Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bears In Games - Epic Final Fantasy Extravaganza Part 3

We bring this exhaustive Final Fantasy retrospective to a close! And how! From the childlike characters of Final Fantasy IX to the strangely serious Final Fantasy XII, with a little Tidus, Yuna, JPOP, and Charlie's Angels all thrown in!
Final Fantasy IX brings a sad dose of agreement among Johnny and Max. Yeah, it's more fun when we disagree, but neither of us have any great love for the game. It's not a bad game, just has a slightly off-putting art style. It harkens back to the look of the sprites in the NES era, but gives them a slight tinge of "Tender Moments". And as for bears, well, you've got the Liotta-like Steiner, and... Baku. If you don't mind a pig nose and some sort of mouse ears. Sadly, though, it's hard to find anything really hot when it's done in that art style, that continued into the DS remakes and Crystal Chronicles series.

Final Fantasy X makes Max angry, while Johnny just is ambivalent. It's got a different soundtrack, and charted a course that the last eight years of JRPGs have followed with both graphics and presentation. Oh, yeah, and Fry from Futurama is Tidus. Or Herbie. And it's a fairly bear-free zone, unless you like Auron, Wakka, or Kimahri, all of whom aren't quite in the bear category. Though some of the Besaid Aurochs do actually qualify, specifically Keepa and the one with the goatee. Oh, and the Al Bhed.

If you want arguments, Final Fantasy X-2 is sure to satisfy. Is it a disgusting rip-off, recycling two year old assets into a weird, insulting Charlie's Angels knockoff with bad J-Pop? Or is it a fast paced, light-hearted, and musical journey? Depends on who you ask. But you don't have to look to hard to see some gayness between the effeminate Logos and Ormi. And all those guys we mentioned above are back.

Finally, FINALLY, we look at Final Fantasy XII, and... don't really find much to talk about. There's Vossler, and Cid, and... Baasch, but all those seem like reaching. Everyone is super slim. It is kind of neat that it takes place in a semi-persistant world of Ivalice, previously seen in the Tactics games, as well as Vagrant Story.

So... what's next? Johnny and Robbie are gonna take on something big, hairy, and burly for the Bears In Games 1st Anniversary Special!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bears In Games - Epic Final Fantasy Extravaganza Part 2

Johnny and Max now dive deep into Final Fantasy VII, with all its gay dates, bears, musclemen, and group assault. Also: Final Fantasy VIII, where magic meets Sweet Valley High. (Or is Sweet Valley High already magical?)

Final Fantasy VII. We all know it. Some of us love it. Some of us think that it's overrated and a step back for the series. But Max and Johnny are surprisingly agreeable on the subject, with both thinking that it is a great but flawed game, and one that pushed the JRPG genre as a whole in a new direction. But did you know about all the secret gayness in the game? Seriously. You can get molested by a group of big burly bodybuilders. There is much Cloud calling men Daddy. You can go on a date with the big bear Barret. Really, it is the most bear-filled of the Final Fantasy games, with two of the AVALANCHE team being big guys. Plus, to get on the date with Barret, you have to treat the women horribly, which is amusing in itself.

Then we move on to Final Fantasy VIII, and, thankfully, Johnny and Max have some spirited debate. Johnny likes the draw system, Max does not. So what does Final Fantasy VIII have to do with bears? Not a whole lot, really. There are two real bearish characters in the game, and one of them looks like Robin Williams. Which is not a good thing. The other, Ward, is Max's secret dreamboat.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bears In Games - Epic Final Fantasy Extravaganza Part 1

Johnny and guest host from Max take a good, hard look at the first four Final Fantasies. Provided that you think Final Fantasy starts with Final Fantasy III.

Final Fantasy III starts us off with its slightly creepy child-warrior look, and confusingly androgynous protagonists. But all is not lost in this game: it does feature one of Final Fantasy's hottest bosses, the Djinn! So that's something right there.

Final Fantasy IV does have a chubby bear as a playable character, but it's Cid. And Cid in this game could, based on your viewpoint, either look like A: a potato, B: a biker bear, or C: a gollywog doll. He's got some freaky lips. Other than that, not a lot of bears, though it does have girls wearing inappropriate bikinis. And is Yang a bear? He ain't hairy, but he is burly.

Final Fantasy V is a critical darling but overlooked step in the series. It had a great implementation of the job system, but not much of a plot. The beauty is in the excellent combat. So what does it offer us as far as bears go? One of the protagonists is an older guy with a moustache, and he and the hero, Buttz, seem to be cruising their mysterious (or Mister-ious) pirate friend. They think he's hot.

Final Fantasy VI drastically changed the way that games dealt with cinemas, characterization, and presentation. Does that mean it has good characterization? No. It just has it, period. And this is a big step forward for the JRPG genre. So while some of the dialogue is clunky and terrible, there are definite emotional high points. Also, is Sabin a bear? Sure he is. Because they say so in the game.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bears In Games - The Daily Lives Of Domestic Bears

Elite Bear Agents, Bears In Sims, and a slightly off topic look at Midnight Club: Los Angeles make up this week's too hot for TV episode of Bears In Games!

Elite Beat Agents is a bizarre music action game from INiS that just so happens to feature a lot of big guys, bears, and chubby guys. A spin off of the Japan-only Ouendan series, you tap along with the beat to progress the story. We take the time to look at four different bearish characters, and pause momentarily to see what secrets a young girl's dead father holds. Snotty Japanophiles will tell you that Elite Beat Agents has nothing on Ouendan, and that the music list sucks. Perhaps I have more tolerance for the sort of cheap licenses this game pulls, but it's not so bad. They generally go with the action on screen, and hey, it's got YMCA for the wet-suited bear Captain Brooke, David Bowie's Let's Dance, and Jamiroquai's Canned Heat! That's more songs that I like than the average Guitar Hero game. But I do have a terrible taste in music. I did miss out on some bears, though; the multiplayer features some exclusive story modes that I can't really show via emulation, and one of them has a very hot (for the creepy / funny super deformed art style, I mean) shirtless fat guy in a leather vest and hat. Hey! And did I mention big bear in wetsuit? I think I did. Moving on.

The Sims 3 was a big release this year, and it's better than it had any right to be. Honestly, it's just a polish of the Sims 2. But the Sims 2 needed a solid polishing, so hey! On the Bears In Games Facebook Page, I asked for anyone who wanted to be in an episode of Bears In Games for the Sims to sign up, and I actually got a few replies. So we've got Jack, a would-be writer and then sometimes paramedic / heartbreaker, Tom, the guy that pretty much everyone had a secret desire to kiss, Robbie, who watches a lot of television, and of course me, who in this case becomes a police officer and lounges around in underwear a lot. Oh, and has some anti-social habits.

Finally, I review Midnight Club: Los Angeles. This game sucked. Looks pretty in cut scenes. But the motion capture sucks, the characters are awful, awful people that you'd never want to have a conversation with, and the amount of T-Mobile product placement made this game virtually unplayable for me. Fools.

What's next on the Bears In Games plate? Well, I've recorded Final Fantasys III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, and XII and should be recording audio for that with Max from this weekend! Get ready for a pileup of Final Fantasy fun. Given that I was stretching the capacity of Blogger's 100mb upload limit with this one, I may have to break the RSS feed version into two chunks. Because that's a lot of Final Fantasy. Also getting Robbie (from the Sims) over for the Bears In Games One Year Anniversary episode... the subject? It's a secret. A sexy secret.

If you want to see Bears In Games in better quality, you can always check out the Bears In Games youtube channel: