Final Fantasy XIII just arrived!

Final Fantasy XIII Box

Originally uploaded by PlayStation.Blog

Final Fantasy XIII arrived at my house. I’m not sure if I’ll have time to play it yet, though. I’ve been overhearing people saying that it’s going to take ~60 hours to beat and that the story is far too linear for a modern day RPG.

It’s funny that I don’t mind this being linear. I find that sometimes, you just want to pick up a game and play through the story, and not have to decide. Don’t get me wrong, open world and open story games (ala Mass Effect 2) are some of my favorites, but sometimes, the world can be too open and the story never seems to finish (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion). The game should be designed with the gamer in mind, or else we’re going to have a lot of people that only going to go through 60-70% of the game and never finish.

That is what I loved about Mass Effect 2, the design team actually took the time to learn from their fan feedback in the forums. That’s why you have such things as 40 minutes missions, interesting characters, and easy pick up and put down game play.

Well, looks like I’m going to be in a cave for a while.

God of War 3


It sounds like Justin over at Joystiq loved the third installment of God of War, even though he wasn’t as impressed with the first two.  It makes me wonder whether better graphics makes a game these days.  At first he talks about how it’s God of War HD, so, I’m getting the feeling that the game play is the same, except some nice upgrades to the visual department.  Doesn’t sound too compelling to me since I never finished the first one and never bought the second one.

All I remember of the first one, was some crazy special effects and my roommates wanting to only play the dirty parts of the game.  Unless there’s some groundbreaking changes to video games, this looks like I’ll have to pass.

Photography: Shooting Food

I’m a complete Photography noob, but I’ve inherited a Nikon D70 DSLR from dad.  So far, I’ve noticed that 98% of the time, my shots are horrible.  It wasn’t until recently when I started playing around with it more that I started to realize what I can do.  I’ve been wanting to help Samantha out with her blog, but I haven’t been able to take good shots without the pictures  coming out too dark, too blurry, or different shades of blue or red.  So, I’ve been systematically eliminating these problems.

So far, in terms of the images being too dark.  I’ve tried to slow the shutter to capture more visible light.  What that means is that I’m required to stay perfectly still for a very long time, which is near impossible unless I had a tripod.  If I don’t have a tripod, that’ll make all my images extremely blurry.

So, under low light conditions and with no tripod, what can you do?  Recently, I’ve discovered (or finally tried) adjusting the ISO.  What I have learned is that the higher the ISO, the better your shots will be in the dark.  However, you start to see some grain in your photos, which is bad.  So, the assignment here is figuring out the balance between Shutter, Aperture, and ISO.  I’m using a manual 50mm f/1.4, so I’m setting the Aperture to f/1.4, Shutter 50, and ISO I’m still messing around with.

In order to adjust the color, I found that changing the WB (White Balance, Duh!) definitely helped.  There are some settings on the D70 for low light conditions, different light bulbs, etc.

Well, I’m practicing right now in my room, but let’s see if I can make this work later.

Card Games: BANG! the Bullet

Oh, how I love the card game, BANG!  It’s just about one of the best games I have ever played.  No matter who we teach it to, they always end up wanting to play again.

In this game you are randomly given a role which determines what your goal of the game is.  There is a Sheriff, Outlaw, Deputy, and Renegade.  The number of players determines how many Outlaws, Deputies and Renegades you have.  The Sheriff’s role is to kill the Outlaw and the Renegade, the Outlaw’s role is to kill the Sheriff, the Deputy’s role is to keep the Sheriff alive and the Renegade is to be the last man alive.  When playing with my regular gaming friends, I find that the easiest role is usually the Sheriff and the most difficult role is the Renegade.  You may think that since the Sheriff is hard since they have the most enemies, but you must remember that the Outlaws usually do not want to give their identities away since the Sheriff has so many potential allies in the Deputy and Renegade.

Aside from your Role, you are assigned a special ability character.  These are characters that are named after famous Wild West characters, Willy the Kid or Bart Cassidy.  The special abilities can be great (Use any card as a Missed) or it can be weak (When a player dies draw 2 cards), but what sets them apart is the amount of lives you get.  Most of the strong characters will have less lives than the weak characters.  That definitely balances out the game.

While you play, you are able to draw cards to enhance your abilities or to perform an action.  The game consists of a distance concept.  Depending on how far you are sitting from someone determines how far away they are from you.  So, in a game of 8 players, the person furthest from you is 4 distance away.  In order to manipulate the distance you are from someone, you will need to close that distance by having a distance related character ability, using a gun or object that changes your distance, or kill the people next to you to bring you closer.  The actions that you can perform are attacking, defending, gaining life, forcing other players to discard cards, drawing extra cards and a bunch of other crazy things.  As you can tell, much of this game is the luck of the draw.  That doesn’t mean that this game doesn’t require skill.  Many times you will find that you need to fake people out, or get sympathy for having the weakest character.

Gameplay [rating:5.0] Replay Value [rating:4.5] Ease of Play [rating:4.5] [rating:overall] [amtap amazon:asin=B001037L8K]

Bang! Wikipedia

There's an exciting world out there, and I want to conquer it.