A student with a passion for game development and all things Japan.
Back to Blog
Editor's note: Sorry for some of the Image formats! The scanned one came out that way, and my printer/scanner's capabilities are limited.Either way, Enjoy this one!
Hey all! One of things that I mentioned in the Final Fantasy XIII review is that I lack confidence(and Lightning gave me some), and be honestly, that varies from time to time. Sometimes I feel no one can touch me, but recently I been feeling like the worst, with little to no confidence in what I can do, and sometimes feeling dumb in School compared to my peers. To circumvent this, I have been working on things that I can't do, but want to do. One of these things is 3D modeling. To learn this, I descided to make Zero's Z-Saber.
This was pretty easy to model to be honest, the biggest problem being the handle's bevelled sections and painting textures onto the handle. The Z-Saber it's self is more based on the Zero Series Z-Saber, and the look in drawings by one of my favorite artists, Toru Nakayama.
I think this went well, so I descded to make a Tomohawk Axe. The orignal plan was to have the piece just be generic Axe for general use. Well, Fang needs a weapon to replace her staff, and she's a Final Fantasy charater. Regular is not going to cut it here. So, let's make the weapon!
Moving on to Designing the look of the Blade. Drawing is also not one of my Strong points, but lately I have really been feeling the flow of drawing, despite being not very good at it.
Yea, I really like Xuan Yuan at the moment. IT'S SO GOOD! Anyways, I use a Light box for when I'm tracing stuff, but with the weapons sketches, I was just drawing from my head, like I did with my idea for the design of Fang's Tomohawk:
Yea,not only can I not draw, I can't write either. Basicly I'm going for a mix between a dragon and the look of the Bladed Lance from Final Fantasy XIII.
The cutting Edge is black because of the fact the edges of the Bladed Lance are black, so it simulates that in this aspect.
There are some small details on this lance I wanted to create,but with my modeling and UV painting abilties being very low at the moment, I knew it was best to skip it. I just stuck to creating the Stylised Grips in the texture...and even then they were pretty bad
Either Way, I think I over did it in some places, and in others,I just need to work on my skills, but this was still really fun to do.
Time to go into some general updates!
I am currently slightly re-writing Different Spirits to make it a bit more of an action-comedy. I want this story to be fun, so why not make it easy for people? However I am have trouble with Clare's character, as I want to write her to be a "kind badass". Ever heard those words next to each other? No? Thought so. If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments!
The Stealth Game is going well. If you saw on Twitter, I have been making many enemy animations, and it's been fun! I've been to may my movements less stiff.
But beside that, nothing much have been going on with Unity-Chan Dash... expect for the fact I want to make her a bit more like Neputne from Neptunia.
She's basically an anime girl version of Deadpool from what I can tell(I really need to play those games) and honoestly, what's wrong with that? I would love to write a character like her, so making Unity-Chan like this seems like a step in the right direction.
Before I go, I am happy to say I am now a writer for Game Savvy! Thanks to everyone there for this chance. I started by writing an artical on Square Enix, and the Development Hell(s) they have been going through for the last decade or so. Read it here.
That's it for now! Thanks for reading, have a great day/night, share if you enjoyed it and take care.
Written By Nana Marfo
The character Oerba Yun Fang and Final Fantasy(C) Square Enix
The character Neptune and Neptunia(C)Idea Factory/Compile Heart
Back to Blog
Hey all! Welcome to "All in the Character", a series where I break down characters from games and anime. This is a series I hope will expand my knologly of what makes a good character in terms of design, personality and story. Either way, I have lot of characters I want to examine.
Today, I wanted to start this series with a character that I love a lot from the series Recovery of an MMO Junkie, a series that I love a lot for it's basic yet interesting story, and very relatable characters. So let's take a look into the main charter Morioka Moriko.
One thing that I love about Morioka is her design. One thing that I hate the idea of being formal, because to me that shows a person that can be self entitled, always serious, and doesn't allow themselves to let loose often. Morioka basic design shows her to be very layed back.
As you can see here, Moriko has some character quirks in her design, such as being a hard worker at her former job, which is represented by her baggy eyes and unkempt hair. However, I would also put this down to her wanting to be more relaxed and not caring about her appearance, as we can see by the fact she is a NEET. In anime, this term refers to the idea that a person is Not in Education, Employment or Training. This is somewhat contrasted by her Fruits de Mur character, Hayashi, who is a very stereotypical young man in an MMO, which I think works.
However, as the series goes on, Moriko appearance changes her to not be embarrassed when Koiwai invites her to dinner. I couldn't find a image with the 3 views of this look so apologies for that, but for me it implies an internal change, and the fact that she wants to be part of the real world now, so she has to fit in.
Personality and Story
This one may be short compared to the design section, but that's because we have already covered some of these points. Moriko was a hard worker at her old job, showing that she is very selfless. However, this came at a cost, as she went countless nights without any sleep, hence why she has the bags under her eyes. The shows starts right as she left her job, and her previous game, Nanter SG, was shut down. Moriko isn't too phased by this, as she hasn't played in half a year. From there, she finds Fruits de Mur, and begins playing that instead.
Moriko makes 2 things clear about her self, she's an introvert and she's 30. The introverted feelings comes from being over stressed at her Job, and when quitting, she even said that "I chose the NEET Life. I'm a elite NEET." From this, I can tell that Moriko has had enough of Humans due to the stress she suffered in her old job. That changes when she meets Sakurai, who is still very kind to her, though that might be due to the fact that she was elbowed by him.
Either, this and a chance encounter with Koiwai results in her getting a new look, because of the fact that she now beginning to warm up to what the real world is offer her. It ends with her wanting strengthen her bond in real life with Sakurai, as she feels the bond offered with MMO's is weaker. That's debatable, but moving on!
Speaking of age, Moriko's age is 30 years old, but she feels as she is younger in my opinion, because of the way she acts in certain situations. Watch the following clip from 0:50 to 1:22 before going any further.
Moriko here is overjoyed, to the point where she thinks she even has a crush(talk about being relatable at the moment...). However, she even think she shouldn't being thinking like this in her 30's. This makes me think that Moriko is somewhat a big kid, which isn't a bad thing at all! After all, it's what's some of us really creative. At least that's how I see it.
In a One Sentence Summary
Between her kind heart, layed back appearance and age consciousness, Morioka Moriko is definitely a highlight of her show.
Huh. Surprised how this short this was. Still, this was fun! Next for this will be... IDK really. Still I hope you enjoyed it! Next one will be more polished I promised.
But for now, thanks for reading, have a great day/night, share if you enjoyed it and take care.
Written By Nana Marfo
P.S Once Again, I send my well wishes and support to Ms.Kokuyō, and I really hope she gets better.
Back to Blog
So, I got this game in December 2017. It was the first game I ever bought and owned off Steam. I grew up watching a lot more about this game before I played it. I have heard both good and bad about this game. But what do I think?
1.Spoilers are abounding, and depending on the game, can spoil the experience. This one in particular is very story heavy, so be warned going into the review.
2. I will not put aside any bias, but will try to be fair for games I do not like. This is my personal opinion. If you want to send your opinion, please do so in the comments below.
3.I am covering the PC version.
That being said, how does the part one of the Lightning Farron saga stack up as my first entry into this franchise? This is my review of Final Fantasy XIII.
This game's story is long, so I will try to be as quick I can, but this is a LOT. A young women named Lightning Farron has broken out of a train that is mass executing people, in something known as The Purge, along with Sazh Kastory, in order to find Lightning's sister Serah. At the same time, a young man named Snow Villers, recruits a women, who says that "Moms are tough" into his resistance group NORA. However, she dies and her son Hope Estheim sees this and swears revenge.
I won't do full character breakdowns for everyone, as you would be reading for an hour, but Hope is a little too whiny at the start for me. Always complain that things are not going his way, being very scared, he honestly is a bit too depressing at the start for me, and I get that's the point, but he does this every cutscene up to chapter 4. However, after Lightning kicks him in the teeth(figuratively), and he attempts to get revenge on Snow, he changes in to a quite likeable chap.
However, he along with a cute little girl named Vanille, head to the fal'Cie Anima to find and confront Snow, who has gone there to save Serah. Lightning and Sazh go to also save Serah, but all parties are too late as Serah has fulfilled her focus as a I'Cie. I will explain this more in a bit. Lightning and co fight the fal'Cie Anima, with Snow begging for Serah to be saved. This pisses Lightning off, as she didn't believe her sister at first, and this news came to Lightning on her birthday, the day before she got on that train. Life comes at you fast.
Anyway, they defeat Anima, but this comes a cost, as they are all branded I'Cie, and have a vision of the monster Ragnarok. I'Cie are basically are humans who have a limited time to carry out a focus, a set goal given to them. If the don't they become fal'cie, AKA monsters. If they do, they are turned to crystal, become Cie'th, and are given eternal life. Before they can do that, they have to get through a load of ice. They find Serah encased in crystal, but Lightning, regretful of her mistake, decides to leave her be, but Snow vows to save her and stays behind while the rest go on.
Speaking of, Snow is... not that interesting. He only appears in a handful of cutscenes in the first half, which only really exist to introduce Fang and explain why Serah's fate is a kick in the balls for Snow. Beside that I do like his hero act, and he is voiced by Troy Baker in English. Does this man have money capped paychecks?
I should say this now before anything else. I played this game with Japanese VA, since I wanted that experience, and I have watched a cutscenes of this game in English, and I hate Sazh's English voice. Still, the English VA is good. I really like Vincent Martellte as Hope and Laura Bailey as Serah. And I know this is leading into the obvious, Ali Hllis can serenade me as Lightning any time, her voice is so sexy to me! OK, I'm jumping the gun a bit. Back to the story.
Anyways, as the 4 head on, Lightning delivers a beautiful speech about her motivations to destroy the Sanctum, and Hope decides to follow her and the 2 head to Palpoum. Lightning warms up to Hope(easier said than done for her, trust me), and while giving Hope a pep talk, inadvertently helps strengthen Hope's resolve to kill Snow...Oops. As they head in towards the city, they meet up with Snow and Oerba Yun Fang.
Fang I love design-wise. Martial Arts get-up with a Dragon Tattoo to show she's a badass. Her story revolves around Vanille, and the fact that they are going through the motions again. Well without baggage for Fang, she is not infected by Anima after all(her I'Cie brand is even faded), but I at least find her interesting.
Anyways, After the attack on the 4 in the City, Hope ends up with Snow, and Lightning with Fang, Fang explains the connection between her and Vanille, and Lightning slaps her. Is it wrong that I like this scene?
Either way, Hope tries his hand at revenge and fails, but an attack on both of them leaves Snow injured. The 2 parties re-unity and Lightning cries over what she nearly made Hope do. F**k people that say she doesn't have a heart. Either way, we head to Hope's house, and going a bit more into Hope's Daddy issues, which I won't go into for the Sake of time. While there, the 4 are confronted by Yaag Roach, PSICOM Commander, who explains The Purge(which is also killing innocent humans) is a way PSICOM can stop the l'Cie out break, but is attacked by their own Ranks, and help with a Rogue Solider to sneak into the upper ranks of PSICOM, and all of this is just from Lightning's half, as Sazh and Vanille's half is overshadowed by something more sinister.
Sazh's story revolves around his son, Dajh, and the fact that he has lost him to The Purge. Over the chapters with her and Vanille, it is revealed that Vanille and Fang were the ones that turned him into an I'Cel. When Sazh finds this out, he attempts to SHOOT HIMSELF.And GOD DAMN, THE REVEAL THIS RIPPED MY HEART OUT OF MY CHEST, and my heart was already torn out thanks to Lightning's crying scene and Hope's Dad scene. Of Course he doesn't and the two end up captured by Jihi Nabaat.
With Sazh and Vanille in prison, Lightning and Crew go to save them, and take out Dysley, the leader behind this whole Purge. However, he turns out to be a Fal'cle call Bartandlus, and let me say this, he is a great villain, very menacing and haunting. Also I love his theme, it's so majestic. Though Nabaat ends up dead for some reason.
Anyways, he explains that they had of Ragnarok was one of them. One of them will turn into Ragnarok. One of them will destroy Cocoon. So because of this as they try to go to Cocoon, Yaag Roach shoots them into a Fal'cle training ground. Here they are confronted by Cid Raines, who helped Snow escape his captive state when he was found by Sanctum, as he always wants to save Coccoon, but he feel he has to eliminate the I'Cle to do that, but after his defeat he turns to crystal.
While in the camp, everyone agrees they have to fight their focus, barring Fang, who has second thoughts on the whole thing, and has to fight her Eidolon, more on this gameplay. After the training camp, they all head down to Gran Pulse, and after re-grouping for the night, they head out to find out more about this world, and Fang gets her memory back, remembering she became Ragnarok. After Lightning has an emotional talk with Snow, knowing that they have to get Serah back, the group climb the Tajien tower, and afterwards, meet with Serah, who turns out to be Bartandlus(you can tell when the bird is around him), who wants to use The Calvary to take out Coccoon, along with a revived Cid Raines, who is now Primarch. After another fight with Barthandlus, the group head to Coccoon.
All hell has broken loose on Cocoon, and Cid Raines has been shot down thanks to that Solder who helped use a while back. I will say Raines himself is interesting, he wants to do things by his own accord, but still wants to save Cocoon, which is why he goes after the a Fal'cle gang himself, but was their any point in bring him back besides shock value? He only appears in 2 cutscene after he is revived.
Either way, the gang head into Eden, and after one last fight with Yaag Roach, they make their way into Eden, and at the centre of it all, where Barthandlus and Orphan awaits. After the battle with Orphan, things get hectic for the gang. Fang agrees to become Ragnarok. again, in order to save everyone, however the rest, besides Vanille, turn into fal'cie After Fang tries to destroy Orphan as Ragnarok, the rest break out of the fal'cie state, and after Lightning gives one last amazing speech, and a really anti-climatic final boss battle, Orphan is defeated. However, the inhabitants of Grand Pulse become Ragnarok...including Vanille and Fang.
Coccon's inhabitants is saved and Lightning, Snow, Hope and Sazh are left to start life on Grand Pulse, alongside a revived Serah and Dajh.
Overall, what else can say? The story was amazing, and it made care for all of the main characters.
Vanille's character arc is focused on how many lies she has told, and her dealing with the guilt what what she did to Dajh, and I have to say my heart hurt for her, watching her go through all this pain. I remember this quote from her:
I've told so many lies, it's all a blur.
Damn. That line puts everything in perspective for me. It feels likes she is learning all negative emotions at a young age, something which emotionally f**ks with her, and it is portrayed very well, and makes Vanille a very strong character.
But this game has such a strong lead in Lightning(real first name Clare)Farron.
She is the reason why most people hate this game. I can't say I don't see why, she is a bit of a bitch, and really hates Snow in the early going. However, she is the leader of the gang, and she just has so much confidence in herself to achieve her goal, something that I needed while dealing the real world(TL:DR ver: Sixth Form is a struggle). When she made that first big speech, I couldn't help but be inspired.
I know I sound stupid for saying this(and this also applies to Kairi from KH), but when I see her picture, I can't but smile. I honestly believe she is the reason why I have gained so much confidence in myself over the past year and a bit. She is my confidence booster. Plus I have a soft spot for badass women, and Lightning is no exception. Also, I don't get the she doesn't have a heart complaint, she felt guilt for not believing Serah(I think that was her emotion speaking), and she cries over Hope nearly taking revenge, something that was inadvertently her fault.
Speaking of, this game also has an underlying theme of family. One thing that I love is the bonds between Hope and Lightning(brother and sister like qualities) and Sazh and Vanille(Father-daughter like qualities).
I also don't think I would have met Ellen if it wasn't for Lightning, and if you want a very personal look into this games, go check out her review of the Final Fantasy XIII saga. She does all 3 games justice much better than I could.
Welp, that was long. Again, this game's story was a LOT, but it's really heart warming, and I loved every moment of it.
So now on the game it'self. The game has a habit of unlocking things as you go, for example the Paradigm system(Optima if your in Japan) isn't introduce until chapter 3. This is annoying at time, especially since they don't provide a in story reason for most of this, but I honestly don't mind, it makes games character feel they are getting progressive stronger, even it they are going the wrong way around it here.
Each character has 3 Paradigm to use in total. For example Lightning has the Commando, Ravager and Medic Paradigms. These names are different in Japanese for some reason, as the names are English, and it's not like they don't make sense. For example, Commando is Attacker and Medic is Healer. Localisation is weird.
Anyways, between you and your 2 other party members, you can use up to different Paradigm Formations. I used Relentless Assault and Diversity the most, because being honest, most of the game's common enemies can be taken down easily due to the stagger system.
Instead of having a turn based system, you have an ATB bar, this starts out with 2 segments, but you have up to 5 by the end. I would have liked to see a way to decrease the time that it takes to charge without using Haste, but the regular time is fine. You stock up you commands and when the bar is full, you attack you chosen enemy, and I LOVE, LOVE THIS. The combat is so fast paced because of it, and it feels like I'm playing an action game at times. Some of the abilities are awesome, like Lightning's Army of One which can be a pain to get(more on that in a bit), Hope's strong Magic Spells and Vanille who's curing is broken when going against common fodder.
The stagger system is pretty simple in how it works, you hit an enemy enough time, he staggers. Though some attacks such Fang's HighWind attack(Her ScreenNuke, which is OP, even for the late game) can stop staggers, so careful what attacks you use. After the stagger, enemies are weaker, and bosses in turn can change from being immune to certain elements to taking Damage. These weaknesses can also be modified with the Saboteur class, and you can fight with said weakness if you have the right spells in the Synergist class.
While being able to switch Paradigms is nice, I mostly stuck with one class for each character I played(Which after I got the ability to switch the Leader out was Lightning, Hope and Vanille). Lightning was the hard hitter, Hope was the magic power house and Vanille was White Mage b***h. Sorry.
Still, in the later chapters of the game, I found myself using the using the Paradigm Shift quite a bit to deal with tougher enemies and bosses, who were annoying in the second half of the game(they have unavoidable attacks), but after chapter 9, they become fun, barring the Last encounter of Yaag Roach and his Grasshopper mech.
One common complaint I hear it that there is not real exploration in this game, which I can agree with but I don't think it's bad, because trains you to keep the pace fast. In fact the Open World is sort of odd to me. I felt I was playing a different game, because once a game trains you to think in a certain way, you don't feel comfortable changing, and it's very apparent here.
You can level up you characters in the Crystarium, which is expensive as hell to manage, but with enough grinding and persistence, it becomes easier... in the second half. The first half of the game is not grind friendly to me, which makes no sense with the how expensive the some upgrades are.
This is Sazh's Summon, Brynhildr. Remember when I mentioned Eidolons? You fight these as bosses, and once you defeat them, they become your summons. Honestly, I only used Odin a lot, because I had Lightning as my playable character for most of the run. These are not very interesting to use and they don't really do much besides get you out of tight spots. Not worth the 3 Technical Points to use, though the other skills such as Libra, which reads the stat effects of enemies, are usually VERY useful. The shop is also a waste, as Gil is impossible to get via battles, only treasure chests. Not that I mind it(Medic and Synergist cover for this), but from a design standpoint, this makes the a bit bloated.
The rest of the summons I only used once for the sake of demo, and I LOVE THE STYLE AND FLARE IN THESE SEQUENCES. As a game dev, it's something I aspire to do someday. Here's Vanille, Sazh and Hope as examples:
Speaking of flare...
Looks, Sound and Final Thoughts
This game goes a realistic look, which has aged a little bit, but this game does still look amazing today, the visual look on point, and despite the dark setting, the game doesn't feel dank. The soundtrack is the cherry on top of this game, as the componation of fast paced battle music like Blinded By Light, haunting yet majestic tunes like Barntandus theme, and upbeat Jaunty music like Sazh's theme makes this a wonderful soundtrack to lisen to. The vocal themes in particular are just a pleasure to lisen to, ESPECIALLY Kimi ga Iru Kaka(Because You Are Here)
The animation can be rushed at times(you can tell when they also cheap out with camera angles), but the rest of the time this game is animated well, and CG cutscenes are in a league of their own! One of my favourite cutscenes in this game is the beginning Chapter 12, where Lightning and the Gang are just blowing things up, and using all their summons on the race track, it looks amazing!
Considering this game was in a development hell of it's own(alongside Final Fantasy XV, known back then as Versus XIII), it really makes me happy that Square managed to pull of a masterpiece of a game. While this game may be hated till the end of time by Final Fantasy Fans, and there is no sign of a remaster soon for any of the games(though all of the games are Xbox One X backwards compatible as of today), I have a lot to thank this game for as well. It helped me meet so many people, it engaged me it's story and gameplay, and it's lead character gave me confidence. I can't recommend this game enough. You can get it on the PS3, Xbox 360 or Steam.
...Goodness. This has to the longest post I have ever done. Next RPG I do will probably be a Neptunia game, but I do want to play Final Fantasy XIII-2 and ESPECIALLY Lightning Returns. I also want to play the other Final Fantasies, despite VI starting slow as balls.
Either way, this has been my passion project for a good chunk of the second half of the year. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much I enjoyed writing it.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great day/night, share if you enjoyed it and take care.
Written By Nana Marfo
For Ellen, Hussain and all the people I have met because of this game.
Final Fantasy XIII(C)Square Enix
Back to Blog
Man, oh MAN, this is going to be one hell of a ride. So as most of you know, I wanted to watch a... raunchier anime, and 300 followers on twitter seemed like a good excuse to watch one. I put it a vote on twitter, but and after 3 day, Senran Kagura won, just beating High School DxD after the it lead most of the poll.
Either way, I know a bit about Senran Kagura, thanks to the games and the Neptunia series(or more over the 2 games made by Tamsoft, the developer of Senran Kagura). The games(for both series) are something I defentaly want to try, but for now, we have anime.
1.Spoilers are abounding here folks. If you want to watch it blindly... go watch it. Spoilers are here.
2. Depending on the Anime, this can get NSFW.
3. I am watching the subbed version.
Ninja Girl Time! This is my first impression of Senran Kagura.
This tale chronacols the love and chrouage of 5 young ladies who have devoted their youth in the fight against evil, as Shinobi.
This series begins with a young girl fighting ninjas. She ends up catching a hellicopter ride. One thing I will will say about this series is it has good fight choreography... for the 5 minutes we see it in this episode.
The opening, Break Your World is really good, and while the visuals do leave something to be desired, it's still a pretty solid opening.
Either way, this girl(who we later learn is named Ashka) is returning to Asakusa after some time with her grandpa. Sorry to jump the gun a bit for later in the episode, but Asuka is the daughter of a legandly shinobi, so there is some intresting stories lines that show could take, but we will see. Asuka's boarding school. National Hanzo Academy has 2 sides to it, the general side, and the shinobi side, which very few people know about. This is where the rest of our Ninja are introduces, the first year's Hibari and Yaygu the and 3rd-year's Ikaruga and Katsuragi. Their mentor, Kiriya(expect some Ex-Aid jokes, telling you now), who may or may not be using gives them some morning training in airal combat.
The only effect that Moe has had on me is in New Game, but I have feeling that this series will do that as well, as all of the are cute, even with "plot" on their chests, and Asuka's story I hope will be inspiring.
From here, the girls are put patrol duty and while the 1st and 3rd years encounter some punks reveled to be shinobi. Asuka(who is a 2nd year) encounters that girl again, who turns out to be evil! Thought with the way she was dressed(black and red) it was kind of obivous. Still, it's nice the show chose to drop the foscade almost immadly. Though the dual nature of this girl, who's name is Homura, is still unknown to Asuka.
And that's it really. To be honest, with all the story heavy anime I have been watching as of late, it was nice to watch something slower paced, and less serious. The charaters, while having some neat designs for their Shinobi Transformations(Ikaruga being my favorate), a lot of the focus is on the fanservice, with a lot of boob focused camera angles. Katsurgai in particular stands out as a fan service character because...(Warning:The Image below may not be safe for work)
Don't get me wrong, I love her, she makes me laugh with her groping, but she does this 3 TIMES in this episode! She also has the most raunchy costume design for her Shinobi Transformation, making me think she doesn't know what word subtle means.
Still this was a lot of fun to watch. I know I skipped the ending theme, but I'll save that for the for the review.
Huh, another short one. Still, I have the behemoth that is the Final Fantasy XIII review upcoming, that should be done by December, so look forward to it! And again, thanks so much for 300 followers! I did not expect to reach that this year, so thanks to everyone that follows me there.
Either way, that's it for now! Thanks for reading, have a great day/night, share if you enjoyed and take care.
Written By Nana Marfo