking about my bf introducing me to it before and me being a little on the fence about it, particularly because of my general aversion to turn-based games. Well apparently I’m nearly at the end of the game now! There are things that still annoy me about it though and if my bf was not going through it with me then I probably wouldn’t have continued with it, but now I’m too attached to the storyline and the characters to quit.

In my previous post I had said that Lulu and Kimahri were my favourites but I have to rescind half of that statement, particularly after realising just how shit Kimahri is. I still like him as a character but despite my best attempts to level him up he is just dead weight really. There was a point –SPOILERS- (when Seymour first comes back from the dead, or whatever it is that he is now, and Kimhari stays behind to hold him off while everyone runs) where my other half said “it’s a shame that when you run back to help he’ll be dead” and convinced me that he had been killed and that there’s a really sad scene coming up where all the other characters hold a funeral for him. If you have played this you know that this is of course not true, but it made so much sense for that to happen and explains why he’s such a dead weight in battle that I believed it and got prematurely upset – much to my other half’s amusement.

I’m going to indulge a little bit of ranting about Tidus as well (or Clut, as I have called him – best name ever, it suits him perfectly), he’s lucky he’s quick on his feet and can cast some white magic because there is literally no other reason to keep him around other than that. Over my weekend playthrough he died time and time again, “oh shit, the weird flan thing’s attacking… of course it’s attacking Clut… Oh and he’s dead… Again”. I am not keen on him as a character either, he makes me cringe when he says stuff because he’s trying to be the “cool” character and then there’s the “I hate my father” thing aka Daddy Issues: The Game.

Auron: “When I was on my previous pilgrimage with Lord Braska and Jecht-“

Tidus: *Bursts through the wall* “Did someone say Jecht?!”

Auron: “oh no…”

Tidus: “HE WAS NOT A GOOD FATHER, I HATE HIM, I HOPE HE DIES BUT NOT REALLY BECAUSE I DON’T REALLY HATE HIM, OR DO I? WHAT DO I EVEN KNOW ABOUT ANYTHING? YUNA, DO YOU FANCY ME YET????”

Tidus and Yuna
“Wow Yuna… That bird is far away…”

Anyway that’s my ranty bits out the way, let’s focus on the positive stuff…

  1. Rikku is awesome, even though she doesn’t hit very hard she’s really useful anyway, I’ve actually put her on Auron’s grid at the moment so while she’s still not doing over 1000 points of damage yet she will soon be hitting super hard. I have got her down as a potential future cosplay too. I have a thing for quirky, girly but tough characters.
  2. Auron looks like Jeff Goldblum. Enough said.

    auron-final-fantasy-x-jeff-goldblum
    Obviously I’m not the first person to think this
  3. The Aeon summoning was something I never really understood in other FF games because they don’t really do that much damage. There’s a huge, cinematic build up you have to sit through and then they take off a disappointing amount of HP, you might as well have just killed the thing yourself in the time it takes for the aeons to actually be summoned and do their visually impressive attacks. In X though their presence makes sense to me because you only have one character that can summon them, and that character is basically a white mage so it makes sense that she can summon something to help her out as she isn’t usually used to attack. Also they actually deal some pretty sweet damage in this one! Unfortunately I don’t think they kept this idea in any of the following games though.
  4. Finally, I actually know what’s going on! Before this the only one I properly finished was XIII and while I enjoyed it I would never be able to tell you what the hell was happening. There was a girl called Serah (or SERAAAAAAAAAAH!!! As her boyfriend pronounced it) who was imprisoned in a crystal and we were going to save her then some Australians appeared and… euuuh… Shit went down and they saved the world? No clue but it was super pretty. I have attempted to play some others as well and the plot always loses me pretty quickly. I would say that it’s a sign that I should pay more attention but I don’t really have this issue with other games.

So where am I now? (SPOILERS ahead FYI) Well I’ve just discovered that Clut/Tidus is actually a dream (why they would dream up that dude as their saviour I do not know, maybe that’s why he hates Jecht so much, Jecht actually looks capable of doing some badass shit where as Clut/Tidus forgot half his trouser leg and the front of his shirt) and Seymour is sort of drifting around being a pain in the arse. Apparently this means I’m quite close to the end. I was hoping the game would last a bit longer actually so that I could make Rikku fully badass before the end but I’m not sure that’s going to happen, although I’m sure that I can do it if I finish all the sidequests. I feel like other FF games lasted longer, not that I have a huge amount of experience with them but XIII seemed to go on for ages and I played through a lot of XII but didn’t get to the end. It’s probably because my other half has been telling me how to play and what to do so I got through it quicker rather than running around exploring and putting more time and effort into grinding, which is what I usually do.

Once X is over, my other half and I are going to play FF X-2 together, he’s not looking forward to it, looking just at the outfits alone on the cover (why is Rikku in a bikini thong thing?? And Yuna seems to have abandoned her lovely kimono outfit in favour of some booty shorts and a crop top, which I have no problem with but it seems a little out of character for her…) I’m a little bemused as well but you never know, it might be fun!

FF X2

What’s your favourite Final Fantasy game? Now that I’m open to suggestions on the JRPG front what would you recommend?