Tuesday, October 16

A Different Kind of Gadget Lust

Okay, I am beginning to sense myself inexorably being drawn to another gadget again.

No, it's NOT a phone. Rest assured, I am still even now enamoured hopelessly with my unlocked, hacked, customized iPhone. Nope, the new toy I am obsessing right now is... well, it IS a toy. A Playstation Portable, in fact. Yes, I already had one months ago, and sold it after I realized that I wasn't using it. Well, I've finally found a reason to play. It's called Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions.

Longtime gamers on the original Playstation (PSX) will probably know what I am talking about. In a universe of RPGs filled with spiky-haired heroes, melodrama and CG cinematics galore, Final Fantasy Tactics broke the mold by being a strategy-simulation game obsessed with menus, stats, levelling up jobs and shifting occupations. You spent as much time planning as much as actually fighting but... DAMN it was obsessively absorbing. Where do I spend my hard-earned Job Points? Do I level up or upgrade that skill? Do I work for a Samurai, Ninja or Dragoon? Is a damn Calculator worth it? What's the best frickin' way to beat that bastard Gafgarion's deathtrap?

The point of it all was an epic, albeit hopelessly confusing story of royal intrigue and high-stakes political conspiracy serving as cover for a diabolical invasion. Your main character, Ramza Beoulve, is a noble-born warrior who eventually finds himself having to fend for himself and a fragile principle of justice and truth in the midst of greed, war and ambition. I didn't know half of what really was going on, save that to progress, I had to build and train the most bad-ass, deadly, unstoppable army to walk the land. Which, unfortunately, could only consist of FIVE people. Gah. Still, once you got into the combat and got knee-deep into getting your soldiers onto their paths to becoming war machines, there was no turning back.

The game has now been recently released for the PSP, with all-new content such as new guest characters (notably Balthier the Sky Pirate from FFXII and Luso, a hero in another upcoming FF game), new battles and multiplayer and, for me best of all, gloriously lovely cinematics that bring the story to life in beautifully realized art-brought-to-motion and full voice acting. Really, I NEED to see the cinematics of this game. I want to see the story as I've never seen it before. I just have to.

This is the reason for me to get a PSP again. I have nothing else to get anyway- I already have the phone of my dreams. The next great PS3 and Xbox360 games are due in 2008. This is my project for the moment. I guess the road back to Ivalice starts now.

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